By Bruce W. Smith
Bay St. Louis, Mississippi—Private contractors working for the Army Corp of Engineers use heavy equipment to remove debris along Leonhard Avenue in Bay St. Louis early Saturday morning. The crews have been working dawn to dusk, seven days a week in this area of Hancock Country to remove debris left in Hurricane Katrina’s wake.
It’s a daunting task. According to Eric Cramer, Public Affairs Specialist for the Mississippi Recovery Field Office, the Corp has estimated there is some 7-million cubic yards of debris to be removed in Hancock County—or the equivalent of 70 football fields stacked five stories deep with debris.
Cramer estimates that only about 1.3-million cubic yards has been removed as of October 25th, leaving more than 5.7-million cubic yards of debris still on streets and private property. This is about 19 percent of what needs to be removed.
“The Corp will remove debris from private property,” says Cramer. “But the property owner must fill out a Right of Entry” (ROE) form before we can come in and do the debris removal. There are a number of locations through out the county where that can be done.
“Once the ROE is filled out, either the city of the country will send an inspector to the property to check for health or safety issues, then we assign a contractor to come in and clean up debris.”
Cramer further advises anyone who has debris from Hurricane Katrina removed to get an ROE filled out as soon as possible to ensure the work will be done.—GCN