SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO - The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) debris collection and management efforts in Puerto Rico reached the 3,000,000 cubic yard of debris collected milestone today.

"I am proud hard work and coordination of everyone involved to reach this milestone," said Lt. Col. Roberto Solorzano, Puerto Rico Recovery Field Office Commander. "While we still have more debris to collect, we continue to work with municipalities to schedule last pass dates for debris pick-up, signifying a transition to the next phase of recovery here in Puerto Rico."

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) tasked USACE to collect 3.9 million cubic yards of debris from 55 participating municipalities in Puerto Rico, and reaching this milestone means our USACE/contractor team is over three-quarters of the way toward accomplishing that mission assignment.

The debris missions includes vegetation brought down by storms, and final disposal of marine debris, construction and demolition materials, and "white goods," which includes household appliances like refrigerators and washing machines. Contractors are collecting and moving the debris to one of 33 temporary debris sites.

Grinders at eight temporary debris sites are mulching the vegetation, and continues to work with municipalities, state agencies, and commercial farmers to find additional beneficial-use solutions to dispose of the mulch, reducing the amount of material headed to landfills. Other materials are sent to recycling centers, and the remainder of material is hauled to Environmental Protection Agency approved landfills across the island.

The USACE team is physically complete with debris collection and management work in four municipalities: Hormigueros, Florida, Farjardo, and Vega Baja.

The Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and 23 municipalities that opted out of the federal debris collection effort are responsible for the remaining approximately 2.3 million cubic yards of storm debris.