In preparation for Irma, state officials providing guidance on best way to dispose of storm debris

Raleigh, NC

In preparing for Hurricane Irma, state environmental officials are providing North Carolinians with guidance on the best methods for disposing of storm debris.

The best way to dispose of most storm debris – especially debris from damaged houses and other buildings – is to rely on your county or municipality’s waste disposal services or haul your waste to a permitted municipal solid waste landfill.

While the latest forecast indicates a more westward track for Hurricane Irma, there is still the potential for severe weather across North Carolina. Heavy rain, flash flooding (especially in low-lying areas), tornadoes and scattered power outages are possible anywhere across the state Monday and Tuesday. The storm still has the potential to cause destruction and create significant storm debris.

“Using local government pickup and disposal services will ensure that waste material is disposed of in a manner that protects public health and the environment.” said Michael Scott, director of the state Division of Waste Management.

People should only place debris at the curb if their local government’s disposal service provides curbside pickup as part of its regular operations or if the county/municipality has established a specific storm collection program.

If curbside pickup is available in the community, people should separate piles of vegetation, such as trees and limbs, from other materials. All household garbage, such as food and paper products, should be placed in approved containers at the curb to go to the landfill.

State officials request that people limit open burning of vegetative waste (tree limbs, brush, etc.) as much as possible because the smoke from outdoor fires can cause health problems and pollution. It is illegal to burn debris if public pickup is available. Be aware that open burning may also be restricted by some local government’s ordinances.

Landowners may be allowed to burn vegetation to clear land or clean up storm debris, but they should first check with the closest N.C. Division of Air Quality regional office. People seeking to burn also may need permits from the N.C. Forest Service; you can find more information online at: http://ncforestservice.gov/.

For more information, visit the Division of Waste Management’s hurricane information page, https://deq.nc.gov/about/divisions/waste-management/waste-management-hurricane-information. You can also contact Laura J. Leonard, public information officer for the Division of Waste Management, at 919-707-8233 or Laura.Leonard@ncdenr.gov.

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