Gov. Beshear: Debris removal ramping up in flood disaster area

The community in Knott County came together to help clean up flood damage.
The community in Knott County came together to help clean up flood damage.(WAVE News)
Published: Aug. 12, 2022 at 2:02 PM CDT
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EASTERN Ky. (KFVS) - Governor Andy Beshear say the flooding recovery process has entered a new phase with the beginning of widespread debris removal.

“We are taking a giant stride toward recovery from this disaster,” the governor said. “Though much hard work lies ahead of us, the start of debris removal is a major step toward helping our fellow Kentuckians, who have suffered so much, recover and rebuild.”

According to the governor’s office, a national company, AshBritt, was awarded a contract by the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet for removal of debris from state right of way in the 13-county flood disaster area. Local governments were offered the opportunity to join in the contract for clearing of county right of way as well.

Eleven of the 13 counties covered by President Biden’s disaster declaration have opted to join in the contract: Breathitt, Clay, Floyd, Johnson, Knott, Leslie, Letcher, Martin, Owsley, Perry and Pike.

“We at the Transportation Cabinet stand ready to take a load off the shoulders of the local governments in the flood disaster area,” KYTC Secretary Jim Gray said. “Removing debris not only helps remove safety hazards along roadways and households, it’s a key step in the road to recovery as Kentuckians seek a fresh start from the aftermath of the storms.”

Beshear said the first truck was deployed on Saturday, Aug. 6 in Whitesburg in Letcher County and by Thursday, Aug. 11, 429 loads had been collected in Breathitt, Floyd, Knott, Letcher, Perry and Pike counties.

As of Friday, the company has deployed 43 trucks and crews in those six counties to continue debris removal, with a focus on engaging Kentucky contractors.

Under the cabinet’s contract with AshBritt, he said residents can place most types of flood debris on right of way in front of their homes for pickup by AshBritt trucks and crews. Debris eligible for pickup includes:

  • Construction and demolition materials – non-recyclable building construction materials such as drywall, asphalt shingles, sinks/tubs, floor tiles, etc.; non-recyclable building contents and personal property, such as carpeting/rugs, furniture and clothing.
  • Electronic waste – electrical or electronic devices such as TVs, computers, printers, radios and small appliances.
  • Household hazardous waste – paints, cleaners, oils, batteries, pesticides, etc. Must be in a secured container and not leaking in any way.
  • White goods – large appliances such as stoves, refrigerators, freezers, washing machines and driers. Residents are cautioned to follow local government guidelines for disposal of refrigerators, which must be free of rotted food if placed outside for pickup.
  • Vegetative materials – debris from trees, limbs, brush, leaves.

According to the governor’s office, the contract does not cover ordinary household trash and recyclables or bagged debris of any kind. This is not a substitute for regular trash pickup.

As a safety note, they say the AshBritt debris collection trucks typically are large vehicles with trailers. In many areas they will have to operate from a traffic lane.

Drivers are advised to use caution by slowing down and giving them plenty of room on the roads.

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