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State-hired contractors had completed site assessments on 230 private properties affected by the Hill and Woolsey fires whose owners have opted into the state’s Consolidated Debris Removal Program, officials at the Debris Removal Operations Center in Calabasas announced yesterday, Jan. 28.
Site assessments are a critical step in the state debris removal program. They must be conducted to begin the debris removal operations on each property. For those opting into the state program, site assessments include photos and documentation of property lines, the location of septic tanks, the footprints of foundations and ash, as well as trees, pools, vehicles and other objects that pose a hazard or hamper operations.
In Los Angeles County, 154 site assessments of properties with damage caused by the Woolsey Fire have been completed. In Ventura County, crews have completed site assessments on 76 properties impacted by the Woolsey and Hill fires. State contractors have also completed asbestos surveys on 98 properties in Los Angeles County and an additional 38 sites in Ventura County.
During the asbestos surveys, state contractors canvass each property for asbestos containing materials and collect samples of materials suspected of containing ACMs for testing. Properties with ACMs are scheduled for abatement. Those with no ACMs present are scheduled for debris removal. Contractors also may tip standing chimneys for later removal.
It is critical for all property owners with structures significantly burned by the fires to clear their debris, either by signing up for the state’s Consolidated Debris Removal Program or cleaning the debris privately to avoid creating a public health nuisance and being subject to summary abatement procedures.
Under the state program, administered by the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services and CalRecycle, participating property owners incur no direct costs for the removal of eligible debris, including ash, metal and concrete, as well as foundations.
Participation in the state program is easy. Property owners, including those who do not have debris removal insurance coverage, only need to complete and submit a Right of Entry permit form allowing access to contractors to the Los Angeles County Public Works or the Ventura County Environmental Health Division, respectively.
Property owners can opt out of the state program and seek approval through the local program to do the work themselves or hire a private contractor, but they will be held to the same safety and environmental standards as those of the state program.
Jan. 31, 2019, is the deadline for property owners in Los Angeles County to submit their ROEs. The local program and ROE application deadline for Ventura County property owners is Feb. 8, 2019.
Property owners can obtain assistance completing their ROEs and meet one-on-one with debris removal experts from their respective counties to discuss their concerns at the Debris Removal Operations Center located at 26610 Agoura Road in Calabasas. The DROC is open from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday, and from 9 a.m.-noon on Saturdays. ROEs for Ventura County residents also can be submitted to the Ventura County Government Center, Environmental Health Division, 800 S. Victoria Avenue, Ventura.
Property owners who have opted in will be notified 24-48 hours prior to the start of debris removal operations on their property and may walk the property with crews before work begins.
For more information in Los Angeles County, visit lacounty.gov/LACountyRecovers or call (626) 979-5370.
For more information in Ventura County, visit www.venturacountyrecovers.org or call (805) 504-7869.