Hurricanes can leave Monroe County with millions of tons of debris, including normal household garbage, household chemical waste, appliances, construction/ demolition and yard debris. Segregating debris is critical in assisting in the recovery .
To help ensure that debris is collected in the most efficient, safe and timely manner, we recommend that you follow these simple guidelines when clearing debris from your residential property after the storm. Businesses are required to make separate arrangements for debris clean-up. lengths. Do not place near low-hanging objects or around mailboxes, water meters or fire hydrants. Large quantities of storm-related yard debris may be collected using a mechanical grab that will require room to operate. Collection crews will not enter private property to collect debris.
Normal household garbage
These are the materials and perishable items that would be placed out for collection in your weekly trash container. Normal household recyclables are defined as materials which are capable of being recycled, including newspapers, cardboard, plastic containers labeled Nos. 1 through 7 and containers made of glass, steel and aluminum.
The following are not considered normal household garbage:
Yard debris or trash – Vegetative matter including shrubs, palm fronds, tree trimmings, grass clippings, bushes, leaves, twigs or cut up tree branches.
Construction/demolition debris – Materials directly relating to construction or demolition of buildings, such as cement, glass, drywall, insulation, concrete block, etc.
White goods – Large discarded appliances, including refrigerators, ranges, washing machines, clothes dryers, water heaters, freezers, microwave ovens and air conditioners. All items must be empty of all contents.
Do not mix the types of debris – There will be separate collections for each, and they will be picked up according to priority in the immediate aftermath of the storm.
First priority – Normal household garbage. Place in your regular collection cart container or in heavy-duty plastic bags, and place where you would normally locate it for your regular weekly collection.
Second priority – Yard debris. Small quantities should be prepared as for weekly collection; in containers, bags or bundles of less than 50 pounds. Large quantities of storm-related yard debris should be placed alongside the curb, with trees and branches prepared into easily manageable
Only yard debris directly generated from the storm event will be collected. Land clearing and landscape improvements are not eligible for collection. Debris from these activities will require removal and disposal to be arranged by the property owner at their expense.
There will be no collection of large quantities of yard debris on private roads or in gated communities unless properties in these locations are included in a FEMA declaration or where an immediate threat to health and safety exists.
Third priority – Construction debris, recyclables, white goods, bulk items, electronic equipment, tires and lead acid batteries. You will be notified through media when collection of these items will take place. Disposal rules for small quantities of C&D materials vary by location, so look for media notices for specific guidance as to how best to dispose of these materials in your respective areas. In many areas, small quantities of C&D materials (less than 2 cubic yards) may be placed at the curb alongside of normal household garbage. These materials would generally be in containers and/or bundled, weighing less than 50 pounds each and not exceeding six feet in length. These materials may be collected with the normal household garbage, provided that the materials are compliant with your local collection policies and ordinances.
Refrigerators, freezers and other appliances must be emptied of all contents prior to collection. Refrigerators and or freezers containing food waste or other rotting wastes will not be collected.
As the storm approaches and in the immediate aftermath, look for notices in the local newspapers, special bulletins on your local government website, local radio and television channels and other media.
During the first 72 hours after the storm has passed, FEMA, Solid Waste Management and the Sheriff’s Office will be assessing the damage and road conditions to determine when collections can resume.
Recovery after the storm
After major storms, lives can change drastically, and disasters affect everyone to some extent. Relief supplies and other aid will be arriving as quickly as possible, but it may take several days. Try to remain calm, patient and understanding. Your attitude affects you and everyone around you. Remember that the longest and hardest part of dealing with a hurricane is the recovery.
There may be residual flooding and roads may be blocked for days or weeks, making damaged areas inaccessible. This may mean that you will not be allowed back to your home for days or weeks.
Emergency workers want your return home to be as safe as possible and need time to clear safe access and secure hazards. Listen to local media for reentry information, and do not go into unsafe areas. Drive only if absolutely necessary, and avoid flooded roads and washed out bridges. Do not go sightseeing.
If you evacuated out of the area, consider staying away for a few extra days. Before you decide to return, consider the following:
Power will be out for an undetermined period of time. This means no air conditioning, no lights, no refrigeration, no water pump and, in many cases, no stove.
Telephone service will be out or limited. This includes 911 calling. Lack of power and damaged facilities will affect both landline telephones and cellular telephone service. Even if your phone works, use it only for emergencies.
Municipal water supplies may be unsafe to drink without boiling or chemical treatment. Treat all water as unsafe until you are notified that it is safe. ¦
Important resource contacts
Monroe County Emergency
HOTLINE (800) 955-5504
Key West Police
Monroe County Sheriff’s Office
Florida Keys SPCA
FEMA (Disaster assistance)
Keys Energy Services
American Red Cross
National Hurricane Center