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News Review
We’re Moving Mountains: Debris Collection Continues
Posted Date: 10/4/2017

The City of Coral Gables continues to push forward to collect debris from all neighborhoods, with more than 80 debris collection trucks (some as large as 100 cubic yards) working daily, collecting and transporting full truckloads to our three debris staging area, all per FEMA guidelines.

During this "first pass" for debris removal, city crews are collecting as much debris as possible without stopping to cut very large branches or tree stumps. In the first 17 days, the city has picked up and processed 140,000 cubic yards of debris. To get a sense of volumes, a full-size pickup truck holds about 2 cubic yards. The City will meet its original goal of picking up about 170,000 cubic yards of debris left by Hurricane Irma by the end of this weekend.

Crews are bypassing debris piles that have plastic bags, junk, broken furniture, or non-vegetative materials placed in debris piles. However, there are things within the piles we can't see: A piece of steel was placed within one of the debris piles that we collected yesterday. This caused our chipping equipment to malfunction, and could have caused severe injuries to one of our workers. This is why it's so important to NOT mix the debris piles with other materials.

If you want your debris piles to be collected, only put landscape/vegetative material in debris piles - No plastic bags or non-landscape material, or furniture of any kind, may be placed in debris piles. Please don't placed plastic bags filled with leaves on the debris piles. If your landscape service is assisting in cutting and clearing on your property, limbs and branches must be cut to 4'-6' lengths so they can be picked up by collection equipment.

Crews are bypassing debris piles that have plastic bags, junk, broken furniture, or non-vegetative materials placed in debris piles. If you want your debris piles to be collected, only put landscape/vegetative material in debris piles – No plastic bags or non-landscape material, or furniture of any kind, may be placed in debris piles. Please don’t placed plastic bags filled with leaves on the debris piles. If your landscape service is assisting in cutting and clearing on your property, limbs and branches must be cut to 4’-6’ lengths so they can be picked up by collection equipment.

Crews are Cutting Hanging Branches for Pick Up
Specialty crews are also cutting hanging or leaning branches from trees and placing them in piles for collection. We have not forgotten about them, as they will be collected on the “second pass” to be done citywide, after we retrieve the initial debris from swales and neighborhoods. We ask for your patience.

About Garbage, Recycling & Bulk Trash Pick Up
Garbage and recycling have resumed to regular collection schedules. Please separate your garbage and recycling separate from the debris piles, in a location that is visible and accessible so that we can collect as fast as possible. We recognize our residents still have large amounts of garbage and recycling so we ask for your cooperation and patience in case we arrive later than usual.

Bulk Trash pickup is still suspended until further notice. Please DO NOT place non-vegetative junk or trash out such as broken furniture on the swales until further notice. This will only create an additional nuisance in your neighborhood. We appreciate your cooperation.

Following FEMA Guidelines
The City debris collection operation began on Saturday, September 16, after the City’s rescue recon teams were able to clear our major roads for passage, attended to emergency public safety situations, and the city returned to normal operations. It is important to understand that debris removal is considered emergency work that is reimbursable by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), if cleanup operations and their costs are well documented and follow their eligibility criteria. For example, the City of Coral Gables spent almost $10 million for Hurricane Katrina’s debris removal and $12 million for Hurricane Wilma. Thanks to compliance by the City, FEMA reimbursed 100% for these costs caused by these two previous hurricanes, thus preventing a burden on the City’s financial outlook.