Cleanup grants available to southeastern Ky. counties

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (KT) - Gov. Andy Beshear and Energy and Environment Cabinet Secretary Rebecca Goodman announced on Tuesday that a total of $500,000 in grant funding is available to qualifying southeastern Kentucky counties for flood debris cleanup.


Grants of up to $50,000 each will be open to 12 counties that have received a state of emergency declaration from the governor: Bell, Clay, Harlan, Hickman, Knox, Lawrence, Leslie, Letcher, McCreary, Metcalfe, Perry and Whitley.  Counties will be eligible for up to $50,000 each to cover the cost of collecting, transporting and disposing of municipal solid waste resulting from the flood event.


Beshear, who declared a state of emergency Feb. 7 and deployed state resources as he visited areas hardest hit by recent rains, said, “I am pleased to make this money available and stand with communities as they recover from recent flooding. I encourage everyone doing cleanup to be safe and to help the environment by properly disposing of all debris.” 


Funding for the cleanup grants comes from the Kentucky Pride Fund, through a $1.75 environmental remediation fee for each ton of garbage disposed of at Kentucky municipal solid waste disposal facilities.  The Kentucky Division of Waste Management administers the fund. 


Kentuckians in the 12 counties impacted by the flooding are urged to be safe and environmentally conscious when cleaning and disposing of material. Potential hazards include asbestos, mold and toxic chemicals.  “Please use caution when handling different types of debris,” Cabinet Secretary Goodman said. “And be aware that material that is improperly disposed of can have a lasting impact on the environment.”  


Storm debris handling guidance and additional resources can be found on the EEC website. Information also is available regarding the disposal of items such as livestock carcasses, 55-gallon drums or tanks, and for the cleanup of waterways. Please note that the preferred method for managing woody or vegetative debris is by composting, shredding or chipping for reuse as mulch.  


Kentuckians should contact their local solid waste coordinator to learn if debris will be picked up curbside or if debris must be taken to a designated location. 


There are restrictions on open burning.  Under state law, burning is permitted only in limited circumstances and under specific conditions. The burning of household trash other than uncoated paper products is illegal year-round.


Kentucky Emergency Management Director Michael Dossett described the flooding last week as second only to 1977, which left 10 dead in eastern Kentucky and where 15 counties were declared disaster areas, according to National Weather Service records.


He also stated that the FEMA threshold for federal reimbursement is $6.5 million and urged everyone who has been impacted by flooding to contact their local emergency management office, so they have a complete report of damage.

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