AMITE — Tangipahoa Parish government crews started debris collection from Hurricane Isaac in the southern end of the parish Monday, and the task of eliminating all the waste should be completed in several weeks, Parish President Gordon Burgess said.
Burgess said some home and camp owners decided to throw damaged furniture and other household goods “into the swamps.” The parish has placed large trash collection containers at landings, and he urged property owners to use these trash receptacles.
“If people will just bring their damaged furniture, ‘white goods’ and other stuff to the landings, we will pick it up,” Burgess said.
Burgess asked all residents to separate their debris into piles with “green material,” limbs and branches separate from damaged furniture and household goods. Normal household garbage will be picked up by collectors on regular routes on regular schedules, he said.
Burgess said that preliminary figures show that between 1,500 and 2,000 homes suffered severe wind damage, flooding, or both. This number does not include camps, some of which are still out of reach, he said.
The parish president said that surveys as of Monday showed about $4.5 million in damage to structures in the parish but added that the number will probably exceed $6 million when a final tally is completed. He said problems were encountered in areas that had not flooded before.
Council President Carlo Bruno, while praising the cooperation between the council and the parish president’s office, appointed a committee of four council members, David Vial, Harry Lavine, Lionel Wells and Louis Joseph, to explore ways to better prepare for storms.
Burgess said that he will hold meetings addressing the same areas of concern. Vial reminded residents who suffered damage that they can seek financial assistance through the Federal Emergency Management Agency because the parish was declared a natural disaster area.
Bruno said that the state of Mississippi has promised to replace an earthen dam on Lake Tangipahoa at Percy Quin State Park, which dates to 1934, with a concrete dam that will end a flooding threat to the Tangipahoa River in the future.
In a related matter, the council discussed protection from mosquitoes in the aftermath of Isaac. Bruno said spraying the northern end of the parish, which is not included in the Mosquito Abatement District that protects the southern end, would cost about $1 million.