Debris clean up continues, EPB crews still on 12 hour shifts
HAMILTON COUNTY, TN (WRCB) -- In Chattanooga, the city is almost begging people to take recycled leaf and wood debris off their hands.
Electric Power Board crews continue a massive clean up effort. Immediately after the storms, EPB's only focus was restoring power to more than 119,000 customers.
Now they face another mammoth, clean up. A job that will more than likely take through the end of the month to complete.
"There's so much clean up to do still," says storm victim Chip Weeks. "It hasn't even been touched yet."
Weeks has visited the Wood Recycle Center on North Hawthorne Rd. in Chattanooga, at least a dozen times since the April 27th tornadoes. After pushing thousands of pounds of log off the back of his pick-up, Weeks is headed back to his neighborhood for more debris.
"Half the neighborhood made it out real good," says Woods. "The other half didn't."
Since the storms the City of Chattanooga has opened the center to just about anyone.
"The site is now open for any contractor and other city or county residents to dispose of the brush," says Sanitation Manager, Justin Holland.
Holland expects the volume of debris intake to be at record highs for several more weeks.
"At this site we grind the wood waste, turning it into a mulch product or wood chips," says Holland.
The City also compost's leaves at the site, with so much recycled material pilling up they're desperate to get rid of it.
"We're talking about isolators and fuses for individual homes," says Foreman Jeff Rhodes, EPB Contractor. In Apison, Tuesday, contract crews are still working on 12 hour shifts.
"We've shifted from the construction part of it to the clean up," Rhodes says.
After the storms crews were so focused on restoring power they were forced to leave broken poles, tangled wire and zapped transformers behind. Now the task is picking them up.
"The wire is probably what takes the longest to get up," Rhodes says. "Its all wound up in the trees."
Since April 27th, EPB has replaced 616 broken poles and 387 damaged transformers. It also replaced close to 60 miles of wire.
The city has set up a temporary wood recycle location on Cummings Highway. Anyone can dump for free. Mulch and wood chips are free to residents, $10 per ton for contractors.