FEMA to Reimburse Local Jurisdictions for Debris Removal in Mississippi

September 8, 2005

State and local governments in Mississippi will be reimbursed by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency for 100 percent of Hurricane Katrina eligible debris removal costs incurred during the sixty days following President Bush’s federal disaster declaration, from Aug. 29 through Oct. 30, 2005.

Examples of eligible clean-up include removal of debris from public rights-of-way to ensure safe passage and debris removal from public property to eliminate health and safety hazards.

Removing the massive debris left by Hurricane Katrina is a cooperative effort between local communities, state governments, federal governments, and state and federal agencies.

“Field assessment teams estimate the amount of debris left by Hurricane Katrina in Mississippi at 16 million cubic yards,” said FEMA Public Assistance (Infrastructure) Officer Dennis Colton. “That is enough debris to fill a thousand football fields, to a 10-foot deep capacity.”

Debris assessment and removal update:

* FEMA teams have completed debris assessments in 30 counties.
* The State of Mississippi has requested direct federal debris removal assistance in Forrest, George, Hancock, Harrison, Jackson, Jones, Pearl River, and Stone counties. Work can begin only after the community or county accepts.
* FEMA has 16 debris specialists working with local officials to determine how debris in their area will be removed, i.e. through contract, U.S. Corp of Engineers or local resources. (Note: FEMA does not hire debris removal contractors. While the applicant is responsible for hiring and monitoring contractors, FEMA will provide technical assistance and training).
* Non-hazardous storm related debris from private property will be picked up at the right-of-way.
* The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) manages removal of commercial hazardous debris washed up on private property.
Residents, private industry and debris removal contractors may call the National Response Center, 1-800-424-8802, for information and referral on hazardous waste disposal.

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