Why Houston turned down debris collection help from Dallas

By Mario Diaz

HOUSTON - Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner announced on Wednesday that the city of Houston has removed more than 1 million cubic yards of Hurricane Harvey debris.

The mayor made the announcement during the weekly City Council meeting, adding that the Solid Waste Management Department has completed a first pass for storm debris collection in every neighborhood.

During a news conference following the City Council meeting, the mayor did admit that there are pockets that remain untouched.

This comes at a time when Channel 2 Investigates has learned that Mayor Turner turned down relief services from Dallas two weeks ago to help with storm debris removal.

“They are on standby. I spoke to the mayor of Dallas,” Turner said to Channel 2 Investigates.

As for the mayor’s response for turning down Dallas, he said that aside from debris pickup moving at a “remarkable pace,” he didn't want to inconvenience their personnel, or the once-a-month debris service in Dallas that would be impacted.

“I don’t necessarily want to pull your crew down and you all have to alter your plans, unless we absolutely need you,” Turner said.

Why should Agenda 45 from a Dallas City Council meeting on Sept. 27 be on Houston’s radar?

It’s a Hurricane Harvey Municipal Aid Agreement by and between the city of Houston and the city of Dallas to provide mutual aid in the form of personnel, supplies and equipment during the Hurricane Harvey disaster as well as during cleanup periods. Dallas City Council voted to help Houston.

Why would Turner turn down debris cleanup?

Turner said the city of Houston has been more aggressive with debris collections than originally anticipated, adding that he did not want Dallas residents to have any of their service interrupted. The city of Dallas said it was prepared to commit “approximately 35 percent of its Sanitation Service large waste collections teams” to Houston. If the collection teams had made their way south, then Dallas “would have asked residents to voluntarily make changes to the type and amounts of debris set out for monthly bulk and brush” collections in the city.

What happened to the trucks and personnel offered by Dallas?

Turner said the trucks from Dallas are on standby should the city of Houston need them at any moment.

When should I see a second pass of debris trucks in my neighborhood?

The city of Houston said a citywide pass is expected to take up to 60 days with a targeted completion date of Dec. 1. The second pass will not move as quickly as what Houstonians have seen since Harvey as result of “inconsistency of impacted residents in starting and completing their property remediation,” according to the city.

Where can i find more information?

Here: City of Houston Solid Waste Management Department

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