Illegal debris removal in Paradise

Some people in Paradise are outraged that debris from the fire is getting dumped in their neighborhood.

Posted: Apr 26, 2019 5:14 PM

PARADISE, Calif. - Some people in Paradise are outraged that debris from the fire is getting dumped in their neighborhood.

On East Dottie Lane there is some illegal dumping of debris with piles 10 or more feet tall. The piles go back throughout the property.

Action New Now spoke with local officials who said because of the health hazards they are taking this very seriously and looking into it immediately.

“A number of safety issues that we worry about, and all of the appropriate agencies and people will be advised," said Sergeant Steve Bertagna from the Paradise Police Department. "I’ve contacted the town of Paradise and all the people that need to know to move forward with whatever it is that’s taking place."

Marc Mattox, the assistant town manager, also had a written statement about the illegal dumping:

The Town of Paradise is aware of the illegal “staging/processing” activities on E. Dottie Lane. We will be further investigating this issue and look forward to a safe and expedient remedy. Currently, there are no locations within the Town of Paradise where this type of activity would be acceptable. Property owners have a responsibility to clean their fire debris through the State or Alternative Programs which have their own sanctioned disposal and processing sites outside of the Town of Paradise.

One neighbor says she is concerned about her health, but also says it’s just wrong.

“Well I believe that it’s undermining the community and the contractors who are doing the right thing," said Geralynne Rader, a Paradise resident. 

Action News Now also reached out to Cal OES representatives, they say there are two options for proper debris removal. According to Butte County guidelines, there are two ways that homeowners can manage removal of debris and ash from a wildfire. They can either participate in a government program or they can hire a private contractor. 

Action News Now will continue to provide updates on this situation.

See a full list of debris removal protocols from Cal OES below. 

Debris and ash removal cleanup protocols

Contractor is required to remove ash and debris, metals and concrete from site and dispose of properly.

Contractor should recycle metals and concrete when possible. Concrete brought to the Neal Road Recycling and Waste Facility must not be over 2 feet in dimension and must not have exposed rebar over 5 inches. Concrete and metal must be generally free of ash and debris. Disposal fee schedule is currently under review and subject to change.

Contractor may dispose of waste at the Neal Road Recycling and Waste Facility or other properly permitted landfills. Contractor must present a clearance from the Butte County Environmental Health Division at the scale house to allow for disposal…

Dust Control

Property owners or their contractor(s) must provide water or an approved dust palliative, or both, to prevent dust nuisance at each site. Dust resulting from performance of the work shall be controlled at all times.

Each area of ash and debris to be removed must be pre-watered 48 to 72 hours in advance of the removal. Hoses with a fine spray nozzle are recommended. The water must be applied in a manner that does not generate runoff. Engineering controls for storm water discharges must be in place prior to dust control operations.

All loads shall be covered with a tarp. Ash and debris loads shall be fully encapsulated with 10-millimeter plastic (“burrito wrap” method). Concrete loads are exempt from a tarp, provided the loads are wetted prior to leaving. If concrete loads generate dust, then the loads must be wetted and covered.

All waste material that is not unloaded at the end of each workday should be consolidated, sufficiently wetted, and/or covered to prevent the offsite migration of contaminants.

All visibly dry disturbed soil surface areas of operation should be watered to minimize dust emissions during performance of work.

Speeds must be reduced when driving on unpaved roadways.

Procedures must be implemented to prevent or minimize dirt, soil, or ash from contaminating roadways, neighboring parcels, or creating an airborne health hazard. The use of blower devices, dry rotary brushes, or brooms for removal of carryout and track out on public roads is strictly prohibited.

Debris Removal and Disposal / Recycling

Remove ash, debris, contaminated soil, metals and concrete from the site and dispose of properly. Metals and concrete shall be recycled if possible. Appliances and vehicles shall be handled properly to meet the requirements of metals recycling facilities. All waste shall be disposed of at an approved location from the list provided, or at other locations authorized to accept such waste. (See Appendix C in Guidelines, Templates and Resource List for Property Owners, Contractors and Consultants).

The state-managed debris removal program has direct oversight systems in place to make sure wildfire debris is properly tracked and taken to the proper disposal or recycling facility.

Dump trucks filled by debris removal contractors are examined for material type and electronically scanned prior to departure by a site supervisors. Upon reaching the disposition facility (landfill or recycling facility), the truck is scanned again and its weight is entered and electronically uploaded to track tonnage for that specific parcel. The type of debris is also confirmed at the landfill or recycler by the scale operators."

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