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Debris and Trash Removal
Broward County > Hurricane > A-Z Hurricane Guide > Debris and Trash Removal

  Before The Event     During The Event     After The Event     Resources  

After the Event

(See Also Trees)

Top Tips For Residents

  • The most important thing to remember with debris removal is to be patient! Clearing up all of Broward County after a hurricane is a shared responsibility of Broward County and its municipalities.
  • Guidelines for debris pick-up vary by municipality based on hauler contracts.
  • Haulers may be working in excess of 10 hours per day to meet the demand for their services. Your trash and debris may not be picked up immediately, but if it is properly bundled, it will eventually be removed.
  • The first priority (or first pass) in disaster debris collection is for the collection of vegetative debris. Vegetative debris should be cut and stacked at the curb, separate from regular garbage and building debris.
  • Subsequent passes may include building debris and other materials. Check with your municipality for specifics.
  • The collection of debris may cause temporary road closures on narrow neighborhood streets while heavy equipment is used to remove downed trees. Residents are asked to be patient during these temporary disruptions of traffic flow.
  • Damaged or fallen trees on private property are the responsibility of the resident or property owner. Any plantings in public right(s)-of-way and swale areas are the responsibility of the local city or County.
  • Place debris piles on the swales, away from mailboxes, trees, power lines, fire hydrants, storm drains, etc.
  • If you reside in a gated community, contact your homeowners' association or management company.
  • Listen for updates through the local media or other communication channels used in your city or community.
Definitions 
  • Building debris – miscellaneous items from building exteriors including roof shingles, doors, screens, etc.
  • Building contents – miscellaneous items from building interiors including furniture, appliances, cabinets, etc.
  • Disaster debris – scattered items and materials broken, destroyed, or displaced in a disaster
  • Passes – pick up of debris in a particular area
  • Regular garbage - food waste and other discarded or useless materials
  • Right(s)-of-Way ( ROW) - the strip of land over which a public road is built; the land used by a public utility (as for a transmission line)
  • Swale – the grassy area near the curbside
  • Vegetative debris  – trees, shrubs, plants and limbs and yard waste
Disposing of Debris

Sorting Debris

  • Residents can expedite the clean-up process by properly separating debris into:
    • Yard debris
    • Building debris and building contents (fences, roof materials, screens, windows, carpets, etc.
    • Regular garbage and trash
  • Debris should be placed at curbside, away from fire hydrants, trees, power lines, mailboxes, and valves or other items that could be damaged or restrict collection.

Yard Debris

Debris pick-up schedules will vary by city and unincorporated area. Check news bulletins. Information will be available as schedules are announced. Generally, to clear yards of debris, you should:

  • Cut fallen tree limbs into sections of 4 feet or less.
  • Stack material neatly at the curbside, separated from garbage.
  • Put smaller or loose items (limbs, leaves, etc.) into tightly-lidded containers such as garbage cans or clear plastic bags.
  • Bundle piles of smaller branches with twine. Containers or bundles should not weigh more than 50 pounds.
Building Debris / Building Contents
  • Besides vegetative debris, there may be piles of broken building materials after a disaster, including roof tiles, broken framework, torn screens (building debris) as well as damaged furniture or carpets (building contents).
  • Keep building debris and building contents separate from vegetative material and regular garbage.
  • Special collection arrangement may be required or alternate disposal locations designated.

Many apartment buildings, condominiums, commercial buildings and homes were constructed with materials containing asbestos. Building owners/managers are advised to contact a Florida licensed asbestos consultant, as soon as possible, to survey damaged structures and equipment, and to determine the extent of contamination and the safest disposal method.

Building owners/ managers are advised that the existence of a natural disaster does not relieve owners/managers from their obligation to comply with the federal asbestos regulations, including work practice standards.

The public is advised to exercise caution when handling suspect asbestos containing materials. If possible, the materials should be kept wet and promptly bagged for disposal at an approved disposal site.

To learn more about the dangers of asbestos and proper disposal procedures, see the video After the Storm Passes, visit the Asbestos Program page or call 954-519-1260.

Debris Safety Guidelines   

  • Make sure debris does not block storm drains, cover or block access to fire hydrants, block right(s)-of-way or block pedestrian traffic.
  • Keep children away from debris piles. They can be full of broken glass, nails, jagged wood, and other sharp items, and children can easily get injured playing in, around, or on them. The debris piles may also contain rodents or bugs, raising the possibility of nasty bites.
  • Watch children carefully when heavy equipment is in the area and debris removal operations are taking place. Small children may not be easily seen by equipment operators.
  • Move your car from the debris pile area. This will make it easier for the equipment operator to pick up the materials and will reduce the possibility of damage to your vehicle.
  • Drive carefully when behind debris-loaded trucks. Materials can easily fly out causing an accident or driving hazard. Leave a safe distance between your car and the truck.
  • Keep all open flames and lit cigarettes away from debris piles as they may contain flammable materials.


Updated June 2013


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