Calcasieu finishing debris cleanup

September 4, 2006
By Theresa Schmidt

Calcasieu Police Jurors are trying to wrap up storm debris removal from Hurricane Rita.  This week they consider staff recommendations for the parish's closeout phase.

For close to a year crews under contract to the Corps of Engineers have been picking up debris from Hurricane Rita. First the federal government was were picking up the whole tab, then 90 per cent.

Still, some police jurors are frustrated about what remains. Juror Chris Landry asked administrative officials, "What do I do about 'leaners and hangers' and this particular problem is, unfortunately, inside the City of Lake Charles." Juror Francis Andrepont told them, "I don't know whether the debris on Brian Street is related to the storm but I tell you what, it absolutely looks like a war zone." And a similar concern from Juror Sandy Treme. "I have had several on Salter Bluff Road where there's a tremendous amount of damage and it's all still here."

In committee jurors agreed to a plan aimed at wrapping up the process outside the cities. Assistant Administrator Bryan Beam says parish public works would work overtime next weekend. "It's wrapping up what the corps didn't finish and let me explain. The reason they didn't is there's an amount that they're not going to pick up when it gets so small, if it's within our capabilities."

Then Waste Management, will assess what's left picking up what's eligible under their contract with the parish and tagging anything not eligible. Says Beam, "Public works can then go back to those individual addresses and go back and use our own labor for that. So, really it's a phased process to make sure we pick it all up."

People outside the cities can expect to get a flyer explaining that storm debris removal is over and that regular solid waste rules are in place. Beam told police jurors, "It's very important we feel, that we go to each house with a flyer that says, 'the mission is over for storm debris. From here on our we're under the guidelines of the contract that existed prior to Hurricane Rita.'" Jurors take final action on the recommendations at their meeting at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Setepmber 7 at the Calcasieu Government Building.

At last word about 15,000 cubic yards of debris remain in public rights of way outside the cities. A third is trees and such; the remainder is construction and demolition debris.