The Nov. 17 tornado in Daviess County left behind a huge mess, but now, as the cleanup winds down local officials are beginning to get a better handle on just how big that mess was. Most of the debris created by the storm has now been picked up in the city and the county is in the process of wrapping up its removal efforts. Officials say the storm generated almost 200 tons of rubble and even more green debris.
“We’ve already taken in 93 loads of rubble at the landfill,” said President of the Daviess County Commissioners Tony Wichman. “We have waived the tipping fee to try and help with the cleanup.”
That amount does not include the tree limbs that were also brought down. “Tons of that kind of debris went to Solar Sources Antioch Mine,” said Wichman. “They have an agreement with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources to accept that debris, but it can only be green material. I would estimate another 40 loads went there.”
As big as those numbers are officials say they know they are not finished. “We had one large pile out behind the city’s Waste Water Treatment Plant that will also have to be moved,” said Daviess County Emergency Management Agency Director Paul Goss. “We put that there so that FEMA can take a look at it.”
For the most part the cleanup inside the city limits is done. “We had all kinds of help in the city,” said Washington Street Commissioner Ernie Evans. “We know there will be more to get, but we’ll pick up what’s left in our normal trash runs.”
One of the things that helped with the cleanup effort was the work of the volunteers. “We asked them to separate the tree limbs from the building rubble, and to also separate out the metal,” said Evans. “They weren’t perfect, but they did do a pretty good job of that and it helped us when we picked it up.”
Getting those tons of debris out of the city has been a big effort. “The state came in, the volunteers, and the community service guys from the county have really worked hard,” said Evans.
In fact the rubble removal has moved ahead enough that the city will begin doing leaf pick up in the area hit by the tornado. “We’ll be working with the leaf pick up in the area east of highway 57 south and south of the railroad tracks to the corporate limits.”
Both city and county officials say the cooperation has been a key to the cleanup and it is continuing. “The city has begun to move out into the county to assist there,” said Goss.
“We’re picking up out there along Cindy Kay Drive and some of those areas,” said Evans. “The county came in and helped us big time and we’re now helping them,” said Evans. “We’re all in this together.”
County officials are encouraging people with damage and debris from the storm to get it to the curb soon. County crews will be doing curbside pickups through Wednesday this week and then on Monday and Tuesday next week.
“We wanted to give people enough time to get it out to the curb,” said Wichman. “I’d say that if they have not done so yet, they would want to hurry up and get it done.”
Officials say they know it will still be some time before all of the mess becomes a memory. “A lot of the insurance type recovery and clean-up that involves demolition of still standing structures isn’t completed yet,” said Wichman. “We expect that to increase the amount in the coming weeks.”