By Lisa Petrillo

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) — Are you still waiting for the hurricane debris in your neighborhood to be picked up?

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You’re not alone but crews have been working 12-hour shifts, 7 days a week to pick up all the bulky waste piled high in every South Florida neighborhood from North Lauderdale, Coconut Grove, Coral Gables, Little Havana and beyond.

“We had a lot of branches fall but our house didn’t get damaged.  It’s just a big mess,” said a homeowner named Bruno.

On Virginia Key, there’s a composting site. It’s the largest debris staging area in the state run by the City of Miami.  Mario Nunez is the City’s Director of Solid Waste.

“We are basically bringing in all the debris materials from different locations from South Miami to all of the City of Miami to this area where we can later reduce it and process it to be a by-product that is beneficial to the community.”

All crews and hired sub-contractors are on all day every day to help clear the streets.

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“We’re working daylight to dusk, 12-hour crews. We have 24 trucks right now and another 20 are coming in,” explained project manager Mark Watkins.

Miami-Dade County Department of Solid Waste Management estimates there is about 400-thousand tons of debris that needs to be picked up.

“As soon as the all clear was given we had all of our 31 crews, all went out 7am to 10pm every day, Saturday and Sunday’s included,” said Miami-Dade Solid Waste Manager Frank Calderon.

So what is the most important guideline for residents to follow?

Separate the vegetation from anything else including garbage bags, wooden fences and even lounge chairs and other furniture.  Debris should not block roadways, sidewalks, fire hydrants, utilities or storm drains.

Remember, debris should be separated into two piles. One for vegetation and a second for everything else.

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“The biggest task we have ahead of us is tree removal. It’s going to be a humongous task and I kindly ask residents to be patient with us.  We are working hard and are committed. We will get it done in a safely manner,” said Nunez.

Lisa Petrillo