OKC Officials Asking For Patience In Storm Debris Pickup

Friday, January 1st 2016, 2:13 pm
By: News 9

Tree limbs and debris piles line the streets in Oklahoma City, more than a month after the ice storm that caused the damage.

Oklahoma City has hired contractors to pick up those piles, but the biggest question they are getting from homeowners is when crews will be on their street.

“I'm surprised that it's still here after a month,” said Sherri Edge who lives in NW OKC.

Edge said what many Oklahoma City residents are thinking about the storm debris from Thanksgiving.

“My husband is like, ‘I can't believe they haven't picked these piles up yet,’” Edge told News 9. “He's frustrated and a lot of people are frustrated by it,” she added.

The city hired two contractors with multiple crews each. The contract crews are picking up 700 tons of tree debris every day, but 621 square miles is a lot of ground to cover.

“This was a huge storm and it's going to take a long time to clean up,” said Kristy Yager with the City of Oklahoma City.

Yager said the city did preliminary damage assessments immediately after the storms and got a shock.

“We thought we knew how much debris was going to be out there but there was a whole lot more,” she explained.

It totaled to 13,000 tons.

That is why it's taking longer than expected.

“We could go down a street and have to end up at the landfill and it takes a long time to drive out to the landfill and get rid of that debris,” Yager said.

The city is going to hit every neighborhood twice.

“We wish we could tell people when we are going to be in their neighborhood, but really there is no way of knowing,” Yager said.

Edge said she cannot help but feel like her neighborhood is at the end of the line.

“I don't know why we are last, or it feels like we are last,” Edge said.

Contractors have about 35 trucks currently on city streets picking up tree debris.

Starting next week, the city will increase that to 55 trucks to try to speed things up.

City crews picking up regularly scheduled bulk waste sometimes pick up small debris piles depending on the size.

However, the contract crews will still come back through to hit bigger piles.

Make sure to put old Christmas trees in the bulk waste pile, not in the storm debris pile. Residents cannot mix bulk waste with storm debris. Those must be two separate piles.