FEMA and the USACE Debris Planning and Response Team are working together in nine locations around the island to haul away the waste. (Photo Credit: CNN)
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) is working to recycle materials including metal and wood chips as it removes debris in Puerto Rico.
FEMA and the USACE Debris Planning and Response Team are working together in nine locations around the island to haul away the waste. In the city of Ponce, alone, more than 48 trucks have removed at least 3,700 loads of debris, Recycling Today reported. Ponce is estimated to have enough debris to fill Yankee Stadium two feet high— more than 100,000 cu. yds.
"We have been actively removing debris from Ponce since Oct. 23," said Jasmine Smith, debris mission manager from the New Orleans District. "We have removed more than 76,000 cu. yds. via curbside pickup and temporary disposal sites.”
According to John Fogarty, debris subject matter expert from the New Orleans District, USACE believes there will be more than 3 million cu. yds. of vegetative debris from Hurricane Maria. Of that, around 630,000 cu. yds. will be reused as compost, landfill cover and slope protection, among other things, Recycling Today reported.
"There is an estimated 1.3 million cubic yards of construction and demolition debris such as lumber and household furniture which will yield approximately one million pounds of recyclable metals," said Fogarty.
What's more, USACE has estimated that there will be about 9,000 appliances in the debris, which could add up to about 500,000 lbs. of recycled metals. USACE has joined with the EPA to ensure Freon is removed from refrigerators, freezers and air conditioners, said Fogarty.
So far, the Debris Planning and Response Team has removed a total of 284,000 cu. yds. of debris, Recycling Today reported.