Breaking News
More () »

'Nobody asked for this': Debris left by Hurricane Ian in Polk County could take months to be cleared

It's such a large operation, a county official said.

BARTOW, Fla. — In Polk County, they’re asking for patience as it now looks like it could be three to four months before debris left over from Hurricane Ian finally gets cleared away.

County workers say there’s just so much debris — so widespread — they believe it could take until the end of the year to get rid of it.

Earlier this year, Polk County had issues with its contracted trash hauler FCC Environmental Services, but they say this task is being handled by a completely different company concentrating specifically on debris removal.

Workers are using a grid to crisscross the county, concentrating on removing the biggest items first, then retracing those routes later to clean up the smaller items.

“Nobody asked for this. It is a large operation,” Deputy County Manager Ryan Taylor said. “It’s 70+ units, plus what the cities are doing, plus with the county is doing to try to make this cleanup go as quickly as possible — so that everybody can get back to normal as soon as they can.”

The county has also opened three no-cost drop-off sites for folks who can haul their own debris. But those are strictly for Polk County residents only with valid ID and not for commercial haulers.

Polk Citizen debris drop-off sites:

  • Highland City - 5901 Strickland Ave
  • NE Polk - 9500 Marigold Ave
  • NW Polk - Mt. Tabor Road near North Galloway road

Before You Leave, Check This Out