Disaster Debris Planning
Sometimes local governments must respond to disasters that destroy large numbers of homes. They may need to demolish partially destroyed homes and manage disaster debris.
If your municipality has a disaster debris management plan, it may be worth reviewing it to see if it addresses environmental issues related to the demolition and disposal of debris from a large number of buildings.
If your community does not have a disaster debris management plan, you may want to consider developing one. EPA has guidance documents that address the environmental issues that arise in such situations and how they can, should or must be handled.
- Planning for Natural Disaster Debris (EPA-530-K-08-001) March 2008 - This publication is intended to help communities develop or revise a disaster debris management plan. Many aspects of disaster debris planning may be relevant to communities demolishing abandoned residential buildings.
- Guidance about Planning for Natural Disaster Debris
- If you are seeking to recycle construction or demolition waste, one place to look is Earth 911 and search for "construction debris" and enter your zip code.
- The Construction and Demolition Recycling Association has a similar search engine for C&D debris recyclers
Safe, proper and timely management of debris is an essential but often overlooked component of an emergency response or disaster incident. Debris management is also one of many competing priorities agencies must manage during such events. It is important that disaster debris be properly managed so as to protect human health, comply with regulations, conserve disposal capacity, reduce injuries, and minimize or prevent environmental impacts. It involves advance thought, planning and coordination among individuals at various levels of government and the private sector with experience and expertise in waste management.
Links for planners and incident responders
- California Integrated Waste Management Disaster Plan January 1997
- Florida Hurricane Debris Cleanup Information
- Louisiana Disaster Debris Management
- ASTSWMO - State & Territorial Waste Management Agency Links
Tools & References
- EPA: Incident Waste Decision Support Tool (I-WASTE DST)
- Dealing with Debris and Damaged Buildings
- FEMA - HAZUS damage & loss estimation tool
- Disaster Debris Recovery Tool
Guidance, training, manuals or programs
- Federal Emergency Management Agency - Debris Management Guide (PDF) (260 pp, 15.2 MB K, About PDF) July 2007
- FEMA Emergency Management Institute - FEMA sponsors numerous training courses focused on debris management which are offered locally through state emergency management offices.
- U.S. Department of Agriculture, Farm Service Agency - Disaster Assistance Programs
- OSHA - Disaster Site Worker Outreach Training Program - safety considerations during initial assessment, sampling, removal, staging, transportation, and recovery/disposal operations
EPA has developed an interactive mapping tool of 12 types of recyclers and landfills that manage disaster debris. This tool provides information and locations of over 20,000 facilities capable of managing different materials which may be found in disaster debris.