OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. -- Over a seven-day period, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers contractor has removed more than 143,000 cubic yards of debris from five communities hit hard by the May 3-5 tornadoes and storms.
The Corps' contractor has removed approximately 628 truckloads of debris from Oklahoma City, Mulhall, Choctaw, Dover and Stroud. The Corps also has received requests from Noble County and Cimmaron City to begin debris removal. When the last truckload has been hauled away, there will be more than 1.6 million cubic yards of debris collected - enough to fill a football field five stories high with debris. Moore, Newcastle, Midwest and Del Cities have chosen to handle their own debris removal with private contractors.
"Our main concern is that we move the debris as quickly and safely as possible to prevent any potential public health hazards and help Oklahomans get started in rebuilding their homes," said Tom Logsdon, the Corps' project manager for debris removal in Oklahoma.
The Corps' contractor continues to work with Oklahoma's Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) to ensure that debris is separated properly. According to Logsdon, the contractor sorts, recycles and performs the reduction while subcontractors - more than half of whom are Oklahomans -- perform the cleanup, hauling and dumping.
Debris transport and processing costs approximately $25 per cubic yard: It costs between $11.25 to $13 for transportation to the processing site and $13 for operation of the processing site and transportation to the landfill. Money from sold recyclable materials goes back into the U.S. Treasury.
At the processing site, the contractor sorts debris into four separate piles: recyclable and non-recyclable materials, compost, and hazardous waste. Non-recyclable materials are ground which reduces the bulk 30 percent of its original magnitude, before being deposited into commercial landfills. "Any mulch produced will be given away to any individual or organization in Oklahoma who wants it," Logsdon said.
"It may be more expensive to remove debris this way, but we have to consider what the long-term effects may be on Oklahoma if we don't properly dispose of the toxic waste that is there," Logsdon said.