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42 C H A P T E R 7 Synopsis of Issue Debris removal involves removing debris from roads, public property, publicly-maintained waterways, and under certain conditions, from private property. Typically, it begins immediately after the disaster event, during the response phase of operations to support emergency respond- ers. It continues during the recovery phase and, depending on the magnitude of the event and availability of resources, can last for years. Removal requires close coordination among all enti- ties involved. Target Audience â¢ Debris managers. â¢ Debris supervisors. â¢ Solid waste personnel. â¢ Debris removal personnel. â¢ Debris removal contractors. â¢ Debris removal monitors. â¢ Safety officers. â¢ Public information officers. â¢ Utility providers (for demolition). â¢ Building officials (for demolition). Why Remove Debris After a Disaster? Removing debris after a disaster serves multiple purposes. First, clearing debris from the traveled roadway immediately following an event supports life-saving operations by creating a pathway for emergency vehicles to access blocked routes and geographic areas. Once clearance to critical functions is accomplished, prompt removal of debris after a disaster minimizes the threat to life, public health, and safety. In the event that debris is deposited in waterways, its removal is important to prevent flooding of the surrounding area, remove potential sources of contamination, and remove threats to navigation and use of the waterways. It also is a visible sign to the public that the recovery process is in progress. Debris removal from public rights- of-way and public property allows daily activities to resume and government services that are expected by the public to continue. Ultimately, these activities lead to economic recovery of the community. Removal
Removal 43 What Does Debris Removal Involve? The disaster debris removal process typically involves two phases: clearance and actual removal. To various degrees, both phases involve state DOTs and local DOTs and DPWs. Trans- portation routes must be opened as quickly as possible. Local personnel and equipment from these agencies are usually some of the first on the scene. The first phase, clearance, usually occurs during the first 24 to 72 hours after the event (response phase). Debris generated by the disaster is pushed to the edge of the rights-of-way to allow emergency response vehicles to access impeded areas (see Figures 7.1 and 7.2). During the planning process, routes are prioritized for clearance based on which ones are essential for emergency operations. The debris management plan must contain procedures for changing prioritization for clearance if necessary according to the actual type and extent of the disaster. The second phase of the debris removal process is actual removal of debris from public prop- erty and public rights-of-way. Removal usually occurs during the recovery phase of the disaster after clearance has been completed. The removal phase focuses on collecting debris that has been generated by the disaster for processing and disposal. Different disaster events generate different types of debris. Table 7.1 summarizes the likely types of debris that will be generated by each disaster event. Figures 7.3 through 7.8 and 7.10 illustrate the likely types of debris that are commonly gener- ated by each disaster event. Figure 7.9 illustrates placement of debris. Figure 7.2. Crew opening a blocked lane into a residential area. The debris that is piled up on the road is being hauled. (Source: FEMA) Figure 7.1. Crew using large front loaders to push debris to the curbside on a road leading to a critical facility. (Source: FEMA)
44 A Debris Management Handbook for State and Local DOTs and Departments of Public Works Table 7.1. Different disaster events generate different types of debris. Typical Debris Streams Ve ge ta v e De br is C& D De br is Pe rs on al Pr op er ty / Ho us eh ol d Ite m s Ha za rd ou sW as te HH W El ec tr on ic W as te (e -w as te ) W hi te Go od s Ro ck ,S oi l, an d Se di m en t Ve hi cl es an d Ve ss el s Pu tr es ce nt De br is In fe c ou sW as te CB RN â Co nt am in at ed De br is Ty pe of Di sa st er Hurricane / Typhoon Tsunami Tornado Flood Earthquake Wildfire Winter Storms Terrorist Incident Notes: C&D = Construcon and Demolion HHW = Household Hazardous Waste CBRN = Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear Figure 7.3. Debris generated from a hurricane in St. Thomas. (Source: FEMA)
Removal 45 Figure 7.4. Debris generated from a tornado. (Source: FEMA) Figure 7.6. Debris generated from an earthquake. (Source: FEMA) Figure 7.5. Debris generated from a flooding event in California. (Source: FEMA)
Figure 7.7. Debris generated from wildfire. (Source: FEMA) Figure 7.8. Debris generated from an ice storm. (Source: FEMA) Figure 7.9. Under the FHWA ER program, debris removal generally is eligible for federal reimbursement if the debris is removed from the Clear Zone. (Source: FHWA) (7)
Removal 47 Figure 7.10. Mixed debris left at the curbside, Mississippi. (Source: FEMA) Removal of Eligible Debris. Each jurisdiction might determine that it will remove all debris from the community, on behalf of its citizens, as is its right to make that determination. However, the focus of a public agency responsible for debris removal is often on collecting only âeligibleâ debris. As the public agency focuses on collecting eligible debris, the debris collection and removal staff, whether from the DOT, the DPW, other in-house personnel, or contractors, must be cognizant of what is considered eligible. This is particularly important if the agency intends to seek reimbursement for removal costs through a federal grant program. A jurisdiction that opts to remove debris based on guidelines other than those of the federal eligibility programs, and expects to submit a request for reimbursement under those programs, has a requirement to fully document the distinctions between potentially eligible debris and non-eligible debris. Most federal agency reimbursement programs restrict eligible debris to that which is in the public right-of-way or on public property. Some exceptions for private property exist and are discussed at the end of the chapter. Likewise, some private structures might require demolition and subsequent removal of the resultant debris. Typically, this is not eligible for reimbursement under federal reimbursement programs; however, some exceptions exist and also are discussed at the end of this chapter. The specific criteria that each federal agency grant program uses to define eligible disaster debris differs, so it is important to understand under which program debris is being removed so that the appropriate require- ments can be met. FHWA ER Eligibility. The FHWA ER program defines debris as eligible for removal if: â¢ The debris was generated as a direct result of the disaster. â¢ Removal is required to minimize damage, protect facilities, or restore essential traffic. â¢ The debris is located within the cross-section to the outside edge of the road shoulders (see Figure 7.9). Clearing limits can include: â The traveled way. â âNormalâ medians (for divided highways, each direction is treated as a separate roadway). â Cut-and-fill slopes. â Any additional clearing required to assure the full functioning of the pavement, drainage ditches, and structures. â Removal of debris that is considered a safety hazard within the limits of the clear zone. Cut sections should be cleared to the safe distance that assures that no debris causes roadway slope erosion or rolls down to clog ditches or endanger traffic on the pavements and shoulders.
48 A Debris Management Handbook for State and Local DOTs and Departments of Public Works The FHWA ER program generally limits eligibility to the âfirst pushâ to clear the roadway for emergency vehicles to pass and one âpassâ of removal from the eligible rights-of-way. The cost of removing debris deposited in the public right-of-way by private citizens, business owners, and others, is not eligible for reimbursement through the FHWA ER program. Neither snow nor ice removal are eligible as debris removal. FEMA PA Program Eligibility. The FEMA PA program has a number of complex rules gov- erning reimbursement of eligible debris that is removed from public property and rights-of-way after a disaster. A list and summary of these policies is included in Table 4.1 in the Policy chapter of this manual. In general, eligible debris is defined by the FEMA PA program as debris that: â¢ Is a direct result of a presidentially-declared disaster. â¢ Occurs within the designated disaster area. â¢ Is the legal responsibility of the Applicant (agency) at the time of the disaster. â¢ Eliminates an immediate threat to life, public health, and safety. â¢ Eliminates immediate threats of significant damage to improved public or private property. â¢ Ensures the economic recovery of the affected community to the benefit of the community-at- large. This justification for debris operations should be discussed with FEMA before removal, as there are specific requirements that must be met. NRCS Eligibility. The NRCS EWP program also responds to emergencies created by natural disasters. As part of the program, the removal of debris from stream channels, road culverts, and bridges is authorized âto relieve imminent hazards to life and property caused by floods, fires, windstorms, and other natural occurrences.â To be eligible for reimbursement from the EWP program, the work must: â¢ Reduce a threat to lives and property. â¢ Be economically, environmentally, and socially defensible. â¢ Be designed and implemented according to sound technical standards. â¢ Conserve natural resources. â¢ Be represented by a project sponsor if performed on public or private land. When Does Debris Removal Occur? The debris clearance process can start as soon after the disaster as is safe for the personnel per- forming the work. If an event occurs with warning, such as a hurricane, responsible agencies some- times pre-stage personnel and resources at key locations so they can begin the response clearance phase as soon after the disaster as is safe. Generally speaking, the response phase occurs during the first 24 to 72 hours after the disaster occurs, but this timeframe depends on the magnitude of the event, geographic extents of the debris field, and types of debris that are generated from the disaster. The recovery phase, which includes debris removal, starts after the disaster response is largely complete. In some cases there might be some overlap, depending on the nature and geographic extents of the damage as well as the ongoing search and rescue missions. Debris removal opera- tions continue until the eligible debris is removed or until completion of a timeframe or other conditions that are prescribed by the entity responsible for overseeing debris removal operations and communicated to the public. Example: Debris Removal Timeframe Limitations (From interview with Karen Kempert, Emergency Manager, Cavalier County, ND, April 2013) In 2010, the City of Dubuque, IA, experienced a significant rain event during which 15 inches of rain fell in 24 hours, resulting in flooding throughout the âB Branchâ and south sides of
Removal 49 the city. The city communicated to residents that the DPW would undertake curbside pickup of debris for a prescribed 2-week period. Residents were instructed to set their debris at the curbside in the public right-of-way for pickup. When the 2-week period ended, pickup of debris reverted to a published residential fee schedule, or residents had the option to take their debris directly to local landfills themselves. Taking this approach provided a service to residents but limited the financial liability of the city for providing the additional debris removal service. The timeframes for debris removal prescribed by federal agency grant reimbursement programs vary. The FHWA ER program defines the âeligibleâ debris removal period as occurring within 180 days of the event for non-federal disasters only. FEMAâs PA program allows âeligibleâ debris removal activities to occur within 6 months of the date the disaster is declared for federally-declared disasters only; however, depending upon the amount and extent of the debris, this time can be extended. On a case-by-case basis, states can extend the time to remove debris for an additional 6 months. Any additional time extension must be approved by FEMA, and also is done on a case-by-case basis. The NRCS EWP requires project sponsors to submit their application to a local USDA Service Center, NRCS Field Office, or NRCS State Office within 10 days of the disaster occurrence for urgent situations and 60 days for non-urgent situations. No federal disaster declaration is required for the NRCS EWP program. Who Clears and Removes Debris from Public Property and Rights-of-Way? The responsibility for clearing and removing debris from public property and rights-of- way differs based on the governmental structure, regulations, ordinances, and debris man- agement plans of each state or locality. Because clearance occurs quickly after the occurrence of a disaster, debris clearance operations are usually completed using in-house labor and equipment. Typically, the primary agency responsible for debris clearance is the DOT, DPW, or Department of Solid Waste Management. The primary agency coordinates with other departments such as police and fire, emergency management agencies, utility providers, and parks personnel to provide needed support to accomplish clearance activities. These support agencies may have the ability to supply workers and/or equipment to cut and clear debris from emergency travel routes as well as roads to hospitals and other critical facilities. For example, fire departments and parks departments often have personnel trained in the use of chainsaws and with access to this equipment. If the responsible state or local agency has prepositioned contracts in place, they might place their contractors on standby and activate the contracts during or immediately after the disaster. In some instances, coordination is required with private entities. For example, during ice storms, the weight of the ice may cause power poles to fall across roadsâsometimes for several miles. The poles need to be moved off the roads to allow traffic; but frequently other debris must be moved before the utilities can access the poles. During the recovery phase, debris removal operations can range from simple to complex, depending on the quantities and types of debris that the disaster generates. Simple operations require coordination among only a few agencies. However, large, complex removal operations could involve many agencies at all levels of government. Table 7.2 summarizes the agencies and responsibilities at the local, state, and federal levels that could be involved in a debris recovery operation.
Government Level Agency Can Provideâ¦ Lo ca l Department of Public Works Department of Transportaon Department of Solid Waste â¢ Force account labor and equipment â¢ Procurement of debris removal contractors â¢ Informaon on traffic routes and weight limitaons Department of Parks and Recreaon â¢ Specialized equipment and experse for vegetave debris â¢ Procurement of debris removal contractors Legal subdivisions of the state â¢ NRCS EWP sponsorship Building/code officials â¢ Permits for demolion St at e Department of Agriculture â¢ Disposal of animal carcasses and spoiled crops â¢ Uses for recycled materials (e.g., organic ferlizer) Department of Environmental Quality/Protecon â¢ Environmental permits â¢ Environmental compliance reviews â¢ Fact sheets/guidance Department of Forestry â¢ Assistance with debris clearance and removal â¢ Assistance with recycling vegetave debris Department of Health and Human Services â¢ Disposal of animal carcasses â¢ Disposal of infecous and putrescent waste Department of Natural Resources â¢ Disposal permits â¢ Uses for recycled materials â¢ Guidance and fact sheets Department of Transportaon â¢ Debris removal from federal-aid roads, state- maintained roads â¢ Debris hauling permits State or Tribal Historical Preservaon Officer â¢ Informaon on historic sites and facilies â¢ Guidance on debris removal from historic properes Fe de ra l Animal and Plant Health Inspecon Service (APHIS) â¢ Removal and burial of animal carcasses â¢ Planning, surveillance, quick detecon, containment, and eradicaon of invasive species and quaranned plants â¢ Technical assistance Department of Energy â¢ Management of nuclear- contaminated debris Department of Health and Human Services â¢ Support of contaminated debris management acvies Department of Interior Bureau of Indian Affairs â¢ Debris removal from Nave American lands Department of Interior Bureau of Reclamaon â¢ Assistance with debris clearance, removal, and monitoring Table 7.2. A large number of local, state, and federal government agencies may participate in debris removal operations. (continued on next page)
Government Level Agency Can Provideâ¦ Department of Labor Occupaonal Safety and Health Administraon â¢ Advice on worker safety Farm Service Agency â¢ Debris removal from privately-owned land through the Emergency Conservaon Program Federal Emergency Management Agency â¢ Public Assistance Program oversight â¢ Reimbursement of applicant eligible debris removal costs â¢ Mission assignment to USACE for debris clearance and removal following large debris-generang disasters Federal Highway Administraon â¢ ER program implementaon and oversight Naonal Oceanic and Atmospheric Administraon â¢ Hydro-surveying to idenfy hazards and debris and dangers to navigaon Natural Resources Conservaon Service â¢ Emergency Watershed Protecon program implementaon and oversight Nuclear Regulatory Commission â¢ Assistance with and advice on radiologically contaminated debris U.S. Army Corps of Engineers â¢ Debris removal operaons under mission assignment from FEMA â¢ Technical guidance â¢ Coordinaon with EPA on Weapons of Mass Destrucon (WMD)-type contaminated debris management â¢ Sunken vessel removal â¢ Debris removal from flood control works U.S. Coast Guard â¢ Vessel salvage and vessel debris removal â¢ Debris removal from the Coastal Zone â¢ Oil containment, stabilizaon, decontaminaon, collecon, and disposal â¢ Technical assistance U.S. Environmental Protecon Agency â¢ Oversight of environmental compliance â¢ Technical guidance â¢ Waste sampling â¢ Hazardous waste removal â¢ Idenfy recycling and reuse opportunies â¢ Coordinaon with USACE on WMD-type contaminated debris management â¢ Disposal of household hazardous waste through mission assignment from FEMA Fe de ra l Table 7.2. (Continued).
52 A Debris Management Handbook for State and Local DOTs and Departments of Public Works How Is Debris Clearance and Removal Accomplished? Debris clearance and removal operations can be dangerous for the personnel who are per- forming the work as well as to the general public. Live power lines may be down and lying across public spaces; and trees that have fallen across roadways need to be cut. Advance planning to identify the most likely hazards and develop strategies for safely working around them is impor- tant to implement a successful debris removal operations strategy. Debris management plans should include a health and safety strategy that can be customized to the hazards associated with the particular disaster; and field personnel should be trained and familiar with this strategy. Prior to undertaking clearance and removal activities, debris workers also should be trained in disaster-specific safety measures. Field workers should use the appropriate safety equipment for the work they are performing. Coordination procedures with local electrical providers should be included in the debris management plan, and should be implemented immediately. Debris clearance and removal operations involve coordination and communication as well as physical removal of debris. Debris clearance and removal operations strategies should be com- municated to the public information officer (PIO) prior to beginning clearance and removal operations. This coordination enables the PIO to inform the public about potential hazards, as well as what to expect during debris removal operations and what the publicâs role would be in the operations. If the debris management plan includes a public information strategy, this strategy should be modified and implemented as appropriate for the particular disaster. Debris clearance and removal operations can proceed more smoothly and efficiently if the public understands the methods and schedule for debris removal. Example: Importance of Communication to the Public (From interview with Karen Kempert, Emergency Manager, Cavalier County, ND, April 2013) In 2011, extensive flooding in Minot, ND, generated significant amounts of debris. Karen Kempert, the Emergency Manager for Cavalier County, volunteered to assist the City of Minot with their debris management operations for a 10-day period in July 2011 during the transi- tion from the response to the recovery phase. While working during the disaster, Ms. Kempert observed that the Minot PIOs did not have information about debris operations in their cache of messaging. Informing the public about how to bring debris to the curbside, sort it for removal by city agencies, and deal with debris as contaminants was critical to the success of debris removal operations. Fortunately, the Minot PIOs had a strong network of contacts and were able to reach out to the Grand Forks, ND, PIOs to obtain copies of the public mes- sages and brochures they had developed during the 1997 floods. They then coordinated with the public works department to adapt these materials for dissemination to Minot citizens. Ms. Kempert saw firsthand the importance of having a good public information campaign, and how it could facilitate debris removal operations. One of the messages that should be communicated to the public is their role in debris removal operations. The publicâs role depends on the method of removal that the responsible state or local entity uses. Depending on the scale of the event, debris removal may be accomplished by the responsible entity picking up debris from the right-of-way at the curbside, by citizens trans- porting their debris to collection centers, or by hauling debris to a DMS. If debris is picked up at the curbside by the state or local entity responsible for debris removal (or their agents), disaster-generated debris is placed by citizens in public rights-of-way for collec- tion. The debris manager will determine the priority of routes for debris removal and establish a schedule. The pickup schedule should be communicated with the public to ensure debris is removed in a timely fashion and to limit the duration of debris removal operations. âPassesâ are made along each roadway to pick up debris for which the jurisdiction has legal responsibility to perform debris removal. The number of passes is determined by the jurisdiction
Removal 53 and is usually contained in their debris management plan. If debris is segregated at the curbside, then multiple passes might be required along the same routes to maintain the segregation of debris types. (See Chapter 8.) Typically the number of passes does not exceed three. Only eligible debris should be removed as defined by the local ordinances and, if relevant, federal grant reimbursement program policies. Curbside debris removal operations tend to require intensive labor and equipment. Personnel are needed to operate the equipment and vehicles used to remove and haul debris to processing sites, segregate debris, and monitor operations. Equipment needed to remove debris can include: â¢ Dump trucks. â¢ Bucket loaders. â¢ Excavators with grapples. â¢ Grinders. â¢ Self-loading trucks with knuckle booms. â¢ Backhoes. â¢ Tractors. â¢ Roll-off trucks. â¢ Cranes. â¢ Chainsaws. â¢ Forklift loader with clamshell attachment. State and local agencies, especially DOTs and DPWs, can use strategies listed below to increase the efficiency of curbside disaster debris removal operations (24). A checklist for curbside removal operations can be found in Appendix E. â¢ Establish a transportation network with well-defined uses. Classify roads according to their use, vehicle speed, weight limits, and destination linkage. â¢ Consolidate a transportation network, and then clear entire sectors. Transportation corridors progress from primary routes to secondary feeder roads to residential streets. â¢ Assign contractors to sectors. Sectors are prioritized so that access to essential services build- ings are cleared first. â¢ Establish the number of passes to be completed (i.e., how many times a truck travels a route to collect debris). Communicate schedule with the general public. â¢ Have purchasing departments establish prior claim on contractors through Letters of Agree- ment. (There have been instances when debris contractors sign contracts with multiple entities before or at the beginning of a disaster, and then are unable to meet contractual requirements.) Develop procedures in advance to ensure speedy procurement of services. â¢ Mark vehicles used in the transportation of debris (government, contractors, and others) by an easily identifiable permit or bar code to ensure unimpeded access to disaster areas. â¢ Handle all soft goods such as bedding, mattresses, curtains, carpeting, and clothes as soon as possible. No salvageable material are collected from these items, which are extremely heavy and hard to handle and need to be mechanically loaded by bucket loaders and/or excavators with grapples. â¢ Machine-load trucks hauling debris to maximize space efficiency for each load. â¢ Reduce debris volume before hauling. In some instances, it may not be practical or even feasible to collect debris at the curbside for removal. Rather, it is more effective to establish collection centers for citizens to bring their debris. Establishing a collection center requires some pre-planning to ensure efficiency of the operation. The site should be of sufficient size to accommodate large collection bins that will be used to hold segregated debris. The site should provide appropriate entrance and exit routes, and allow easy access for citizens as well as the exchange of full and empty bins. Depending on state and local ordi- nances, the sites may also need to be permitted prior to operation; the jurisdictionâs legal counsel
54 A Debris Management Handbook for State and Local DOTs and Departments of Public Works may need to investigate potential liability issues that operating such a site could present. Locations of the collection sites and hours of operation should be clearly communicated to the public. Sufficient staff should be on site to operate the facility and assist residents with sorting their debris and placing it in the correct bins. If collection site usage is limited to residents of the juris- diction, the collection site staff should verify proof of residency from citizens who are bringing their debris to the site. If this is not done, the site could become a dumping ground for neighbor- ing communities or non-disaster-related debris. The collection site operations staff also needs to determine when the current bins are full and should be exchanged for empty bins. Whether debris removal is accomplished curbside or at collection centers will be dependent upon a number of considerations specific to a state or local agencyâs situation. Geography is one significant factor. Curbside removal is most efficient in areas where debris accumulation can be concentrated and multiple passes along roadways can be completed. Generally this condition occurs in closely concentrated population centers such as urban and suburban areas. Collection centers tend to be more efficient in rural or geographically dispersed areas where curbside pickup would be difficult. Another factor is the quantity of debris that is generated. It is more efficient to complete curb- side pickup for large quantities of debris so that trucks are completely filled during a single pass. Collection centers are generally more efficient for disasters where small quantities of debris are generated and can be easily transported by residents to the centers. Some other considerations include: â¢ Types of debris generated. â¢ Urgency of site clearance. â¢ DMS characteristics. â¢ Debris recycling possibilities. DiscussionâAssisting Population Segments with Debris Removal Some segments of the population, such as the elderly and those with access or functional needs, may not be able to move debris from their property to the curbside for pickup, or load and transport it to a collection center. Local government agencies that have assisted these segments of the population to move their debris from private property to public property for collection have learned that the cost of labor and equipment to do so generally is ineligible for federal reimbursement. Subsequently, several communities have identified volunteer organizations that assist these segments of the population to move debris from their property upon request and have included this information in their PIO campaigns. Special Issues Private Property Debris Removal and Demolition. When disasters strike, the resulting debris is strewn across both public and private property. Removal of debris falling on public property is generally the responsibility of the government agency that maintains that property on a daily basis. Similarly, debris falling on private property is generally the responsibility of the property owner. Most property owners will clean up the debris on their property and/or enlist the aid of volunteers to accomplish this task and file a claim for reimbursement with their insur- ance company. Under special circumstances, public entities have removed debris from private property. For example, after Hurricane Katrina, a significant portion of the population was relo- cated for an extended period of time. While private property owners were displaced, the debris on their property began to pose both a public health threat as well as a threat to the economic recovery of the community. Several jurisdictions proceeded with removing debris from private property to avert further adverse impacts on the community.
Removal 55 Before authorizing demolition of and/or debris removal from private property, key decision makers at the local government level should determine under what circumstances and ordi- nances this action should and could be taken. The means of legal entry onto the property also should be established and documented. If a state or local government agency has established its legal authority to enter onto private property for the purposes of demolition, additional steps, shown below, should be followed to accomplish the private property debris removal and/or demolition process (25). A checklist for accomplishing removal and demolition from private property can be found in Appendix F. â¢ Follow local governmentâs normal condemnation procedures (e.g., hearings and notices). â¢ Verify ownership. â¢ Secure right-of-entry and hold-harmless agreement from the property owner. â¢ If property owner cannot be located, a legally authorized local official could exercise public emergency powers to allow entry without ownerâs permission. â¢ Complete environmental and historic preservation reviews. â¢ Coordinate with other agencies as appropriate. â¢ Document insurance coverage. â¢ Verify personal property removal. â¢ For demolition, also: â Obtain a building officialâs assessment of the property condition. â Notify lien holder. â Conduct necessary inspections (e.g., building, public health, and fire). â Notify public of condemnation and demolition in accordance with local procedures. â Verify structure is unoccupied. â Cap water, well, sewer, gas, and septic lines. Disconnect electrical service. Remove propane tanks. â Mark easements and underground utilities. â Identify/remove/dispose of asbestos, lead-based paint, other hazardous materials present at the site per governing requirements. â¢ Record GPS coordinates. Photograph site before and after removal/demolition. â¢ Segregate, transport, and dispose of (demolition) debris in accordance with the debris man- agement plan. Document debris removal from the site. In addition to establishing legal authority and following appropriate procedures, state and local agencies that intend to seek reimbursement for private property demolition and/or debris removal must understand and comply with eligibility requirements for the federal programs to which they intend to apply. Each of the federal grant programs has different eligibility criteria regarding private property debris eligibility. Reimbursement for private property debris removal generally is not eligible under the FHWA ER program. FHWA also does not reimburse for removal of private property debris that has been moved to the right-of-way. NRCS can fund private and public landowners for debris removal from stream channels, road culverts, and bridges if represented by a project sponsor, which is defined as a legal subdivision of the state: â¢ City. â¢ County. â¢ General improvement district. â¢ Conservation district. â¢ Native American tribe or tribal organization as defined in Section 4 of the Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act.
56 A Debris Management Handbook for State and Local DOTs and Departments of Public Works Private property debris removal is generally ineligible for reimbursement from FEMAâs PA program. In certain cases the Federal Coordinating Officer (FCO) might find it eligible if: â¢ It presents an immediate threat to life or property. â¢ A public health threat exists. â¢ The subgrantee can demonstrate that it clearly has a pre-established legal responsibility to remove debris from specific private property, and has done so (or is responsible for doing so) whether or not a federal disaster declaration is made. Likewise, FEMA PA for demolition of private property generally is ineligible for reimburse- ment. In certain cases, the FCO might find it eligible if: â¢ The structures were damaged and made unsafe by the declared disaster, and are located in the area of the disaster declaration. â¢ The subgrantee certifies that the structures are determined to be unsafe and pose an immedi- ate threat to the public. â¢ The subgrantee has demonstrated that it has legal responsibility to perform the demolition. â¢ A legally authorized official has ordered the demolition of unsafe structures and removal of demolition debris. â¢ The subgrantee has indemnified the federal government and its employees, agents, and con- tractors from any claims arising from the demolition work. â¢ The demolition work is completed within the deadlines specified in 44 CFR 206.204 for emer- gency work. Jurisdictions should be aware that removing debris from private property without coordinat- ing with the state and FEMA could be considered ineligible for reimbursement. A clear approval should be obtained if this action is contemplated. While private property is often considered to include single family homes and businesses on individual sites, other types of property that are considered private or commercial by FEMA are mobile home parks and gated communities. Generally, debris removal from these properties is not eligible for reimbursement through FEMAâs PA program. As is the case with other private property, the FCO might determine on a case-by-case basis that debris removal from a mobile home park or gated community is eligible. If so, the agency performing debris removal must follow the same requirements and processes that apply to other types of private property. For mobile home parks, the responsible agency must obtain a right-of-entry from each homeowner in the park, as well as from the park owner. Railway Systems Generally rail systems are privately owned and operated, and debris removal from rail sys- tems are the responsibility of the corporate owner. There are some situations in which DOTs are responsible for supporting operations of passenger rail systems, which includes removing debris from the railways to allow trains to safely use the rails with minimum service disruptions. Example (26): Pacific Northwest Rail Corridor (PNWRC), which runs from Vancouver, BC, to Eugene, OR, is subject to mudslides, particularly during the rainy season of December through February. State DOT crews have the responsibility to remove mudslide debris from the railway to allow trains to pass safely. In 2012, 55 trains were cancelled due to land slides. Debris removal can be required for both railway systems and transit systems. Commonly, debris comes from wet leaves that can cause a slippage hazard on the rails. After natural disasters, a significant debris issue can come from a railway/transit system itself. For example, flooding can wash out ties, rails, and roadbeds, resulting in rail debris that must be removed before new track can be laid. In the proximity of culverts, tunnels, and bridges, heavy floods may have deposited
Removal 57 mud and other debris that would have to be removed, and needed repairs completed before the facility can resume operation. Debris removal from railways is likely to occur on or near railway property in open air or in tunnels. In some cases of severe flooding, railway tracks could be carried significant distances from their original locations. Removal of these tracks ultimately will be the responsibility of the owner, whether through physical removal of the track debris, or by contracting the work. If the organization responsible for the rail system is a FEMA-eligible public entity, and a federal disaster is declared, the cost of debris removal will be reimbursable. Care should be taken to ensure the debris removal from the specific rail/transit line is not eligible for funding by the Federal Transit Administration. The equipment required to remove debris from railways generally is the same as is required for removal from roadways. In addition, pumps and generators could be required to remove water from tunnels (27). Sometimes, specialty equipment can help expedite operations. After the Joplin tornado, All Railroad Services Corp. used hi-rail log loaders equipped with grapples with saw blades to remove and cut trees and debris from railways in the Joplin area (28). Airports Following major disasters that affect airports, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) pro- vides funding for repairs to the facility from the Airport and Airway Trust Fund. (The FAA has no separate budget for disaster response/repair). Following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, sev- eral airports in Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas reported significant damage. FEMA and private insurance companies provided funding for some recovery costs/repairs; and the FAA provided additional funding. When reviewing eligibility of funding, there must be a clear understanding of what is eligible from the FAA, what is eligible from FEMA, and what is covered by insurance (29). Marine Debris Removal Some disasters, such as hurricanes and floods, can result in significant amounts of debris being deposited in waterways. Removal of debris from federally-maintained waterways is the responsi- bility of a federal agency, usually the NRCS, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), USCG, or USACE. Removal of marine debris from non-federal public waters is the responsibility of a state or local agency. Some examples of public waters include non-federally- maintained navigable waterways, coastal or inland zones, and wetlands. FEMA can provide fund- ing for disaster-related debris removal or mission-assign another federal agency to assist with removal if the needs exceed state and local capabilities. If a state or local agency must coordinate and oversee marine debris removal, several methods can be implemented to accomplish the work. â¢ Point pickup is the preferred method if it can be used, because it avoids environmental issues. The debris item is located, and grappling hooks (for smaller items) or cranes (for larger items) are used to lift it out of the water. Divers can assist if necessary. (See Figures 7.11 and 7.12). â¢ Manual removal is accomplished by hand pickers working in shallow water to locate debris by sight or touch and using rakes or hook poles to remove the material. Recovered items are loaded onto small vessels and transported to the shoreline for sorting and disposal. â¢ Removal of shoreline debris can best be accomplished by clearing debris from the waterside during low tide, during removal of wet marine debris from the water (see Figure 7.13). Gen- erally, shoreline debris consists of vegetation and construction and demolition items that lie partially in the water and partially on land. Prior to removal, the responsible party should be identified, as there may be conflicting opinions about who has the authority to perform the task. In some states, the beaches are considered to be state-owned; in others, beach house or business owners may own some portion of the beach; i.e., to the high-water mark. If there is extensive debris in the shoreline area, it may be necessary to sift the debris, similar to the process used on beaches (30).
58 A Debris Management Handbook for State and Local DOTs and Departments of Public Works Figure 7.11. Marine debris removal by point pickup method. Hurricane Sandy, New Jersey. (Source: Ali Velasco) Figure 7.12. Marine debris removal by point pickup method. Hurricane Sandy, New Jersey. (Source: Ali Velasco) Figure 7.13. Shoreline debris in New Jersey after Hurricane Sandy. (Source: Ali Velasco)