Some struggle to clear property as KYTC flood debris pick-up effort nears end

Some struggle to clear property as KYTC flood debris pick-up effort nears end
Published: Nov. 1, 2022 at 5:13 PM EDT
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KENTUCKY (WKYT/WSAZ) - The state’s efforts to clean up some eastern Kentucky counties are nearing an end.

Kentucky Transportation Cabinet crews have traveled across seven counties removing debris flood victims have placed along the sides of county and state roads.

KYTC crews began clearing debris off of Breathitt County’s roadways, back in August. However, as we move into the month of November, Jamie Mullins-Smith, co-chair of Breathitt County’s long-term recovery team, says there are still dozens struggling to clear their properties.

Debris removal is among the region’s many needs, and it is one that Mullins-Smith says has not totally been met.

KYTC asked residents to put their debris onto the right-of-way by November 1 for pickup. According to the KYTC, crews will spend the next two weeks making final rounds to collect debris in the following counties: Breathitt, Clay, Floyd, Knott, Letcher, Perry and Pike.

Mullins-Smith says many who live out in the county have left their piles on their own property because putting it near the road would mean blocking their only way in or out of their homes.

“We run into a lot of our survivors who live across a creek. So, if they move that debris across the creek, it’s essentially in the roadway,” Mullins-Smith said. “Same way if they live over a hill, once they move that debris up to where those trucks can reach over and get it it just becomes a hazardous situation.”

Mullins-Smith says, once the state’s help goes away, it will be up to the homeowners to clean up. So, she’s asking anyone who’s able to step up and volunteer their help with their debris removal efforts.

According to data from the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, almost 150,000 tons of debris have been removed from right of ways so far. If you miss the deadline, you can contact your fiscal court to discuss other ways to remove debris, officials say.

Debris eligible for pickup includes:

  • Flood-damaged materials – non-recyclable materials such as drywall, asphalt shingles, sinks, tubs and floor tiles; non-recyclable building contents and personal items, such as carpeting and rugs, furniture and clothing.
  • Electronic waste – electrical or electronic devices such as TVs, computers, printers, radios and small appliances.
  • Household hazardous waste – paints, cleaners, oils, batteries and pesticides. They must be in a secured container and not leaking in any way. However, nothing can be bagged.
  • Large appliances - such as stoves, refrigerators, freezers, washing machines and dryers. Residents are cautioned to follow local government guidelines for disposal of refrigerators, which must be free of rotted food if placed outside for pickup.
  • Vegetative materials – debris from trees, limbs, brush, leaves.

Debris not eligible for pickup include:

  • Demolition materials – If more than one wall of a structure is standing and not in immediate danger of collapsing, it is considered demolition and not debris. This includes destroyed houses, mobile or manufactured homes, sheds, barns, shops, carports, and garages.
  • Commercial property debris – Pertains to debris from business and commercial properties such as mobile home parks, industrial parks, cemeteries, apartments and golf courses.
  • Private property debris – Debris located on private property that would require crews to get onto private property to collect. This also includes debris that does not pose an immediate threat to the health and safety of the general public.
  • Bagged debris of any kind.
  • Common household trash and recyclables.