Metro Council expected to dedicate $1.6 mil to Storm Barry clean-up


BATON ROUGE, La. (NBC Local 33) (FOX 44) — The East Baton Rouge Metro Council will convene today at 4 p.m. for their August meeting and is expected to vote in favor of appropriating $1.6 million to fund contracts for debris disposal and monitoring associated with the aftermath of Tropical Storm Barry.

The cost of $1.6 million is based on an estimated removal amount of 100,000 cubic yards, or $16 per cubic yard, of tree leaves and limbs since the storm traveled through the area in mid-July.

“We estimated somewhere between 50 and 100 thousand cubic yards in tree debris,” said Richard Speer, who is the director of environmental services for the city-parish.

Speer tells Kelly Anne Beile with NBC Local 33 that the two contracted companies who remove the debris, DRC Emergency Services and Thomas Engineering, will be paid solely on the amount that is collected.

The two companies have worked in tandem with the city-parish since flooding hit Baton Rouge in August, 2016, according to Speers. DRC possesses the equipment and trained manpower to collect, remove and discard the debris while Thomas Engineering acts as the oversight agency.

Speer said the reason behind out-sourcing the removal of trees and limbs is based on efficiency. “To be able to have someone who is experienced in pickup up storm debris, they have the correct equipment,” said Speer, “that keeps our people on point doing the services the rest of the parish expects them to do.”

The department of environmental services continues to monitor the progress of the companies. A spokesperson with the Mayor’s Office supplied the below map, which is current as of today.

Current as of 08/14/19. Courtesy: Richard Speer, Department of Environmental Services

Debris pick-up will cover most areas of the city-parish except for Central, Zachary and Baker, according to a spokesperson with the Mayor’s Office.

Additionally, each dark green dot represents the location where DRC reported a full load of debris, as was monitored by Thomas Engineering. The various colors of the map are based on pick-up services by Republic Waste Management and can be disregarded, according to the spokesperson.

As of August 14, Speer said the companies have retrieved about 20,000 cubic yards and have been working full-time, five days a week for the past three weeks.

Speer said work is beginning this week on areas north of I-10. “We expect in about two more weeks, they’ll be finished with the first pass through the parish,” said Speer.

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