By Major Catalina Carrasco (USACE)May 18, 2018
SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO -- The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' debris collection and management efforts in Puerto Rico reached a milestone May 15, by reaching 4,000,000 cubic yard of debris collected.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency tasked USACE to collect 4.15 million cubic yards, the equivalent of 1,258 Olympic-sized swimming pools, of debris in 55 participating municipalities in Puerto Rico due to impacts caused by last year's Hurricane Maria.
"The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has yet again reached another epic milestone by removing 4 million cubic yards of debris, since the disaster occurred," said MAJ Manuel Orozco, Puerto Rico Recovery Field Office Commander. "Our commitment continues to be strong in helping the people of Puerto Rico and to aid them as they continue to recover from the effects of this devastating storm."
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 10 temporary debris reduction sites.
Grinders at eight temporary debris reduction 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.
USACE and its contractor team have physically completed debris collection and management work in 30 of the tasked municipalities.
Corps of Engineers debris management efforts across Puerto Rico are nearly complete and on schedule to be finished June 2018.