Debris Removal Service Extended

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The city of Los Angeles will extend its free service of removing earthquake debris for residents, a public works official said this week.

How long the service will be offered depends on how long the state Office of Emergency Services and Federal Emergency Management Agency are willing to fund the program, said Andres Santamaria, a manager in the Department of Public Works.

The city wants to offer the program through Sept. 30, but the state and federal agencies are evaluating whether the program should be extended that long. The city is spending about $450,000 a day to provide the service and anticipates it will have spent $28.9 million by June 30.


FEMA has committed to reimbursing the city for that amount. Los Angeles now wants a commitment for an additional $79 million extend the program through the end of September.

“All indications are that we will get funding through Sept. 30,” Santamaria said.

Mark Spellman, a deputy to Councilman Zev Yaroslavsky, said there continues to be a demand for debris removal.

“We have had calls from people saying, ‘I haven’t started (reconstruction) yet; my insurance or FEMA money hasn’t come yet; I haven’t been able to get a contractor,’ ” Spellman said. “Residents were welcoming this extension.”

The city began the debris pickup program to relieve the burden on earthquake victims and to help speed the recovery process.

To have rubble removed, residents can call (800) 498-CITY. Haulers usually arrive within seven days of the request and will pick up bricks, drywall, wood, asphalt, concrete and other building materials.