ATLANTIC — Stacy Wilson and some of her neighbors in this small unincorporated Down East community have been wondering if they will get any local or state assistance in removing debris from Hurricane Dorian, which caused significant damage in September.
“Basically what it comes down to is that we all feel like we are getting the run-around,” Ms. Wilson said. “We aren’t getting any information as far as when they’re coming, if they’re coming.”
Ms. Wilson’s story echoed concerns from others in the weeks that followed last year’s Hurricane Florence. Because of the degree of damage Carteret and surrounding counties sustained, that debris collection initiative eventually encompassed much of the county, and involved all levels of government.
In Dorian, much of the western part of the county went unscathed, but some eastern parts of the county didn’t fare as well.
Ms. Wilson said she and her neighbors were among those residences with large amounts of Hurricane Dorian-related debris.
“Most of us, you’ll see maybe one or two trees’ worth of debris,” Ms. Wilson said, adding that the pile across the street from her is particularly large. “Every time we get a good hard wind … they go out into the streets. And you know as well as I do, the longer those sit out there, they have the potential for (attracting) rodents.”
Ms. Wilson said that since the storm, she has tried to get information on debris collection. Starting in the county, she learned from staff the county was not putting forth a debris collection effort.
In the days that followed Hurricane Dorian, county officials decided they wouldn’t collect debris like they did for Florence.
“The County has not been authorized and is not planning to pick up any debris,” County Manager Tommy Burns wrote in a press release.
He later added residents should bring their own debris to a transfer station. “Additionally, the State has not been approved to pick up roadside debris either,” Mr. Burns wrote at the time.
Although the county isn’t moving to remove debris in the unincorporated areas, the N.C. Department of Transportation has opted to collect debris along state-owned streets. Fulcher Drive, where Ms. Wilson and her neighbors live, is a state-owned street.
“N.C. Department of Transportation contract crews will start today removing Hurricane Dorian-related debris in four counties,” reads a Nov. 8 press release the agency distributed. ‘The cleanup follows the decision last month by the Federal Emergency Management Agency to approve Governor Roy Cooper’s request for a disaster declaration.”
Those four counties are Carteret, Craven, Jones and Pamlico.
In Carteret County, Tuesday marked the official start of NCDOT’s effort, according to Gordy Eure, the NCDOT maintenance engineer for Carteret and Pamlico counties.
NCDOT contracted Texas-based debris removal service TFR Enterprises, according to Mr. Eure.
The timeline for debris removal is Nov. 6-Dec. 6 for the first round, Dec. 7-Dec. 31 for the second round and Jan. 13-Jan. 31 for the third round.
Mr. Eure emphasized that while each round lasts about a month, it doesn’t mean the contractor will be collecting for that entire period.
“What that means is that he has to perform a round within that timeframe,” Mr. Eure said. “That doesn’t mean that people can bring out debris on Jan. 31 and say they have it in time for the third round. If the contractor elects to begin his sweep on Jan. 13 and he completes it on Jan. 15, (the sweep) is over.”
Mr. Eure suggests residents put out their debris at the beginning of each round.
“Debris includes vegetative, construction and demolition, as well as large electrical goods like a dishwasher or refrigerator,” reads the press release.
Mr. Eure said residents should make sure debris doesn’t impede the roadways.
Contact Dean-Paul Stephens at 252-726-7081, ext. 232; email Dean@thenewstimes.com; or follow on Twitter @DeanPEStephens.