Debris not organized properly by contracted company

Writer: Paul Dolan
Published: Updated:
Black trash bags filled with debris. CREDIT: WINK News

If you put your debris in black trash bags it won’t get picked up, that’s because FEMA won’t reimburse the county for that trash.

The agency explained that the black trash bags get caught in machines.

You have to put your items in three separate piles, vegetative, construction debris, and appliances. And you should not tie them up and not bag them.

The county is going to have to come in and slice the bags open separating everything themselves. One of the items commonly separated is insulation.

Insulation needs to be put into clear bags so that FEMA can pick them up, but everywhere you look in the neighborhood you see those black plastic bags filled with insulation.

WINK News learned on Thursday that not only are residents putting insulation into the black trash bags, but the licensed companies that are hired to pick it up are also. The company employees were unaware there was a rule of putting insulation into clear bags.

Laurie Talarico is the homeowners association secretary and shared some thoughts about the situation with WINK News.

“We have a lot of dark bags that are going to have to be sliced open when the county picks them up,” Talarico said.

But, there was something that Talarico wasn’t aware of until after Hurricane Ian hit Southwest Florida.

“I’m finding out today that it needs to be in clear plastic bags so that the county can see what’s inside of them,” Talarico said.

Talarico and many others who live on Old South Way in North Iona had their insulation packed into black garbage bags and placed outside but…

“You would have thought that the company pulling the insulation out and bagging it would have known,” Talarico said.

Meaning, Talarico and her neighbors didn’t bag the insulation themselves, a third-party company did.

Black trash bags in Iona with debris inside. CREDIT: WINK News

So, a contracted company, that came from out of the area and said they’re experienced, didn’t do the work in accordance with county and federal policy?

WINK News tracked down the company while they were working in the area and one of the workers showed, on camera, that’s exactly what they’re doing.

The workers went on to say they were not aware of the county’s rule even though they have been working in the area for over a week. Therefore, it would seem likely to believe that they’ve been using black plastic bags for over a week.

After going down the street, WINK News saw workers from the same company wrapping insulation into heavy black tarps rather than clear plastic bags.

Black trash bags line the streets in Iona. CREDIT: WINK News

Nevertheless, for the time being, residents in the area simply want things done the right way so the bags can get out of the way.

“Well, obviously, we want them gone,” Talarico said. “Because, you know, it just reminds us that we’re in a disaster.”

WINK News reached out to the company for comment, but they have not gotten back to us.

Copyright ©2024 Fort Myers Broadcasting. All rights reserved.

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