The Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES), along with participating state and federal agencies, have advanced to the next phase of debris removal in Butte County. State-hired contractors have completed Phase I of Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) sweeps for properties damaged by the Camp Fire, and Phase II of their operation is under way.
In Phase II of the State’s Consolidated Debris Removal Program, Cal OES, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and local officials coordinate with the State’s Debris Task Force and Debris Management Teams to remove the remaining fire-related debris from affected properties.
Site assessments, asbestos surveying, and chimney tipping mark the beginning of Phase II of the monumental operation, which involves an average of 350 tons of debris per home. To date, more than 2,000 site assessments and 1,500 asbestos surveys have been completed.
For those opting into the state program, site assessments include photos and documentation of property lines, ash footprints, and the location of septic tanks, foundations, trees, pools, vehicles and other objects that may pose a hazard or hamper operations.
During the asbestos surveys, state contractors canvass each property for asbestos containing materials (ACMs) and collect samples of materials suspected of containing ACMs for testing. Properties with ACMs are scheduled for abatement. Those with no ACMs present are scheduled for debris removal. Contractors also may tip standing chimneys for later removal.
Phase I of the state’s process, which focused on household hazardous waste removal, was overseen by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC). Household hazardous waste includes everyday products like paints, cleaners, solvents, oils, batteries, herbicides and pesticides, which may pose a threat to human health, animals and the environment. HHW crews have begun to demobilize with the transition to Phase II.
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 to avoid creating a public health nuisance and being subject to summary abatement procedures.
Under the state program, administered by Cal OES and CalRecycle, participating property owners (including those who do not have debris removal insurance coverage) incur no direct costs for the removal of eligible debris, including ash, metal and concrete, as well as foundations.
To participate in the state’s program, property owners only need to complete and submit a Right-of-Entry (ROE) permit form, allowing access to state and local officials to begin clearing their property. Officials are allowing limited additional time for late submissions to accommodate survivors who are still working through this part of their recovery process, and will accept late submissions until Feb. 15.
Those who have opted-in will be notified 24-48 hours prior to the start of debris removal operations on their property. They may walk the property with crews before work begins and be on site during the process.
The deadline for property owners in Butte County to submit their ROEs is February 15, 2019.
Property owners can obtain assistance completing and turning in their ROEs by meeting one-on-one with debris removal experts from Butte County to discuss their concerns at the ROE Center located at 202 Mira Loma Drive in Oroville, open Monday – Saturday, 8:00 am to 5:00 pm.
Residents can find ROE forms and more related information online at Buttecountyrecovers.org/agencies/debrisremoval or by calling 530-552-3155.