Very simply, debris is described as materials — both natural and man-made — generated by a disaster. It can range from boathouses, to gravel bars, to zoo enclosures.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) defines disaster-generated debris as, “Any material, including trees, branches, personal property and building material on public or private property that is directly deposited by the disaster.” 2 FEMA often uses the terms “vegetative” for natural debris and “construction and demolition” for man-made debris.
The methods for handling debris are as diverse as the types. Some forms of debris require special handling and disposal, while other forms can be taken directly to a permitted landfill.
The debris classification determines how removal will be handled and each category involves its own unique process.
When major flood, wind, snow or ice events occur, the resulting aftermath often includes a significant quantity of downed trees, broken limbs, uprooted shrubs and broken ground cover. The removal of this “vegetative” debris on a public right-of-way will generally be eligible for funding under FEMA’s Public Assistance Program.
Questions to be answered when dealing with vegetative debris are:
These and other questions must be carefully considered to ensure that the vegetative debris- removal tasks are accomplished effectively and efficiently — and that they qualify for reimburse- ment under FEMA’s debris policies and regulations.
When a disaster damages buildings and structures, it results in construction and demolition (C&D) debris.