Debris piles problem for Calcasieu

June 21, 2007
By Theresa Schmidt

Since the hail storm it's especially noticeable in areas south of lLake Charles-large piles of limbs.  Calcasieu Police Juror Guy Brame has been hearing from the people he represents. "I've gotten a tremendous number of phone calls on debris, limbs, trees down and so forth."

Many piles won't get picked up because they don't meet the requirements as Public Works Operations Manager Allen Wainwright explains.  "In general they have to be four inches in diameter, or smaller;  and six feet in length,  or shorter and they need to be bundled."

Wainwright admits they are struggling with the problem.  Asked one juror, "How many piles would you say are out there?"  Says Wainwright, "I hesitate to guess, I know we have literally hundreds. I know we tagged,  in one pretty large subdivision,  nearly 100 piles in one subdivision. It was in the hail storm area."

Crews tag ineligible piles and after ten days, if not removed, they're sent on to code enforcement. The parish can have it picked up and pass the cost on to consumers. Some police jurors feel cutting the waste down to size is too much for some people. Says Cornie Moon, "Can we come up with some other solution? A lot of these people are not capable of, cannot afford to pick the trash up and they're not just big piles of trees that have been cut down."  Hal McMillin agrees:  "A lot of people in Calcasieu Parish are on fixed incomes. They can't afford to haul that trash off or they don't have a truck."

Jurors agreed to study whether they might provide additional help under extreme circumstances. For now parish officials say just bundling limbs so that crews can easily pick up branches will help in many cases. For more information on the parish's solid waste rules click here.