Storm Cleanup Could Last Until June

Manning, SC (WLTX) -- We've seen 70 degree weather lately, but the clean up from the ice storm last month continues for many in the Midlands.

It's a massive operation that's estimated to be running into the hundreds of millions so far, but a federal disaster request signed by President Barack Obama Wednesday will help with those costs.

"We're trying to clean up from the storm as quickly as possible. We don't want to add to that should we get anymore severe weather in the coming weeks," said Derrec Becker, a spokesperson for the South Carolina Emergency Management Division.

Becker said his department had already paid an estimated $55 million in uninsured cleanup costs, which include things like damage to government buildings and the costs related to debris cleanup.

"Now that the FEMA team has arrived, the counties can begin to start processingand start disposing of all the debris," Becker said of the disaster declaration. It triggered a response by FEMA.

"We're looking at over a million cubic yards of the debris statewide," Becker said.

The declaration means that 21 of the state's 46 counties will be able to receive up to 75 percent of their uninsured fees back from the federal government.

In Clarendon County, one of the state's counties hit hardest by the storm, six debris removal sites have been set up for debris drop-off.

In all six locations, Clarendon County Emergency Services Director Anthony Mack estimates there could be as much as 35,000 cubic yards.

That number is expected to increase as debris will continue coming in.

"County wide, we're looking at approximately 75,000 to 80,000 cubic yards of debris," Mack said.

A lot of it will come from road clean up.

"State roads are actually about 20 percent cleared of debris," Mack said. "County roads, approximately 98 percent of debris."

The state's Department of Transportation is still working to clean up as well. More than 700 contract crews have already cleared about 4,300 miles of roads and highways.

Becker said the whole cleanup process could last into June at best.


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