Next phase for cleaning up Florence after Hurricane Matthew

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FLORENCE, SC (WBTW) – The City of Florence held a press conference Thursday to discuss the next phase in cleaning up the area after Hurricane Matthew.

“FEMA has a process and that’s why it’s a little bit slow. You have to bid you have to access. You have to give some time relative to that process. Only Monday did we actually have the opportunity to sit through a FEMA webinar to talk to us about how we are to move forward,” said Drew Griffin, Florence city manager.

“We will be back each week giving updates, please continue visiting #NextPhaseFlorence at the City of Florence website to see all of the latest information regarding clean up, Hurricane Matthew, the schedules associated with that clean up, and any information that we can provide that is passed onto us from neighbors, citizens, FEMA, the city of Florence, Florence County, or other agencies ” stated Griffin.

City officials discussed helpful tips to expedite debris removal for homes and Halloween safety concerns due to storm debris in city right-of-ways.

They also produced a storm debris clean-up map and schedule for city crews.

The city is allowing time for residential property owners to move the debris to the street right-of-way for collection purposes. Debris collection, handling and disposal costs are estimated to be about $2,000,000.

City officials estimate there’s about 150,000 cubic yards of vegetative debris within Florence city limits.

Clean Up Schedule: City Crews will begin cleaning Zones 1 and 6 on Monday, October 31st. You can check out the map on this story.

The rest of the schedule over the next 8 weeks is outlined below.

– It is important to note city crews are not equipped to be commercial debris collectors and will be contracting with a company for clean-up efforts of vegetative debris. The public bid for this contract will be issued Friday or Monday. (hazardous trees and stumps will be bid separately as they must be accounted for differently in the FEMA regulations.)

Contractors interested in bidding should contact Lynwood Givens at 843-665-3162.
– The City hopes to have the clean-up process completed by late 2016/early 2017.
– The City is issuing new safety recommendations for Halloween Trick-or-Treating due to the large amount of debris still located in right-of-ways throughout the City. The City strongly recommends Trick-or-Treating during daylight hours only. (see attached)
– Residents with concerns or questions should email the City at NextPhaseFlorence@CityofFlorence.com

Josh Whittington, Field Debris Collection Manager, stated, “All of the debris collected by the City of Florence will be taken to our public works lot to be run through a tub grinder. We are extremely fortunate that the 20-year-old grinder was just replaced prior to Hurricane Matthew.”

Residents can apply for assistance by registering online with FEMA or by calling 1-800-621-3362. Those who are deaf or hard of hearing should call 1-800-462-7585 (TTY), and those who use Video Relay Service can call 1-800-621-3362. Toll free numbers are operating from 7am – 10pm seven days per week until further notice.