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Hurricane Irma Update: Day 10 Debris Removal Update

SBA Residential Disaster Loan & Operation Blue Roof


Hurricane Irma Update for September 28th from City of Lakeland on Vimeo.

LAKELAND, FL (September 28, 2017) | There is a coordinated effort underway to remove storm related debris left behind by Hurricane Irma. Crews have removed a total of 27,410 cubic yards of debris but there is a long way to go. There is an estimated 325,000 cubic yards of debris on the ground within the Lakeland city limits as a result of Hurricane Irma. To put this in perspective, the City of Lakeland’s Division of Solid Waste collects a total of 107,000 cubic yards of debris each year.  The amount of debris left from Hurricane Irma would take three (3) years to collect under normal operations. There are 35 FEMA contract crews that are working seven days per week from 7 a.m. – 7 p.m. The FEMA contractors are assigned to a particular zone and each quadrant of the City is covered. There are 15- 20 additional FEMA contractors that are expected be moving debris by early next week. 

Collection Statistics

Collection statistics from September 27th (10 days after the start of debris removal):

  • Total Number of FEMA Trucks/Trailers in the field:  35
  • Total loads collected:  994
  • Average size of load:  35 cubic yards
  • Total cubic yards of debris removed:  27,410
  • Total number of hanging limbs removed:  3,487

Debris Collection

Based on the data collected on the three hurricanes that passed Lakeland in 2004, Hurricane Irma has caused 60% more storm related debris than all three of those storms combined. 

A first pass of all zones is expected to be fully completed by October 25th. A second and third collection will give residents additional time to place debris in the nearest right-of-way for removal. Residents are asked to be patient as debris crews make their way throughout the City. For those wanting to remove their own debris, the Polk County landfill has waived all tipping fees thru the end of October. 

Debris Placement

As a reminder, residents are asked to not place debris in trash bags. Debris should be sorted by item type and placed in separate piles at the City right-of-way; not in the street. 

If residents live on private roads or in private communities and are unable to bring the debris to the closest public right-of-way, they are asked to contact the City’s IRMA hotline at 863.834.IRMA (4762).

Do not place debris on sidewalks or further back that 10-feet beyond the curb. Do not stack debris against trees, poles, mailboxes, fire hydrants and storm drains.

Items to be Placed for Collection

These are the specific items that can be moved to the curbside for collection:

Construction and demolition debris
  • Building material including roof shingles and siding
  • Drywall
  • Lumber
  • Carpet
  • Furniture
  • Plumbing
 Vegetation Debris
  • Fallen tree branches and logs

SBA Storm-Related Loan

Those that may have storm related damage are encouraged to contact the US Small Business Administration (SBA) to get a loan for storm related repair, even if they have contacted FEMA.  The SBA has disaster related loans for residential properties and homeowners.  In fact, most SBA disaster loans go to homeowners. 

The filing deadline to be considered for a SBA disaster related loan is November 9, 2017.  To find out more information and to register for a disaster related loan through the SBA, go to www.sba.gov/disaster or call 800.659.2955.

Operation Blue Roof

The Army Corp. of Engineers is overseeing Operation Blue Roof for those that have roof related damage and need a tarp.  Those seeking a tarp are encouraged to visit the Operation Blue Roof headquarters at the Bartow Municipal Airport (5253 Airport Blvd. Bartow, FL 33830) to register. 

The service is free of charge and once on the list, Army Corp. of Engineers personnel will deliver and install a tarp for those in Polk County that have roof damage.

Information about Operation Blue Roof is available at www.saj.usace.army.mil/BlueRoof and www.saj.usace.army.mil/blueroof_espanol

Information is also available in English and Spanish by calling 888-ROOF-BLU (888.766.3258).