FEMA-supported debris removal officially over; other news and notes

The city’s FEMA-supported storm debris removal program is now officially over, and property owners are reminded that they are now responsible for the removal and hauling of storm debris to approved landfills.

The city’s two-year program, which ended Aug. 29, saw the removal and hauling of nearly three million cubic yards of debris, as well as the removal of submerged debris from city-operated harbors and marinas. In all, the process cost more than $81.5 million, most of which has been reimbursed to the city by FEMA.

Contractors hired for either demolition or construction are responsible for hauling debris and construction materials to approved landfills.

“This is a long-standing city policy,” said Community Development Director Jerry Creel, whose department is responsible for enforcing city codes. “In fact, the same policy covers all tree-trimming work as well as yard work. Tree contractors and lawn firms are responsible for hauling away tree limbs and grass clippings. That’s part of the fee they are paid by property owners.”

City codes also prohibit the moving of grass clippings into streets or thoroughfares, where they eventually block storm drains and clog underground drainage pipes.

Said Creel: “People who sweep grass clippings into the street are not only breaking the law, they’re going to cause flooding of their own and their neighbor’s property.”

Back Bay debris efforts continuing: The Mississippi Department of Marine Resources is continuing removal of submerged debris in areas off Eagle Point and Sunkist, and in bayous, finger lakes and canals off the Bay of Biloxi.

News and notes: selected Katrina coverage

Selected online reports regarding the second anniversary of Hurricane Katrina:

Tale of two cities: CNN.com, as part of its Katrina anniversary coverage, offers a detailed comparison of the recovery efforts of New Orleans and Biloxi – speaking to Mayors Ray Nagin and A.J. Holloway, residents of both cities and looking at key economic indicators. To read the report, click here.

Out on a limb: The Clarion-Ledger, in its anniversary coverage, included an interview with chainsaw artist Dayton Scoggins, whose post-Katrina sculptures stand in the median of U.S. 90. To read the story, click here.