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Press Releases

City Debris Collection Update – October 23, 2017

Posted October 23rd, 2017

The City of Winter Haven storm debris collection processes is making great progress. Over the course of five weeks beginning September 19 when FEMA approval was established, until October 21 the “first pass” to collect vegetative storm debris through the City is substantially complete.  Approximately 75 percent of this amount was collected by City crews with the remaining 25 percent removed by the contractor requisitioned by Polk County.

City crews have been working extended hours and work-weeks to eliminate much of the debris along the rights-of-way. During this time, City staff has been running its regular household garbage route pickup and commercial collection as expected by customers.

To address the bagged material within the city, crews will conduct the normal yard waste/bulk routes throughout the week of October 23-October 28. This process will take about six days to complete and will include only bagged horticulture material, as it will be dumped at a site that accepts only bagged horticulture. Also during this time, City staff will assess regions in need of extra attention, and will provide service to these areas.

Beginning October 30, City crews will begin the “second pass” of vegetative debris removal within the City using the yard waste/bulk routes collection strategy. Customers are encouraged to place additional UNBAGGED vegetative storm debris in the right-of-way for this second pass collection. Small unrooted stumps will also be collected.  Larger stumps will be removed later in the process.  This Second Pass effort is anticipated to take approximately three weeks to complete.  Un-bagged horticulture debris will be the only material collected, as it will be deposited at a FEMA site that accepts only un-bagged vegetative material. During this second pass process, bagged material will not be collected.

Polk County and its waste and debris services continue its focus on horticulture removal. Stump removal and stump debris in rights-of-way could require special removal equipment due to the mass of the material. The City will collect large stump debris, and construction and demolition (i.e. junk) material from customers once Polk County is prepared to receive it.

City solid waste collection is a selective process after a hurricane hits. Debris and waste is categorized as either debris horticulture; bagged horticulture, construction material, appliances and junk.  Separate collection of individual types of material is necessary because each type of debris is deposited at separate locations.  Each truck must collect the same type of material to ensure there is no co-mingling of debris.  This necessary process can appear to randomly leave certain waste at the curb while other debris is collected.  Because debris collection is an organized process, trucks will return at planned times to collect specific materials when the appropriate deposit locations are established and approved by FEMA.  FEMA is mulching the collected yard debris and preparing it to be recycled.

Normal household waste continues to be collected on its regular schedule. Bagged yard trash collection will resume once the “second pass” to collect storm debris is complete and construction and demolition waste is collected.

For more information about City of Winter Haven storm debris and household waste collection, please give the Public Works office a call at 291-5757.