Houston's floodwaters receded, now replaced by mountains of trash

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(HOUSTON) — The floodwaters in Houston have mostly receded, but in their place stand mountains of debris.

Survivors of the catastrophic flooding from Harvey have shown their eagerness to rebuild and reclaim their damaged homes by hauling outside an estimated 8 million cubic yards of sodden drywall, flooring, furniture, appliances, clothing and toys.

That’s enough trash to fill the Houston Texans’ football stadium two times over. If the debris were being hauled out by pickup trucks, it would require more than 3 million trips.

The massive piles are a reminder of the emotional toll for the residents whose lives have been upended by Harvey, but they also present a challenge to the city, which has promised to remove the debris as soon as possible.

The city has set out guidelines, including asking residents to separate the debris into six different piles:

  • Normal household trash
  • Vegetative debris including logs and tree branches
  • Construction and demolition debris including furniture, drywall and building materials
  • Appliances and white goods
  • Electronics
  • Household hazardous waste such as oils, lawn chemicals, batterieunderstand the process.

At least 136,000 homes in the Harris County flood control district, which includes Houston, were damaged by Hurricane Harvey officials said.

The cleanup job is so huge that the city has called on contractors with debris equipment to help with waste removal.

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