116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
Linn County’s derecho tree debris cleanup will enter its final phase later this month.
Ceres Environmental Services, the county’s contractor, will begin collecting tree debris April 26 in unincorporated parts of the county.
The company, however, is only picking up tree debris that was placed in right of way areas by the Nov. 9, 2020, deadline. Tree debris placed in the right of way after that deadline is the responsibility of the property owner.
Also, the county on April 19 will open a self-haul location at the Wickiup Hill Learning Area, 10260 Morris Rd. near Toddville.
The dump site is only for tree and other vegetative debris from unincorporated Linn County, according to a county news release. Haulers must preregister online or over the phone.
To preregister, call (319) 892-6000 or go to linncounty.org/CivicAlerts.aspx?AID=2233.
The county will close the dump site once it reaches capacity, which is expected to take three weeks, the release said.
The other option for unincorporated county residents is open burning. Burning permits can be obtained online or by phone at the same phone number and website noted above.
People who live within a half-mile of Cedar Rapids, Marion and Hiawatha — where open burning typically is not allowed — can burn debris, with no fee. Again, open burn requests can be made online or over the phone.
County Risk Manager Steve Estenson told The Gazette on Wednesday that the county has submitted a $17 million project request to the Federal Emergency Management Agency for the debris removal work done by Ceres.
Additionally, the county will be submitting a $2 million reimbursement request to cover county labor and equipment costs associated with debris removal.
To date, more than 1 million cubic yards of tree debris has been processed in unincorporated Linn County.
To meet FEMA reimbursement requests, the county documented the locations that met the deadline and submitted the info to FEMA, according to county communications director Joi Alexander.
Estenson said the county anticipates the final cleanup by Ceres will cost another $300,000 to $400,000, which will be submitted to FEMA.
As of Wednesday, the county has received $1.4 million from its insurance for building damages but has yet to receive any FEMA funding. Projects must be complete for FEMA to obligate funding to the state, which then distributes the money to local jurisdictions.
“Once obligated, we expect the federal share (to be) 75 percent for each project and the state share of 10 percent at the closeout of each project,” Estenson said.
Linn County also has been working with USDA’s Iowa Natural Resources Conservation Service on a separate project to protect infrastructure and waterways by removing debris from the waterways.
Alexander said the USDA grant will provide 75 percent of the funding for the waterway cleanup.
“To qualify for funding, Linn County has to show how the debris is likely to damage a bridge or cause flooding,” Alexander said.
The estimated cost for the waterway cleanup is $183,400, with $137,550 reimbursed by federal funds and $45,850 paid by Linn County, Assistant County Engineer Garret Reddish said.
Other projects still being planned, according to Estenson, include emergency repairs to infrastructure, replacement and repair of damaged roads and road signage, repair of damage in parks and permanent repairs to damaged buildings. These projects, too, will be submitted for FEMA reimbursement.
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