SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico -- "USACE is a mission driven organization completely focused and dedicated to meeting its objective in the fastest and most efficient manner," said Maj. Manuel Orozco, Recovery Field Office commander. "We came to help the people of Puerto Rico and an additional task is always welcome."

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, originally tasked by FEMA with collecting 3.9 million cubic yards of debris, will accommodate the additional requests made by the Department of Education of Puerto Rico, the Puerto Rico Ports Authority, and the Department of Natural and Environmental Resources of Puerto Rico which brings the mission total to 4.15 million cubic yards.

"The original 3.9 million cubic yards was a modeled estimate for the work to be done within the assigned municipalities, and did not include the requests that came in from additional state agencies" said Kayla Stull, debris mission manager. "We knew it was possible for the estimates to change as we approached mission completion, and we were prepared to take on the additional amounts."

The USACE debris mission includes removing 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. To date, the contractors working for the Corps have removed over 3.9 million cubic yards of debris in 27 of the 55 municipalities that requested assistance.