Tuesday, May 18, 2021

‘We’ll Be Here Until We’re Not Needed’

Since Hurricane Irma exited Southwest Florida the question most often asked is, “When is all the debris going to be picked up?” No one is more aware of that than Marco Island city staff and members of the city council, as they respond daily to residents. That chore is being handled by AshBritt Environmental, Inc.

To better understand the process and the timeline for the removal of debris, AshBritt’s Chairman of the Board, Randal Perkins addressed the city council on Monday evening. Perkins thanked council for his company’s opportunity to serve the residents of Marco Island and gave a short history of his company, which formed almost 25 years ago as part of a response to Hurricane Andrew, the Category 5 storm which slammed into the Miami-Dade County area in 1992.

Perkins was accompanied by his daughter Brittney, who serves as the chief executive officer for the company and Matt Gierden, a vice president of the company. Gierden is managing the response for the Deerfield Beach based disaster recovery specialists.

Perkins explained that they had twelve hauling units assigned to the island and that number would be expanded to twenty in the next 24 to 48 hours. An additional five units would be added by the end of next week. He estimated 50,000 cubic yards of waste had been picked up and 300,000 is left to be removed before their job is done.

Perkins felt the job would be “substantially completed” by Thanksgiving, but cautioned that there probably would be what he referred to as “hot spots” to be dealt with as residents return and put waste out.

Perkins also sought to clarify statements about “mixed waste piles.” Those are piles consisting of both landscaping debris and construction debris. He assured the council that all of the debris would be removed by the completion of their job, regardless of the mix of the material.

“We will be here until the city no longer needs us,” he said, in response to Council Chairman Larry Honig’s inquiries of when they would be done.

Perkins went on to compliment the working relationship between his company, the city staff and Waste Management, as they all have been working in a collaborative effort to address the recovery from the storm. “I can’t stress enough the excellent cooperation we’ve had across the board,” said Perkins.

Photos by Steve Stefanides

Chairman of the Board Randal Perkins addresses council.

Matt Gierden, V.P. of AshBritt Environmental answers citizens’ questions.

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