Dorchester, Berkeley storm debris pickup

Dorchester County debris sites:

374 Sandy Pines Road, Dorchester

130 Suburban Lane (off Miles Jamison Road) in Summerville.

More information: 843-832-0393 or 843-832-0070.

Berkeley County debris sites: County convenience centers

More information: 843-572-4400 or bcwsa.com.

It might as well be a mountain.

Cleanup crews in Dorchester and Berkeley counties have ended up with three times as much debris than first thought from the February ice storm.

The combined estimate is now about 120,000 cubic yards. That's enough to fill about 3,000 dumpsters. The pile at Sandy Pines landfill in Dorchester County alone is up to 20 feet high.

A month after the storm, Berkeley County is about to begin a "final pass" pickup of streets and is estimating a total cost of up to $3 million. So far, the money has come from operating funds, said Supervisor Dan Davis, but the county might have to turn to emergency reserves.

Dorchester County on Friday approved spending as much as $2.5 million from its emergency reserves and will leave only about $3 million in that fund, which is set aside for disasters such as hurricanes.

Incongruously, about 20 percent of the money pays for monitoring and cataloguing the pickup in order to qualify for Federal Emergency Management Agency refunds that leaders hope will recoup most costs. Jason Powell, Dorchester County finance officer, told County Council recently it could be two years before they see that money.

"We're really at the mercy of FEMA as to how quickly they reimburse us," said Council Chairman Bill Hearn. "You hope and pray nothing will happen in the interim."

Mark Schlievert, Berkeley County solid waster director, said the work is about three-fourths complete. Hearn said two-thirds of the limb removal is done, but only about one-third of the debris has been taken to the landfill.

Roadside collection on county maintained roads expected to continue until mid-April. Debris is being taken to the landfill on Sandy Pines Lane.

Debris collection also is continuing in hard-smacked Summerville; officials do not yet have cost estimates. Mayor Bill Collins said the town has run into overtime costs but so far has not had to go to emergency reserves.

In Berkeley County, the final pass for storm debris pickup on county-maintained roads will begin on Monday.

Residents are asked to put all storm debris at the curb by this time. Yard debris must be stacked separately in lengths of no more than four feet and debris should not be mixed with other waste, such as construction and demolition or household waste.

In addition, starting Monday, all area convenience centers will resume regular business hours and yard debris will need to be placed in designated containers on-site.

The single-axle trailer rule, along with normal tipping fees at the landfill, will also be back in effect.