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67 Synopsis of Issues While some debris may be taken directly to a landfill or landfills, large disasters usually require the development of a procedure to reduce the volume taken to landfills, or process the debris for recycling. Debris removal operations may be expedited in some jurisdictions by removing the debris to a temporary staging location where it can be processed. Such a site is commonly called a DMS or a temporary debris staging and reduction site (TDSR). While such sites allow debris segregation and processing at a central location, it can be more costly than hauling directly to a landfill; however, the material may require reduction prior to disposal whether or not a DMS is used. Sizing of such sites is extremely important, as they must be of sufficient size to accommodate predicted volumes, mixed debris, and processing needs without adversely impacting the environment, public health, traffic flow, and other regulatory and social con- siderations. The sites should be as close to the locations of disaster debris as possible to mini- mize hauling distance and times, yet sufficiently removed from developments. They must be opened, operated, and closed in accordance with federal, state, and local regulations and permit requirements. Target Audience â¢ Debris managers. â¢ Debris management planning committees. â¢ Local officials. â¢ Environmental officials. â¢ Debris supervisors. â¢ Land-use officials. â¢ Historic preservation officers. Use of DMSs When disasters generate large amounts of debris, counties and cities may not have sufficient space in existing landfills to manage the quantity and mixed composition of debris that is being removed. Under these circumstances, DMSs can be used to facilitate debris removal and disposal operations. There also is the possibility that a DMS can be used for a single purpose. For example, during an ice storm or hurricane there may be massive amounts of vegetative debris scatted over the impact area. While there may be several other kinds of debris, the vegetative debris is pre- dominant. Some communities may develop a vegetative debris reduction site that is used solely for reducing and disposing of that category of debris, and have a second DMS that addresses the C H A P T E R 9 Debris Management Site Selection
68 A Debris Management Handbook for State and Local DOTs and Departments of Public Works remaining categories. If the sites are located in separate sections of the community, coordination with the DOT and DPW could result in the reduction of truck traffic in one area. Why Is Site Selection Important? Before debris removal operations begin, the debris manager must determine the overall debris removal, processing, and disposal strategy. Typically this strategy is included in the debris man- agement plan, and is one of the most important components. It provides the overall framework for how and where debris will be removed, processed, and disposed. Some issues, that the strategy might address how to accommodate disposal needs when landfill space is limited or recycling mandates have been adopted by the jurisdiction. Increasingly, local jurisdictions are finding that nearby landfill space is limited such that removing debris from public property and hauling it directly to a landfill is no longer feasible; it must first be reduced in volume. Additionally, permitting, constructing, and operating landfills are more difficult and expensive, so maximizing the use of the existing landfill for routine debris is important. In some locales, recycling debris to achieve a target percentage is mandated through existing local or state ordinances. To expedite removal of debris from public property and rights-of-way, many localities identify temporary staging sites where debris is taken to be segregated, processed, and reduced in volume, allowing the community to meet its goals for recycling and reduced use of landfills while helping to facilitate a faster recovery process. It must be understood that the use of DMSs for temporary storage and processing sometimes increases the overall cost of operations. That is because some of the debris must be hauled twiceâonce from public property to the staging site and then again from the staging site to the final disposal site. Conversely the use of such sites may expedite the removal and disposal of debris because more can be hauled, segregated, and disposed in a less time. The use of a temporary site also allows existing landfills to continue normal operations. What Goes into Site Selection? There are a number of criteria that should be considered when trying to identify land to serve as a DMS. Ideally, the land should be large, relatively flat, already cleared, and publicly owned. DMSs are typically between 50 and 200 acres. The use of larger plots of land means that fewer DMSs (and associated costs) will be needed for temporary staging and processing. The size and number of sites needed by a jurisdiction will depend on the event debris forecasts that are developed as part of the debris management plan. If publicly-owned sites of sufficient size to accommodate the forecast debris volumes are not available, jurisdictions must consider if they will pursue the use of privately-owned lands or MOUs with other jurisdictions. If a jurisdiction decides to use privately-owned land because public lands are not available, lease agreements with all parties having an ownership interest should clearly prescribe all conditions, testing, closeout procedures, timetables, and provisions for temporary waivers regarding normal site use. One procedure to estimate the required size of a required DMS(s) is based on that developed by the USACE, and is fairly simple. The input for the calculation is as follows: DE = Debris Estimate in cubic yards. PH = Average height of debris pile. This is usually about 15 feet, or 5 yards. SY = Square yards in an acre, or 4,840. VA (volume of debris per acre) = (SY)(PH). Multiplying the height of the debris pile (in yards) by the square yards in an acre provides the volume per acre of debris. OA (Operational Areas) Factor = 1.66. This is a factor used to increase the required area to account for roads, safety buffers, burn pits, household hazardous waste areas, equipment maintenance areas, temporary structures, etc.
Debris Management Site Selection 69 Example: Input: Debris Estimate (DE) = 2,000,000 CY. Average height of debris pile on site (PH) = 15 feet, or 5 yards. Calculation: Volume of debris per acre, or VA = (4,480)(PH), or (4,480)(5) = 24,200 cubic yards per acre. Area required for debris only = DE/VA, or 2,000,000 CY divided by 24,200 CY/Acre = 82.6 acres. Total estimated area required = (82.6 acres)(OA factor), or (82.6)(1.66) = 137 acres. In a situation where insufficient acreage exists at a single site, multiple sites may be required. Normally, a 100-acre storage site can be cycled every 45 to 60 days or once during a recovery period. That means 137/2, or two 69-acre sites could be used. The number of sites varies with size available, distance from sources, speed of reduction, and removal urgency. Where Should Sites Be Located? In addition to considering the size, topography, and ownership of the land that will be needed to temporarily stage and process debris, the location of this land in relationship to the location of both the debris and the residents and businesses in the community is an important consideration. Ideally, a DMS should be close to the location of disaster debris to minimize hauling distances. To meet local, state, and federal environmental ordinances, the land should be located away from floodplains and wetlands. It also should be located away from potable water wells, areas of high groundwater levels, rivers, lakes, and streams. The site should be selected so that debris processing operations do not pose a public nuisance or public health and safety threat. For example, the potential impacts from noise, odor, dust, traffic, and pre-existing conditions are essential to consider in the process of identifying debris storage sites. The use of sites in residential neighbor- hoods or near schools, hospitals, churches, historic districts, archaeological sites, or other sensitive areas could adversely impact the people who live and work in the vicinity of the site, and debris operations at those locations might cause noise and environmental nuisances. Debris processing operations require certain infrastructure, the availability of which should be considered during the site selection process. Electricity and water need to be readily available at the DMS to facilitate operations; however, in large-scale disasters in which electricity and water supply are adversely affected, generators and potable water trucks have been used. Poten- tial staging sites also should have ease of access for entry and exit without significantly impeding normal traffic flow adjacent to the site. Removing debris to the temporary staging site is meant to facilitate faster recovery of the community and should not burden any one part of that community by increasing the debris impacts on that sector. When Does Site Selection Occur? Pre-Disaster Site Selection. Ideally, sites should be pre-identified during the debris man- agement planning process, and emphasis should be placed on this endeavor. Undertaking site selection during âpeace timeâ allows sufficient time for many options to be evaluated to ensure that the site meets all applicable laws and ordinances that govern this type of land use. Development of a comprehensive checklist to ensure compliance with requirements of all applicable agencies should significantly reduce the time to complete site selection prior to an event. By pre-identifying
70 A Debris Management Handbook for State and Local DOTs and Departments of Public Works sites, jurisdictions can apply for permits during the response phase of debris operations so that sites can be open at the onset of removal operations, facilitating a faster recovery. Post-Disaster Site Selection. If sites are not pre-identified prior to a disaster, but the debris manager determines that a staging site will be needed to facilitate debris operations, site selection should begin while preliminary damage assessments are ongoing to minimize delays to removal operations. During Site Operations. Once sites are selected, they will be operated throughout the recovery phase of the debris operation, and generally will remain open until removal and dis- posal operations are complete. In some instances, debris reduction operations might continue on a 24-hour basis for a period of time. Closure occurs after all debris has been removed from the DMS, required tests have been completed on the site, and the site has been inspected by all required individuals, departments, and agencies. Who Selects DMSs? The debris manager will estimate the size(s) of the site(s) that will be needed and coordinate with land-use officials, other agency leads, and possibly with local politicians to identify potential acceptable sites. If leases or MOUs are needed for acceptable sites that are not owned by the juris- diction, legal counsel will be needed to negotiate the terms and conditions of the agreements. When selected, acceptable sites need to be activated for use after a debris-generating disaster. Environmental officials will assist the jurisdiction in complying with local, state, and federal regulatory requirements. They also will advise on required baseline and closeout testing require- ments as well as the review and approval of permits for the DMSs. The debris manager will coordinate with local utility providers and other relevant stakeholders to evaluate infrastructure needs and provide support. How Does Site Selection Occur? Selection of sites for debris management and processing can be broken down into three phases. These phases can be used for pre-disaster site selection or post-disaster site selection. â¢ Phase IâDetermine if a DMS should be used. Ideally this decision should be made prior to a debris-generating event and included in the debris management plan. â Based on the debris estimates developed for planning (or the estimated volume of debris for an actual event), evaluate if the capacity of nearby landfills will accommodate the volume of debris that requires disposal. â If debris volume reduction will be completed, determine if it will be done at pickup locations or at a central processing location. â If debris will be segregated, determine if the process will take place at the pickup location and hauled directly to the disposal site, or if it will be segregated at a central processing location or hauled from one. â Use of DMSs can be more costly to the overall debris operation; however, if debris is seg- regated at the curbside and hauled directly to disposal locations, multiple removal crews and equipment will be required to make passes along each pickup route, which also could result in higher operations costs. â¢ Phase IIâIdentify acceptable parcels of land that could serve as DMSs. Like Phase I, this phase ideally should be completed prior to the occurrence of a debris-generating disaster. â If the debris management strategy determines that debris will be hauled to a temporary DMS, determine the size of the site(s) that will be needed based on debris type and volume
Debris Management Site Selection 71 projections completed as part of the debris management plan (or observed during the preliminary damage assessment). â Use aerial imagery, maps, local knowledge, tax assessor records, and other available information to help identify potential locations. Group them according to ownership (e.g., publicly owned by identifying jurisdiction, publicly owned by neighboring jurisdiction, privately owned). â Rank and prioritize the publicly-owned sites according to how well they match the desired- DMS criteria (e.g., large area, open space, access routes, infrastructure). Investigate any histori- cal or archaeological significance of the highest-ranked sites, ensuring that the sum total of the areas of the sites to be investigated will meet the identified space needs. Determine the permits that would be required for operations, and either obtain such permits, or compile the necessary information to expedite permit requests. Discuss permitting with the appropriate agencies to determine how they can be expedited following a disaster. â If sufficient publicly-owned space cannot be found within local boundaries, consider regional resources and establish MOUs or MOAs with the owner jurisdictions for use of the identified locations. â If regional resources are not available, evaluate the option to lease private land. For private leases, the agreement should cover all of the time that the jurisdiction will be using the site, from baseline environmental studies to releasing the land back to the owner. Leases should stipulate a specific amount of time with an option to extend if debris processing activities have not concluded. â Conduct a site visit to the potential sites to evaluate and confirm existing conditions. Estimate the dimensions of the site, note physical features, and take photographs and video of the site and its surroundings. â Create preliminary site layouts (see Figure 9.1). Take into account entrances, exit routes, types of material expected at the site (e.g., woody debris, household hazardous waste, white goods, and household debris). These layouts can be adjusted prior to use after an event to suit the actual needs. Figures 9.2 through 9.4 show improper and proper layouts for sites. â¢ Phase IIIâPrepare and operate the site. These actions will be implemented after a debris- generating disaster occurs. â Re-document current conditions at any previously identified sites prior to active use as DMSs. Take soil and water samples as baseline environmental measures so that post-activity conditions can be compared to pre-activity conditions. Figure 9.1. TDSR layout (HTW = hazardous/toxic waste). (Source: FEMA)
72 A Debris Management Handbook for State and Local DOTs and Departments of Public Works Figure 9.2. Improper site layout. The size of this DMS was limited, resulting in âMount Trashmore.â (Source: FEMA) Figure 9.3. Proper site layout. The size of this DMS was approximately 100 acres and shows separate areas for burning, grinding, and recycling. (Source: FEMA) Figure 9.4. Well-organized DMS. (Source: Civil Air Patrol for FEMA)
Debris Management Site Selection 73 â Obtain the proper permits to operate the site if this was not completed as part of the debris management planning process. For permits that were obtained, ensure they are still valid. These could include: 77 Waste processing and recycling operations permit. 77 Temporary land-use permits. 77 Land-use variances. 77 Traffic circulation strategies. 77 Air quality permits. 77 Water quality permits. 77 Coastal commission land-use permits. 77 Household hazardous waste permits. 77 Fire department permits. â Ensure that proper safety measures are taken at the site. 77 Develop a written safety plan for site operations prior to beginning any work at the site. A generic safety plan, or at a minimum, generic safety requirements and checklist, can be developed as part of the debris management plan. If a contract will be awarded for operation of the site, a detailed safety plan should be required from the selected contractor before operations begin. 77 The site should be fenced to control access of unauthorized personnel after hours of operation. 77 Signs should be located at the entrance of the site to indicate hours of operation and materials accepted. 77 Safety monitors at the site should indicate the entry and exit points for truck removal contractors and residents. 77 Employ traffic control personnel if necessary to direct traffic near the site entrance and exit. 77 If possible, every site should have active fire protection devices such as fire extinguishers, fire hydrants, and water connections. If not, measures should be taken to provide fire protection, including water trucks with hoses and spray bars provided by the contractor. â Properly prepare the site by carefully clearing and grading to promote proper drainage and minimize erosion. Sediment control devices such as silt fences, sand bag barriers, or storm drain inlet protection should be erected to control erosion and prevent discharge of con- taminated water into a nearby stream, river, lake, or other body of water. â Within the site itself, buffer zones should be established and maintained between usage areas at the site. Containment berms should be constructed, and holding areas for ash, household hazardous waste, and fuels also should be created. â During operations, monitor groundwater, surface water, air quality, ash, and soil. Require immediate documentation and cleanup of any fuel or hydraulic fluid spills. Such spills should be immediately reported if they exceed a previously determined size. â Keep the flow of debris moving to facilitate removal and disposal operations. The relative locations of reduction operations (e.g., incinerators, tub grinders) should maximize efficiency while adhering to the written safety plan. â Provide suitable monitoring stations for debris site monitors (additional discussion is available in Chapter 10, Monitoring). â When debris operations are complete and all debris has been removed from the DMS, the site should be cleaned, final environmental sampling completed, the site restored, and, if the site is owned by another organization or jurisdiction, a release obtained from the property owner, and legal agreements terminated. Example: Site Selection (From interviews with Woodson Booth, Emergency Management Officer, Cumberland County, NC, and Fire Chief Ben Major, Fayetteville, NC, April 2013) On April 16, 2011, the City of Fayetteville, NC, was struck by an EF-2 tornado that touched down at the western border of the city and traveled on a northeasterly path. After the tornado
74 A Debris Management Handbook for State and Local DOTs and Departments of Public Works struck, the city determined that it would use a DMS to process debris, but it had not pre- identified or permitted any sites for this use. Because the local elementary school was partially destroyed by the tornado, it was not going to be in use as a school in the immediate future. Therefore, the grassy fields adjacent to the school playground were identified for use as a DMS. The city entered into a verbal agreement with the school system to use the land. Working with Cumberland County, North Carolinaâs Emergency Management officials, the city coordinated with the North Carolina Department of Natural Resources to obtain permits to operate the DMS at the school site. Because of their inexperience with large debris disasters and the require- ments to obtain DMS permits, the city experienced some initial delays in debris operations, but through additional coordination with the county and the state, overall operations proceeded smoothly with only some minor repairs to damaged playground equipment being required at the end of the operation. The Cumberland County emergency management officer who coordinated with the city on their debris management site selection and operation, advocates for identifying potential DMSs pre-disaster and establishing an MOA or contract with the landowner for their use. Furthermore, this written agreement should be reviewed and updated annually to reflect any changes in ownership of the land. Finally, the state agency with the authority to issue permits should approve the site as a potential DMS prior to its use.