Getting Hurricane Ian debris permanently off the streets

Reporter: Lauren Leslie Writer: Paul Dolan
Debris piled in front of a home on Sunrise Drive in North Fort Myers after Hurricane Ian, Tuesday, October 11, 2022. (Credit: WINK News)

The aftermath of Ian continues to pile up as people try to pick up the destruction left behind from the storm. Trash piles all around Southwest Florida have become the site as FEMA opened temporary places to dump debris.

While Florida lacks natural mountains, if you drive down Tamiami Trail in Bonita you’ll find trash coming to a peak like the Colorado Rocky Mountains.

An estimate by WINK News reporter, Lauren Leslie said one pile of trash was at least 20 feet high.

Collecting all the storm debris is a tall task, especially if some of the trash is taller than the trucks picking them up, which Ian made commonplace in Southwest Florida.

Something viewers may have wondered is, where does the mess go? That somewhere is directly across from Coconut Point Mall along U.S. 41 in Bonita.

The mountain ranges of debris grows higher each and every day because this area across from Coconut Point is a temporary disaster material site run by FEMA.

Local hauling crews throughout the community continue collecting pile after pile, stack after stack, from neighborhoods and bring them to the temporary site. Eventually, it will be taken to a proper disposal site where it will be gone for good.

WINK News spoke with Estero resident Jack Raynal who shared his thoughts about the range of debris.

“It’s just part of going through the hurricane right? it’s part of living here. It’s gotta go somewhere until they’re able to pack it up and take it away to where it’s ultimately going to go, so it’s just part of part of living here and dealing with hurricanes,” Raynal said. “It doesn’t bother me, I mean if it’s if it’s eight months later and it’s still there, then that’s something else.”

Workers at the site told WINK News debris is only held on-site temporarily. As early as Saturday, crews will begin collecting it to move the cliffs of debris to a proper disposal site.

WINK News was told the vegetative piles will be mulched up and it’s likely the piles of trash will end up in a landfill.

Copyright ©2024 Fort Myers Broadcasting. All rights reserved.

This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without prior written consent.