Debris pickup underway in Chatham County

Debris pickup underway in Chatham County

CHATHAM CO., GA (WTOC) - With federal aid coming into Chatham County, the county's public works department is putting it to good use to help with debris cleanup from Hurricane Matthew.

Contractors from around the country have come to Savannah and set up an impromptu material processing area just off of Sallie Mood Drive.

It's still a mess in a lot of areas around unincorporated Chatham County, but truckload by truckload, the work to clean up is getting done.

Roughly 60 trucks with massive built-in cranes are on a constant loop throughout the unincorporated areas, picking up load after load of tree debris from the side of the road. The county has been split up into zones, so residents can expect to see the big trucks on their street based on needs.

I asked the county's public works director if people are putting material out like they should be, curbside and separated.

"Generally speaking, they are. We just want to make sure they don't mix the woody waste, the vegetative yard waste, with construction waste. Carpet, and things of that sort. Keep them separated because obviously, the wood waste is coming here, yard waste has to be handled a little differently. We just want to make sure we keep them separate so we can pick them up separately," said Chatham County Public Works Director Robert Drewry.

The tons of trees and branches are eaten up by a massive mulcher, and huge trunks once blocking roads or on people's property are now divided up into piles. These materials will be sent off for recycling and for fuel eventually. But for now, it will sit here off Sallie Mood Drive, growing by the hour.

Drewry explains why this debris cleanup effort is much faster than after Hermine, and costing you, the taxpayer, much less.

"It's hard to compare. When Hermine came through, we had no federal funds, no help. We had some mutual aid from other counties, but we had to pick that up on our own. We had to use our own forces. Here, with the federal aid and the federal declaration, we were able to acquire a lot more resources from all over the country and put them on very quickly," said Drewry.

Drewry says they have split the unincorporated areas into zones, and will frequently visit each area for the next several months until the cleanup effort is complete.

Copyright 2016 WTOC. All rights reserved.