Collier County debris removal update: Enough to "fill more than 10,000 pickleball courts"
Clean-up efforts from Hurricane Ian have hit a milestone in Collier County.
On Monday, the county announced the removal of 1 million cubic yards of hurricane debris. That's of all types — across the county, including in the cities of Naples and Marco Island, as well as in the hard-hit Isles of Capri.
In a news release, the county said the collections to date are enough to "fill more than 10,000 pickleball courts to the top of the net."
The comparison seems only fitting, as Collier is widely regarded as the pickleball capital of the world, as the host of the annual U.S. Open Pickleball Championships.
Nearly 20,000 truckloads of debris have been removed by the county's hired contractor AshBritt Inc.
That includes 10,000 loads collected in the double trucks with the claws, said Evelyn Longa, a public information officer for Collier County Public Utilities, in an email.
More than 200 trucks are working from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. seven days a week to get the city and county cleaned up, will the goal of reaching "substantial completion" by Thanksgiving, now just weeks away.
Removal has been at a record pace, compared to past storms.
“We are thrilled to have reached this milestone and realize there is much more to do. We are moving mountains to get our community cleaned up," said Kari Hodgson, director of the county's Solid and Hazardous Waste Management Division, in a statement.
She encouraged property owners who still have debris at the curb to be patient.
"If you have not seen us yet, we will be there soon," Hodgson said.
The focus has been on areas where there is "an immediate threat to health and safety," as well as on public streets.
The county noted it's still waiting for FEMA approval to enter gated communities and private roads with restricted access for debris removal, but pointed out communities may use their own insurance or contractor for the work.
Residents can also take their waste from Ian to four recycling drop-off centers.
The centers are open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday. They're located at:
- 990 Chalmer Dr., Marco Island
- 2640 Corporate Flight Rd., Naples
- 825 39th Ave.N.E., Naples (near the county fairgrounds)
- 700 Stockade Rd., Immokalee
The county is recycling far more than palm fronds and tree trunks from the storm.
"Vegetation will be repurposed, appliances may be recycled and other material is transported to different facilities throughout Florida for processing," Longa said.
For a real-time look, the county's dashboard on debris removal can be found here: colliercountyfl.gov/government/public-utilities/solid-hazardous-waste/hurricane-preparedness.