DOUGHERTY CO., GA (WALB) - Friday is the final day the US Army Corps of Engineers will be out picking up Hurricane Michael debris throughout Dougherty County, more than three months after the storm ripped through Southwest Georgia.
As phase one for Dougherty County’s storm debris removal comes to an end Friday, public works and the Corps of Engineers leaders reflect on what’s been accomplished and what’s next.
Larry Cook, Dougherty County Public Works Director, said it’s crucial people are placing the proper debris in the right of way.
“Any kind of green material needs to be separated from the pile of debris from Hurricane Michael. Just need to keep that separate where we can identify that and make it eligible debris,” explained Cook.
Just off Gillionville Road in Albany is where the US Army Corps of Engineers brings vegetative debris from 13 counties to store it and turn it into mulch.
“We’ve collected debris from all around this area, brought it into this site. It was then reduced from debris to chips. The mulch you see behind us...then that mulch will be sent to a lot of different places for a lot of different uses," said Stephen Peterson, Lieutenant Colonel, US Army Corps of Engineers.
One of those places will be Chehaw.
“We’re going to be taking about 16,000 cubic yards over to Chehaw Park. Two of their 800 acres is going to be used to store this for re-use within the park, for the animals and for general use in the area," said Peterson.
Some of the mulch will also go to biomass facilities or power generation.
Peterson said pointing to piles of mulch, "What you see right here is really a result of a devastating event is actually going to be something that’s turned into something really good reuse of our natural materials.”
He said there’s about a million cubic yards of mulch coming from the debris of 13 counties in Southwest Georgia, including Dougherty, Baker and Seminole, which were some of the hardest hit.
“After that the county is prepared, ready and staged to go into their own contract with FEMA reimbursables included. And we’ll go into that contract probably at the end of this month, the first of next month at the latest," stated Cook.
Peterson said Dougherty County has been the fourth largest county for debris removal in Southwest Georgia. Seminole County was the largest.