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By Erin Smith

As residents are working to recover from the devastating effects of Hurricane Florence, many Bladen County residents were surprised when they carried debris to the Bladen County Solid Waste Transfer Station and had to pay a fee.

Kip McClarey, General Services Manager for Bladen County, said the fee is not a new fee, nor is it an extra fee.

“There are no extra fees. The fees being charged are the fees that are typically charged for construction debris and demolition debris; that has always been charged,” said McClarey.

He said the reason Bladen County charges for the service, is because everything that is delivered to the transfer station is transported by truck to Sampson County.

“We (Bladen County) have to pay a disposal fee and transport costs,” said McClarey.

He said the charges the residents are seeing are for the building and demolition debris. They are not charged for the leaf and limb debris.

McClarey said the county has always charged a fee for disposing of construction and demolition debris.

“We were told by State Emergency Management officials if we waive the fees, it could affect whether or not FEMA will reimburse the county for clean up,” said McClarey.

He added there is a possibility if the County commissioners waive the fees, they could be in violation of NC General Statutes. McClarey said Bladen County Manager Greg Martin has been in contact with NC Emergency Management Officials and FEMA trying to determine if there is a way the county can legally waive the fees.

McClarey said one thing residents can do to avoid paying the fees is to separate and neatly pile their debris near the roadside  and allow the NC Department of Transportation to pick it up. The debris needs to be divided into construction and demolition debris, leaf and limb debris, and metal and appliances. Governor Roy Cooper adopted a resolution following Hurricane Florence instructing NC DOT to remove debris from the sides of the roadways.

McClarey said NC DOT will transport the debris at no cost.

The town of Clarkton’s Public Works Department has recently gotten approval for reimbursement from FEMA for the cleanup.

Clarkton Public Works Director, Chris Hall, said the town has requested Waste Management to place two 40-foot construction dumpsters in the town to help facilitate the debris removal process. Hall said one dumpster will be placed on Elmhurst Street, and the other dumpster will be placed on Shurmach Street.

He also stated Waste Management has been “running behind schedule due to the storm.” Hall assured that as soon as the dumpsters are delivered to Clarkton, Public Works will begin removal of the storm debris.

Hall said the town has rented an excavator and will begin picking up and removing the construction debris first, then they will return and pick up the appliances and metal.

“We were waiting to try and do it all at one time,” said Hall.

Waste Management is also contracted to pick up Clarkton’s leaf and limb debris. Hall said Waste Management is in the process of removing leaf and limb debris, and once they have picked up what their vehicles can handle, the Public Works staff will remove any remaining debris and haul it to the County site.

Hall said if everyone will try to have their debris on the side of the road and sort it by construction debris, appliances, metal, and leaf and limbs, the town will try to remove it in a timely manner.

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