BY DAVID J. MITCHELL
River Parishes bureau
September 10, 2012
GONZALES — Contractor DRC begins storm debris pickup Monday in Ascension Parish, beginning with vegetative debris only on the first collection pass through the parish, officials said Friday.
An area encompassing all of unincorporated Ascension, the city of Donaldsonville and the town of Sorrento has been broken up into five zones to organize debris removal following Hurricane Isaac, parish official said in a news release.
Crews will work from the edges of those zones toward the center of the parish, officials said.
Parish President Tommy Martinez said Friday that contractors expect the first pass to take probably two weeks before the vegetative debris is carted away.
“It’s not all going to be done in one day or one week,” he said.
Updated pickup schedules will be available starting Tuesday on the parish government website at http://www.ascension
Martinez has said that Isaac flooded an estimated 25 to 40 homes and caused wind damage to 215 homes in the parish.
Ascension Parish is among 52 parishes in Louisiana declared eligible for public assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency as a result of Isaac, said Gina Cortez, FEMA spokeswoman.
Assistance for debris removal, called Category A, provides reimbursement to local governments on a 3-to-1 federal-state ratio, with FEMA paying 75 percent and the state paying 25 percent, Cortez said.
The application process for funding has not started and money has not been obligated to the parishes.
“It’s very early in the process right now,” Cortez said.
In a report to the Parish Council on Thursday in Donaldsonville, Mike Enlow, who works with CDM, the firm monitoring the parish debris contract, said a DRC official did an initial drive through the parish and did not see a great deal of debris.
But Enlow said that “as time goes on and people get back into their homes and they pull all of the debris out of the backyards” and accumulate demolition and construction debris, residents need to stack vegetation separate from demolition and construction debris.
In the parish news release Friday, Ben Laurie, chief engineer for parish government, said crews will do follow-up passes to pick up construction and demolition debris.
“We will keep the public informed when that will happen,” he said.
Laurie said each zone is broken down into numbered grid patterns. Daily updates will be posted on the parish website on a debris pickup map as collection reports are made available.
“This way, residents can get a general overall picture of when they can expect crews in their area,” Laurie said in the news release.
“People need to know that due to the staggered amount of debris that accumulated across the parish, some areas may take longer to cover than others.”
Laurie added that plastic bags full of leaves should be kept away from vegetative debris and debris should be kept out of ditches.
Debris piles should be located away from any utility boxes, bushes, mailboxes or other permanent fixtures in the yard’s right-of-way to minimize damage, Laurie said.
Debris placed farther than 10 feet from the street or curb is considered to be on private property and will not be picked up, but debris also should not block the road.
Laurie said crews are not allowed to enter private property.
He said a public drop-off point for vegetation opens at noon Monday at the Lamar-Dixon Expo Center, 9039 S. St. Landry Road, Gonzales. This location is to be used by parish residents, but not by contractors.
For more information, call (225) 621-5730, 621-5731 or 621-5732.