Parish hurricane debris removal work underway

Aaron Looney

Parish President Tommy Martinez told the Ascension Parish Council Thursday that vegetative debris from Hurricane Gustav in the parish will be collected in the coming weeks and disposed of at several locations throughout the parish.

Martinez also said that the parish has secured multiple sites where contractors will chip the debris. They include the Lamar-Dixon Expo Center in Gonzales, a site on Joe Sevario Road in St. Amant, the Ascension Civic Center in Sorrento and the former Evan Hall Sugar Mill site outside of Donaldsonville.

A site had yet to be decided in the northern area of the parish as of Thursday, but Chief Administrative Officer Cedric Grant said that a location on Hwy. 73 would be used as a possible back-up site.

According to information from parish government Monday, United Recovery Group officials have begun mobilizing vehicles to collect vegetative debris along parish-maintaned roads.

The parish’s general pick-up strategy includes the following:

• The Darrow area will be completed this week

• Cannon Road will be completed by the end of next week

• Roddy Road began today, with crews working north

• A crew has begun at Hwy. 30 west of Interstate 10 and is working north

• A crew has begun in the Old Perkins Road area, working west

• Two crews have begun north of Hwy. 42 at Airline Highway and area, working east

• Several crews are working from Airline Highway eastward toward Hwy. 44

• Several crews are working from Hwy. 431 westward toward Hwy. 44

• Two crews have begun working on the parish’s west bank

Parish officials stressed that debris piles waiting to be picked up do not contain any material other then brush, leaves and limbs. If the debris contains other material such as plastic bags, boards, garbage, building materials, shingles, or other items, the contractor will not pick up that pile.

Residents are asked not to place the brush over water meters, near mailboxes or fire hydrants, telephone pedestals or under low-hanging wires to avoid damage by the debris removal equipment.

Those seeking additional information or wishing to file a complaint can contact the CDM information hotline at 225-663-3041

All areas of the parish should see a pick up crew in their area no later than 4-6 weeks from today, according to parish officials. The contractor will make a second rotation around the parish to collect any remaining debris.

Pick up along state highways is being handled by the state’s Department of Transportation and Development under a separate contractor. No information as to the state’s schedule was available as of Monday.

Grant also said that the parish is currently seeking permits to remove debris from private land.

Martinez told the council that FEMA would be able to reimburse the parish as much as 90 percent for the cost to remove and dispose of the debris.

During his report, Martinez also touched on a recent meeting held in Donaldsonville regarding the dredging of Bayou Lafourche to aid in bettering water flow and removing waters contaminated by Hurricane Gustav.

Martinez said that the dredging came after an emergency declaration by Gov. Bobby Jindal not only for the issue of flooding over bulkheads on private property along the bayou, but also to help rectify the drinking water situation on the bayou, which begins in Donaldsonville and runs into Lafourche and Terrebonne Parishes.

Plans call for sloping of the bayou’s banks to allow for less erosion.