Natural disaster debris removal presents
challenges for municipalities
Municipal solid waste companies across the Southeast and Midwest are dealing with unimaginable disasters this month. In the aftermath of these tragic events, they now have to tackle the mounting pile of debris. The cost of removing debris from a tornado in the city of Birmingham could run as high as $10 million, Mayor William Bell said. "We haven't estimated the tons of debris. We know it's going to be in the millions of dollars. I heard it may be as much as $10 million," the mayor said during a tour of the tornado-stricken Sherman Heights neighborhood.
City officials will try to recycle as much debris as possible, Bell said. Wood, for example, could be turned into mulch, he said. "We have a monumental job ahead of us," said Michael Byrne, federal coordinating officer of FEMA. "Overall, we estimate there's 10 million cubic yards of debris to be removed in Alabama. That's enough to fill a football field a mile high."