BLADENBORO — Bladen County municipalities may be looking at hefty costs for the disposal of hurricane-related materials.
Last week, the Bladenboro commissioners met and learned from Town Clerk Melanie Hester that FEMA’s requirements for reimbursements have been more stringent this year, so the town was going to have to “be more cautious” about spending money for cleanup.
“Curbside pickup is not considered a public hazard; it’s just a courtesy,” Hester told the commissioners.
Debris removed from roadways, however, could be reimbursable, she said, adding, “We won’t know until we speak to a FEMA representative.”
At issue for the town is the possibility of waste being returned from the landfill. Commissioners were told at the meeting at least one load was returned to the town when a piece of metal approximately one square yard was mixed in with construction debris. The town had to go through all the debris, remove the metal and resend the load.
The announcement incited anger. One person asked the board, “How many people were ever informed metal needs to be alleviated during the sorting process? If you don’t let them know the process, they don’t know what needs to be done.”
Bladenboro Mayor Rufus Duckworth agreed.
“The last thing we need to do is waste a trip to Elizabethtown,” he said.
Commissioners agreed to waive disposal fees and encouraged residents who anticipated cleanup to take longer than six months to call the town administrative offices in order to be put on a list for extended waivers.
The move comes as the state is looking at disposal of the garbage Hurricane Florence left in her wake as well. Last week, the Division of Waste Management announced approval of the Raleigh-based company Clean Harbors to set up a six-month sorting site in Duplin County. The company will be contacting municipalities, local governments and residents in the counties surrounding Duplin to talk about collecting household hazardous materials. The material will be sorted at the site prior to being shipped off for proper disposal.
Hazardous household materials are not to be mixed with construction debris or yard waste, according to the Division of Waste Management. Hazardous household materials are those materials that have been used or partially consumed and can no longer be used. They include items like automotive oil, household cleaners, insecticides, pesticides and bait.
Along East Elm Street in Bladenboro last week, residents had begun to discard that which could not be salvaged from their homes. The scene was repeated in other parts of Bladen County as well.
Chrysta Carroll can be reached by calling 910-862-4163 or emailing email@example.com.