Brazoria County residents have spent the last several days collecting broken limbs and cutting up the trunks and branches from fallen trees, piling the debris created when Hurricane Nicholas blew through in fromt of their homes.
Now it’s up the Brazoria County and its cities to haul it away.
Local governments are finalizing their plans to dispose of the materials residents need to have removed. All sign contracts in advance of storm season with haulers; it’s just a matter of putting procedures in place.
Here is the status for communities and residents who live in the county.
Angleton expedites the debris removal process, according to a post on the city’s Facebook page.
“Separate brush from construction debris, i.e. shingles and fencing,” the post states. “Move debris to the curb without blocking the roadway, fire hydrants and mailboxes.”
Debris should be placed on the ground, the post states. Trash and bulk trash pickup will run as scheduled, while debris removal will begin Sept. 23, so all debris should be curbside by Sept. 27, the post states.
“The big pieces to get the big stuff are our debris management company, Chowder Gulf,” Mayor Jason Perez said. “Who we contracted with will kick that off on or about the 23rd.”
Debris trucks are expected to come within the next few weeks and Mayor Roger Shugart advises residents how to dispose of the hurricane’s damage properly.
“About three debris truck crews will be coming through here in 10 to 12 days, giving people time to get stuff out,” Shugart said. “The brush like the wood from trees and limbs has to be in a separate pile. You can’t put the lumber in there, or they won’t pick it up and it will be up to the citizens’ expense to carry it out of there.”
Brazoria streets have been cleared and infrastructure was left unscathed by Hurricane Nicholas, Shugart said.
Brazoria County will have debris hauling contractors picking up and hauling away green debris within the right-of-way soon, according to a Facebook post. Green debris encompasses trees, shrubs and vegetative debris.
“If you are placing green debris within the (right-of-way), please place carefully to avoid blocking roadside drainage,” the post states. “Brazoria County will only be collecting green debris.”
Further updates and instructions will come, the post states.
When it comes to city cleanup, for the go-getters who are doing it themselves, City Manager CJ Snipes said to separate the green waste from the white waste.
“What we want folks to do is separate green waste from other waste, which is called white waste, which is appliances and anything that is not household waste,” Snipes said.
White waste needs to go in one spot, and green waste — organic material — needs to go in another spot, he said.
They need to be separated near the street so the city can safely access everything and residents need to make sure they’re not placing it too close to a fire hydrant. There should be about 10 feet of clearance on each side, Snipes said.
Burning brush inside the city limits is illegal and is a violation of city code, Snipes said.
“We ask people please do not burn it,” Snipes said. “We will get it. It may take a little while, probably longer than folks are gonna want, but we will be collecting that debris at some point. Please don’t set out hazardous household waste in the middle of that debris.”
Freeport residents should set vegetated debris at the curbside, separating that from other material, City Manager Tim Kelty said.
“If they have water damage and pulling carpet, or have furniture that was damaged they’re setting out, they need to separate that from the vegetative green debris, from any other household or construction materials,” Kelty said.
Residents should not burn materials, he said. The city will collect the debris, and locals will not be charged as it falls under storm mitigation, Kelty said.
“We need to remind folks to stay away from down power lines and call that number at the call center to report any,” Kelty said. That number is 979-871-0188.
The city has been in contact with the emergency contracted debris hauler, and they will be in town this week to meet with officials and review everything, Kelty said.
“They will set up a site where they are going to haul stuff next week,” Kelty said. “They will probably start work early next week removing the debris from the curb. I ask next week when they start doing that, people don’t park their cars on the curb in front of the piles they set up so that we have access to them.”
Easing the cleanup efforts for its residents, the City of Lake Jackson is accepting heavy trash at its Customer Convenience Center and brush at its mulch yard.
“People are setting out brush and tree debris,” City Manager Modesto Mundo said. “It’s going to take us a little while to get to it all with the sheer amount of brush that’s out in the city.”
For residents who are unable to get their yard waste out to the mulch center, they can set it out along the street, separate from their typical household trash. Fees for brush removal are being waived by the city, offering the clean up for free.
“Our crews are out working on getting everything cleaned up right now just to get an initial start on it,” he said. “We’re evaluating the cost but we expect to activate our contract with Crowder Gulf sometime next week to help with that.”
To aid the contractor in collecting the large amount of brush on the ground throughout the city, Mundo asked residents to vary from the normal brush pickup routine and not cut the brush into small pieces. The larger limbs and pieces are easier for the contractor’s equipment to grab onto, speeding up the collection process.
“Six, 10, 15 feet long, just drag it to the curb,” he said. “You don’t have to cut it into firewood because that makes it too difficult for the grapple trucks to get ahold of it. Our residents are really good at cutting it up for our collection, but this time they don’t have to.”
“The city has been in contact with our debris removal company and are working with them to mobilize within the city,” according to a Facebook post Thursday. “For now, monitor social media and the city website for any updates regarding debris removal. For the time being, we will share information on how to efficiently sort storm debris for easy removal.”
City officials understand there are residents who still have household trash that has not been picked up, the post stated.
“We are in contact with Waste Connections and doing everything we can to ensure this issue is resolved,” it stated. “We have been advised that they will be back out today to pick up any cans that were missed.”
Debris pickup is also ongoing out along the coast as Surfside Beach works to clear its streets and yards from the unexpectedly strong storm.
“Our roadways are all cleared up now except for clearing up sand,” Mayor Gregg Bisso said. “We’re working on scraping that off the roads and putting it back on the beach.”
Crews have been working hard since before the storm arrived, he said, first preparing for the storm and now cleaning up after it. Workers have been going out around 7 a.m. daily and working about 12 hours a day to gather all the debris.
“Our guys have been doing a fantastic job and deserve to be commended for it,” Bisso said. “I can see it’s starting to wear on them but they have all jumped in and have been going to town to get things cleaned up.”
Residents have been asked to bring their debris to the edge of their road to make it easier for workers to gather and remove it. From there, it is taken to the main beach access parking lot, loaded into dumpsters and taken off the island.
“We’re running a lot of loads out of there,” Bisso said. “These guys are running as fast as they can, there’s just a lot to do.”
City Manager Reece Cook asks residents to place all storm debris by the road and away from drainage ditches.
Multiple piles of debris are preferred to allow the heavy trash arms to manage more effectively, Cook said in a statement.