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Posted on: November 21, 2017

Monroe County Hurricane Irma Recovery Update: Debris Collection and County parks

Irma Harry Harris Park Damage-4.jpg


Monroe County’s new hurricane debris contractor, DRC Emergency Services, has about 33 trucks working on County roads in the hardest hit area of the Keys from MM 16 to MM 40. About 8,000 cubic yards of debris is being collected each day in this area.

Hurricane debris contractors cannot pick up on private roads due to FEMA regulations. If you live on a private road, you can bring your debris to the closest County right of way. Monroe County public works employees are collecting debris on these private roads and bringing it to the closest right of way.

Collection will continue in this area for the next few weeks. No deadline has been set yet for a final pass.

In Key Largo and Tavernier, the final pass on County roads is almost complete. The deadline to put debris on County roads or U.S. 1 has passed in this area.

The final pass on Conch Key, Duck Key and Layton will begin as soon as a debris management site can be leased by DRC. Progress is being made and the hope is the final passes in these areas will be able to begin soon.

The Florida Department of Transportation has the jurisdiction to collect debris along U.S. 1 in the Keys. FDOT has told the County and Keys municipalities it has completed picking up debris along U.S. 1. The County and municipalities cannot pick up debris along U.S. 1 until it works out jurisdiction with FDOT in order to get reimbursed by FEMA.


If possible, bring your household hazardous waste to one of the County’s three transfer stations for proper disposal. It is always free to do so.

But due to Hurricane Irma, Monroe County’s Solid Waste department has begun collecting household hazardous waste that has not been collected by other hurricane debris contractors on County roads in Duck Key and Conch Key, as well as in the City of Layton.

The Solid Waste department also will begin picking up household hazardous waste from MM 16 to MM 40 beginning on Monday.


Monroe County’s Harry Harris Park in Tavernier continues to be closed indefinitely. The park was badly damaged during Hurricane Irma. This includes structural damage to the boat ramp.

The park currently is being used by Unified Command (Coast Guard, Environmental Protection Agency and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission) to store displaced vessels from Hurricane Irma.

The park also will be used as a marine debris management site, where debris collected from County canals will be stored until it can be hauled to the mainland for proper disposal. Unfortunately, Monroe County does not have many options for such sites and the County park is a predesignated area for this use following hurricanes.


Monroe County’s Old Settler’s Park in Tavernier is expected to reopen by next week.

The nature park was badly damaged by Hurricane Irma. The butterfly garden was destroyed. The walkway was damaged and there were a lot of downed trees and accumulation of seaweed and sand. There also was major erosion of the kids’ playground.

County public works employees spent three weekends, plus regular work time to clean up the park. As soon as new sand can be put down at the kids’ playground, the park will reopen.


Monroe County’s newly redeveloped Bernstein Park on Stock Island was just about to open when Hurricane Irma struck, causing damage to the new fields, new basketball court, new children’s playground and new landscaping.

The County’s contractor for the redevelopment project was still in possession of the park when the storm hit. The contractor must go through its insurance company to repair the damage. There is no timeframe for when the park will be able to open, but all parties are working as quickly as possible to make it happen.

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Monroe County
1100 Simonton Street
Key West FL, 33040