As Idalia debris lingers in Tampa Bay, here’s how to get rid of it

Different counties and municipalities have different rules and processes for throwing away storm-damaged materials.
An unidentified worker walks past piles of rubbish along Denver Street Northeast in the Shore Acres area Wednesday in St. Petersburg.
An unidentified worker walks past piles of rubbish along Denver Street Northeast in the Shore Acres area Wednesday in St. Petersburg. [ CHRIS URSO | Times ]
Published Sept. 7

A week after Hurricane Idalia’s storm surge caused flooding around Tampa Bay, the water is gone, but piles of debris stacked at curbs stand as a reminder of the damage caused in some of the hardest-hit areas. Cleanups were underway throughout the region this week, clearing waterlogged furniture and structural remains.

Some governments in places beset by flooding, such as Pasco County and Tarpon Springs, said they expected the debris-collection process to take awhile. In others — such as Hillsborough County, where homes along the Alafia River were inundated — the outlook was more optimistic.

But knowing what to do with storm garbage can be confusing, because the many counties and cities that make up Tampa Bay all have different rules and trash collection systems. Because Pinellas and Pasco were included in Federal Emergency Management Agency disaster declarations, those governments will be able to seek reimbursement for the added cost.

Here’s what residents should do with storm-related debris and waste, broken down by location.

Pinellas County

Pinellas County has not implemented a special debris collection, in which a county-contracted hauler would pick up debris. County staff is still reviewing storm damage and will make a decision by the end of the week, said Kelsey Grentzer, a county spokesperson.

“One other consideration is that insurance companies need to inspect the debris in order to honor claims, so we cannot pick up too soon when insurance assessments are underway,” she said in an email.

Residents in unincorporated Pinellas are responsible for disposing of items such as furniture, appliances and electronics.

With electronics or furniture too big to fit in a trash can, unincorporated residents can contact their hauler to ask about curbside pickup, or they can take the trash themselves to the Pinellas County Solid Waste Disposal Complex at 3095 114th Ave. N.

The county’s Where Does It Go? search tool, available at, has more information on how to dispose of different kinds of waste.

St. Petersburg

Workers on Thursday will begin picking up any appliances, carpets and other damaged items, along with hazardous waste materials such as household chemicals and batteries damaged by flooding in affected areas. No prior arrangement is necessary, but waste must be on the curb and not on private property, said spokesperson Erica Riggins.

As for vegetative debris, Riggins said, city residents can place it in trash bins. If it doesn’t fit, residents can call the city to arrange a special pickup free of charge. They can call sanitation’s customer service line at 727-893-7398 or the city’s service center, SeeClickFix, at 727-893-7111.


Trash and recycling crews were slightly behind schedule on regular pickups through Tuesday, according to the city’s website, which said residents should leave items on the curb if they weren’t collected on the regular day. Items such as furniture and electronics are part of the city’s regular trash collection, and more information on how to dispose of them is available at the city’s website.

Tarpon Springs

The city posted on Facebook on Wednesday that it was “working to remove debris” and expected the process to be extensive. It told residents to separate debris at the curb. Hazardous materials must be taken to the county’s solid waste disposal complex.


In a notice distributed to water-damaged homes Wednesday, the city instructed residents to sort waste and place it at the curb in separate piles, in the same manner as Tarpon Springs.

It wasn’t clear when the waste would be collected: “We will have more details and the collection schedule by the end of the week,” the fliers said. The city will post updates at, and residents can call 727-298-3215 for more information.

Pinellas beaches

In Treasure Island, the city on Tuesday directed residents to separate regular trash, damaged furniture and yard waste — all of which the city will collect — from construction and demolition materials, which residents will have to handle themselves. It pointed residents to the county’s instructions on debris disposal.

Madeira Beach will not collect furniture or demolition materials but did not give disposal instructions.

St. Pete Beach told residents to separate waste into piles. Debris collection was set to start this week, Public Works Director Michael F. Clarke said in a news release Friday. Residents with questions can contact the public works department at 727-363-9243.

In Redington Beach, regular trash pickup will continue as usual, and yard waste can be left at the curb for pickup, the town said last week. Furniture, carpets and other household items damaged by flooding can be taken to one of two dumpsters in the town, one at Town Park and the other at the 161st Avenue causeway.

Indian Rocks Beach residents should separate yard waste, white goods — such as refrigerators, washers and dryers — and other household items and place them curbside for pickup, the city said last week.

Pasco County

County solid waste crews have started collecting storm waste in west Pasco and in unincorporated areas near U.S. 19, according to the county’s website. The county’s contracted debris hauler was scheduled to start pickup Wednesday and continue for several weeks. Storm debris and flood-damaged materials should be sorted and placed curbside.

Hillsborough County

Hillsborough County announced last week that “the amount and type of debris does not meet emergency levels,” so a special debris-hauling contract won’t be activated. Residents should put yard waste on the curb as usual, though the county cautioned that service this week may be slower than usual because of the volume of debris.

Those affected by flooding can take waste to any of the county’s community collection centers — a list is available at


The city began collecting vegetative debris from the storm Tuesday. Limbs, branches and other leafy material should be put at the curb in bundles or containers, but not bagged, the city said. It did not give instructions on disposing of flood-damaged materials, and a solid waste spokesperson did not return requests for comment Wednesday.

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