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Disaster Debris Management For Municipalities
One of the more common tasks confronting municipal officials in disaster recovery involves debris clearance, removal and dispersal. Comprehensive debris management planning and preparation prevents confusion, waste and additional loss in the event of an emergency. Comprehensive planning for these operations also aides in compliance with FEMA reimbursement guidelines in the event of a Presidential Disaster Declaration.

FEMA 329 Debris Management Brochure provides a quick overview of FEMA requirements for reimbursing debris removal operations when conducted under a Presidential Disaster Declaration and has a Frequently Asked Questions section highlighting important funding considerations. (see additional links below)

Key aspects of a debris management planning include:
  •  Identifying responsible local officials within your organization;
  • Contacting Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency and Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection representatives for plan suitability, eligibility and contracting guidance;
  • Procuring standby debris removal and dispersal contracts prior to the disaster; and
  • Identifying debris removal methods, resources, locations, staging areas, monitoring resources and staffing. (see FEMA Fact Sheet 9580.203 for more information on monitoring)
  • The Sample Debris Management Plan Checklist can help identify these key aspects. (see additional links below)

Municipal officials should review FEMA 325 Debris Management Guide for more comprehensive guidance. This publication contains sample debris management plans, practical applications and strategies. It is available from FEMA’s website at or ordered from the FEMA Publications Office at 800-480-2520). FEMA has also published guidance on Emergency Debris Removal in Natural Streams. (see additional links below) 
Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) also provides guidance for municipalities in the proper management of disaster debris. DEP’s website at has downloadable information FACT SHEETS on Disaster Debris Management, Gravel Bar Removal and other topics to enable municipal officials to remain in compliance with environmental regulations. (see additional links below)
Additional Links: 
PEMA FACT SHEET 9580.201 Debris Removal - Applicant's Contracting Checklist 
Debris Estimating Guide