MONTECITO, Calif. - The storm in Montecito brought a debris flow beyond what anyone could imagine. Now, debris removal is a huge part of the recovery effort.
The Santa Barbara County Department of Public Works is not taking the cleanup process lightly. So far, removing rocks and debris has cost the county $110 million dollars.
Tom Fayram with the Public Works Department says of the 11 debris basins below the fire zone, 6 are completely cleaned, but it is a job that is beyond comprehension.
“These debris basins were designed to capture material coming down from the mountains and we recognize it may not capture it all but with the intention and the hope is that we would catch most of it there,” said Fayram. “These debris basins were overflowed by 20 to 30 feet.”
All of the overflow of debris on private and public properties has to go somewhere, so the county is working to facilitate a rock exchange program for those who could put the debris to use.
“We’re trying to find people who maybe have a bunch of rocks with people who maybe would like some rocks,” said Fayram. “I mean, we’ve seen all of these beautiful rock walls all over our community and they are made from those and right now we are hauling them off to 60 miles away, so we are hoping to find the opportunity to share that with our neighbors.”
The county hopes to have all of the basins and stream channels cleaned by March 15, 2018.