Debris piling up Augusta Fairgrounds may not be a bad thing

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Sunday, March 2, 2014


AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- Debris still sits on curbs, but crews are working to clean it up. One by one trucks came here, to the Augusta Fairgrounds dropping debris into a pile.

"From Katrina, to Ike, to Sandy," said Ralph Natale.

And now to Augusta. Ralph Natale does response and recovery for Leidos. A contracting company hired by the city. He monitors where clean-up is still needed, and follows trucks to ensure work is done and documented for reimbursement by FEMA.

"We expect a disaster declaration by FEMA by next week," said Natale.

They have about 70 crews out working and they aren't done just yet, but Natale says not to worry and that all the debris will be cleared out.

Trucks have been coming through all day just adding to this massive pile. Workers say there's 35 to 40 thousand cubic yards of debris so far, and they're expected to be out cleaning up for 30 more days.

"We expect another 150 to 200 hundred thousand cubic yards that has to be collected," said Natale.

Destruction from the storm has actually created jobs. Those with Leidos say they have to hire locally, and have employed about 100 people in Augusta. Some new hires were out for training today and others were there to apply.

"I didnt realize it was so massive," said Charles Pair.

Today is Charles Pair's first day on the job. He came out of retirement just to help get Augusta back on its feet.

"With all the clean-up going on I just wanted to help out any way I could," said Pair.

With mounds of debris, the question is what will they do with all of it?

"To the local landfill for beneficial use. Land cover, recycling, mulch, dirt that's where the debris is going," said Natale.

Those with Leidos say they've seen plans to have a location where people can get free mulch.

People can still put debris out on their curb for pick up. The city will announce a final pass where people will have their last chance to get it out there.

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