Statewide Debris Management

The State of Alaska Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (DHS&EM) supports local and regional government in proactive efforts to develop debris removal operations as part of their overall emergency management plan.  Communities with a plan to clear, remove, and dispose of large-scale debris from Alaska’s storms, floods, fires, and other disasters are better prepared to manage this important mission, as well as successfully partner with state, federal, and other organizations.

In 2011, the DHS&EM Operations Section prepared introductory presentations on debris management for the Fall Preparedness Conference held October 3 – 7, 2011 in Anchorage.  Click below for each presentation:

In 2009, the State of Alaska funded the Alaska Statewide Debris Management Planning Project to address this important mission.  The project was comprised of four tasks: 1) the coordination and planning used to provide an overview of state and federal debris management operations; 2) basic debris management guidelines along with templates for single- and multi-jurisdictional debris management plans; 3) FEMA hazard debris estimation models for selected jurisdictions; and 4) the Statewide Debris Management Plan (SDMP). Click below for each section::

Debris management is constantly in the national and international media.  The debris generated by the March 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake, 2012 Hurricane Sandy, and other recent disasters continue to challenge emergency management officials worldwide.  We can learn a great deal on debris management from past efforts and apply the lessons learned to our situation in Alaska.  Helpful information on several debris-related topics is provided below.  DHS&EM will periodically add new documents or web links to this page so check this section regularly for new items.  Click below to review each document:

Worth Reading

  • The recent authorization of the Sandy Recovery Improvement Act of 2013 includes several incentives for debris management. The FEMA Fact Sheet, Sandy Recovery Improvement Act of 2013 can be found here.
  • The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in collaboration with the Government of Japan sent a group of international debris management specialists to Japan to evaluate their disaster debris management process.  Their report entitled Managing post-disaster debris; the Japan Experience, June 2012 can be found here.
  • UNEP continues to work in Haiti in the aftermath of their M 7.0 earthquake in January 2010.  Their report entitled Haiti Mission Report 20 January – 19 March, 2010, which includes a section on disaster debris management, can be found here.
  • Congressional Research Service, Managing Disaster Debris: Overview of Regulatory Requirements, Agency Roles, and Selected Challenges, January 13, 2011- http://assets.opencrs.com/rpts/RL34576_20110113.pdf.
  • Congressional Research Service, - Disaster Debris Removal after Hurricane Katrina: Status and Associated Issues, Updated April 2, 2008
  • The Yukon River Inter-Tribal Watershed Council has prepared a manual entitled Backhaul: A “How To” Guide,” dated October 2008 for removing solid waste from the watershed.  The manual can be downloaded here.
  • A report entitled “Planning for Debris Management in New York City has been prepared by the Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation, in New York.  This 2012 report is a good summary of innovative actions that can be taken by large communities to address disaster debris issues after a catastrophic event.

Training Opportunities

  • The Emergency Management Institute (EMI) in Emmitsburg, MD provides two FEMA-certified courses on debris management: 1) an interactive web-based course entitled IS-632a – Introduction to Debris Operations; and 2) a 4-day resident (on campus) course entitled E 202 – Debris Management Planning for State, Tribal and Local Officials.  If accepted for the E 202 course, EMI covers air fare, lodging, and transportation to the campus; students are required to purchase a meal ticket (approximately $125).  If interested in the E 202 course, view the schedule and vacancies list. For help with the application process for EMI courses or other training questions, contact the DHS&EM Training Section at (907) 428-7000.