By JB Clark
TUPELO – With the first phase of debris removal nearing completion in the city, Mayor Jason Shelton said the second phase will rely on the general public helping homeowners move the rest of their debris to the curb.
“We’re going to keep working until the job is done,” Shelton said of the city’s debris removal efforts. “But if there isn’t debris they can remove, there is nothing for them to do.”
Debris removal trucks are restricted to the roadways, meaning they can only remove debris that’s within 10 feet of the road.
Heavy rainfall over the last week has delayed the completion of phase one of debris removal. Each street in the affected areas has been reached but not yet each individual property.
Monday, Sens. Thad Cochran and Roger Wicker, along with Congressmen Bennie Thompson, Gregg Harper, Alan Nunnelee and Steven Palazzo, made a request to the Federal Emergency Management Agency and Mississippi Emergency Management Agency asking for Personal Property Debris Removal program authorization.
The PPDR would allow debris removal services contracted by the city to go onto private property to help with cleanup.
“These are the big items, the oak tree you and your family can’t move on your own,” Shelton said.
Shelton added if the PPDR program is approved, something he seemed optimistic about, property owners will need to sign a waiver and the large equipment used for the debris removal will likely leave landscaping damage. However, it’s another debris removal service available to those affected by the April 28 storm.
As of Tuesday, 202,010 cubic yards of debris has been removed from tornado-affected areas in Tupelo.