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Lee County expects leap in debris removal as some residents push for a faster pace

Lee County Debris Removal
Posted at 4:44 PM, Oct 26, 2022
and last updated 2022-10-26 19:36:29-04

NORTH FORT MYERS, Fla. — On Wednesday, Lee County leaders told Fox 4 that county contractors anticipate 80% of the debris that's on the ground will be picked up within the next 30 days.

Homeowners like Patrick Beard, who lives in a mobile home community in North Fort Myers, said debris trucks are already in his area.

“They are in there with their skid loaders, their grapplers cleaning everything up,” said Beard.

A different viewpoint for Jane Hamilton who lives just three miles away from Beard, across Cleveland Avenue.

“Oh boy, it's a little better than it was but it’s still bad,” said Hamilton.

Hamilton said she has not seen any debris trucks on her street.

Glen Salyer, Assistant County Manager says 80% within the next 30 days is as far out as county leaders can predict.

“We will see waves and waves of that material (debris) come to the curb over time. So, we can't exactly say when the process will be complete," said Salyer.

On Wednesday, Salyer said contractor trucks have picked up nearly 1.9 million cubic yards of debris so far.

A feat that for Patrick Beard, is easy to believe.

“For as much debris that was lying around in this area, I think they did a remarkable job getting it cleaned up and giving us kind of a little bit of normalcy back,” said Beard.

On Wednesday, Jane Hamilton said normal for her family means staring piles of debris yet to get picked up.

“I mean they are getting Cape Coral; they are getting southern Fort Myers, but not too much out here,” said Hamilton.

Neighbors like Hamilton told Fox 4 they would like to see faster results, so we asked Salyer what that would look like, and if it's possible.

“Well, we are collecting about 75,000 cubic yards per day, again I will compare to Hurricane Irma, our best days were 50,000 cubic yards. So, we are collecting at a much faster rate. We will continue to ramp that up, we will probably get up to 85,000 cubic yards a day I suspect,” said Salyer.

On Wednesday, during a special meeting, Lee County commissioners talked about Hurricane Ian debris. During that meeting, Commissioner Brian Hammond said he would like to look into opening more collection sites and bringing in more trucks.

Click here for a link to the county's debris removal dashboard.