Debris removal continues; some services winding down

Bartow, Fla. (December 1, 2017) —  Polk County’s first phase of hurricane debris removal for vegetative debris is nearly complete. Some debris collection services are beginning to wind down.

Vegetative Debris Removal

Polk County is still trying to reach residents who live on private roads or in gated communities to obtain permission to pick up storm debris from the roadside in your neighborhoods. FEMA requires that owners give the county’s contracted debris haulers a right of entry to their roadways for the purpose of removing and clearing hurricane-damaged debris.

If you live in a gated community or on a private road (your street sign is white, rather than green) and debris has not been collected, HOA officers or management companies must sign and return a “RIGHT OF ENTRY AND HOLD HARMLESS AGREEMENT FOR DEBRIS REMOVAL” form. The Right of Entry form may be printed from the website, and returned by email, regular mail or faxed to the county. For more information or questions please call (863) 535-2200 or email

Recently, hurricane debris collection monitors have been seeing new piles of “green” limbs appearing near roadways.

“Residents need to be aware that hurricane debris is collected and managed differently than routine yard waste,” said Deputy County Manager Bill Beasley. “If you have piles of newly cut “green” routine yard waste the hurricane debris haulers will not collect that material. “Debris haulers will only pick up material that appears to have been generated from the hurricane that passed through Polk County almost three months ago.”

Residents are encouraged to separate their dead, hurricane-damaged vegetative debris from normal freshly cut yard waste if they want this material removed.

Drop off Sites

Beginning Monday, December 4, the North Central Landfill will no longer accept vegetative debris from the hurricane free. All drivers dropping off at the landfill will have to go through the scales and pay fees for drop off.

Two sites in Polk County are open from 7 a.m. 7 p.m. today through Monday for free drop off. They are:

-5901 Strickland Ave. in Lakeland, on the west side of the road at the ball park, and

-Mt. Tabor Road in Lakeland, at the intersection of North Galloway Road and Mt. Tabor Road in the northwest corner of the intersection.

These sites will be limited to Polk County residents only and staff members will be checking identification to confirm and document their address. There will be no charge for disposal at the sites, but there are a few restrictions.

To be eligible for dropping off vegetative debris, residents must abide by several restrictions, which include:

Personal vehicles (cars/trucks)
Trailers not exceeding 8 feet x 16 feet
Vegetative debris only (branches, tree trunks, shrubs, etc.)
Excludes commercial customers

For information regarding debris removal, or to notify the county of hurricane vegetative debris that has not been removed, please call the debris hotline at (863) 451-3357.

Polk County Seal

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Polk County Board of County Commissioners