Storm debris pickup taking longer in Chatham County

CHATHAM CO., GA (WTOC) - Chatham County is asking for patience from thousands of unincorporated county residents with piles of storm debris waiting to be picked up.

The county is working on establishing pickup zones for those areas now, but they're lacking some key resources to actually get the job done. Storm debris lines the streets of Talahi Island. Other than patience, the county is asking that debris be organized and in the right-away, which is typically from the curb about five feet to 10 feet toward your home.

County leaders know that may be harder to accomplish on narrow roads in areas like the Isle of Hope, but they add that it's vital that you don't block the roadway or create any hazards.

"I want it all carted away," said Marcie Karp, Chatham County resident.

Karp lives near the Coffee Bluff Marina and lost several trees during the storm, and also had a few cut down because of damage. She said the large piles of debris are more than just an eyesore in her neighborhood and in her front yard.

"None of this road is lit up over here. They could actually drive into a pile and wreck their car," Karp said.

Right now, the county is prepared to work with what crews they have to pick up a still undetermined amount of storm debris, which is a handful of trucks.

"The faster they pick it up, the better, and if they have to bring people in, then they should bring people in," she said.

Getting subcontractors in to clean up the mess is not as easy as it was for Hurricane Matthew, as resources are spread thin across Florida and Texas.

"The last subcontractor, they're coming out of Minnesota. It is very difficult to find the resources, so pick up, we're going to ask people to be patient," said Lee Smith, Chatham County Manager.

We asked Smith about any budget projects the county could incur, and while it's still way too early to put a dollar amount on storm damage in the unincorporated county, he says the recently adopted dry trash fee hike has created enough padding and is leaving the funds in good shape.

The county manager says they anticipate having even more information about Irma's impacts on the county that staff will present to county commissioners on Friday.

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