Debris removal for rural Jefferson County

Debris removal for rural Jefferson County

As water levels recede, residents are returning to their homes to assess the damage from Tropical Storm/Hurricane Harvey and begin remediation on their homes. Jefferson County wants everyone in the unincorporated areas of to follow a few simple guidelines when setting out debris for pick-up.

DRC, the debris removal company for the rural areas of the county, would like you to place debris out for pick-up on the county right of way as close to the road as possible.

Materials need to separated as follows:

• Vegetation: trees, leaves, logs

• Spoiled food and contaminated recyclables

• Structural and building materials: drywall, lumber, carpet, furniture, etc.

• Appliances

• Electronics: Televisions, computers, telephones, etc.

• Household hazards: oils, batteries, paints, cleaning supplies, gasoline

Having everything separated as best as you can will expedite pick-up.

If you have any questions about debris removal, DRC has set up a Customer Hotline at (888) 721-4372. Debris pick-up begins Thursday, Sept. 7. It may be a few days before they get to your area. DRC is contracted for the rural areas of Jefferson County and the Mid-County area.

It is also important to remember that any property placed at the street will be viewed as refuse by both debris removal companies and the public at large, who sometimes pick through castoffs for usable items. To avoid misunderstandings, confrontations, and loss, place any items you intend to keep and reinstall in your home away from the street and, if possible, in a secure location.

Beaumont Building Codes

The following is supplemental information from the city of Beaumont related to repairs, reconstruction and permitting following Hurricane Harvey.

• Homeowners not in a floodplain may remove damaged sheetrock, carpet, and insulation before getting permits. However, document damage, including how high the water was in the home and accessory structures, with photographs.

• Repairs will require a permit, but fees are waived for storm-related damages. Doing any work without a permit could jeopardize any possible assistance.

• If your house is in a floodplain, removal of carpeting, furniture and belongings is encouraged, but repairs will require a special inspection and permit from the city. If you are not sure if your home is in a floodplain, please contact the city of Beaumont’s Building Codes office at (409) 880-3100. 

• If your structure is commercial, contact the office regarding issues related to asbestos.

• If there was water damage to electrical, plumbing (including natural gas), and/or mechanical systems a permit is required for each individual trade, which includes electrical, plumbing, and/or mechanical. For replacement of pre-existing interior sheetrock, insulation, doors and other structural repairs, you will also need a building permit.

• Electrical service reconnections to your building will continue to need to be approved by Building Codes.

• Ensure that your contractor is bonded and/or licensed with the city/state. To determine this, contact the city of Beaumont’s Building Codes office at (409) 880-3100.

• The city also encourages you not to pay your contractor until work is completed and work is approved by the city. Jefferson County District Attorney Bob Wortham says a common tactic used by scammer contractors is to get money up front for materials and then disappear. He recommends, when possible, working with contractors that don’t need up-front money. In other cases, Wortham suggests that instead of handing over money, go to the supply store with the contractor, purchase the needed supplies and have them delivered to your job site.

• Permits can be applied for by homeowners and bonded and licensed contractors at City Hall.

• Additional permitting information can be found online at beaumonttexas.gov/departments/community-development/building-codes.

The lowdown on looting

Under Texas law, punishment increases for crimes such as assault, robbery, burglary and theft if they are committed in a county such as Jefferson County that has been declared a disaster area by the governor. For example, burglarizing a home would normally bring a penalty of two to 20 years but now brings five to life.

Wortham says there will be no tolerance for looting from businesses or home, stealing or scamming from victims of the hurricane, and that that perpetrators will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. “They’ll face a jury,” he said. “There will be no plea deals.”

If you are the victim of a home repair scam or price gouging, call the Office of the Texas Attorney General toll-free at (800) 252-8011 or email consumeremergency [at] oag [dot] texas [dot] gov.

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