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Flood Debris Clogging Eastern NC Waterways; Cleanup Under Way

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EDGECOMBE COUNTY — Nine months after Hurricane Floyd, there are still mountains of debris that have not been cleaned up. A lot of the debris can be found in our waterways.

Rivers, creeks and streams in some eastern North Carolina counties are choking on debris left behind by last year's flood waters.

During a cleanup along the Tar River Wednesday, workers found everything from small limbs to large trees to a Jeep Cherokee. Even an injured fawn was rescued during the cleanup near a Tarboro creek.

"Well, if we leave the debris in, there are places where the steams are completely blocked and therefore have no flow capacity," says A.B. Whitley, a USDA district conservationist.

Cleaning the debris from the water cannot prevent another big flood, but it does give the waterways more room to fill up before they overflow.

Residents of a Rocky Mount neighborhood who are still cleaning up from the flooding say they are glad something is being done.

"We're still not back in our home, but it is nice to know they are out in the community cleaning up the neighborhood, and getting things back on track. I also think cleaning it out will cut back on the mosquitos in our area," says flood victim Doris Harrison.

The cleanup does not come cheap.

"In Edgecombe we are looking at about $9 million worth of work over a period of approximately two years probably to get it all done, because there's so many miles of it," says Whitley.

More than a fifth of the cleanup is in Edgecombe County. It would take about $43 million to clean waterways statewide.