The Emerald Coast Utilities Authority’s Materials Recycling Facility at the Perdido Landfill sustained approximately $800,000 in storm damage and is expected to be out of service for four to six weeks.
The $10.6 million facility known as the MRF was completed in 2016, and last year alone, it processed more than 49,000 tons of recyclables.
Winds and rain from Hurricane Sally damaged the outer shell of the facility, and ECUA recycling programs are being suspended until the facility is back in operation. Collected recyclables will go into the landfill in the interim.
“We are extremely committed to getting our program up and running as soon as possible,” said ECUA spokeswoman Nathalie Bowers on Thursday, adding that contractors were moving quickly and already making visible progress on repairing the MRF.
Damage from Hurricane Sally at the Emerald Coast Utilities Authority’s Materials Recycling Facility at the Perdido Landfill in Pensacola on Thursday, Sept. 24, 2020. (Photo: Gregg Pachkowskifirstname.lastname@example.org)
Bowers said the utility is working to determine if it might be possible to collect and store recyclables somewhere on their sites until the MRF is repaired. She also suggested that if customers have the space in their households, they could potentially separate and store their clean recyclables until the recycling facility is back online.
Overall, ECUA’s preliminary estimate of storm-associated recovery costs is about $6.3 million. The total includes impacts to facilities and structures, as well as costs such as lab fees and employee overtime.
While there was no extreme damage to any of ECUA’s nearly 400 lift stations, a significant number of them will require cleanup or maintenance such as debris removal and maintenance to electrical panels, mechanical components and pumping equipment. The are also an array of sewer line, water main and valve replacements in the utility’s queue.
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The boardwalk at the ECUA Bayou Marcus Water Reclamation Facility was not severely damaged by Hurricane Sally but is impassable due to a significant amount of downed trees and vegetation. Consequently, the boardwalk is now closed to public access while inspections and assessments are performed, and the considerable cleanup effort is completed.
Otherwise, in terms of services to the public, ECUA’s operations are inching back toward normalcy. All boil water notices have been rescinded, and sanitation collection is back on a normal schedule for garbage collection in Escambia and Santa Rosa counties.
Yard waste collections are limited, and ECUA asks that customers bag their yard waste or place it in a designated yard waste can. The utility is using yard waste trucks to collect excess bagged garbage, and garbage trucks are being used to pick up and empty garbage cans.
ECUA has also resumed pickup of usual bulk items if they are placed at the curb. The utility stressed this is for usual bulk household items and not for household storm debris.
Storm debris collection is being coordinated and picked up by contractors working on behalf of Escambia and Santa Rosa counties. Storm debris includes:
- Vegetative debris such as whole trees, tree stumps, tree branches, tree trunks and other leafy material
- Construction and demolition debris such damaged components of buildings and materials such as lumber, wall board, glass, metal, roofing materials, tile, furnishings and fixtures
- Appliances and electronics such as refrigerators, freezers, air conditioners, heat pumps, ovens, washing machines, clothes dryers, water heaters, computers, televisions and office electronic equipment
For the most up-to-date information on ECUA services visit ecua.fl.gov/advisories.
Kevin Robinson can be reached at email@example.com or 850-435-8527.
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