Ice storm cleanup ready to pick up the pace

Apr. 18, 2014 @ 11:31 AM

Let the cleanup from last month's ice storm officially begin.
Thomasville City Council on Monday night awarded DRC Emergency Services Inc. a contract to handle the massive debris removal left behind from the March 7 ice storm that ravaged the southeastern United States. The storm produced an estimated 100,000 cubic yards of debris, of which 80 percent still sits on the edges of Chair City streets.
City Crews over the past five weeks have removed approximately 22,000 cubic yards of debris. DRC Emergency Services out of Mobile, Ala., will handle the rest.
“They will mobilize on Monday and get started,” City Manager Kelly Craver said. “There should be about 80,000 cubic yards [of debris] left and it should take them about 30 days to get it off the streets.”
Six crews are scheduled to arrive in Thomasville on Monday with four more on the way. The city received seven bids. DRC Emergency Services crews already were in the area and put in the lowest bid.
“They made themselves aware of us,” said Craver. “I think, in general, they're storm chasers. They were already doing work in Guilford and Alamance County so they were aware. We checked their references and everything checked out with them.”
DRC Emergency Services crews will take collected debris to a staging location across the street from the city's water treatment plant and run it through a chipper.
“We're not sure what it will be used for then,” Craver said. “A company in Winston-Salem uses similar material to fuel their boiler. They'll bring in more crews as they progress with their cleanup efforts.”
While 80,000 cubic yards doesn't sound like a lot, Craver said Chair City citizens will notice the cleanup efforts.
“What we've picked up over the span of the past four to five weeks, they're going to pick up every week,” Craver said. “That's rolling. They have a much larger capacity with their equipment to remove more in one swoop.”
Craver estimates the cleanup will cost approximately $500,000, but should be covered with FEMA funds. In the aftermath of the storm, the city expected FEMA funds to cover only 80 percent of the costs, but it now looks like the entire sum will be reimbursed.
“We have executed an application for FEMA funding and it appears, at this point in time, we would receive reimbursement at 75 percent for federal FEMA and 25 percent from state FEMA,” said Craver. “Potentially we could be reimbursed for all of it. That's not what I originally thought. I was thinking 80 percent from federal but it looks like we'll be able to get both.”

Staff Writer Eliot Duke can be reached at 888-3578, or