Storm Debris Management
Disaster Cleanup Emergency Guidelines
Temporary disaster debris staging/storage areas are often established in order to handle the large amounts of debris generated after a storm. The Division of Waste Management requires that all such temporary areas be permitted before use. The DWM strongly encourages local governments to get one or more temporary staging sites pre-approved well before a storm. Waiting for approval until after a storm can delay clean up because field staff become overloaded with requests in the aftermath. Approval of more than one site can prove advantageous because you never know exactly what areas might be impacted by a storm.
Please refer to the DWM online information on siting and permitting a temporary disaster debris staging/storage area, or call the DWM at 919-707-8200
Curbside segregation of waste materials is critical during disaster clean-up. Require residents to keep yard debris, municipal solid waste and construction and demolition debris separate when placed at the curb. The separation of materials may reduce the cost of managing these materials and will allow for easier recycling. Keep in mind that several items including white goods, whole scrap tires, computers and televisions are banned from landfill disposal in North Carolina and must be managed separately from other wastes. The DWM has a special guidance document for white goods management from disaster affected areas. Please refer to the legislation for an entire list of banned landfill materials.
Many county solid waste collection systems collect used motor oil, antifreeze and lead-acid batteries for recycling. Some communities also provide collection services for household hazardous waste. If your locality does not have a permanent HHW facility, a post-storm temporary facility for handling household hazardous waste can be established. Refer to the disaster clean-up emergency guidelines for household hazardous waste temporary collection events, or call the DWM at 919-707-8200.
Each unit of local government in North Carolina, either individually or in cooperation with other units of local government, must develop a 10-year comprehensive solid waste management plan. Communities must include information about emergency and disaster debris management and animal mortality in their comprehensive solid waste management plan. The Division of Waste Management Solid Waste Section produces a guidance document that indicates that a comprehensive solid waste management plan should include the following items:
- A list of pre-approved staging areas or disposal sites;
- An emergency contact list; and
- A copy of the local emergency management plan which should include guidance for mass animal mortality if appropriate.
Pre-Approved Debris Management Contracts
Pre-approved contracts for debris management, including wood grinding and household hazardous waste management services, can prove extremely valuable by helping to control cost, plan budgets and implement clean-up services in a timely manner. Requests for bids for these services can be let long before a storm hits, allowing plenty of time to adequately review contractor references, evaluate cost structure, and lock in a price for service. N.C. Division of Environmental Assistance and Outreach’s fact sheet on contract grinding provides additional information. As with all storm debris related matters, it is a good idea to check with FEMA prior to establishing a storm debris management contract.
It is important to contact FEMA prior to implementing disaster clean-up efforts as it may affect reimbursement of storm-related expenses. Keep good documentation of waste flow and tonnage of storm-only related waste. In addition, it may be possible to find funding prior to a disaster through FEMA’s Pre-Disaster Mitigation Grant program. The funds may be used to deconstruct or demolish homes within flood-prone areas to avoid future destruction. Contact your local emergency management office for more information about this grant program.
Open Burning Illegal
The Open Burning Rule is one of North Carolina's oldest air quality regulations, first adopted in 1971. The rule prohibits most outdoor burning and sets conditions for allowable fires. Under the rule, it is always illegal to burn trash and other non-vegetative materials. Leaves, branches and other plant growth can be burned only under certain conditions. Violators can be fined up to $25,000 or more. For more information, visit the N.C. Division of Air Quality or contact the toll-free Open Burning Hotline at 1-877 OPEN BURN (1-877-673-6287).
Storm Debris Disposal
Flood-Related animal Mortalities – Composting
- Fact Sheet: Composting Flood-Related Animal Mortalities
- Guidance Document: Composting Flood-Related Animal Mortalities
- N.C. Division of Waste Management’s Solid Waste Section (919) 707-8200
- N.C. Division of Emergency Management 919-733-3867
- N.C. Division of Air Quality 919-707-8400
- N.C. Department of Health and Human Services - Hurricane Health and Safety