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Lingering Harvey debris must be hauled away

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Beaumont Enterprise

Many things are difficult after a natural disaster: Finding housing for displaced people, rebuilding washed-out bridges, salvaging historic buildings that were damaged, etc. One task is fairly simple: Hauling away debris piles.

It basically consists of A) pausing a truck in front of a pile, B) transferring the pile from the ground to the truck bed with a grappler, and then C) driving the load to a dump.

Oh, and repeat as often as necessary.

Granted, some person or agency has to get the trucks, schedule their pickups, find a landfill for the piles, etc. The process does require some organization and management.

But again, compared to finding shelter for a family with several children and possibly some special needs and perhaps school transportation issues, it's not that complicated.

While countless tons of Harvey-damaged material have been hauled away, too much of it remains.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton recently said his office will be investigating debris-removal companies that "may be overpromising and underdelivering."

Harvey recovery czar and Texas A&M University Chancellor John Sharp agreed, saying, "It's time to find out why some are moving too slowly, and some are refusing help that would remove debris faster."

Anyone who doubts either of those officials could take a drive around Southeast Texas.

Here and there are small mountains of stuff that have been sitting by the curb since late August. It's not pervasive, but in the places where the debris piles still exist, the effect is unavoidable.

People see it every day. Kids are tempted to pull things out and play with them, even though they may be contaminated with mold or sewage overflow. No one knows which pests lurk at the bottom of the pile, perhaps even breeding in their new homes.

For a good while after Ike, Southeast Texas was known as the place with blue-tarp roofs. Harvey's legacy shouldn't be lingering debris piles.

They have to go. City and county officials must redouble their efforts to get all of it hauled away amid the two-month anniversary of Harvey.