RALEIGH, N.C. -- The huge task of coordinating the removal of millions of cubic yards of debris left behind by hurricane Floyd has been launched in a state-federal plan that will collect and dispose of thousands of tons of waste from the storm and its floodwaters.
A debris management task force has been formed to manage pickup and also solve the monumental problem of disposing of as many as 18,000 ruined mobile homes, some of which may contain asbestos insulation.
Residents are asked to cooperate in the cleanup by putting flood-damaged goods at the curb for pickup. The state department of transportation and various units of local government will handle removal. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will pay 75 percent of the cost.
Potentially hazardous household waste will not be picked up. Residents must separate it from other debris and take it to collection points. This includes aerosol cans, kitchen cleaners, automotive products, paints, stains and varnishes, caustic cleaning compounds, fertilizers, pesticides, toilet and sink cleaners and any flammable liquids.
Officials said due to relatively minor wind damage, most of the debris is flooded household furnishings, roofing materials, carpeting, drywall, insulation and electrical wiring. State law requires that "white goods" - refrigerators, dishwashers and stoves -- be collected separately. These will be offered to scrap dealers.
"A flood leaves many hazards in its wake," said Eric Tolbert, director of the North Carolina Emergency Management Division. "We urge everyone to be cautious and never mix chemicals prior to disposal." Tolbert said car batteries, household solvents, propane tanks and water-soaked appliances have the clear potential to cause injury. "If you are unsure of a situation, ask for help."