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Saturday, December 3, 2022

Hurricane Ian Recovery: Common Questions & Answers 

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City of Winter Haven

Hurricane Ian Recovery: Common Questions & Answers

When will my Garbage and Recycling be collected?

We resumed household garbage and recycling collection Friday, September 30. Normal route schedules will be resumed Monday, October 3.

Where should I place my debris from the storm?

All debris should be placed curbside, clear of the roadway, and any overhead conflicts that might prevent pick up. Vegetative debris should be kept separate from the other categories of debris  to prevent material contamination. The bagged brush is considered household garbage and should be placed with garbage, not with other loose vegetative debris.

When will my storm debris be picked up?

The City of Winter Haven is working with Polk County for storm debris collection. We hope this will occur over the next few days. Debris collection and hauling is a longer process than garbage pick-up. It will take time, and we ask for your patience. Brush will likely not run on the normal collection schedule because of the magnitude that is out. Routes will begin in the center of the City and work outward in a circular pattern to cover the entire City.

Can I schedule a pick-up of debris?

The City of Winter Haven is not scheduling pick-ups of Storm Debris.

How should I dispose of sandbags?

Dry sand bags can be stored for future use. If you need to dispose of the bag, empty the sand from the bags by scattering it across your yard. Do not pour sand into a storm drain. Place the empty bags into your garbage container.

Can I put my bagged brush with my other tree limbs?

No. Bagged Brush is considered household garbage; please put it in your trash receptacle. Only loose vegetative debris should be piled together. This is due to how the debris is processed and recycled.

When will you collect hazardous waste, construction debris, and white goods?

Hazardous Waste must be taken to the landfill. White Goods will be collected by contracted crews and City Staff. Please leave items on the curb for pickup.

Why do I need to separate my piles?

To expedite the debris removal process, debris must be categorized. This ensures that your materials are collected as quickly as possible.

My neighbor’s tree fell onto my property. Am I allowed to cut the tree?

You can only trim areas on your property. You cannot enter your neighbor’s property to remove any limbs or the whole tree itself without permission from your neighbor.


Do I need to boil my water after the storm?

There is no City-wide boil water notice after Hurricane Ian. Crews will leave door hangers for any residents that are under a boil water notice. Once a notice is issued residents can check www.mywinterhaven.com and the Winter Haven Water Facebook for updates about their boil water notice.

How do I report a water or sewer emergency such as water outage or sewer backup/overflow?

To report a water or sewer emergency, please call Winter Haven Water.

  • 7:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. call 863-291-5853
  • After-hours emergency call 863-291-5767
  • Any other questions, call customer service at 863-298-5678
Why is my lift station not working?

Just as homes and businesses are experiencing wide-spread power outages, so are the lift stations. Our crews have been working diligently around the entire City to provide backup power and/or pump the lift stations manually until power is restored. If you see an issue of sewer backing up, please report the location so we can prioritize visiting that location.

I need my water turned off to complete a repair on the customer’s side (private side, not City-maintained). What do I need to do?

Call Winter Haven Water to and we will arrange for a turn off. When the repair is complete, you’ll need to call back in and let us know so we can schedule the water service to be turned back on. We are not aware of a repair being completed any other way. You can call us at (863) 291-5678.


Are City offices open?

All City offices are open as-of Monday, October 3.

Are the cemeteries open?

The City cemeteries have significant debris throughout them due to the storm. Cemeteries are currently closed and will remain closed until staff has cleared all safety concerns.

Are parks open?

The City parks have significant debris throughout them due to the storm. All parks are currently closed and will remain closed until at least Monday, October 3. Some will remain closed longer pending all safety concerns being cleared.


When will my power be restored?

The City of Winter Haven does not provide an electric utility, though we do coordinate with electric providers on recovery efforts. Questions regarding your power outage should be directed to your provider:

Can I connect my portable generator directly into my break box to use for my house?

No. You should never connect directly into a breaker box or dryer outlet. This poses a hazard to adjoining electric customers and responders restoring electricity as it can feed electricity back through the lines. You should use the outlet on the generator to plug in extension cords.

Can I keep my generator in my garage with the door open for ventilation?

No. Even with the door open, the garage has three walls and a roof that allows for the collection of carbon monoxide, which is a colorless, odorless and deadly gas. The carbon monoxide can enter the home through small areas such as vents or cracks and cause harm. Generators should be outside at least 20 feet away from the house.

Since the electricity went out, my smoke detector keeps sounding. Can the fire or police department fix the problem?

Your detector is sounding because the power to it has been disrupted. Smoke or Carbon Monoxide detectors cannot be disconnected by the public safety team due to liability.


If I am out-of-town and not able to return right away, can the police check on my home?

Optimally, you should have family or neighbors watch out for your home, but if this is not available Winter Haven Police can patrol by your home. Please call 863-401-2256.

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