Preparing Materials for Removal
Care should be taken when handling any materials from buildings that are damaged by flood water. Protective clothing and equipment should be worn to avoid skin contact and inhalation of disturbed material. All debris should be handled in a manner that will minimize exposure to any hazardous materials that could be present in the debris. Those participating in clean up activities should ensure they are up-to-date on all vaccinations, particularly tetanus.
If Transporting Debris Personally: Inform Landfills You Are Coming
Landfills should be informed that materials are coming from the flood area. Contractors should consult with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) at 303-844-5285 to determine required training and personal protective equipment that for those handling this material.
A state-issued demolition permit is not required to remove the debris from buildings that have been partially or completely destroyed. However, the debris must be thoroughly wetted prior to handling to minimize asbestos dust.
If asbestos-containing materials are known to be present in flood debris in amounts greater than regulatory trigger levels, they must be removed in accordance with Colorado Air Quality Control Commission Regulation No. 8, Part B. Trigger levels for single family residential dwellings are 50 linear feet on pipes, 32 square feet on other surfaces or the volume equivalent of a 55-gallon drum. If this is not known, the material may be handled as non-asbestos flood debris and disposed of at a permitted landfill.
A state-issued demolition permit is not required to remove the debris from buildings that have been partially or completely destroyed. However, flood debris may contain unknown substances, including chemicals. Take care when handling any materials from buildings that either are partially damaged by the floods (i.e., salvageable building materials remaining) or completely destroyed (i.e., only debris remains). All debris should be handled in a manner that will minimize potential exposure to both the people handling the material and those in the surrounding area.
If hiring a hauler, confirm they are a licensed hauler in Boulder County.
Anyone engaged in cleaning activities may wish to wear respiratory protection, particularly if the cleanup occurs after materials have dried out. A disposable particulate respirator that has been certified by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) to ensure that it can filter out potentially harmful particles, will offer some protection if properly worn.
Commonly available one-strap paper dust masks, which are designed to keep larger particles out of the nose and mouth, typically offer little protection. The same is true for bandannas (wet or dry) tied over the mouth and nose.
Septage & Sewage
Many waste water treatment plants were impacted by the flooding. In some cases flood waters inundated domestic wastewater treatment plants resulting in untreated and partially treated sewage leaving the plant and being carried away by flood waters. Likewise, a number of septic systems may have been destroyed or compromised from the flooding. If during cleanup sewage or septage is encountered comingled with other flood debris, the waste does not need to be separated, but can be disposed at a landfill mixed with other flood debris. Take precautions to prevent exposure when working in or around septage and sewage. Take care to minimize or eliminate contact with the contaminated materials and not spread the septage or sewage.