Q&A: Zeta debris removal

Here are answers to questions about the city’s Hurricane Zeta debris removal progress. Updated Dec. 11, 2020.

When will the debris crews get to my street?

As quickly as they can.

Crews are working on a “first pass” around the entire city. The areas south of I-10 have been the focus of the contractor because that’s where the most debris is, and because a temporary debris staging site in West Biloxi helps contractors move more debris more effectively and more quickly.

However, the entire “first pass” of the entire city is expected to be finished by the end of December 2020.

The city originally estimated that as much as 200,000 cubic yards of debris was left in Zeta’s wake in Biloxi. At the outset of December, after nearly a month of hauling about 6,000 cubic yards of debris on an average day, the city increased the overall estimate to about 250,000 cubic yards of debris.

I saw a map that showed trucks all over the city, but I have not seen a truck. What’s up with that?

At the outset, the city planned to have debris trucks work in each of the city’s seven wards. However, with the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality approval of the staging site in West Biloxi, the crews shifted gears to be more effective and maximize debris removal. The result has led to huge amounts of debris being moved.

Make no mistake: Debris trucks are in all seven wards of the city.

In fact, the contractor is working to get a second staging site in Woolmarket to improve the efficiency of debris pickup north of the bay.

The city’s Engineering Department also regularly updates an online map that shows how much has been picked up and from where. The see the map, click here.

I bagged my debris, and the debris truck passed it up. Why? And when will it be picked up?

The bagged debris is an issue for the storm-removal contract. The City of Biloxi suggests, with good reason, that residents bag leaves and tree trimmings when they place them by the curb. This prevents them from blowing into the road and compromising the city’s drainage systems.

However, under FEMA guidelines, the debris contractor can pick up only storm debris, and since crews can’t see what’s in the bag, they skip it. The bags will be picked up by Pelican, which handles normal weekly service. Because of the capacity, it will take time.

The city also asks, to speed things along, if debris could be in separate piles: one for vegetation (limbs, branches, etc.), construction debris (wooden fences, posts), and, finally, any bagged debris. Putting all the debris in one pile will slow down the process. Also, do not place debris or bags near utility poles, gas meters, fire hydrants or mailboxes.

They came to my house and now I have put more debris out. Are they coming back, and when?

Yes they are coming back. The first pass is expected to be completed in mid-December. After that, the second pass will begin.

And, finally, how long will the debris removal take?

It’s estimated that the debris effort will take 60 to 90 days, from when it began on Nov. 5.
See the Zeta debris-removal progress