Forty city sanitation vehicles and 37 knuckleboom trucks are currently involved in the effort, and nearby municipalities are helping out. Schnirman spoke at last Friday’s Vision Long Island’s 11th annual Smart Growth Summit, and called for additional resources to help the city rebuild during a discussion about the storm’s devastation.
To help with garbage removal, Long Beach has received 10 dump trucks and two payloaders from North Hempstead and 12 garbage trucks from Huntington, while Glen Cove has supplied five garbage trucks, four dump trucks and other vehicles to remove an estimated total of more than 300,000 yards of debris, most of which is being transported to a makeshift transfer station at Nickerson Beach.
“We urge for patience — we are working seven days a week, and I’m hopeful we can be completely done by mid-December, or at least before Christmas,” said Jim LaCarrubba, commissioner of the Department of Public Works. Though the city had initially said that it was not responsible for removing construction and demolition debris, LaCarrubba said, “There are times when we will remove it due to public safety reasons — if I find it there, we have to assume it is storm debris.”
The city had also begun towing damaged or abandoned vehicles that prevented debris removal on some narrow streets. “We had to step in and remove some of those cars ourselves, because the insurance companies are overwhelmed with the amount of cars out there,” Schnirman said.
Once the streets are cleared, he said, the city’s rebuilding efforts will move forward. “We’ll continue to work with all levels of government, and look at our key policies and structural issues that we obviously need to look at — the beach, the bay, the boardwalk,” Schnirman said. “We know that we’re going to have those discussions in the weeks and months ahead. We were prepared for a 100-year hurricane, [but] Sandy was beyond our imagination, a 330-year storm.”
It was too early to say whether the boardwalk, which is structurally unsound, would need to be demolished and rebuilt, he said. The city is currently assessing the damage with FEMA and insurance agencies.