- The Washington Times - Monday, September 22, 2003

Public works departments throughout the Washington area opened sites over the weekend for residents to drop off debris or spoiled food caused by Hurricane Isabel.

The storm felled 665 trees in the District alone, and some downed trees still blocked roadways yesterday.

“We are known as the city of trees; now we’re the city of downed trees,” said Leslie Hotaling, the D.C. director of public works.

Montgomery County public-works employees are staffing six sites throughout the county for collecting tree debris and other brush.

Spoiled food can be dropped off at two other sites, in Rockville and Silver Spring.

“We have a lot of people who still have not had their power,” said Esther Bowring, Montgomery County spokeswoman. “They cleaned out their refrigerators and have a lot of spoiled food. There are people who missed their trash collection on Friday.”

Any debris or fallen tress in the yards of homeowners is their own responsibility.

Washington’s emergency management agency is asking residents to get rid of small debris like leaves and twigs at their regular trash-collection points.

Flood debris and larger limbs and branches can be placed along curbs for collection. Large debris resulting from tree removal by D.C. work crews will be picked up as soon as possible.

Fairfax County public works officials said trash collectors would pick up debris as they would any other trash. In other words, it must be bagged and placed alongside curbs for pickup during regular trash-collection schedules.

“We may not be able to pick it up as quickly as citizens want us to, but we’ll get to it,” said Merni Fitzgerald, Fairfax County spokeswoman.

Homeowners who use private trash-collection services must follow pickup directions of those companies.

They also can haul their own trash, debris and recyclables to the trash dump at the I-66 Transfer Station or the I-95 Landfill in Fairfax County.

The Prince George’s County Department of Public Works and Transportation allows residents to drop off storm debris at four sites or at the county landfill. They also can bundle up debris and leave it at the curb for disposal or hire a private contractor to dispose of large limbs and other debris.

Anne Arundel County officials asked residents who can transport their debris to take it to one of the three dump sites operating with extended hours. Spoiled food is supposed to be discarded through regular curbside trash disposal.

Residents who cannot transport their storm debris can call the Anne Arundel County Public Works Department to arrange roadside pickup.

Fallen trees are blocking roadways on only a few remaining residential streets in Northern Virginia, said Ryan Hall, Virginia Department of Transportation spokesman.

“There are eight neighborhood roads that still have trees on them,” Mr. Hall said yesterday afternoon. “All the major commuter routes are open. We’re still waiting for water to recede on these other roads.”

Cleanup crews have been working 12-hour shifts, 24 hours a day since Thursday evening.

They prepared for Hurricane Isabel by cleaning out storm drains to minimize the amount of water that would pool in streets.

They stopped work only long enough to let high winds pass through the area before starting the tree removal and traffic-light restoration.

Maryland transportation officials reported similar progress toward hurricane cleanup.

At the height of the storm, 140 state roads were closed because of fallen trees, high water or downed power lines. By yesterday afternoon, only three state roads remained closed in Baltimore County. All were closed by fallen trees or downed electrical lines.

“We’re making pretty good headway,” said Lora Rakowski, Maryland State Highway Administration spokeswoman.

• This article is based in part on wire service reports.

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