What the water left behind

As the floodwaters recede, cleanup is underway all across the region as volunteers and officials remove trash and debris from affected areas

By Brett Auten

The city of St. Peters is organizing a flood debris pickup at 370 Lakeside Park on Saturday. The city is seeking volunteers to help with the cleanup, that will take place along the 500-year Lakeside 370 Levee from 8-11 a.m. Trash bags and gloves will be provided.

Volunteers will collect litter that was deposited during this year’s flood along a three-mile stretch of the levee slope. The litter must be removed from driftwood and other natural woody debris before the remaining park and levee cleaning can be completed.

“Before we go in and get the grass reestablished, our goal is to pick up as much trash and debris as we can,” Tim Myers,  Director of Utilities for St. Peters, said. “The wood waste is a little easier to grind up, but the bottles, glass and plastics are the real issue.”

Pre-registration is required to be part of this volunteer event. If you would like to help, go online to www.stpetersmo.net and fill out the Flood Debris Pickup registration form.

St. Charles County Department of Public Health reminds volunteers working in or near floodwaters to make certain their tetanus vaccinations are up-to-date.

“This is like our Clean Streams effort each year, but we’re focused on the flood debris that collected along the levee in 370 Lakeside Park,” St. Peters Mayor Len Pagano said. “We get such a great turnout for our Clean Streams events, and we hope for the same type of community support to help clean 370 Lakeside Park. Every volunteer makes a big difference.”

According to the St. Charles County Parks Department, Riverside Landing, located at 600 Kampville Drive in St. Charles, was cleaned up last week and it is open.  There is a lot of debris snagged on a railroad bridge on Dardenne Creek and as the water goes down, that debris will release and come into the park. Officials are monitoring the area because a secondary cleanup will be required.  

Hideaway Harbor, located at 1550 Hideaway Harbor Drive in Portage Des Sioux, cleanup started last week and continued early into this week. The water there has not receded enough to open the boat ramps, but cleaning and repairing the roadway, restrooms and assessing the dock for repairs is all underway.  

“There is a lot of mud at Hideaway Harbor and it will be a while before we can clean and open the boat ramps,” Mary Enger Director of Communications for St. Charles County said. “We expected a lot of debris considering the severity of the flood but there has not been much there that needs to be removed.”

Bangert Island, located at 1704 South River Road in St. Charles, is still not accessible. Once the river goes down, officials will need to wait for it to dry out and then they can access the island and assess what needs to be done.

Damage at St Charles County Smartt Field Airport was, according to Enger, quite extensive. Pressure washing, demolition and removal of damaged walls in 92 t-hangars, nine other building. Bids were opened for this work last week with an estimated cost of $544,000.

In other clean-up news, Meridian Waste, an integrated, non-hazardous solid waste services company, partnered with the city of Winfield and other event organizers for a community-wide cleanup earlier this month and collected more than 68 tons of flood debris. More than 160 volunteers collected debris from homes and businesses throughout the city, and as a result, more than 137,000 pounds were properly disposed.

“Hard times can often bring a community together and make it even stronger than before, and that was the feeling throughout Winfield today,” Bob Mathis, Meridian Waste’s general manager, said.  “Meridian Waste is in the business of a clean environment, but beyond that, we are members of the Winfield community and simply honored to help.”