DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – A massive debris drop-off site is growing on Harshman Road, and Dayton city officials are turning away the general public. They’re diverting them to a more manageable location while they wait for FEMA assistance to arrive.
A few contractors can drop-off at Harshman Road, but only “clean” debris like branches and logs. There are several piles at this location, and they’ll continue to grow until FEMA funding arrives.
The City of Dayton’s Director of Public Works Fred Stovall says, “We’re counting on FEMA to help us get rid of it.”
In the weeks since the Memorial Day tornado outbreak, the city has operated several public drop-off locations, including the main one on Wagner Ford Road.
Stovall says, “We kind of overwhelmed that site very quickly. So out of necessity we had to create a second site to start to collect storm debris. And that’s where this kind of came in to play.”
But the Harshman Road location is now closed to the public. Only private contractors can drop off debris right now.
“These are some trucks that we’re going to be detouring to the Wagner Ford site. These are commercial sites that are apparently working for residents cleaning debris from property. And that’s something we’re going to have to end.”
The city is screening the debris to make sure it’s biodegradable and suitable for mulching. Trees, branches, and logs are acceptable. Things like shingles, lumber, and glass windows, are not.
Stovall says, “Right now we’re trying to make sure this is clean debris, so this is all tornado and not construction debris, not even household items.”
The cost of labor to mulch the gigantic piles is expected to be substantial, so the city is holding off until they secure financial assistance from FEMA, which could take a while. “That’s the unanswered question. We’re in a holding pattern and waiting for that to come through.”
There’s no timetable for when or if FEMA will approve funding, so the piles could be here for a while. The Wagner Ford drop-off site is open to the public Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., and on Saturdays from 8:00 a.m. to noon.