EPA to help protect Oregon rivers, creeks and streams from fire impacts
EPA’s task list expands as crews have cleared over 1500 properties of household hazardous waste
(Salem, Oregon) As the U.S Environmental Protection Agency works to remove hazardous waste from burned properties in Oregon, EPA is now also implementing emergency mitigation efforts to prevent hazardous ash and other household hazardous wastes from entering into several waterways in fire-affected counties. These efforts are aimed at protecting water quality and sensitive riparian habitats.
At the request of the State of Oregon, FEMA has tasked EPA with stemming the flow of wildfire debris and hazardous waste into seven streams and rivers in the state: Bear Creek in Jackson County; Little North Fork Santiam River and North Fork Santiam River in Marion County and Linn County; Salmon River and Panther Creek in Lincoln County; McKenzie River in Lane County; and the North Umpqua River in Douglas County.
This work involves removing hazardous debris from streambanks, and placing straw wattles, bulk straw, and jute netting along those banks to slow the movement of ash and other harmful debris into the water.
Also, EPA drinking water engineers are assisting the State of Oregon with evaluation of drinking water treatment plants drawing water from rivers and streams affected by wildfires.
Making progress on recovery Step 1: removal of household hazardous waste
EPA is making quick work of Step 1 of the state’s recovery from the fires: the removal of household hazardous waste at residential and commercial properties in eight counties. Since October 17, the agency’s crews have cleared over 1500 properties, which is required before Step 2: the removal of ash and other debris in preparation for rebuilding.
As we conclude these cleanups in Klamath and Jackson counties, EPA crews are continuing operations in Douglas, Lane, Linn, Marion and Lincoln counties and are expecting to expand into Clackamas county next week. EPA can only conduct its work on a property if we have a “Right of Entry” form signed by the property owner. Property owners who have not already signed and returned a “Right-of-Entry” form should do so immediately by calling their county or the “Right of Entry” hotline at 682-800-5737.
Property owners can call EPA’s hotline at 541-225-5549 with questions about household hazardous waste removal at their property and about the cleanup process. Callers can also use the hotline to give more details about their property that will help speed the removal work and prepare their property for the next cleanup phase. The hotline provides information in both English and Spanish. Property owners can see the status of their property and learn more about EPA’s progress at EPA’s 2020 Oregon Fires Recovery website.
The Oregon Debris Management Task Force and its contractors will be conducting the larger and more complex Step 2 cleanup process. To learn more about Step 2, go to https://wildfire.oregon.gov/cleanup.
Fraud & Scams
Several fraud schemes and scams have already been reported in fire-affected communities, including phony inspections and bogus cleanup offers by uncertified operators. EPA will never ask for personal financial information like Social Security or bank account numbers and is conducting its household hazardous waste removal at no-cost to property owners.
For the latest on EPA cleanup operations, please visit EPA’s 2020 Oregon Fires Recovery website.
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Here are four short videos on EPA’s 2020 Oregon Wildfires Household Hazardous Waste removal operations that help visually capture the process:
Step 1 Cleanup Overview: https://youtu.be/DDToCFeQ9v8
EPA crews are removing household hazardous waste (HHW) from burned properties affected by the 2020 Oregon wildfires.
Household Hazardous Waste Removal: https://youtu.be/jwnsh27wBmw
As part of the 2020 Oregon Wildfires Response and Recovery, EPA crews are removing Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) from home sites and other properties affected by the wildfires. EPA crews are assessing and removing HHW including chemicals, pesticides, compressed gas canisters and petroleum products.
Household Hazardous Waste Staging Areas: https://youtu.be/ayDPLvodESQ
All household hazardous waste (HHW) that is collected is brought to a staging area such as this one. Here materials will be consolidated based on waste characterization, placed into appropriate containers, and shipped to approved disposal facilities.
Household Hazardous Waste Marked for Safe Disposal: https://youtu.be/ARmiUG3e_Wg
Following the removal of household hazardous waste (HHW), some containers may be left behind, such as these marked with a white “X.” The “X” indicates that the contents have been voided and these containers may now be scrapped.
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