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Focus of State’s Southern California Debris Removal Program Turns to Site Assessments, Debris Clearance as Removal of Household Hazardous Waste Nears Completion

As work crews from the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and California Department of Toxic Substance Control (DTSC) finish clearing the few private properties destroyed by the Woolsey and Hill fires still containing household hazardous waste (HHW), teams of contractors hired by the state have been deployed throughout the burn areas of Los Angeles and Ventura counties to conduct site assessments of properties participating in California’s Consolidated Debris Removal Program.

Under the state program, administered by the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) and CalRecycle, participating property owners incur no out-of-pocket expenses for the removal of eligible debris, including ash, metal and concrete, as well as foundations.

Participation in the state program is easy.  Property owners, including those who do not have debris removal insurance coverage, need only complete and submit a Right of Entry (ROE) permit form. This allows access to contractors to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Works (DPW) or the Ventura County Environmental Health Division, respectively.  

January 31, 2019, is the new deadline for property owners in Los Angeles County to submit their ROEs.  The local program and ROE application deadline for Ventura County property owners has been extended to February 8, 2019.

Property owners can opt out of the program and do the work themselves or hire a private contractor, but will be held to the same safety and environmental standards as those of the state program.  However, it is critical for all property owners with structures significantly burned by the fires to clear their debris, either by signing up for the state’s Consolidated Debris Removal Program or cleaning the debris privately, in order to avoid creating a public health nuisance and being subject to summary abatement procedures.

Property owners can obtain assistance completing their ROEs and meet one-on-one with debris removal experts from their respective counties to discuss their concerns at the Debris Removal Operations Center (DROC) located at 26610 Agoura Road in Calabasas.  The DROC is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, and from 9 a.m. on noon on Saturdays.  ROEs for Ventura County residents also can be submitted to the Ventura County Government Center, Environmental Health Division, 800 S. Victoria Avenue, Ventura.

For those opting into the state program, site assessments include photos and documentation of property lines, the location of septic tanks, the footprints of foundations and ash, as well as trees, pools, vehicles and other objects that pose a hazard or hamper operations.

State contractors also canvass for asbestos containing materials (ACMs) and collect samples of materials suspected of containing ACMs for testing.  Properties with ACMs will be scheduled for abatement.  Those with no ACMs present will be scheduled for debris removal.   Contractors also may tip standing chimneys for later removal.

Property owners who have opted in will be notified 24-48 hours prior to the start of debris removal operations on their property and may walk the property with crews before work begins. 

For more information, call 1-626-979-5370 in Los Angeles County and 1-805-504-7869 in Ventura County. 






RJ Ghilarducci

RJ Ghilarducci is a Public Information Officer for the California Governor's Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES). He joined the OES team to aid in 2018's Camp, Woolsey, Hill, and Holy Fire recoveries. He previously served on Governor Gavin Newsom's campaign, worked as a newspaper reporter, and coached Division 1 college football.

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