LEE COUNTY, FLA — The debris is piling up all across southwest Florida after Hurricane Ian, there are multiple drop-off locations throughout our counties but where does it all go?
And what are the expectations going forward?
Lee county officials say they have a robust plan to collect the debris and it's moving forward at a rapid rate.
125 trucks are working throughout Lee County collecting more than 1.6 million cubic yards of debris which includes vegetative waste, construction and demolition material as well as dirty sand and titled property such as boats.
The county and its contractor have identified final disposal sites including its own landfill as well as Charlotte County.
Lee County’s debris contractor, CrowderGulf estimates that the first pass to remove hurricane debris in unincorporated Lee County will be completed within the next 30 days. Adding that each neighborhood will receive at minimum a second pass for debris removal. Additional passes will be conducted as warranted and in neighborhoods that experienced both wind damage along with severe flooding.
Lee County says no debris is going to the former MW Horticulture recycling center, a site where several fires happened in April 2022.
The site was acquired within the last two weeks by Veransa South Florida.
Chief Operating Officer, Kevin Dunlap explains that the site cannot take in massive amounts of debris because they are still cleaning up from those past fires. "We have no choice but to strictly limit the amount of incoming material that we take and that’s also part of our agreement with the Florida Department of Environment."
Dunlap says they are frustrated that they cannot help with removing all the current debris from Hurricane Ian.
"We would love if the facility was cleared and we could be taking in 2000 yards a day of this material that needs a home right there’s plenty of it and this would be a great outlet for people who need these locations," said Kevin Dunlap.
Dunlap went on to explain that they added a new sprinkler system, fire hoses, and water truck. They also have a pile of dirt ready to go to help suppress any potential fires and probes to keep an eye on the temperatures of the piles.
Veransa South Florida is also responsible for the past due bills and are in negotiations with San Carlos Fire Department and Lee County on the bills that are owed.