Georgetown County offers guidance for debris removal

GEORGETOWN, SC (WMBF) — With tree branches and other debris littering roadways across the Grand Strand and Pee Dee, Georgetown County officials have compiled a helpful guide for removing and cleaning up after the winter storm.

Read more in this news release:

With winter storm warnings lifted for Georgetown County, attention is now turning to clean up as officials work on clearing roadways and residents look to start removing fallen tree limbs from homes and businesses.

Local, state, and federal agencies are not authorized to remove debris from private property except in situations where the debris is deemed to pose an extraordinary threat to human health and safety. If debris is too large, property owners may need to hire a debris removal contractor. Before hiring anyone, they should check with their insurance company to find out if their policy covers debris removal.

Property owners should make sure their debris piles don't block the right-of-way, obstruct fire hydrants or utility meters, or block drains or ditches which can cause a risk of flooding.

Debris Disposal

The Georgetown County Department of Public Services offers the following instructions for residents living in unincorporated areas of the county in dealing with storm related debris:

* The county currently has nine of its community recycling centers open and operating in addition to the landfill on Highway 51. However, the amount of yard waste these facilities can accept is limited and residents may be redirected to the landfill if capacity has been exceeded or if the resident has large amounts of debris to dispose of.

* Centers open include:

o Pawleys Island, 596 Grate Ave.

o Murrells Inlet, 5455 Wesley Rd.

o Maryville, 3555 S. Fraser St.

o Browns Ferry, 11547 Browns Ferry Rd. o Johnson Road, 720 Johnson Rd.

o Andrews, 201 Carberry St.

o Pleasant Hill, 11987 Pleasant Hill Dr. o Black River, 8829 N. Fraser St.

o Sampit, 2656 Saints Delight Rd.

• Residents with truckload quantities of debris or yard waste should take it directly to the landfill.

• Haulers who are being paid by residents to remove storm related debris must utilize the landfill for disposal

During the period beginning today until a time to be determined, the landfill will not charge a disposal fee for storm-related debris. For additional information, call the Georgetown County Division of Environmental Services at (843) 545-3443.

Safety tips

Georgetown County Emergency Management offers the following safety measures to keep in mind during post-storm cleanup efforts:

* Winds up to 20 miles per hour are anticipated today and may cause more falling branches and additional damage to already weakened trees. Stay out of areas where you may be injured by falling branches.

* If there are downed power lines present, do not touch or attempt to remove them. Assume any downed power line is live. Downed power lines can sometimes still be energized from the feedback from electrical energy or from a secondary power source, such as a portable generator. Report the downed line immediately.

* Do not attempt to use a chain saw if you have not had training or experience with using one. Wear personal protective equipment such as goggles. Do not wear loose- fitting clothing. Clear away dirt, debris, small tree limbs and rocks from the saw's chain path. Check for nails, spikes or other metal in the tree before cutting.

* If using a chainsaw, keep your hands on the saw's handles, and maintain secure footing while operating the saw. Maintain awareness of the surroundings. Be careful that the trunk or the tree limbs will not bind against the saw. Branches under tension could spring loose when cut.

* Gasoline-powered chain saws must be equipped with a protective device that minimizes chainsaw kickback. To avoid kickback, do not saw with the tip, and keep tip guard in place.

* Shut off chainsaws or engage the chain brake when carrying the saw on rough or uneven terrain.

For questions or other information, call Georgetown County Emergency Management, (843) 545-3273.

For updates and winter safety precaution information, visit

Copyright 2014 WMBF News. All rights reserved. Georgetown County contributed to this article.