ROYAL OAK (WWJ/AP) – Some residents are unhappy that they are still are waiting for debris to be removed a week after floodwaters ravaged parts of the Detroit area.
Sarah Mountain, 32, said she and her family are staying inside their Huntington Woods home “because it is so unhealthy outside.”
Bacteria and mold can grow in flood-damaged furniture and carpeting.
“Trash is piled high in front (of) my house, rats are digging through my garbage, along with scrappers,” Mountain told the Detroit Free Press.
Garbage haulers have struggled to keep up since the historic Aug. 11 rainstorm.
In Royal Oak, five garbage trucks per block are being dispatched to handle the sewer-water soaked belongings. Damian Ward is part of the crew getting rid of the flooded items.
“It’s wild. A couple people I seen, they were crying and stuff like that,” Ward told WWJ’s Laura Bonnell. “I’m hoping that there wasn’t too much personal items that they use on a daily basis.”
Ward said the city is three days behind on trash pickups. He said there will be at least 60 trucks out on Saturday to help get rid of those curbside eyesores.
Dave Eaton, Ward’s coworker, said his heart goes out to everyone who lost items in the flood.
“There’s nothing I can compare this too. It’s almost like the whole city of Royal Oak got evicted, all at one time,” he said. “We’re picking up 70 or 80 thousand pounds of these people’s stuff. It’s horrible.”
Even in spots where haulers have made progress, new trash piles have popped up as additional flood-damaged material is removed from basements.
“We’ve got a lot of overtime, and the volumes of those communities have been staggering,” said Joe Munem, spokesman for Rizzo Environmental Services, which picks up trash in Madison Heights and Royal Oak.
In the city of Warren, where thousands of homes were damaged, Mayor Jim Fouts said $100,000 has been spent on overtime dealing with the cleanup.
“The citizens of Warren have already undergone enough stress in their lives,” Fouts said. “They don’t need to stare at all the junk in front of their yards.”
In Wayne County, the abundance of garbage has forced a municipal solid waste landfill facility in Riverview to extend its hours, City Manager Douglas Drysdale told The Detroit News.
Riverview owns and operates the landfill, which is used by 14 neighboring communities.
The Riverview Land Preserve usually is open from 6:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Mondays through Fridays. Since the flood, it has been staying open to about 6 p.m. weekdays, Drysdale said.
Last week’s storms dumped over six inches of rain in some places and left five major freeways under several feet of water, forcing thousands of people to abandon their water-logged cars. Tens of thousands of homes across the metro area were flooded, some with several feet of water in the basements.
Governor Rick Snyder is urging people who’ve suffered property damages due to the flooding to report their losses as soon as possible. He encouraged residents to document their losses with photographs and receipts and then file the materials with their local governments.
“Reporting damage is a vital step in applying for federal aid to get Michigan residents back on their feet after last week’s devastation,” Snyder said in a statement.
Once damage assessments are submitted to local governments, the information will be forwarded on to the state.
For more information, visit www.michigan.gov/miflood.
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