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Final days for Hurricane Ian debris pickup in Fort Myers

So far the city says more than 600,000 cubic yards of material has been collected in Fort Myers
Posted at 3:56 PM, Dec 08, 2022
and last updated 2022-12-08 23:03:27-05

LEE COUNTY, Fla. — Tracking the debris removal process - tonight we know throughout Lee County more than 4.3 million cubic yards of debris have been picked up throughout the county since Hurricane Ian and now cities are trying to get dates set to have it all removed so they can get back to regular scheduling.

The City of Fort Myers says the last day for Hurricane Ian debris removal is December 11th. So far the city says more than 600,000 cubic yards of material have been collected in Fort Myers.

"Which if you put it together it’s probably 95 to 96 football fields end to end 3 foot deep to give you a little idea what it is," says The City of Fort Myers Public Works Director Peter Bieniek.

As he goes on to explain why the December 11th deadline for which you need to have all your Hurricane Ian debris out by is important because of the ratio of what's covered by the state and FEMA. "They actually pay us back up until December 7 they are going to be refunding us 100% of what we put out up until the end of December 7 as of now FEMA puts 75% the state 12 1/2% and we'll cover 12 1/2% ".

Adding that the city plans to get back to regular operations by December 19th which means they'll go back to regular sanitation services, bulk waste, and vegetative waste.

After following crews in town from Missouri to help with Hurricane Ian debris pickup, here are the most challenging parts...

"The most difficult part about it is dealing with the traffic down here it's horrible other than that I mean the job is not hard it’s more mentally fatiguing than physical. You’ve just constantly got your head on a swivel, you have to think about everything. Most people just look at the ground... I have to look up, I have to look side to side all the time. Hazards, trees, power lines people everything," says operator Joseph Barlow.

Again the city wants you to help meet this December 11th deadline so it doesn't affect the city's tax base going forward.

"So if I get this done in a timely manner we’re not affecting our tax base and it also allows our businesses and our residents to get back to normal which is what everybody wants to do after a storm like this," says Bieniek.

The city says when it comes past the date of December 11th - if people are trying to get rid of debris from Hurricane Ian that's over the limit allowed - that's when they'll start charging you for it.