Irma Cleanup: Residents putting items that aren't eligible for pickup on curbs, city leaders say

Mattresses, couches, furniture won't be collected
Posted at 4:15 PM, Oct 09, 2017

Concerns are growing over piles of garbage stacking up across Tampa.  

Walk the streets in most neighborhoods and you'll find mattresses, kiddy pools, couches, rotted wood and even old toilets placed out to the curb.

None of this is eligible for Irma-related debris cleanup.

Check this Interactive Map to see your debris collection schedule

Hurricane Irma debris collection maps allow Tampa Bay Area residents to track progress

"People don't follow rules these days," said Matt Stevens, a Tampa resident. "They do what's in their best interest and they care about them only."

City of Tampa crews are working around the clock to pick up storm debris. However, the only thing they are picking up is vegetative debris, like tree limbs. 

There will be a second pass after storm debris is finished that will pick up fencing damaged by Irma, but that's it, said Brad Baird, City of Tampa Public Works and Utility Services Administrator.

There is no city-wide sweep for items like mattresses, couches and other debris.

In fact, the city's SWEEP program is suspended until storm debris removal is finished.

People need to call a private junk removal service to take items not eligible for pickup to the dump, or take it to the dump themselves, Baird said.

"If people do put out mattresses and couches and things like that, it just slows us down," Baird said.

City leaders say only one house in all of Tampa had bad enough damaged to warrant a SWEEP-like debris pickup.

So as for all of the other items people are putting out to the curb, the city doesn't buy that they were damaged in the storm.

"I doubt very little of that was damaged by the storm," Baird said.

Some are now worried about items like couches and mattresses getting moldy.

"It's kicked up my allergies," Stevens said. "I've been like this for a week!"

The City of Tampa says code enforcement may have to get involved in any items left out that become a health hazard.

City of Tampa residentsare encouraged to use the McKay Bay Disposal Complex to dispose of storm debris at no additional charge.  Residents must present a valid City of Tampa Utility Bill and matching identification.