TAMPA, Fla.  — City officials say it could take up to 60 days before they can clear every pile of debris that Hurricane Ian left behind. 

According to Larry Washington, Solid Waste Director for the City of Tampa, the best way to leave debris by the curb is to separate it into one pile of branches and vegetative debris, and a separate pile of smaller items like sticks and leaves packed into garbage bags. 

What You Need To Know

“The key to it is to separate it so our loaders can pick up the pile efficiently and safely and our yard waste team can pick up the black bags,” Washington said. 

It’s important to keep all shingles, siding, boards or ruined furniture away from the debris pile. If the pile is mixed, it could get skipped over by crews. 

“We take all the vegetative storm debris and mulch it and then provide it to a local company for reuse,” Washington explained. 

If chemicals or paint gets into the branches the items cannot be mulched and recycled. 

Thirty different Tampa crews have been working 12 hour days 7 days a week to clear the debris.

They’re starting in the hardest hit areas like south and east Tampa before moving to the less affected areas.