Crowder-Gulf Disaster Debris Management Responds to Hurricanes’ Havoc

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Courtesy of Diamond Z

Untitled Document Bonnie...Charley...Frances...Ivan. If the state of Florida could be compared to a fictional prize fighter. It would have to be called Rocky. The series of blows it has sustained should have flattened it. Instead, like its fictional counterpart, it has rebounded and fought back...thanks in large part to a man named Jimmie Crowder, head of Crowder Excavating, Inc. in Tallahassee.

Even though there are currently over 30 counties and numerous cities ranging throughout the state of Florida under year round pre-storm contracts, Crowder-Gulf Disaster Debris Management (joint venture of Jimmie Crowder and John Ramsey) responds not only to these but to others located throughout the entire South when storms come calling. With a philosophy centered on being pro-active rather than reactive, Crowder-Gulf travels from city to city delivering seminars on how to prepare for the worst that Mother Nature has to offer.

Crowder Excavating is a site developer operating under a General Contractor’s license, and as such they are able to offer a complete site package providing for such underground utilities as sewers, storm drains, and water. With 250 employees operating out of the Tallahassee are, they are also the largest recycler in the area operating two permitted Construction and Demolition (C&D) sites within the greater Leon County and Tallahassee areas.

More recently, with the major impact of the latest storms have had on the region, Crowder-Gulf has been operating much of the time on a seven day week schedule with crews covering disaster areas ranging from Miami to Pensacola and on through to Alabama. To handle a project of this magnitude, Jimmie Crowder has been employing grinders (both horizontal and tub – including six (6) Diamond Z Model 1463B’s), knuckle-boom loaders, excavators, skid-steer loaders, shears, and a fleet of semis and dump trucks.

When they go into an area that has borne the brunt of a storm’s fury, the initial approach is on an “hourly rush” basis. Among the first ones in, their job is to clear the streets so that the utility people can gain the access points they need in order to restore basic services. This is where Jimmie Crowder’s ability to pass on both his years of experience in the field and his extensive knowledge base passed on to his crews comes into play, making sure that costly mistakes are not made. (for example, FEMA requires that 50% or more of a tree must be out of the ground before it can be tackled. If the root ball is still in the ground, a contractor can not pull it out.)

By providing tree-off programs along with the demolition removal of structures where necessary, Crowder-Gulf is able to provide the equipment and services communities need in order to begin the recovery process. Once the debris clean-up is in full swing, the plan of attack is handled on a yardage basis. This is when the trucks come in and begin to haul away the debris. In order to run an operation that is certified by FEMA, the trucks must pass a tower on the way to the dump station where the truck, driver, and yardage are all checked. Needless to say, the first week to 10 days following a major hurricane, such as any of the recent four, is extremely hectic with crews working seven days per week and 12 hours a day. This is when cities and counties need the services of only the most professional of waste handling contractors, such as Jimmie Crowder. No one can afford the time lost if a driver’s ticket is pulled because the haulage was not handled properly.

Hurricanes and other major storms do not observe man-made boundaries, and certainly no one contracting company is large enough to handle an entire state, let alone numerous municipalities covering many states. For this reason, when something of the magnitude of what has taken place earlier this Fall transpires, it becomes to call upon subcontractors ready to work, and this is precisely what Crowder-Gulf also does, relying on those who are large enough, skillful enough, and possess enough of their own durable equipment to get the job done quickly and proficiently. By tapping the resources of firms with which it has worked in the past, Crowder-Gulf can be assured that the quality of the work will meet their standards.

“You come with what you think you will need, and then find out otherwise. Thankfully the features of our Diamond Z grinders and boom trucks have improved sufficiently over the years in order to keep pace with the growth in these areas have sustained,” said Jimmie Crowder. “Sometimes, in the beginning, you have to run the grinder 24 hours straight, just to keep matters under control. Then, once the pass through is complete, we can start cutting back to only six days a week.”

With debris reduction and removal directly tied to the extent of damage, it becomes more imperative that municipalities, communities, county and state governments maintain accurate documentation in order to access federal disaster relief funds. Once again, advance planning and preparation, wherever possible, combines with meticulous on-the-spot record keeping assuring that this takes place.

Much of the green waste (organic materials) can be ground and recycled into ground cover. For example, both Pine Island and the city of Ft. Meyers use the material as mulch. Additionally, numerous landfills throughout the state have found that this processed matter makes for excellent cover in the layering process.

“I have been in this business for 40 years, beginning with tree work for the city of Tallahassee. I had the first stump digger within 150 miles and the first brush chipper,” said Crowder. “I love to work and this kind of work just gets in your blood. Being the first in after a storm and helping this area get cleaned up and back on its feet is a very rewarding feeling.”

Man creates…nature rearranges it into waste…Jimmie Crowder handles it.

Jimmie Crowder can be reached at Crowder Excavating, Inc., 901 Geddie Road, Tallahassee, FL or by calling 850.576.7176.

Recent article courtesy of Waste Handling Equipment News

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