May 11, 2018

Natural Disaster Debris Guidance Released for Comment

EPA has released for comment three draft guidance documents relating to the management of debris generated from natural disasters [April 27, 2018; 83 FR 18558]:

  1. Planning for Natural Disaster Debris;
  2. Pre-incident All-hazards Waste Management Plan Guidelines: Four-step Waste Management Planning Process; and
  3. All-hazards Waste Management Decision Diagram.

Once finalized, these documents will guide government, private, nonprofit, community, and other stakeholders in preparing for debris management before a natural disaster occurs. These three documents will provide an update to existing 2008 guidance, and their development was prompted by numerous natural disasters that occurred in 2017, including: 1) three separate hurricanes that impacted a large area of the United States, 2) the northern California firestorm, and 3) tornadoes across the South and Midwest.

The draft guidance is not relieving affected entities from the requirement to make hazardous waste determinations when managing natural disaster debris:

EPA is accepting comments on these draft documents until June 26, 2018. Comments may be posted here.


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This document addresses issues of a general nature related to the federal RCRA regulations. Persons evaluating specific circumstances dealing with the RCRA regulations should review state and local laws and regulations, which may be more stringent than federal requirements. In addition, the assistance of a qualified professional should be enlisted to address any site-specific circumstances.