Crews Still Busy Cleaning Up Ice Storm Debris In OKC


Friday, January 8th 2016, 10:59 pm
By: News 9


For weeks, metro residents have patiently waited for debris from November's ice storm to be removed. Both the city and crews say it's a process which is why they've now upped the number of trucks working to clear the mess.

Before the cleanup could begin, the city spent weeks assessing the amount of debris. A job it seemed too big from them to handle. Crews from across the country have spent the last month picking up piles of tree limbs.

“It's a process. It's up and down. It's individual stacks. We thank the residents for stacking it like they do because it helps a lot,” said Henry Scharber, an independent contractor hired by Oklahoma City.

It was a process that couldn't begin until after the bidding process.

1/1/16 Related Story: OKC Officials Asking For Patience In Storm Debris Pickup

“Then you had the holidays, it pretty much set everything back a week or two there,” said Scharber.

Even with help from homeowners, it's not a quick clean up. The trucks fill up after about 10 homes, forcing crews to drive out to the landfill to empty their load and start the process over again.

Crews started cleaning ice storm debris December 15th with seven trucks, and that number now is up to 70 trucks.

“I think we’ve all have been very patient,” said Oklahoma City resident Philip Eisel.

Patient and understanding at the large task at hand.

But the sight of these trucks brought excitement to the neighborhood.

“We're really excited about that. My wife called me this morning and told me that they were finally in our neighborhood,” said Eisle.

“We looked out the window and saw they were in the neighborhood so we were super excited about it,” said Oklahoma City resident Janean Brown.

Once the trucks leave, all that's left is raking up the leaves left behind.

“It'll take a little time to get the debris raked up and clean up but we are excited to have it back to normal,” said Brown.

It's estimated to take until February to pick up all 13,000 tons of debris in the city.

Clean up crews say you can speed up the process by stacking debris in an open area near the curb.

The city isn't quite sure how much the cleanup will cost, but the plan is to ask for reimbursement from FEMA.