Planning for Disaster Debris   [open pdf - 1MB]

"This guide highlights the need for communities to plan for the cleanup of debris after a major natural disaster. Based on lessons learned from communities that have experienced such disasters, this guide contains information to help communities prepare for and recover more quickly from the increased solid waste generated by a natural disaster. […] Every year natural disasters, such as fires, floods, earthquakes, hurricanes, and tornadoes, challenge American communities. These natural disasters have generated large amounts of debris, causing considerable disposal challenges for local public officials. If you answer yes to any of the following questions, your community could benefit from the advice and information presented in this guide. […] In the past, debris from disasters was simply buried or burned in the community. As demonstrated by recent disasters, burying or burning debris as a means of waste management may not be acceptable. Citizens do not want to inhale the smoke from open burning. Municipalities do not want to risk contamination of drinking water and soil from uncontrolled burial of debris. Under normal circumstances, much municipal solid waste is recycled. The remainder is disposed of in sanitary landfills or in sophisticated combustors, both of which are equipped with devices to control pollutants. Often, however, these standard waste disposal options are not sufficient to handle the overwhelming amount of debris left after a disaster. Further adding to the disposal dilemma is the fact that many municipalities are reluctant to overburden or deplete their existing disposal capacity with disaster debris." This guide was updated in March 2008.

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