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Indiana Department of Environmental Management

IDEM > Debris Management: March 2, 2012 Tornadoes in Southeastern Indiana Debris Management: March 2, 2012 Tornadoes in Southeastern Indiana

March 6, 2012

On March 2, 2012, tornadoes struck the southeastern part of Indiana. Recovery activities are underway in affected areas of the state, with efforts focused on restoring utilities and roadways, cleanup efforts, and assisting Hoosiers with specific needs. Federal, state and local agencies and organizations are working to gather damage statistics and estimates, support state response efforts, and provide staffing resources as required.

Following is information concerning recovery activities for debris management, public water systems and wastewater treatment facilities. Complete information about the State of Indiana response to tornadoes is available on the Indiana Department of Homeland Security website.

Debris Management

To help communities in Southeastern Indiana manage the large amount of storm debris, the Indiana Department of Homeland Security has put together a debris management team consisting of staff from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the United States Army Corps of Engineers, and the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM). The debris management team will have two primary tasks: assisting local governments in setting up special disposal sites for storm debris and assessing the types of waste and debris in the damaged areas to ensure all waste is being properly managed and disposed.

Information for Citizens:

Citizens should contact their Local Emergency Management Agency to request assistance or obtain information about special disposal sites in their area.

Following are safety and regulatory guidelines for citizens concerning the management and cleanup of woody debris:

  • To have debris removed, call your city or county government.
  • Woody debris should be separated from other waste.
  • Some woody debris may be left as is or moved to another location, with property owner approval.
  • Woody debris may be chipped or reduced.
  • Chipped and reduced woody debris may be returned to its place of generation or left on site for residents to use for mulch and firewood.
  • Woody debris may be taken to an approved solid waste landfill, transfer station or composting facility.
  • While burning of woody debris and clean wood is not encouraged, emergency burning may be necessary in some cases to address an imminent threat to health or the environment following a disaster. Local officials who conduct emergency burning should get approval from IDEM. Citizens who wish to conduct burning, should first contact their local officials, such as the local EMA.
  • Burning solid waste is not permitted under any circumstances.

For buildings and structures, these basic safety tips are advised:

  • Do not approach damaged buildings or debris areas unless it is determined to be safe.
  • Use caution when handling any debris materials.
  • Report asbestos containing materials or buildings to local officials, such as the local EMA.
  • Watch out for fallen power lines.
  • For power outages and downed wires, call your local utility company.
Information for Local Emergency Management Agencies (EMAs) and Local Officials:

Local EMAs and other government officials can contact IDEM directly for technical assistance on managing debris and setting up special disposal sites.

For guidelines on managing emergency debris and emergency Disposal Site Certification, contact the Agricultural and Solid Waste Compliance Section toll free at any of the following numbers:

  • (800) 451-6027, ext. 4-6965 (toll free), (317) 234-6965 (direct)
  • (800) 451-6027, ext. 4-6923 (toll free), (317) 234-6923 (direct)

Emergency burning may not occur without approval from IDEM. For information and verbal approval to burn clean wood waste, vegetation, or deceased animals resulting from a disaster, please contact IDEM Office of Air Quality Compliance and Enforcement staff at the following numbers in the order listed until contact is made with an authorized person:

  • (317) 502-2251 (cell phone),
  • (800) 451-6027, ext. 3-5521 (toll free, office), (317) 233-5521 (direct, office)
  • (800) 451-6027, ext. 2-8457 (toll free, office), (317) 232-8457 (direct, office), (317) 910-6314 (cell phone)
Links to Additional Information/Resources:

Following are links to additional information, and local and state resources for debris management: