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Health, Science, Environment

'Operation Recovery' to clear 500,000 tons of flood debris from St. Louis area

National Guard members stand at a news conference to discuss "Operation Recovery" at the Jefferson Barracks Division in St. Louis.
Caleb Codding for St. Louis Public Radio
National Guard members stand at a news conference to discuss "Operation Recovery" at the Jefferson Barracks Division in St. Louis.

Floodwaters in the St. Louis region have receded, leaving behind an estimated 500,000 tons of debris. Now what?

At a news conference Wednesday, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon outlined “Operation Recovery," a cleanup effort that will be coordinated by the National Guard, with Lt. Col. Grace Link, a civil engineer, in charge. Contracted trucks will help clear debris in flood-damaged areas throughout the St. Louis region, Nixon said.

“The guard is working with local communities and the Corps of Engineers to develop a schedule for pickup. Contractors will begin pickup next week and will make multiple passes in affected communities,” Nixon said.

On Wednesday, Nixon signed an executive order to waive some environmental regulations to dispose of the waste more quickly.  

Missouri Governor Jay Nixon outlines "Operation Recovery" to clear 500,000 tons of debris from the St. Louis region after devastating floods.
Credit Caleb Codding for St. Louis Public Radio
Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon outlines "Operation Recovery" to clear 500,000 tons of debris from the St. Louis region after devastating floods.

“That really helps us get things to a landfill more quickly, as opposed to having to sort and deal with those issues far away from that. The faster we can remove debris, the faster these communities can get back on their feet,” Nixon said.

Maps from the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency suggest that about 7,100 structures were damaged by the floodwaters in Franklin, Jefferson, St. Charles and St. Louis counties. Despite early estimates, it’s still too soon to know the total cost of the devastation, officials said.  

Cleanup kits and other assistance are available at a pick-up station at Six Flags in Eureka. More detailed information is available at mo.gov.

Follow Durrie on Twitter: @durrieB.

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If you have a flood recovery story to share, please respond through our Public Insight Network: How are you recovering from the flood?

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