— The sight of blue-tarp patches on rooftops and debris piled high along neighborhood curbs is familiar in eastern Limestone County.
Residents of East Limestone, Capshaw and Harvest were still recovering from the devastating April 27, 2011, tornado outbreak when a March 2 tornado hit residents about a half-mile from the previous path.
Four weeks after that EF3 touched down, piles of bricks, shingles, toilets, appliances, mattresses as well as tree limbs and shrubs are stacked by curbs in Claymille Estates, Cumberland subdivision, along Mooresville, Pepper, Menefee and Nick Davis roads and in Eagle Point subdivision.
This time, no government aid is available to help residents pay for debris cleanup and removal. The damage was not costly enough to qualify for federal aid and Limestone County does not have funds for disaster aid. However, county commissioners did vote to use grant funds to remove and burn vegetative debris.
Otherwise, residents will be required to have cleanup covered by their insurance companies or pay for removal themselves.
However, officials with Keep Athens-Limestone Beautiful remind residents they can bring a truckload of tornado debris to the transfer station on U.S. 72 at no cost on Saturday. Free loads will be accepted from 7 a.m.-noon at the tan metal building near the intersection of Seven Mile Post Road.
“The dump will accept a pickup truck or trailer load of trash from each resident, so tornado debris is included in that as long as the restrictions are followed,” said Lynne Hart, executive coordinator with KALB.
Residents should bring a photo ID and a utility bill in case proof of residency is required. No contractors will be allowed to dump free.
Hart said she hopes residents will remember to recycle any items they can before bringing the rest to the dump. A list of recyclable items can be found at keepathenslimestonebeautiful.com. Recyclables can be taken to 5896 Lucas Ferry Road from 7:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesdays-Fridays, except during lunch from 11:30-12:30 daily. Call 256-233-8746 for more information.
Here are some restrictions for Free Dump Day:
• Only four automobile tires will be accepted per load.
• No appliances with compressors (air conditioners, freezers, refrigerators) unless the compressor has been removed from the appliance or is accompanied by a certificate indicating the Freon has been professionally removed.
• No medical or hazardous waste will be accepted. Find a full list at keepathenslimestonebeautiful.com/free-dump-day.
The Limestone County Commission may award a bid Monday to remove vegetative debris in East Limestone caused by the March 2 tornadoes.
County Engineer Richard Sanders said at least six contractors attended a recent pre-bid meeting, though their presence was not required to be considered for the job.
He reiterated that cleanup would include vegetative debris only and should be left in a spot that can be accessed from the road. He said debris piles left in driveways would not be picked up and urged against putting debris in ditches as it could impact drainage.
The commission approved an agreement at its last meeting to temporarily use a debris drop-off site near the Limestone Correctional Facility in Capshaw. Sanders said the chosen contractor could use that site or one of his or her own choosing to burn or mulch the debris.
The awarded contract must be completed within 30 days and will include two passes through the affected area. Once the commission approves the agreement, the contractor will have to be bonded and certification related to the immigration law will have to be completed.
Sanders estimated cleanup work would begin within two weeks after county approval.
“I’m glad to do something about the debris,” said Commission Chairman Stanley Menefee. “I just hope we don’t have any more bad storms.”