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59 Synopsis of Issue In many mid- to large-size disasters, mixed debris is segregated according to debris type. Segregation of debris provides for easier and more efficient processing and disposal, promotes recycling of specific types of debris, produces the lowest unit disposal costs, and ensures that each type of debris can be treated according to specific governing processing and disposal require- ments. Segregation of debris can be accomplished at the curbside by residents or debris removal personnel, or it can be picked up and hauled to a debris management site (DMS) where it is segregated. The location and layout of the DMS and the method of segregation can have a sig- nificant impact on the rate of debris removal and reduction, as well as the perceived progress of the communityâs recovery operation. Target Audience â¢ Debris managers â¢ Environmental managers â¢ Debris supervisors â¢ Debris removal workers â¢ Debris removal contractors â¢ Debris removal monitors What Is Debris Segregation and Why Is It Important? Debris segregation refers to the separation and organization of the entire amount of waste generated by a disaster, according to specific treatment and disposal requirements. Only a well- planned segregation system can ensure that the waste is treated according to its level of hazard, that proper transportation equipment is used, and that the most efficient disposal actions are taken and closely coordinated between the DOT and DPW. The state/community debris management plans should discuss how segregation requirements change with the extent and type of disaster. The primary reasons for segregating debris are to reduce the impact on limited landfill space, comply with legal requirements governing the disposal of hazardous waste, provide appropriate materials eligible for recycling or reuse, and reduce the unit costs of all debris. If debris generated by an event is not disposed of properly, it could endanger public health as well as the environment. Reducing the volume of some materials before transport saves landfill space. Decreasing the amount of debris may also offer a financial benefit. The salvage money obtained from segregat- ing and reusing or recycling waste may help offset expenses from debris removal operations while maximizing the recovery of materials at a lower cost than disposal. FEMA encourages state and C H A P T E R 8 Segregation
60 A Debris Management Handbook for State and Local DOTs and Departments of Public Works local governments, tribal authorities, and private nonprofit organizations to take a proactive approach toward coordination and management of debris removal operations as part of their overall emergency management plans. Such an approach builds an ongoing capability to continue managing similar waste materials in the future. When Is Debris Segregated? As soon as the event has passed, there should be an immediate assessment of the debris mag- nitude, scope, and impact. This evaluation initially focuses on requirements for urgent clearing of debris to allow emergency vehicles access to the area, clearing for emergency operations, and other necessary activities. Simultaneously, an assessment should be made of the actual extent, estimated amount, composition of mixed material, and impact of the overall debris generated by the event. As residents and volunteers begin working in the affected area, an extensive amount of debris may be moved from one location to another. If the positive impacts of segregation are well understood, the overall debris removal effort will be faster. Who Is Responsible for Segregation? Clear communication to the public about debris segregation options and policies is key to successful and cost-efficient operations. A jurisdictionâs public information officer should work in tandem with the debris manager to develop and disseminate messages regarding the preferred method of segregation for the disaster event. These messages should be provided frequently and clearly stated as soon as possible after the event. In addition, the messages should be made public in different media formats and describe how to segregate debris, which materials are accepted, drop-off locations, schedule for removal, how removal operations might impact traffic flows, and other pertinent information. Coordinated efforts of homeowners, the business community, local and state government agen- cies, contractors, and monitors can contribute to effective debris segregation activities, ultimately resulting in more efficient debris removal and disposal operations. To the maximum extent possi- ble, home and business owners and local government and nonprofit officials should be responsible for sorting and segregating debris originating from their property. They should place debris sorted by type in separate piles at the curb in the public right-of-way or on public property for pickup, take segregated materials to designated drop-off points, or assist in preparing debris for removal to a DMS. A table showing examples of the types of debris can be found in Appendix G. Debris removal contractors normally are responsible for picking up debris; although in some instances, local government agencies use in-house resources to do so. If possible, they pick up segregated debris from the curbside and rights-of-way. If debris deposited at the curbside is mixed, the contractor may be responsible for segregating it at the loading point, or taking it to the DMS for sorting according to the siteâs operating plan. Site monitors are tasked with observing curbside loading, as well as truckloads of debris entering a debris management or disposal site. The monitors ensure that materials are properly segregated and deposited in the appropriate locations within the site. How Is Debris Segregated? A fundamental component of a disaster debris management strategy is the proper disposal of collected debris. The implementation of disaster debris collection immediately after the disaster event assures the public that recovery efforts are in progress and that the community will return
Segregation 61 to normal in a timely manner. The debris type, amount, and urgency determine which collection method, or combination of methods, is used. The primary methods of debris collection are: â¢ Curbside collection, â¢ Collection centers, and â¢ DMSs. In most disasters, a combination of these methods may be used. Following a disaster, the com- munity must determine what method, or combination of methods, will be used. The advantages and disadvantages of each method for an individual community should be considered. The debris management plan should include a discussion of debris segregation and establish some basis for selection. Curbside Segregation. While curbside segregation of debris typically is the most efficient and cost-effective method of debris management, it has its limitations. It requires participation by a significant number of disaster-affected citizens and businesses, or the results will be inconsistent. Additionally, the disaster must have been of such a size and type that residents remained in their homes or would be expected to return shortly after the disaster. Residents who are displaced for a significant time cannot be expected to return to clean their properties on a predictable schedule. Residents are requested to sort debris by type and place it at the curbside, outside of private property. The segregated debris piles should be placed in the right-of-way and clear of obstructions such as mailboxes, fire hydrants, gas meters, and telephone poles, as shown in Figure 8.1. This method of segregation might require additional trucks to remove each type of debris, but overall, it has been found to be the most efficient in densely populated areas. Curbside segregation also can be accomplished by pickup crews, but this process is labor-intensive and can be costly. The general process of curbside segregation is as follows: â¢ Household garbage is separated from disaster-related debris. â¢ Food is removed from white goods prior to placement at curb/drop-off site. â¢ White goods might be required to have doors removed or secured by duct tape. â¢ Neighbors might be encouraged to share debris piles. â¢ Debris is placed away from: â Light poles and power poles. â Power lines. â Fire hydrants. â Meters (electric, gas, water). â Mailboxes. â Other inanimate objects that could obstruct or be damaged during removal operations. â¢ Debris piles should not protrude into the traveled roadway. â¢ Debris piles should not remain on private property. Collection Centers. Collection centers can be an effective way to segregate debris. In rural areas and other places where curbside pickup locations may be too far apart to promote efficient debris removal operations, residents may be asked to bring their debris to designated locations. Some communities may choose this option immediately following a disaster, depending on the types and amounts of debris. This option also may be used following curbside segregation when the amount of segregated debris becomes too little to justify pickups. At these collection centers or drop-off locations, residents segregate their debris at the site by sorting their debris loads by type. Information on locations, operating hours, and acceptable debris must be made available to the residents. To be effective, collection centers should have individual(s) assigned to assist in segregation at the site, ensure full bins are removed before overflowing and immediately replaced by empty bins, maintaining traffic flow, etc.
62 A Debris Management Handbook for State and Local DOTs and Departments of Public Works At drop-off sites, monitors should ensure that: â¢ Food is removed from white goods prior to placement at the drop-off site; â¢ White goods have doors removed or secured by duct tape, if necessary; â¢ Disaster debris does not include household garbage; and â¢ Hazardous waste and other unacceptable debris is taken to a designated site. Debris Management Sites (DMSs). In large debris-generating disasters, or as an alter- native during smaller incidents, a DMS may be used. A DMS may also be called a Temporary Debris Staging and Reduction Site (TDSR). All waste is brought to the DMS where it is sorted, processed, and prepared for recycling. A DMS requires a significant amount of land and personnel, but can be an efficient place to handle high volumes of material and a worthwhile Figure 8.1. A communityâs strategy of having residents segregate debris at the curbside should be clearly communicated to the public. (Â© 2014 The Times-Picayune, L.L.C. All rights reserved. Used with permission of NOLA Media Group.)
Segregation 63 investment. Site layouts should be carefully planned to ensure only the required processes are included. Chapter 9, Debris Management Site Selection, addresses the requirements for a DMS selection. Entire truckloads of similar debris may be collected and delivered to the DMS. When this occurs, the debris is taken to a specific location at the site and unloaded until it can be reduced. If the load is mixed debris (as shown in Figure 8.2), it is generally deposited at a designated loca- tion, segregated by hand, and put in piles according to the debris categories shown in Table 8.1. The piles are then processed according to the jurisdictionâs debris management plan and govern- ing federal, state, and local regulations. Figure 8.2. Mixed debris left at curbside after flooding event. Particularly after floods, or heavy rains on de-roofed homes, a large amount of personal property will be brought to the curbside. (Source: FEMA) Debris Type What Is It? Descripon Vegetave Includes leaves, brush, limbs, branches, trunks, and stumps. Reducon can decrease vegetave volume by 75 to 90 percent. Vegetave debris that is free of contaminants can be reused or recycled, further reducing its impact on landfill space. Applicants should check on the possibility of sending the debris to a generang plant. Construcon & demolion (C&D) Damaged components of buildings and structures such as lumber and wood; gypsum wallboard; glass; metal, roofing material; le, carpeng, and floor coverings; window coverings; pipe, concrete; fully cured asphalt; equipment; furnishings; and fixtures. C&D debris that is clear of asbestos and hazardous materials should be recycled to the extent possible, and the remainder disposed of in a permiÂed C&D landfill. Example: secons of asphalt pavement can be crushed and reused, and bricks can be recycled. (continued on next page) Table 8.1. Debris categories.
64 A Debris Management Handbook for State and Local DOTs and Departments of Public Works Table 8.1 (Continued). White goods Includes household appliances such as washers, dryers, refrigerators, freezers, ovens, ranges, heat pumps, water heaters, and air condioners. Many white goods contain refrigerants, mercury, or oils that must be removed and processed according to environmental regulaons before the white goods can be further processed for recycling or disposal. White goods should also be cleaned of all putrescent debris prior to removal and disposal. Disposal of refrigerators and freezers usually require prior removal or duct taping of doors. Municipal solid waste General household garbage such as food, plascs, packaging, and paper. Can be disposed of in a municipal landfill. Electronic waste Includes household electronics that contain hazardous materials such as cathode ray tubes. Common examples are computer monitors and old televisions; however, all electronic waste should be disposed in the same site. Electronic wastes may also contain chemicals and minerals that require special treatment or disposal methods. Material should be checked by qualified personnel. Asbestos- containing material Many older buildings contain asbestos in such items as floor le, pipe wrapping material, insulaon, duct work, shingles, and stucco (among others). Special handling by qualified personnel is required if asbestos is present. Infecous waste Could cause infecons in humans: includes blood and blood products, human and animal waste, medical waste, pathological waste, and discarded sharp objects such as needles and scalpels. Handling, treatment, and disposal of this type of waste is generally under the authority of another agency, such as the Centers for Disease Control or Environmental Protecon Agency. Check with the proper agency and ensure contact name and number is contained in the Debris Management Plan. Debris Type What Is It? Descripon Hazardous waste Any material exhibing at least one of the following four characteriscs: ignitability, corrosivity, reacvity, or toxicity. Governed by Resource Conservaon and Recovery Act (RCRA). Special precauons may be required for this type of waste, including wearing personal protecve equipment, decontaminang trucks, using special containers, and maintaining chain of custody. Household hazardous waste Includes consumer products that exhibit the characteriscs of hazardous waste. Examples include some household cleaning products, latex- and oil-based paint, gasoline and oil, baÂeries, cleaning solvents, pool chemicals, and pescides. Handling should be the same as for other types of hazardous waste.
Segregation 65 Debris Type What Is It? Descripon Soil, sand, mud, and snow Soil, sand, mud, and snow. Should be evaluated to determine if they contain any contaminants. If so, the contaminants should be handled, processed, and disposed of according to environmental regulaons governing that type of contaminant. If these debris types are determined to be free of contaminants, they may be combined with other organic materials at the DMS and recycled or reused. Vehicles and vessels May be damaged, destroyed, displaced, or lost as a result of a disaster. The owners might abandon them if they have relocated or because of the amount of damage. Vehicle and vessel debris must be processed to remove all of the fluids such as oils, gasoline, diesel fuel, anfreeze, and any minerals before they can be recycled, salvaged, or destroyed. Care must be taken when handling private vehicles. Most enes have legal processes that must be followed before a privately-owned vehicle can be removed and destroyed. Putrescent Includes any debris that could decompose or rot, such as animal carcasses and other fleshy organic maÂ er. Must be handled in accordance with all applicable local ordinances and state and federal regulaons. Chemically, biologically, radiologically, or nuclear- contaminated debris Unless the disaster is a terrorist event, this type of debris usually would be associated with hospitals, medical supply facilies, chemical plants, etc. The segregaon, treatment, removal, and disposal of these types of debris should be handled by specialists and overseen by the EPA, which is designated as the lead federal agency for handling these materials according to Emergency Support Funcon (ESF) #10 in the Naonal Response Framework. Crime scene debris Could include any of the other categories of debris. If the debris is the result of an intenonal manmade disaster, it may be considered part of a crime scene. In these cases, law enforcement officials must approve the debris before it is removed from its original locaon so as not to undermine the integrity of the evidence. (Table compiled based on informaon contained in FEMA 325, Debris Management Guide)(25) Table 8.1. (Continued).
66 A Debris Management Handbook for State and Local DOTs and Departments of Public Works Some additional considerations for segregating debris at a DMS: â¢ Ensure that personnel have appropriate personal protective equipment as needed (e.g., when handling hazardous household waste or electronic waste). â¢ Locations at the site for various types of debris (e.g., C&D, household hazardous waste, and electronics) should be clearly marked. Conveyor belts can be used to assist with recycling and other processes. â¢ Vibrating (or manual) screens can be used to remove soil from other debris. â¢ Food should be removed from white goods prior to additional processing. â¢ Electronic waste should be segregated by type (e.g., televisions or computers), and placed in piles to a height compliant with local regulations or the debris management health and safety plan to minimize risk of collapse. Electronic waste should be protected from weather, if possible. â¢ Debris piles should be handled promptly and not allowed to accumulate, to minimize environ- mental and safety risks, and prevent spontaneous combustion of vegetative debris piles. While there are no standard heights for vegetative debris piles, the maximum height of debris piles generally is in the 10- to 15-foot range to help prevent spontaneous combustion and facilitate working the debris pile. If another height limit is established by local regulations or the debris management health and safety plan, the pile heights should conform to those limitations. â¢ Vegetative debris piles should be turned frequently to reduce the likelihood of combustion; it is recommended that piles be turned when internal temperatures reach 160 degrees Fahrenheit to dissipate accumulating heat and gases and allow cooling. Piles should be located near firefighting equipment and away from buildings in the event that spontaneous combustion occurs. â¢ C&D wastes should be processed to remove contaminants such as asbestos-containing materials, white goods, and household hazardous waste. Debris pile heights should conform to local limitations or the height prescribed in the debris management health and safety plan.