Miami-Dade County hopes to clear last of 3 million cubic meters of debris left by Irma

County working to process debris in various locations

By Ian Margol - Reporter

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. - It has been more than a month since Hurricane Irma slammed into South Florida, battering the area with winds and rain for two full days.

And crews in Miami-Dade are still clearing off a tremendous amount of debris.

"We had an estimated 3 million cubic yards of debris, that’s more trash than we collect in an entire year," said Gayle Love, of the Miami-Dade County department of solid waste management. 

Just to give a little perspective - 3 million cubic yards of debris is more than 900 Olympic-sized swimming pools.

 And that debris is brought to a site with  trucks.

The trucks deposit the debris in big piles, and then they’re sorted because what authorities here in the county are finding is that there are many extra things other than vegetation -- inculding mattresses, sofas  and even playground equipment.

Once all that extra material is picked out, the mountainous piles of waste are ground down and shredded before being trucked out to another non-county-owned site. 

The county has gotten through about 2.6 million of that estimated 3 million cubic yards of debris.

And they're working hard to finish the rest.

"The process does take time, we always ask people to be patient, we really do encourage their patience and appreciate their patience," Love said. 

 Communities with private roads must execute a Right of Entry agreement that will allow Miami-Dade County or its contractors to enter communities with private roads and begin debris removal.

This process costs about $130 million, but they will eventually be reimbursed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. 

In  the next two or three weeks, the county says they will begin a second pass back through the entire county to collect whatever is left over. 


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