Debris cleanup in waterways begins

Published 8:26 am Wednesday, August 24, 2022


Gov. Andy Beshear announced that this weekend, crews will begin removing flood debris from waterways in the eastern Kentucky counties that suffered catastrophic flooding three weeks ago.

“Most of the debris left from the recent flood disaster ended up in local waterways. Getting it removed is a critically important step in helping an entire region recover from one of the most traumatic events of our lifetime,” he said.

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AshBritt, a national company that was awarded the contract to remove and dispose of land debris throughout the 13-county declared disaster area, also will be clearing the waterways in coordination with the Army Corps of Engineers and the Division of Water, which will be responsible for identifying debris piles. Priority will be given to large objects that pose a potential hazard to bridges and other structures. Work will begin Saturday in Letcher County in waterways adjacent to KY 317, KY 343 and KY 805.

“Debris in our waterways poses health risks and also increases the risk of further flooding if the region gets more heavy rain,” said Transportation Cabinet Secretary Jim Gray. “AshBritt will be deploying numerous crews for waterway cleanup, but it is likely to take several weeks to complete.”

Gray noted that in many cases, work crews will have to go through private property to reach the creek or stream. “We want residents to be aware of this, and appreciate their understanding and willingness to give crews room to work.”

Traffic delays are expected as crews pass through areas. Drivers are asked to slow down and give heavy equipment room on the road. Residents are asked not to go through debris piles at collection sites due to safety hazards that pose health and safety risks.

Residents may report debris that needs to be picked up on roadways and waterways by calling the Debris Hotline at 855-336-2337.