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In the News

CAPCOG releases disaster debris planning resources

Monday, July 20, 2015

Debris generated from disasters can affect the public health, safety and welfare of a community, and the risk increases if large areas of debris are left unattended. The Capital Area Council of Governments recently completed an effort to help counties and municipalities alleviate and dispose of disaster debris in a timely and effective manner.

As part of the work during the program, CAPCOG and its regional partners created a common approach for the disaster debris management planning process that facilitates a coordinated, quick, and succinct response to such incidents. It also provides for the future establishment of a regional disaster debris management plan.

Like most homeland security plans, a disaster debris management plan lays the foundation for response before an incident occurs. Such a foundation lets responding entities construct and tailor the needs of managing and removing the debris to a particular disaster event.

“The plan allows an entity to know how the clean-up will be handled as the event occurs, so debris response efforts can begin immediately or when resources are available,” said Matt Holderread, CAPCOG Solid Waste planner.

The standardized disaster debris plan template developed by CAPCOG prepares governments for large scale events, ones which would require additional assistance, and smaller events, which an entity can manage itself. Every plan includes a section about the roles and responsibilities for government staff, residents and volunteers. It also provides guidance on how to manage the debris from its collection to its proper disposal, with various disposal options. A timeline for response as well as drafts of potential notifications to residents, and media releases are drafted as appendices to the plan.

> Discover more resources for disaster debris planning.

Plans include potential debris management sites and some additional analysis of their feasibility as such sites. They also provide information on how the federal reimbursement process works, provide documents used by FEMA for entities seeking federal reimbursement, instruct entities how to manage their debris to be approved and reimbursed by federal programs.

Several communities are working on completing their own disaster debris plans, but CAPCOG is finishing a final draft of the Burnet County plan and drafting a plan for Llano County.

Burnet’s plan is a great plan to showcase, as it outlines a number of debris collection sites and factors in several types of events to include a terrorist attack. Using GIS modeling CAPCOG estimated the damage caused by different types of disasters to determine how much debris could be generated and what level of response would be needed.

CAPCOG can conduct similar modeling for other entities seeking to create disaster debris plans and work with or for the entities to find and evaluate debris management sites.

The goal is to have a plan for every county and have those plans work cooperatively to form a regional disaster debris plan, said Ken May, CAPCOG Regional Services Division director. CAPCOG is willing to help facilitate the work to complete the plan, but also has templates available for entities wanting to do the work themselves.

> Read disaster debris guidance from the Texas Department of Public Safety.
> Read The Federal Emergency Management Agency's Debris Management Guide.

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