Mounds of hurricane debris still on roadsides in NC county

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PENDER COUNTY, N.C. (WECT) – It’s hard to drive parts of Pender County and not notice the mountains. The problem is they’re not rolling hills of green. They’re mounds of trash and hurricane debris on the side of the road.

“It’s tough to see. It’s trash, but it’s also part of my life,” says Elberta Pugh-Hudson. “It’s been a difficult three months, but I’ve got faith.”

Pender County is 933 square miles. WECT’s Bill Murray spoke with Linda Proctor with Pender County Tourism and she said the county is divided into five districts. Crews are moving from west to east in an effort to keep as much debris from being dumped or washed into the water as possible.

It may look like there’s still much to do, but some residents say they notice a big difference.

“Oh, they’ve already been by once. I know that,” says Sandra Davis, who is renovating a home along N.C. 53. “But there are so many people who still haven’t even gotten back to their homes. The timelines don’t make a lot of sense.”

Pender County has the compounded problem with illegal dumping. If caught, people will face felony charges. The sheriff’s department is urging people who see illegal dumping to get a tag number and report it.

“I was in a shelter for more than a month with my family,” Hudson said. “I’m still sifting through and digging out, but here’s my philosophy. You eat an elephant one bite at a time. I’m digesting what I have to, and I haven’t choked yet.”

According to a Pender County news release, residents may dispose of their Christmas trees at the Rocky Point and Hampstead convenience centers for three weeks following Christmas.

“We will accept Christmas trees through Jan. 15,” said Kenny Keel, Pender County Public Utilities director.

Christmas lights and ornaments should be removed from the trees prior to disposal.

The Rocky Point Convenience Center is located at 16232 N.C. Hwy. 210 and is open Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 7 a.m.-7 p.m.

The Hampstead Convenience Center is open Monday-Saturday from 7 a.m.-7 p.m. and Sundays from 1-7 p.m. The Hampstead center is located at 250 Transfer Station Road.

Christmas trees left in storm-related debris piles will not be accepted by the contractor.

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