MONROE COUNTY, FL – Monroe County’s new contractor, DRC Emergency Services, began collecting hurricane debris today on County roads in the area from MM 16 to MM 40.
Collection will continue for the next few weeks. No deadline has been set yet for a final pass.
Reminder: Items that are not eligible for free storm debris pickup by contracted haulers include cars, trucks, motor homes, motorcycles, trailers, boats, watercraft and car parts like tires. People should make their own disposal arrangement for these items.
In this area, DOT’s contractor MCM stopped collecting hurricane debris from County roads and along U.S. 1 at the end of last week. The contractor is in the midst of permanently removing the collected debris that has been staged at temporary debris management sites in the Keys.
FDOT contractors collected more than 700,000 cubic yards along all of the Overseas Highway, as well as in Layton and on the County roads in Conch Key, Duck Key and from MM 16 to MM 40. A majority of this debris now is being hauled to the mainland for permanent disposal.
Air Curtain Burning on Blimp Road site
However, about 210,000 cubic yards of vegetative debris collected by MCM from MM 16 to MM 40 is being burned using an air curtain process at a debris management site off of Blimp Road on Cudjoe Key.
This is environmentally friendly and the most economical way to dispose of the vegetative debris. In the air curtain process, smoke particles are trapped and reburned, reducing them to an acceptable limit per U.S. EPA guidelines. With the biggest trucks only able to carry about 100 cubic yards, it would require about 2,100 truckloads to haul that amount of debris to the mainland.
The process started on Oct. 19, with a few days to set up the air curtain. The air curtain process takes place around the clock, weather conditions permitting. It will continue for another 20 to 25 days until all the acceptable vegetation is burned.
Before the vegetation is put into the air curtain pit, it is “fluffed” to remove any non-vegetative items and any vegetative items that don’t burn well.
Through this process, the vegetation that can be burned is reduced by about 98 percent in volume, leaving only a small amount of ash product that can be used in agriculture.
This is a specialized method of incinerating materials that requires the operators of the air curtains to be “Certified Burners” from the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services – Florida Forest Service.
Certified Operators are required to receive daily approval from Florida Fire Service, Forest Area Supervisor before any air curtain incineration can take place.
“At this time, with all the regulations that are applied to air curtain operations, there are no hazards coming from this smoke,” said Monroe County Deputy Fire Marshal Craig Marston, who has been monitoring the air curtain burning. “It’s a very clean process.”
Key Largo and Tavernier:
Final debris collection passes continue on County roads in Key Largo and Tavernier and will take only a few more days to complete. The deadline to put hurricane debris on the County right-of-way in this area was Oct. 28 for guaranteed free pickup.
Once the final sweep is completed in Key Largo and Tavernier, residents are responsible for removal of their hurricane debris. At this time, residential hurricane debris can be taken to any of the County’s three transfer stations for free disposal by County residential customers.
Residents of Key Largo and Tavernier also can contact their solid waste company for a pickup. The company is Keys Sanitary Services, 305-451-2025. Fees might be charged.
If it appears all the surrounding areas have had a final pass and your street may have been missed, call 1-305-295-4329.
Dumping debris along U.S. 1 is not permitted.
Conch Key, Duck Key and Layton:
The final debris collection pass has not yet begun on Conch Key, Duck Key and Layton, but is expected to begin within a few days. The County’s new hurricane debris removal contractor DRC Emergency Services will handle that area. Final pass collection will begin as soon as the company can secure a temporary debris management site.
Mile Marker 5 on Stock Island to Mile Marker 15 on Bay Point:
The final debris collection pass of all County roads from MM 5 to MM 15 was completed on Wednesday, Nov. 1. County staff drove the County roads the next day to confirm all eligible hurricane debris was collected.
Residents in this area now are responsible for removal of their hurricane debris removal. At this time, residential hurricane debris can be taken to any of the County’s three transfer stations for free disposal by County residential customers.
You also can contact this area’s solid waste company for a pickup. The company is Waste Management, 305-296-8297. Fees might be charged.