Burned properties may contain hazards such as asbestos fibers, toxic chemicals, unstable trees, and dangerous structures. Complying with state and federal hazardous waste laws is complex, and contractors completing this work must have special licenses and certifications. Lastly, insurance policies may not cover the clean-up's full cost if not completed correctly.
"With property owner permission, over the next few weeks, the EPA cleanup teams, working with Oregon's Debris Management Task Force, will begin to remove household hazardous wastes from burned properties.” noted EOC Director John Vial. "This is the first step in the cleanup process, and our goal is to make this process as easy for property owners as possible and to ensure that it is completed in a comprehensive, safe, and organized fashion."
The state is currently working with local governments to develop strategies to complete the massive cleanup. Though this process takes time, there are significant benefits to individual property owners. Getting the whole burn scar area cleaned up systematically will help maintain property values, avoid blight, and ensure compliance with state and federal laws.
If you want government to lead and help pay for removal of hazardous waste and debris from your property, you must complete a Right of Entry form to grant permission for the removal to occur.
If a property owner chooses to remove debris themselves, it will be at their own cost. Before attempting any clean-up, be sure to:
- Read the debris cleanup FAQ
- Seek clearance from local authorities. Phoenix and Talent require a permit to remove debris.
- Mitigate hazards, and wear an N95 mask, gloves, safety glasses, and sturdy shoes.
- Take steps to avoid rinsing debris or ash into storm drains.
For general questions about debris removal, residents can call the cleanup hotline: 682-800-5737.