Debris pickup means more work for flood victims - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports, Social

Debris pickup means more work for flood victims

Volunteers move debris to the curb on Million Dollar Road Volunteers move debris to the curb on Million Dollar Road
Information on debris pickup and separation. (FOX 8 Photo) Information on debris pickup and separation. (FOX 8 Photo)
COVINGTON, LA (WVUE) -

Debris pickup begins Tuesday in St. Tammany Parish for hundreds of families clearing out their homes following historic floods, but for some that means more work.

Richard Satter spent the last week removing drywall, cabinets, furniture and flooring from his Million Dollar Road home.

“Just a lot of memories you gotta rip out and get rid of,” Satter said.

His home had nearly 32” of water inside, and now he’s eager to get the debris removed. But it won’t happen until he moves his pile to the curb.

Tuesday afternoon, representatives from the parish told Satter he’d have to move the pile another 100 feet to the side of the road or it won’t be picked up. The parish is also asking homeowners to separate their debris into piles of vegetation, construction debris, appliances, electronics and hazardous waste.

“The whole separating thing, I wish they would've said that sooner. I guess I didn't see a big point, it’s trash now, it shouldn't matter. I know they talked about putting things in clear garbage bags instead of black bags - that would be a more difficult task separating everything after that. Me, I think they should just come pick it up,” Satter said.

However, the separation of debris is necessary to ensure St. Tammany Parish meets FEMA guidelines for reimbursement. That means, if debris isn't separated properly, the parish may not be reimbursed for the cost of pickup, which could end up costing taxpayers money. 

Just down the street, Elois and Buddy Knight had a pile just outside their door that needed to be moved, a daunting task until volunteers offered to help.

“On top of all the stress of having to move your whole life into your front yard and the memories of all that and then adding stress on top of that, any stress at all, whether it's your vehicle or having to move it closer, people just really can't handle that,” said Ryan Kling, a member of Reach Global Crisis Response.

Kling and his crew helped the Knights move the pile of debris to the road so it would be picked up by the parish.

“When we started pulling it out, we could only get it that far and I was trying to move it to the road and this guy came out and said, ‘Do you mind?’ Do I mind? That was the part, I thought, do I mind if he helps me? I was grateful for anything he could do,” Knight said.

Now they’re thankful for the help, something that puts a smile on their face and makes the past week of darkness a little brighter.

“It is a process and it's working and it won't be long, we'll be back in the home,” Buddy Knight said.

St. Tammany officials say debris trucks will pick up piles of debris as long as it's close enough to the street for the truck's arm to reach. It also said flood victims shouldn't be alarmed if white goods (appliances) aren't picked up immediately because those items will be collected separately. 

The parish has set deadlines for debris pickup on the West side of the parish, west of LA 434, from March 22nd to March 31st and pickup on the east side of the parish from April 1st to April 7th.

The parish has laid out more details on how to separate debris for free pick up, you can find additional information on St. Tammany’s disaster recovery programs by visiting this website.

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