Local departments ask for patience

Published 12:00 am Thursday, September 1, 2005

REGION-All over the City of Demopolis cleanup efforts were underway almost as quickly s hurricane Katrina left. The city’s public works department has already begun widespread cleanups and hopes to be close to their goal by the weekend.

Arrow Disposal has also begun cleanups in Linden and will soon work their way North.

Mike Baker, Public Works Superintendent for the City of Demopolis, said his workers have been very busy the past couple of days and have made a dent in the debris.

“We’re progressing,” Baker said. “We have got everybody on schedule and out in different areas trying to maintain what we have. We have been out to the areas that were hit hardest like the areas South of Highway 80 and we are doing our best to get those areas cleaned up.”

Baker said several trees have already been removed and anticipates many more.

“We have removed a bunch of trees and a lot of the heavier stuff,” Baker said. “Now we are trying to take up everything we can so people can put more out.”

The most important thing people can do is to be patient according to Baker. He said there was a lot of debris to be removed, but they would get to each area as fast as they can.

“We are just asking people to be patient,” Baker said. “We know sometimes it may look like we haven’t picked something up because there will be lots of debris by the side of the road. But that is because of the volume of debris we are looking at.”

Baker said he was extremely proud of the work the people of his department have been able to accomplish and said they plan to keep up their tireless pace during the coming weeks until things are back to normal.

Thomas Broaderway, District Manager for Arrow Disposal, said his workers are also back on track and working hard.

“We will be in Linden Wednesday and Demopolis Thursday and Friday as normally scheduled,” Broaderway said. “We will do one part of town one day and the other another.”

Broaderway said they would work just as they did during Ivan until all trash has been picked up.

“We are going to get it cleaned up just like we did the last time,” Broaderway said. “We just ask that people be patient.”

Aside from debris, power outages have been the biggest problem. Sumter County has felt the pain of power outages more than most counties in the Black Belt. However, Alabama Power representatives say the number of outages is expected to fall throughout the day.

Audrey Vaughn, a representative of Alabama Power, said they are against large numbers.

“We are making progress,” Vaughn said. “As far as Sumter County we had 1,219 people without power in Livingston and 1,363 in York as of 10 a.m.”

Vaughn said they have help on the way, which will help tremendously.

“We are making progress as we get additional resources,” Vaughn said. “We expect to make a dent in those numbers very soon.”

Alabama Power crews on Wednesday were also continuing efforts to restore power to customers affected by Hurricane Katrina. The devastating storm caused extensive damage to company infrastructure after passing through the state on Monday and Tuesday.

At 4 a.m. Wednesday, 335,036 customers were without power statewide, down from a peak of 636,891.

Initial assessments indicated that the storm caused more damage to the Alabama Power system than Hurricane Ivan, which left more than 825,000 customers without power in September 2004.

Restoration of power following Ivan took eight days. In comparison, restoration efforts following Hurricane Frederic, which left 239,400 customers without power in 1979, took 21 days.

Although crews have already restored power to nearly half the customers who lost power during Katrina, company officials warn that remaining outages may take longer to restore.

The company has commitments from utilities as far away as New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Ohio and Oklahoma to support our restoration efforts.

However, resources are limited and are also needed in hard hit areas in Mississippi, Louisiana and Florida, which could potentially extend outages here.