Storm debris collection to begin in New Orleans; it could take months to complete

Catch basins are being de-littered of debris
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Published: Sep. 6, 2021 at 5:44 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Hurricane Ida sent lots of debris into catch basins and the city is already working to clear the drains and on Tuesday storm debris collection is scheduled to begin around New Orleans.

Mayor Latoya Cantrell and members of her emergency response team held a Labor Day press conference to discuss ongoing response efforts eight days after Ida devastated southeast Louisiana.

Ramsey Green, New Orleans Deputy Chief Administrative Officer for Infrastructure discussed the debris collection plan.

“We are going to start to pick up debris tomorrow. If you have debris, whether it’s trees, shingles, whatever, pile it on your curb, don’t put it in the street,” said Green.

The collection of regular trash began last week.

“We do have a tremendous amount of cash. The French Quarter normally takes two hours to clean, last week we cleaned it, it took nine hours. The reason is people are emptying their refrigerators,” said Green.

The city is urging residents to observe trash disposal etiquette.

“Put all the putrid, disgusting things into your 95-gallon can, there’s a lot of liquid trash, a lot of stuff people are throwing away from their houses, put it in your city trash can, don’t put it in a bag. Put the nastiest of the nastiest in a city trash can, it’s starting to smell out there,” said Green.

City leaders said storm debris should not be placed near catch basins.

“We definitely want people to be smart about as we know they are and they can be, but when they put that debris curbside definitely away from the drain is the best thing and we’re seeing they’re really doing that, but we’re definitely encouraging that. And one of the things too, is not ramping up joint infrastructure projects until September 13th is a decision that we made as well because we want to take the burden off of these residents with added construction going on that will allow us the time to clean up the city,” said Mayor Latoya Cantrell.

Green echoed that.

“Debris put on the curb, keep it as far away from that catch basin as you can,” he said.

Green was asked if the city could expedite debris collection given the rain forecast for the early part of the week.

“No, I mean really, it’s, right now it’s whether, the question is whether or not we’re expediting debris collection; we’re starting debris collection throughout the city tomorrow and this is going to be a monthslong thing,” he said.

In a city that is prone to lots of rain, keeping catch basins clear is a priority.

“The emergency drain line and catch basin inspection and cleaning contract should be advertised today and in place later this week. The goal of that program is to clean more than 6,000 catch basins and 120,000 linear feet of drain line of the debris that floated up and went into our catch basins and our subsurface drain system,” said Green.

The city is aware some people want to recycle some discarded items but says it has put the recycling program on hold for now as it focuses on hurricane recovery efforts.

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