Debris removal in Napa County is unfolding in two stages: Phase I – Household Hazardous Waste Removal; and Phase II: Debris and Ash Removal. Local officials anticipate completing both phases by early 2018. Find more information about both phases, as well as erosion and watershed protection tips, below.
California Governor Jerry Brown has issued an Executive Order authorizing the federal EPA and other federal and state agencies to enter private properties in Napa County to test for and remove hazardous waste. Household hazard waste includes leftover household products that can catch fire, react or explode, or that are corrosive or toxic. Products like paints, cleaners, solvents, oils, batteries, herbicides and pesticides can contain hazardous ingredients and require special handling and disposal.
What Does it Cost?
This testing and removal is free for property owners.
Alternatively, you may hire a contractor certified in Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response (HAZWOPER) to remove hazardous waste at your own expense.
Ash and fire debris contain hazardous materials, including asbestos, heavy metals, by-products of plastic combustion, and various other chemicals. These chemicals can endanger you if you handle them. They can also become airborne if transported, endangering the general public.
Because of the risks, it is illegal to dispose of ash and debris on public or private lands. Ash and debris also cannot be taken to the dump.
The deadline to participate in the free debris removal program conducted by the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers has passed. Homeowners whose residences burned down and who wish to remove burnt debris, foundations, hazardous trees, and soil from their properties must utilize private services at their own cost.
Before beginning this removal, all household hazardous waste must be removed from your property. You must then submit a Private Debris and Ash Removal Plan Application to Napa County demonstrating that you will complete this work in accordance with County regulations. If your application is approved, you will be issued a demolition permit.
Note: Those privately completing household hazardous waste and debris removal must complete both stages by October 1, 2018 — or be subject to potential enforcement actions.
Test your foundation prior to conducting private debris and ash removal. Napa County will not issue a building permit for any property where a structural fire occurred unless a California Registered Civil or Structural Engineer certifies that the existing footing/foundations, slabs, and under-slab utilities can be reused. Heat/stress dynamic testing will be required, and soil sampling may also be required under the slab/foundation if the area was severely impacted by the fire.
If you do not test your foundation prior to debris removal, you may have to remove it later.
Napa County recommends that homeowners include foundation and soil removal in their applications unless testing demonstrates that remaining foundations are structurally sound.
- Establish new vegetative cover on all bare or disturbed soil and slopes as soon as possible to prevent erosion from falling rain and storm water runoff. Native grasses and other plants are recommended—seeding will likely take too long to grow.
- Once rainy season starts, do not disturb soil and slopes: they will be unstable and more susceptible to erosion if plant cover is removed while the soil is saturated.
- Prune or remove highly fire damaged trees capable of falling on to dwellings or roads as soon as possible. Do not remove healthy or slightly damaged trees unnecessarily—their root systems hold soil and reduce winter runoff.
- Divert water runoff with drain outlets and basins that break up water flow with rock and other ground cover to dilute the runoff’s force.
- Napa County will be providing free sandbags for residents to use to help control sediment and erosion on their land. However, sandbags should generally only be used as an emergency/temporary measure. If improperly placed, they may do more harm than good.
Napa County will also be coordinating with other local government and organizations to provide assistance and advice to landowners regarding erosion prevention.