Debris removal in Baton Rouge underway; recycling temporarily suspended  

A garbage truck collecting a trash bin. (File photo)

Debris cleanup from Hurricane Ida will cost an estimated $9 million in East Baton Rouge Parish, which was largely spared the worst of the storm.

The Broome administration will introduce an item at Wednesday’s Metro Council meeting, seeking approval to allocate the money from the city-parish general fund.

Because EBR was included in the federal disaster declaration, the cleanup costs should be 100% reimbursed by FEMA, Chief Administrative Officer Darryl Gissel says.

“The cost is not only to pick it up but also to dispose of it and to monitor the removal effort,” Gissel says. “Because FEMA will reimburse it, we have to monitor the whole process and submit the documentation.”

This will be the fourth time in just two years that the city-parish has had to activate its debris-removal contract with DRC.

Because the company has been criticized in the past for the slow pace of its cleanup efforts, the contract has been expanded to allow DRC to bring in two subcontractors if needed—AshBritt and CrowderGulf.

The estimated amount of woody waste requiring removal is some 400,000 cubic yards, compared to 50,000 cubic yards generated during the ice storm early this year.

Some 30 crews began debris collection this morning throughout the parish, which has been divided into zones. At least one crew will begin working in each zone, city-parish officials say.

Separately, the city-parish sanitation contractor, Republic Services, has resumed regular garbage collection.

However, recycling pickup has been suspended because a portion of the company’s recycling facility was damaged during the storm.

The extent of the damage is unclear, but city-parish spokesperson Mark Armstrong says the company is hoping to repair it in the next two days and that recycling services could potentially resume as early as Thursday.

Republic did not return a request for comment by this morning’s publication deadline.