Irma debris collections will extend into 2018 in Bibb

Lee Brown, sitting in the driver's seat of a truck-mounted crane, loads debris from Tropical Storm Irma along Upper River Road in Macon in October.
Lee Brown, sitting in the driver's seat of a truck-mounted crane, loads debris from Tropical Storm Irma along Upper River Road in Macon in October. bcabell@macon.com

Tropical Storm Irma debris collections for two Middle Georgia counties have wrapped up, while Macon-Bibb County pickups will continue into 2018.

If you still have piles of leftover storm debris by your Macon curb, the remnants of Irma should be removed by early 2018. And for residents in Monroe County and unincorporated Houston County, the debris cleanup has already finished.

The Sept. 11 storm left more than a million properties without electricity statewide and was powerful enough to even knock over trees that had been standing for well over a century.

Macon-Bibb County has been using contractors to collect the larger piles of debris, while the Solid Waste Department has continued picking up smaller yard waste during its routes.

Through Thursday, crews have picked up more than 2,000 loads, with a total of 81,684 cubic yards of material in Bibb County.

"The contractors had hoped to be done with a complete first pass of the county by the end of the year, but we still have reports of piles in various areas," Macon-Bibb spokesman Chris Floore said in an email. "We are providing them, daily, with the reports we get at EMA or through SeeClickFix to make sure all piles are collected before we tell people we’re near completion."

If a pile has not been collected, Macon-Bibb residents can report it through “IRMA DEBRIS REMOVAL" on the SeeClickFix website or by calling EMA at 478-832-6300.

"Those reports will help us make sure we have made a complete pass through the county," Floore said.

For Monroe County residents, the debris left behind from Irma was collected by early October in the unincorporated parts of the county, and the city of Forsyth picked up its debris in a "timely manner" as well, Monroe County Roads Superintendent Irma Watts Jr. said.

Monroe County debris is now at the landfill, where it will be chipped and used as fuel.

"We attacked it with a vengeance and knocked it right out," Watts said. "We had so many storms, and I have been here so many years that we know how to approach it."

The debris was also been picked up by Dec. 1 in unincorporated Houston County. Houston County used in-house labor along with running regular waste disposal routes., EMA Director Jimmy Williams said.

From clearing roadways to restoring power to debris removal, Williams says he was impressed with the response following Irma.

"All of our departments in cities and county jumped in and have been very successful in remediation and removing all the debris," he said.

Macon-Bibb County is applying for disaster relief funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Monroe County and Houston County leaders are also seeking financial assistance from the federal agency.

Macon-Bibb is paying contractors $19.75 per cubic yard of debris that is collected, and county officials are still determining all of the costs associated with disaster relief, Floore said.

Among the hardest hit neighborhoods in Macon-Bibb County were Shirley Hills, the Ingleside/Ridge Avenue area and south Macon’s Bloomfield neighborhood. In the immediate aftermath of the storm, Macon-Bibb crews removed hundreds of tree trunks, branches and limbs blocking streets and repaired dozens of traffic signals.

Stanley Dunlap, 478-744-4623