MONROE COUNTY, FL – Progress continues for the free collection of hurricane debris in unincorporated Monroe County and in the municipalities of Layton and Key Colony Beach, which contracted with the County to provide its hurricane debris removal.

As of Oct. 9, approximately 393,000 combined cubic yards of hurricane debris, vegetative and construction, have been collected in neighborhoods and along U.S. 1 by Monroe County’s contracted hauler Ashbritt Environmental and FDOT.

AshBritt Environmental is handling Key Largo to Tavernier, Conch Key and Mile Marker 15 to Stock Island and now has 58 trucks operating in unincorporated Monroe County. AshBritt-contracted crews have removed more than 176,000 cubic yards of debris to four temporary debris management sites in the Keys.

In the Upper Keys, Ashbritt has been working on County roads from MM 112 through MM 92 in Tavernier and in neighborhoods along CR905. It will complete a first pass on all roads before a second pass begins.  Monroe County Public Works crews have been following behind Ashbritt to collect debris from private roads and move it to the closest public right of way, where it can then be collected by the contractor.

In the Lower Keys, Ashbritt is collecting debris on Stock Island, Big Coppitt Key, Key Haven, Rockland Key (Oceanside), Baypoint and Geiger Key. On Oct. 11, collection will begin on Rockland Key (Calle Uno and Dos).  The contractor will continue through neighborhoods to complete a first pass before beginning a second pass.

Ashbritt has been operating for three weeks in the Keys and continues to increase the number of trucks it has on the road, with crews working 12-hour shifts, 7 days a week. On Monday, the company removed 385 truckloads of debris for a total of 11,739 cubic yards in unincorporated Monroe County.

Ashbritt Environmental also has removed 2,787 white goods (appliances) in unincorporated Monroe County. Of this total, 622 already have been hauled to the mainland where Freon has been removed from 58 of the items. The items are recycled.

Monroe County also has received assistance from the Florida Department of Transportation, which is handling hurricane debris removal from MM 16 to MM 40 in the Lower Keys and in Layton and Duck Key in the Middle Keys.

So far, FDOT contractors Munilla Construction Management and OHL/Community Asphalt Corp. have hauled about 76,000 cubic yards from the Lower Keys from MM 16 to 40, 7,800 cubic yards from Duck Key and 14,500 from Layton.  FDOT’s contractors have been operating on Big Pine Key, Summerland Key, Cudjoe Key, Ramrod Key, Upper Sugarloaf Key and Lower Sugarloaf Key. They just started collection on Little Torch Key. They also will continue through their area until a first pass is complete.

FDOT’s contractors also have removed about 117,000 cubic yards along U.S. 1.

Monroe County is making special arrangements to collect debris that is located on private roads or non-County maintained roads, which are not typically eligible for FEMA-reimbursed debris collection.

The contractors get paid by the amount of debris collected and not by the hour, so it is in their best interest to do the job as quickly and as efficiently as possible.

Hurricane debris removal could not begin until most of the utility companies had completed their efforts to restore water and power and temporary collection sites were secured in the County. Now, contractors are in place throughout unincorporated Monroe County and are in position to haul away debris at a strong pace.

Residents can help facilitate the debris removal process by following these requirements:

  • Stack hurricane related debris on the county right of way (road shoulder) in front of homes. It must not block the road or driveways.
  • Do not put debris on vacant lots of other property. It will not be picked up.
  • Separate into five groups: vegetative debris, seaweed, household appliances, non-vegetative debris and household hazardous waste, which includes paints, cleaners, etc. (It is recommended you bring your household hazardous waste to one of the County’s three transfer stations).
  • Hurricane debris needs to be separate from regular household trash. Contents of refrigerators should be thrown out in regular trash. This gets picked up by regular garbage collection.
  • In the areas that have vacuum sewers in Key Largo and Tavernier, make sure not to stack debris near sewer system breathers, which are not in the right of way. In the Upper Keys they look like small concrete pillars.
  • In the areas that have vacuum sewers in Key Largo and Tavernier, make sure not to stack debris near sewer system breathers, which are not in the right of way. In the Upper Keys they look like small concrete pillars.
  • Debris also should be kept away from fire hydrants and utility poles.

Things that are not eligible for free pick up by hurricane debris contractor include: cars, trucks, motor homes, motor cycles, trailers, boats or other watercraft and car parts like tires.

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Photos by Cammy Clark of temporary debris management site at Rowell’s Waterfront Park in Key Largo and contractors collecting debris along U.S. 1 on Grassy Key.