SonomaCountyRecovers: Official recovery information for Sonoma County fires

Debris Removal

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: Household Hazardous Waste Removal

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will inspect your property and remove any Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) that may pose a threat to human health, animals, and the environment such as batteries, asbestos siding, and paints. Click here to view the progress of Phase 1. Phase I of the Program is required for all residential properties.

Phase II: Debris Removal and Property Clean-up

  • Option 1: Sonoma County Consolidated Debris Removal Program

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, foundations, hazardous trees, and some soil to ensure the site is clean and safe for building. Phase II debris removal by USACE is optional. (DEADLINE FOR OPTION 1 HAS PASSED)

  • Option 2: Private Debris Clean-up

Property owners who do not qualify for, or who chose not to participate in, the Sonoma Consolidated Debris Removal Program, must hire a private contractor to remove fire debris and clean up their properties.

A Private Clean-up Application form must be submitted to the County of Sonoma or City of Santa Rosa, depending on location of the property, prior to the commencement of work. Private debris removal is done at the homeowner’s expense and must meet or exceed the standards set by local, state and federal agencies. This includes compliance with all legal requirements for disposal, authorized disposal sites, best management practices for activities on site, proper transportation and documentation of waste, and erosion control.

 

Deadline to submit Private Clean-up Application form is November 22, 2017

 

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Sacramento District (USACE) has established a Debris Removal Information Line for property owners affected by last month’s devastating wildfires in Northern California. The number for the USACE Debris Removal Information Line is 877-875-7681, and is intended for residential property owners who have signed up for the government-sponsored debris removal program. Residential property owners who are registered for the program can also e-mail: USACESupportToSonoma@usace.army.mil

For more information on debris removal choices, click below:

The period to apply for the Sonoma County Consolidated Debris Removal Program closed on Monday, November 13th, 2017.

If you have circumstances that prevented you from submitting your Right-of-Entry form by the deadline, please call 707-565-6700. Late Right-of-Entry form submissions will be considered on a case by case basis for inclusion in the Program.

Refer to the document below to learn about the types of debris that are eligible and not eligible for removal.

State/Federal Wildfire Debris Removal Program Eligibility

Right-of-Entry Permit Checklist for Property Owners

Sonoma County Environmental Health and the Public Works Department are working with CalOES and other federal and state partners in a program to facilitate safe removal and handling of burn debris and ash. To obtain this service a homeowner must complete the proper paperwork to allow these agencies to clean up their property.

Documents needed for submittal of the Debris Removal Right-of-Entry Permit:

  • Debris Removal Right-of-Entry Permit form English / Spanish
  • Government Issued ID
  • Insurance Policy
    • Declaration page
    • Debris Removal Coverage page
  • Assessor’s Parcel Number (APN)
  • Signatures of All Owners, Trustees or Power of Attorney
  • Trust or LLC Documents
    • 1st page of Trust, LLCetc.
    • Signature Authorization page
    • Power of Attorney signature page
    • Any other relevant pages

Debris Removal Right-of-Entry Permit Form

Available either:

Home Owned by 1 or More People

All owners listed on the title of the home must:

Home Owned by a Trust, LLC or other Legal Entity

If a home is owned by a trust, LLC or other legal entity, please bring:

  • The first page of the trust, LLC or other agreement.
  • The Signature Authorization page.
  • The Power of Attorney Signature page.
  • Any other relevant pages.

All trustees or signatories must sign the Debris Removal Right-of-Entry Permit form.

Insurance Policy

If the home is insured please bring a copy of the homeowner’s insurance policy. Especially important are the declaration page and the debris removal coverage page.

A copy of your insurance policy is needed because it contains a section outlining your debris removal coverage. Per CalOES part of the right-of-entry and debris removal process includes securing insurance reimbursement for the agencies if any is available after a homeowner rebuilds.

Application Process is Subject to Change

The County is working diligently with agency partners to finalize this process. Additional requirements may be necessary at a later date to complete the right to enter application process.

Deadline to apply is Wednesday, November 22, 2017.

Due to the public health emergency, property owners are required to clean their property of all ash and burn debris in a timely manner. If property owners choose not to participate in the Consolidated Debris Removal Program described above (or if their properties are ineligible for the program), they may undertake the clean-up at their own expense with work performed by qualified personnel as set forth in the documents below.

For City of Santa Rosa Residents:

Forms updated 11/7 to include Guidelines, Templates, Resource List for Property Owners, Contractors and Consultants 

Turn completed forms into:

Permits Counter, Planning & Economic Development Department
100 Santa Rosa Avenue, Room 5
Santa Rosa, CA 95404

Public counter hours:
Mon:  8am – 4:30pm
Tue:  8am – 4:30pm
Wed:  10:30am – 4:30pm
Thu:  8am – 4:30pm
Fri:  8am – 12pm

For County of Sonoma Residents:

County of Sonoma Private Clean-up Application Forms (English)

Turn completed forms into:

Right-of-Entry (ROE) Processing Center
625 5th Street (between Riley and Humboldt)
Santa Rosa, CA
Phone: (707) 565-6700

Hours: 
Monday –  Friday
7:30am – 4:30pm

Landfills accepting ash and debris:

Contractors or individuals need to contact the facility prior to delivery to confirm facilities are currently accepting waste. Click here to view the list.

 

I submitted a Right-of-Entry (ROE) form but now I want to cancel, what do I do?

To cancel a previously-granted Right of Entry Permit, this cancellation form must be signed by the Owner(s), and either delivered to the Sonoma County Environmental Health at 625 5th Street, Santa Rosa CA 95404, or emailed to EHROE@sonoma-county.org as a signed PDF. Sonoma County Environmental Health must receive this form on or prior to November 22, 2017.

All owners who signed the Right of Entry Permit must sign this request. Phone-in and verbal cancellations cannot be accepted. Cancellations can only be accepted up until the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers attempts to notify the property owner 24-48 hours in advance of Ash and Debris Cleanup (as described in the Right of Entry Permit). Please note that the Director of Environmental Health may deny requests for cancellation after November 22, 2017 (the deadline for private cleanup application submission).

Right-of-Entry (ROE) Cancellation Form

Debris Removal Right-of-Entry Processing Center

The County of Sonoma is operating a Debris Removal Right-of-Entry Processing Center at the Department of Health Services building in downtown Santa Rosa. Environmental Health staff will be on hand to assist residents with filling out the appropriate paperwork for the voluntary debris removal program. Residents living in unincorporated Sonoma County can apply for a debris re-entry permit with the Department of Health Services’ Environmental Health section.

What: Debris Removal Right-of-Entry Processing Center
When: Monday-Friday, 7:30 am to 4:30 pm
Where: 625 5th Street, Santa Rosa, between Riley and Humboldt

Phone #: (707) 565-6700

Additional Debris Removal Program Information & FAQs

Below you will find more information and FAQ’s regarding the Sonoma County Consolidated Debris Removal Program.

Community Meeting Recording: Sonoma - November 2, 2017

Right of Entry (ROE) Process

Right of Entry (ROE) Form

Debris Removal Frequently Asked Questions

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.

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

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

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

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:

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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

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

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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

The deadline to sign up is November 13, 2017.

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.

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 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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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