Putnam County Landfill open for debris, but no date sets for hurricane cleanup

Dealing with its own hurricane-related setbacks, the Putnam County Sanitation Department has begun taking in debris from Hurricane Irma.

Numerous pick-up trucks filled with branches, roofing materials and other storm debris visited the Putnam County Landfill in Palatka on Tuesday as Putnam County began its massive cleanup.

But the area of the landfill where local residents are to take their vegetative storm debris flooded Monday during the hurricane, and water was still in the areas on Tuesday.

“It was flooded, but we’re trying to get it in there now,” Sanitation Director Larry Gast said. “We are taking yard waste debris up there. We may have to double handle it.”

He said his department was looking for other areas to store vegetative debris, but people were welcome to take it to the landfill.

But one of the most important things to do when disposing of hurricane debris – whether taking it to the landfill or leaving it on a public right of way to be picked up by contracted waste haulers – is to separate vegetative debris from construction and demolition debris, Gast said.

Household garbage must also be kept separate.

When the Federal Emergency Management Agency records waste, it won’t reimburse the county for waste of different types mixed together.

Gast said he is expecting officials from companies contracted to collect waste to arrive in the county as early as today, and collection could begin next week.

Dates for collection have not been announced.

Landfill convenience centers in Crescent City and Interlachen are open to collect storm debris, but the capacity for waste pales in comparison to that of the landfill in Palatka.

Once receptacles at the convenience centers are filled, debris can’t be taken to those sites until officials empty them and take the debris to the Palatka site.

“They will take a little bit (at the convenience centers),” Gast said. “They only have two cans. The other three (cans) are for household garbage.”

For information about hurricane cleanup, call the county’s help desk at 329-1904.