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Some struggle to clean up property as KYTC’s flood debris removal effort comes to an end

Some struggle to clean up property as KYTC’s flood debris removal effort comes to an end
Some struggle to clean up property as KYTC’s flood debris removal effort comes to an end

KENTUCKY (WKYT/WSAZ) — State efforts to clean up some eastern Kentucky counties are coming to an end.

Kentucky Transportation Cabinet crews traveled seven counties to remove debris that flood victims placed along county and state roads.

KYTC crews began clearing debris from roads in Breathitt County in August. However, as we enter November, Jamie Mullins-Smith, co-chair of the Breathitt County Long-Term Recovery Team, says there are still dozens of people struggling to clean up their properties.

Debris removal is among the region’s many needs, and it’s one that Mullins-Smith says hasn’t been fully met.

KYTC has asked residents to put their debris on the right-of-way by Nov. 1 for pickup. According to KYTC, crews will spend the next two weeks making final rounds of debris removal in the following counties: Breathitt, Clay, Floyd, Knott, Letcher, Perry and Pike.

Mullins-Smith says many who live in the county have left their batteries on their own property because placing them near the road would mean blocking their only way in or out of their homes.

“We meet many of our survivors who live across a creek. So if they’re moving that debris across the creek, it’s basically on the roadway,” Mullins-Smith said. “Similarly if they live on a hill, once they move that debris to where those trucks can reach and pick it up, it becomes a dangerous situation.”

Mullins-Smith says once the state aid is gone, it will be up to homeowners to clean up. She therefore calls on all who are in a position to step in and offer their assistance in their debris removal efforts.

According to data from the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, nearly 150,000 tons of debris have been removed from rights-of-way so far. If you miss the deadline, you can contact your tax court to discuss other ways to remove the debris, officials say.

Debris eligible for pickup includes:

  • Flood-damaged materials – non-recyclable materials like drywall, asphalt shingles, sinks, tubs, and floor tiles; non-recyclable building contents and personal items, such as carpets and rugs, furniture and clothing.
  • Electronic waste – electrical or electronic devices such as televisions, computers, printers, radios and small appliances.
  • Household hazardous waste – paints, cleaners, oils, batteries and pesticides. They must be in a secure container and not leak in any way. However, nothing can be bagged.
  • Large appliances – such as stoves, refrigerators, freezers, washing machines and dryers. Residents are asked to follow local government guidelines for disposal of refrigerators, which must be free of rotting food if placed outside for pick-up.
  • Vegetative materials – tree debris, branches, brush, leaves.

Debris not eligible for pickup includes:

  • Demolition materials – If more than one wall of a structure is standing and not in immediate danger of collapsing, this is considered demolition and not debris. This includes destroyed homes, mobile or manufactured homes, sheds, barns, stores, carports and garages.
  • Commercial Property Debris – Refers to debris from commercial and commercial properties such as mobile home parks, industrial parks, cemeteries, apartments and golf courses.
  • Private Property Debris – Debris located on private property that would require teams to travel to private property to pick it up. This also includes debris that does not pose an immediate threat to the health and safety of the general public.
  • Bagged debris of all kinds.
  • Common household waste and recyclable materials.

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