- Florida's Brevard County estimates that it may not finish cleaning up the 325,000 cubic yards of vegetative and construction debris from Hurricane Matthew until the end of the year, as reported by Florida Today.
- A county official said that about 42% of debris has been collected so far. Waste Management is handling standard curbside collection of refuse, recyclables and small quantities of yard waste. Two local contractors have been hired for seven-day collection of the larger debris piles.
- The Federal Emergency Management Agency is expected to reimburse the county for much of the projected $6.5 million cleanup costs. Brevard has yet to figure out what to do with all the mulch being created.
While Matthew's effects on the U.S. weren't as severe as predicted it still resulted in dozens of fatalities, severe property damage, at least one coal ash leak and a major waste problem. As recently seen in Louisiana after the summer floods, logistics and time are often the biggest challenges when it comes to recovering from this type of natural disaster.
Local landfills and recovery operations aren't usually designed for these spikes in volume or the large amounts of certain materials that disasters can generate. For Brevard the issue so far has been mulch — which it is giving away for free to anyone who wants it — though in other cases the resulting materials are harder to process. The fires in Fort McMurray, Canada earlier this year resulted in thousands of refrigerators going to landfills and a similar issue happened after Hurricane Sandy with thousands of scrapped cars.
As New Orleans learned after Hurricane Katrina it can sometimes take years for local waste management systems to fully recover from such an event. The federal government can help with funding, but it's up to local governments to try and plan as well as possible to facilitate recovery.