Now the Hard Part: With Water Gone, Cities Turn Focus to Flood Debris, Garbage



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IOWA  —  It was night that we’ll all remember.

“A lot of water,” recalled Windsor Heights Mayor Dave Burgess.

“There was two and a half feet of water over Hickman Road,” added Tim Stovie, Urbandale’s public works director.

“It was a surreal experience,” admitted a stoic Matt Greiner of Johnston.

Water in places it’s never been seen before. Objects of all shapes and sizes, swept away.

Burgess nearly became one.

“My wife said, ‘this is not right,’ and I said, ‘I know, we’re floating,” Burgess said. “We had enough water to float our vehicle.”

His car regained traction without stalling.

Now for the hard part: drying out and moving on. The cities will help.

“If you’ve got a basement that flooded,” said Stovie, “and you’ve got damaged items—furniture, carpet, whatever–just go ahead and set it out to the curb.”

Urbandale starts curbside pickup on Monday, free of charge.

“Just give us a call or email us and we’ll pick it up.”

In Des Moines, curbside pickup will cost a bit…$5 to dump things like toilets, and more for all that wet carpet–which all cities would like you to cut up as small as possible so it can be handled by the collectors and take up less space in the trucks.

Like other cities, Johnston has stranded cars to deal with. One is still stuck in a bush along Pioneer Parkway.

This week, they’ll provide large dumpsters where residents can bring flood items. And next week…

“Next week, we’ll be able to have those other storm damaged items picked up,” said Greiner. “We will not be accepting appliances, tires and other hazardous waste.”

West Des Moines and Ankeny are still working on their plans for debris, as is Windsor Heights. It’s down to one road closure—69th and Washington—which should be done soon. Colby Park will take a while longer.

“There’s too much chemical crap that’s in there where we’re simply not gonna open it up,” said Burgess, who worked alongside his crews through the weekend.

The signs are still everywhere, but the water isn’t. Soon, such an unforgettable night could be hard to remember.


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