The City of Valdosta Public Works Department has all hands on deck to pick up the enormous amount of debris that was left behind by Hurricane Michael on October 10. The city is requesting the patience of citizens as it employs all resources for this task of getting the community cleaned up as quickly and safely as possible.
More than fifty calls for fallen trees and large limbs were received by the city during the recent storm, and the city continues to get these reports after the storm. With about 3,500 scheduled customer pickups daily, Public Works Director Richard Hardy said the overall cleanup could take several weeks to accomplish.
"We ask citizens for their patience as we utilize all of our resources in this endeavor of getting our city's yard debris—along with our regular household garbage and recyclables—picked up in an efficient and timely manner," said Public Works Director Richard Hardy. "We expect it to take 12-15 days to completely clean up the storm debris, utilizing the same number of employees for the double workload.”
Since Valdosta’s previous encounters with Tropical Storms Hermine and Irma, Hardy said the Public Works Department is in a much better position to prepare for these types of rain and wind events. Since those storms, the public works department added one more claw truck, has two vehicles equipped with lights for night work and has more trained heavy equipment operators, making their responses during and after the storm more efficient.
"We appreciate citizens who have diligently cleaned up their properties," said Hardy. "Their efforts are encouraging, and they are instrumental in the overall city cleanup process. We also remind citizens who hire a private company to cut up trees and limbs that the contractor is responsible for removal and disposal of this debris."
Hardy provides the following reminders about preparing yard debris for pickup:
- Place this trash on the curb or city right-of-way, not in the street or gutter.
- Yard debris pickup operates on a route system. However, due to the storm, the yard debris pickup is off schedule. The workers will complete one day’s route before moving to the next day’s route, treating all customers in a fair and consistent manner.
- Since most piles are large and require a claw truck, residents should not assume that if they see a crew picking up a small pile with a pitchfork that their larger pile of debris has been overlooked. Crew leaders will determine what resources are needed. Repeated service calls from citizens do not help and only burden limited resources.
- Yard trash includes plant clippings, tree branches, grass clippings, and leaves. Do not mix with garbage, litter or any other storm-related trash with the yard debris. Keep piles of junk separate from storm debris. Residents are able to bag their yard debris for pickup.
- Fallen trees and limbs left behind by the storm must be cut to the maximum length of 4 feet in length.
- As a reminder, city ordinance requires that citizens who hire a private contractor for yard service must also require the private contractor to haul off the debris to the landfill.
The City of Valdosta appreciates its residents for their patience and understanding, as city employees tackle the aftermath of this major storm event. For more information, contact the Public Works Department at 229-259-3590.