While collection of Hurricane Irma debris continues in some areas of the Florida Keys, the end seems to be in sight.
Monroe County workers this week began posting red signs that warn against dumping along U.S. 1.
“It is now illegal to dump any hurricane debris in the U.S. 1 right of way,” said a Monroe County information officer Thursday.
A debris contractor working for the Florida Department of Transportation has made its “final pass” for some areas of U.S. 1 with the collection expected to be complete throughout the Keys by mid-January.
Monroe County will continue to collect debris on county streets and roads in the hard-hit Lower Keys, from mile marker 16 to marker 40.
“No county or private roads in the [marker] 16 to 40 area has received a final collection pass,” information officer Cammy Clark said. “If you now have debris in the rights of way of county or private roads, it will get picked up.”
Collection also continues on streets of Duck Key and Conch Key, and in Layton.
Since Hurricane Irma struck the Keys Sept.10 as a Category 4 storm, the worst for Monroe County in 57 years, almost 2.2 million cubic yards of debris have been removed from Keys, Clark said. That includes vegetation along with construction and demolition waste.
More than 18,850 large appliances classified as “white goods” have been picked up.
“All of this collected hurricane debris was taken to debris-management sites in the Keys, where it is ground or mulched to make smaller for haul-out to the mainland for proper disposal,” Clark said. “Some of the vegetative debris was burned in the Keys. All white goods have their freon removed” before removal to the mainland for recycling or disposal.
The city of Marathon picked up 7,409 large appliances along with 286,106 cubic yards of hurricane debris.
Unincorporated Monroe County, along with Layton, logged 1.28 million cubic yards of hurricane debris and more than 8,456 white goods.
“In the hardest-hit area between [marker] 16 and 40, county and FDOT contractors have combined to collect 799,620 cubic yards of hurricane debris and 3,176 white goods,” the county reported.
Islamorada reported picking up 214,146 cubic yards of debris and 1,680 white goods. This was collected by the village’s contractor.
Key West counted up 146,688 cubic yards of hurricane debris and 309 large appliances.
Kevin Wadlow: 305-440-3206