Hillsborough County will ramp up yard debris collection in the coming days
Overall, Hillsborough County solid waste has about 3,000 miles of road to cover as it starts to pick up debris.
Hurricane Ian left a lot of tree limbs and debris sprawled across Hillsborough County properties.
Overall, Hillsborough County solid waste has about 3,000 miles of road to cover as it starts to pick up debris. That’s separate from the cities of Tampa, Temple Terrace, and Plant City, which run their own departments.
"That's about the distance from here to Seattle, Washington, that we have to have trucks going down those roadways, making sure we're picking up every pile,” said Travis Barnes, Hillsborough County’s Solid Waste sustainable materials manager.
Barnes says they'll ramp up debris cleanup efforts on Thursday, Oct. 6. They’re asking residents to have the yard debris they want collected out in front of their yard by Monday, Oct. 10.
There are also residential drop-off sites for those who want to get rid of the yard debris themselves. Barnes said over 4,000 residents have utilized this method already.
The county will be reimbursed by FEMA for debris clearance operations for the next month, which Barnes says is another incentive to work quickly.
"We're going to get there as fast as we can,” Barnes said. “Most of our residents will see progress within two weeks, and that stuff will be cleared and they'll be going particularly in areas least impacted. In portions of the county where we've gotten a lot bigger trees down, it requires a lot more manual labor to cut all that stuff up to get it where we can pick it up from the curb."
Smaller twigs and sticks should be placed in bags or containers for pickup. Barnes said to make sure piles created in the front yard don’t block stormwater drains, mailbox access, or that they don’t come close to low-hanging power lines that waste trucks could hit.
The department will not pick up pieces like broken fences or parts of benches and furniture as it moves through the county.
Some of the areas with the most debris are located in the southern part of Hillsborough County, near the Alafia River, according to Barnes.
Barnes also said the areas of Bloomingdale, Lithia, Kingsville and Keysville were also seeing significantly more debris.
The department will prioritize the more densely populated areas of the county first to consider safety of the community, then work its way out toward the more rural parts of the county.
“A lot of times people want to know why it takes so long to get started,” Barnes said. “We have to give people time to take those trees from their backyards and get it out to the right away.”
More information on Hillsborough County’s plan for waste pickup, along with a list of residential debris drop-off locations, can be found on the county’s website.