Marathon pushes Irma debris from end to end

This is the largest debris pile in Marathon, at U.S. 1 and 48th Street bayside.
This is the largest debris pile in Marathon, at U.S. 1 and 48th Street bayside. Keynoter

A massive pile of Hurricane Irma garbage near mile marker 49.5 bayside in Marathon is hard to miss.

It’s one of many sites across the city — and the county — where mattresses and debris from oceanside homes have been dumped, collected over the last two weeks by crews with the city’s Public Works Department.

Department Director Carlos Solis said cleanup crews started at both ends of Marathon on the oceanside of Grassy Key and Knights Key and worked their way to the center of the island. Now, as the other part of the first push of debris pickup, they will start collecting on the bayside and work their way out. That’s all part of the first of three phases of debris pickup.

Solis is urging residents to keep debris separated into four different piles: One for yard waste and tree limbs; one for debris like dry wall, wood, couches and mattresses; one for appliances; and the other for regular household garbage.

“Try not to overload the cans and please try to clearly separate your garbage,” said Greg Konrath, Marathon Garbage Service owner. “Please don’t use anything larger than 32-gallon cans either. We really appreciate everyone’s patience at this time. We’ll get through this tragedy together.”

“We’re having a very hard time with people putting everything into one pile that has to be separated and it slows the process down,” Solis said. “It’s a cost to the city if it’s mixed. Help yourself out as the taxpayer.”

As for the heaps that get bigger every day?

“We have sites, reduction sites, and all the vegetation will get mulched up and eventually it’ll go to landfills on the mainland,” Solis said.

Seeing as how refrigerators are considered hazardous waste, they’ll either get scrapped or go to an accepted site, also on the mainland.

The first phase of collection will probably end soon, Solis said, and the city will move into its second push for another two weeks. Then the third phase will happen.

Garbage collection by Marathon Garbage Service has resumed on scheduled days. Yard debris and recycling will not be collected until October.

Katie Atkins: 305-440-3219