State environmental officials offer guidance on proper waste disposal after Hurricane Matthew

Raleigh

RALEIGH – State environmental officials are providing North Carolinians with guidance on the best methods for disposing of storm debris in the wake of Hurricane Matthew.

The best way to dispose of most storm debris – especially debris from damaged mobile homes, 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. Since the storm, no local governments have reported significant problems with any landfills or contacted the state to request alternative means of solid waste disposal.

“Most counties and municipalities impacted by the storm are operating as normal and will continue to pick up limbs and other debris piled along the curb,” said Michael Scott, director of the state’s waste management division. “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.”

People should place debris at the curb if their local disposal service provides curbside pickup as part of its regular operations or if the service has established a specific storm collection program. If curbside pickup is available in the community, people should separate piles for 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.

State officials request that people limit open burning 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. People should never burn trash, lumber, tires, plastics and other man-materials.

Homeowners can burn yard trimmings if it’s allowed under local ordinances, no public pickup is available, and it doesn’t cause a public nuisance. Other allowable burning includes fireplaces, campfires, outdoor barbecues, and bonfires for festive occasions. Landowners may be allowed to burn vegetation to clear land or clean up storm debris, but they should check first 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, http://ncforestservice.gov/.