SonomaCountyRecovers: Official recovery information for Sonoma County fires

Community Meeting Recording: Sonoma - November 2, 2017

Right of Entry (ROE) Process

Right of Entry (ROE) Form

Debris Removal Frequently Asked Questions

No. Property owners will retain their previous factored base year value if the restructure is rebuilt in a like or similar manner, regardless of the actual cost of construction. However, any new square footage or extras, such as additional baths, will be added to the base year value at its full market value.

No.  Phase II of the Program is for debris removal of destroyed structures that are at least 120 square feet.

Teams handling hazardous waste will not remove appliances or electronic wastes, such as TV and computer monitors, computers processing units or cell phones. These materials will be removed as part of Phase II.

No, only property owners are responsible for debris removal.

No. All contractors will be licensed and insured, and their insurance will cover any injuries or damage to equipment that occurs during the debris removal process.

No, the wording in the ROE form is required by California and Federal law and therefore, the terms cannot be changed. We understand that there are many questions related to this form, and we will provide responses through the frequently asked questions document.

As an alternative to the federally assisted debris removal program, a homeowner can take on the costs of debris removal themselves and hire a properly licensed contractor.  All work must be completed pursuant to requirements set by the city and the county. You may not do the work yourself unless you have the required certification/license. No state or federal funds will be available outside of the Program. It is recommended that you consult with your insurance company prior to any clean-up activity.

Ash or debris cannot be removed prior to the completion of Phase I because of hazardous waste and public health hazards. The Phase II portion of the Program is being offered to provide property owners safe and comprehensive debris removal using specialized contractors managed by the Army Corp s of Engineers (Corps). Property owners that choose not to participate in this program will be given additional guidance on city and county permitting shortly, and cannot begin private ash and debris removal prior to standards being approved. Property owne rs performing private debris removal activities must do so in accordance with city and county guidance at their own expense. This includes compliance with all legal requirements for disposal, authorized disposal sites, best management practices for activit ies on site, proper transportation and documentation of waste, and erosion control.

Phase II of the Program is for debris removal of destroyed structures on residential properties that are at least 120 square feet.

If you have a complaint regarding code enforcement violations during the debris removal process, you can submit it to the city or county via:

City:

MySantaRosa:  srcity.org/MySantaRosa

Select “Fire Debris”

 

County:

Sonoma County Report It: http://sonomacounty.ca.gov/Services/SoCo-Report-It/Submit-a-Service-Request/

Select “Fire Debris Removal Complaints”

You should include on your ROE information regarding the location of any wells, septic systems, ponds, pools, leach fields, water lines, or other structures on your property so contractors are aware of their locations. These items can be identified on the blank last page of the ROE, or by attaching plans, drawings, etc.

Property owners sign up by completing a Right-of-Entry Permit (ROE) form, and providing insurance information if applicable. The ROE and insurance documents must be submitted to the County of Sonoma Department of Health Services – Environmental Health in person or by mail at 625 5th Street, Santa Rosa CA 95404, by email to ehroe@sonoma-county.org, or by fax at (707) 565-6525.

The ROE form can be obtained by going to https://www.sonomacountyrecovers.org/debris-removal/ or visiting the ROE Processing Center located at 625 5th Street, Santa Rosa CA 95404. The ROE Processing Center can be reached by phone at 707-565-6700.

Property owners sign up by completing a Right – of – Entry Permit (ROE) form, and providing insurance information if applicable. The ROE and insurance documents must be submitted to the County of Sonoma Department of Health Services – Environmental Health in person at 625 5th Street, Santa Rosa CA 95404, by email to ehroe@sonoma-county.org, or by fax at (707) – 565 – 6525. The ROE form can be obtained online here or the ROE Processing Center located at 625 5th Street, Santa Rosa CA 95404.

We recommend that you consult with a professional land surveyor/engineer to get an accurate determination of where your legal property lines are. Additional information may be included in your deed and in Assessor’s maps.

We encourage you to complete your ROE as soon as possible, however, we have not yet determined a deadline to sign up for participation in Phase II. We understand that there are questions and concerns about how participation will impact your recovery process, and whether participation is the right thing for you and your family. We are working on providing additional information to help you make this decision, and are conducting informational meetings about the Program. While you are deciding, please make sure you do not begin the debris removal process, which could impact your eligibility for the Program.

The deadline to sign up is November 13, 2017.

If you had insurance in effect at the time of the wildfire that provides coverage for debris removal, it is required that those funds, not used for rebuilding, go toward reimbursement of Program costs. In most cases, the cost of debris removal will be greater than the insurance available. Reimbursement amount will not exceed the costs of debris removal on your specific property. If coverage for debris removal is not a separate insurance category, any reimbursement for debris removal will be limited to the unused benefit amount (if any) in that coverage category after the residence is rebuilt. If the full amount of general coverage is used for rebuilding, you will not be responsible for any reimbursement. If you participate in Phase II of the program, we recommend that you consult with your insurance carrier to confirm how much is dedicated to debris removal. If your site will require private debris removal in addition to what is covered under the USACE Phase II, you can use your debris insurance proceeds to cover those costs, and will only be expected to assign the remainder to reimburse the Program. If you do not have insurance the Program will be provided at no cost.

Phase I of the Program is being conducted at no cost to property owners. If you choose to participate in Phase II of the Program, there is no cost to the property owner, and removal will be completed in compliance with all local, state and federal laws. If you had insurance in effect at the time of the wildfire that provides coverage for debris removal, it is required that those funds go toward the reimbursement of Program costs. If coverage for debris removal is not a separate insurance category, any reimbursement for debris removal will be limited to the unused benefit amount (if any) in that coverage category after the residence is rebuilt. If the full amount of general coverage is used for rebuilding, you will not be responsible for any reimbursement. If you participate in Phase II of the program, we recommend that you consult with your insurance carrier to confirm how much is dedicated to debris removal.

Property owners can begin rebuilding once the debris removal process is complete and appropriate city and/or county permits are obtained.

Phase I is currently underway; EPA will post a sign on each property when the HHW removal is complete.  EPA will also notify the broader community when it has completed HHW removal in an entire neighborhood. When Phase II begins USACE employees will be contacting homeowners via phone to provide notice of work start times.  The USACE contractor is required to provide USACE a formal report of completion.  USACE will provide those reports to the county and county will notify property owner.

The overall project is scheduled to be completed by early 2018. Phasing of clean-up will be decided after the ROE form submittal deadline and will be based, in part, on concentration of participating properties.

Private debris removal must follow the standards adopted by the City of Santa Rosa and the County of Sonoma, which mirror the state standards being used by the USACE for the Debris Removal Program.

To access  the City of Santa Rosa private debris removal application:

To access the County of Sonoma private debris removal application:

Generally, no. If the insurance proceeds you received did not include a specified amount for debris removal you will not be responsible for any costs associated with the debris removal. For more information, contact the Department of Insurance.

Phase I of the Program is required for all residential properties. All properties are required to timely remove the hazardous debris fields. Phase II debris removal by USACE is optional, however, properties are required to timely remove the hazardous debris fields and deadlines will be set by the City and County. Removal by private contractor is authorized but will be done at the homeowner’s expense and work done must meet or exceed the standards set by local, state and federal agencies. This includes compliance with all legal requirements for handling, disposal at authorized disposal sites, soil sampling, and transportation. In addition, best management practices must be utilized along with work activity documentation, and erosion control. Phase I of the Program is being conducted at no cost to property owners.

Sifting through your property will NOT jeopardize your claims for disaster assistance. Property owners who desire to search debris for possible salvageable valuables or mementos should do so with caution and with proper protective gear: eye protection, masks, gloves, long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and protective footwear. Residents should minimize contact with fire debris, which may contain materials that can be hazardous to your health. For more information click here.

Yes, any destroyed structures on a residential property that are at least 120 square feet can be included in Phase II.

Property owner should list the locations of sewer lines, electricity, gas, cable, septic tanks, water lines, and wells on the ROE form.

State and federal laws require that you agree not to sue the county, state, or federal government for harm resulting from the debris removal.

Sites will be left in an environmentally safe condition with erosion control measures in place ready for property owners to begin the rebuilding process. Some grading may be necessary to meet building site specifications.

Any pre-existing improvements on the Property, such as fences, gates, etc. which are damaged or temporarily removed in the debris removal process will be repaired and/or replaced.

Any pre-existing improvements on the Property, such as fences, gates, etc. which are damaged or temporarily removed in the debris removal process will be repaired and/or replaced by the contractor.

Local agencies will work with our state and federal partners to make sure that all properties are addressed to a level that protects public health and safety.

If crews come across personal belongings, they will set them aside. Large personal items can be identified on the ROE.

There will be several teams of staff and numerous pieces of heavy equipment along with transport trucks for hauling equipment and waste. Many of these trucks will be parked along roads during the cleanup. These crews will create a good deal of noise, but the time periods will abide by the Sonoma County noise ordinance. There will be water trucks providing dust control and workers cleaning up after trucks hauling debris.

Phase II will include debris and ash removal related to any structures on your residential property that are at least 120 square feet and destroyed. Driveways will be retained as much as possible both for possible reuse and also to serve as a staging area for debris removal and rebuilding equipment.

We anticipate having the cleanup of all sites in the Program completed by early 2018.

The Sonoma County Consolidated Fire Debris Removal Program (Program) has two phases: removal of household hazardous waste and removal of other fire-related debris.

Phase I:  The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is currently inspecting all fire-damaged properties and removing Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) that may pose a threat to human health, animals, and the environment such as batteries, propane tanks, and paints. Phase I is being conducted at no cost to property owners and is required for all residential properties. It consists of air monitoring for worker safety and visual observations to identify locations of HHW and other hazardous materials and containers. Once properties are surveyed, HHW collection teams will remove the materials identified during the survey. HHW includes leftover household products that can catch fire, react, or explode under certain circumstances, or that are corrosive or toxic.  Products such as paints, cleaners, oils, batteries, and pesticides can contain hazardous ingredients and require special handling and disposal.

Phase II: The Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES), Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and local officials are coordinating with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) to conduct fire-related debris removal from your property. This will include removal of all burnt debris, including appliances, electronics, foundations, trees that are a safety risk to contractors, and some soil to ensure the site is clean and safe for building.

General of air quality is currently being conducted by the California Air Resources Board (CARB) and Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD). Air monitoring related to environmental cleanup of fire-related disaster debris will be conducted by USACE. More information is available at https://monitoring.airfire.org

To expedite recovery, state and federal partners will coordinate closely with the County of Sonoma and City of Santa Rosa to remove fire debris from single-family residential lots and public facilities.

Household hazardous waste must be removed without delay to protect the public health and safety. Additionally, hazardous waste could have significant long-term environmental impacts and should not be combined with the waste from the general clean-up that is going to the landfill. Removal of hazardous waste from the fire debris prevents these environmental contaminants from polluting the environment, and protects the workers and the public from exposure during debris removal efforts. The crews that conduct removal are specifically certified to handle household hazardous waste.

Yes, foundation removal will be included in Phase II of the Program. The decision to include foundation removal on all sites was based on prior damage assessments from similar disasters. Testing following previous fires has confirmed that most foundations were not structurally safe, and that contamination leached into the soil underneath foundations that cannot be addressed without foundation removal. Even if your foundation has been determined to be structurally sound, there is a risk of exposure to toxins if you choose not to remove it.  If you want to keep your foundation, you are not eligible for Phase II of the Program, and you will be required to meet approved standards to ensure the structural integrity of your foundation.

Foundation piers will not be removed. The contractor will make every effort to minimize damage done to piers during stem wall and foundation removal.

Pools will generally not be removed under the Program. In rare circumstances, such as indoor pools, they will need to be removed as part of the residential clean-up.

Generally, retaining walls will not be removed.

Generally, in Phase II trees will not be removed. However, USACE will be removing any trees that either impede their work or present a hazard to their crews.

Owners are not required to be present for either phase of this process. The safety of the general public and workers is a priority during debris operations. To prevent safety hazards, the public is encouraged to stay away from areas where debris removal operations are underway. Exclusion zones will be established surrounding the current work area to ensure the safety of the public.

Close window