Florence: Hurricane Matthew yard debris pickup could take 30-60 days

FLORENCE, SC (WBTW) – Hurricane Matthew left thousands of cubic yards of storm debris for residents and local officials to clean up.

“Florence County covers 805 square miles. We have almost 1,500 linear miles that will need to be cleared,” said Florence County Emergency Management Director Dusty Owens.

As many people return home and began piling tree limbs and damaged property on their lawn county officials are asking for patience.

“What we’re doing is signing a MOU with a contractor who is working for the department of transportation,” added Owens.

The agreement allows crews to clean up both state and county maintained roads. Owens says the process could take about two months.

“They’re working through some of the subdivisions in the northern end of the county which is our more populated area,” explained Owens.

Until then, people should follow the guidelines for removing debris. Owens says storm debris should not be bagged.

“Any other debris or trash cannot be mixed in with this if it is they will not pick it up,” he added.

In addition to downed trees and piles of limbs, the city of Florence is also seeing the effects of Hurricane Matthew in garbage collection.

The storm left about 150,000 cubic yards of vegetative storm debris to be picked.

City officials stated in a news release Thursday afternoon that the amount of storm debris expected to be picked up is equivalent to four years of normal yard debris.

“There is no FEMA or local government assistance on private property. However, what we encourage citizens to do is work with their local churches with friends and relatives and work together to remove that debris,” Owens explained.

Florence County Emergency Management Director Dusty Owens says the debris removal will cost $25 per cubic yard.

Owens says FEMA is going door to door throughout the county helping people register and checking their application status.

To register for FEMA Individual Assistance call 1-800-621-3362

You should have the following available:

  • Your address with zip code
  • Directions to your property
  • Condition of your damaged home
  • Insurance information, if available
  • Social Security number
  • Phone number where you can be contacted
  • Address where you can get mail

Online registration is also available at  https://www.disasterassistance.gov/