Daphne moves ahead with debris collection


DAPHNE – Daphne is collecting about 8,000 cubic yards of storm debris a day, but removing all the material left by Hurricane Sally could take until November, city officials said.

Sally came ashore in Gulf Shores on Sept. 16. One initial estimate was that the storm left behind about 200,000 cubic yards of debris in Daphne, but official now believe that number could be twice as high, BJ Eringman, Daphne deputy public works director, said.

“We’ve had some other folks come out,” Elingman said. “It may be more toward the 400,000 cubic yard total. I think everybody’s kind of waiting on that total. It’s hard to project.”

He said collection efforts are going well. Crowder-Gulf, the company under contract with Daphne to remove debris, had collected 86,000 cubic yards as of Oct. 4.

“We’ve got Crowder Gulf engaged in all four zones of our debris-management plan,” Eringman said. “They’re working. I think in the beginning, we had 22 trucks engaged, picking up debris. A couple of those have dropped off due to inefficiency, but we’re going to bring a couple of them back, hopefully more efficient.”

He said officials are working to remove the material as soon as possible, but no one is sure when the work will be completed.

“Everybody’s trying to answer that question,” Eringman said. “It’s very difficult to answer. Some of us are creating goals. We’re trying to create the goal of maybe having the first pass toward mid-November area. The first pass being complete. I think it may come just a little bit earlier than that, but then, of course, they’ll make a second pass and we’ll see at that point.”

Eringman said collection crews’ first priority has been to clear main thoroughfares to allow emergency vehicles to get down roads if necessary.

Officials are also estimating the cost of cleanup. Eringman said one initial estimate for Daphne debris removal was $3 million to pick up and process 300,000 cubic yards of material. He said the final total for Daphne may be as much as $5 million.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency will pay 75 percent of the cleanup costs. The Alabama Emergency Management Agency in the past has paid half the remaining cost, leaving cities with 12,5 percent of the total.