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Debris Removal & Right of Entry
Debris Removal Process
Process & Updates for cleanup and removal of fire debris
Process & Updates for cleanup and removal of fire debris
Updated over a week ago

For all the latest information on Maui Recover's website regarding Fire Debris Removal, click here. Here is critical information focused on the most commonly asked questions:

About Fire Debris Removal

Fire Debris Removal is the removal of the remaining structural ash and debris and may include soil testing. The County of Maui, State of Hawai‘i, FEMA and local officials will coordinate with the U.S Army Corps of Engineers to offer a Consolidated Debris Removal Program. The program will allow the Corps to conduct the safe removal and handling of fire-damaged debris from destroyed properties.

A private fire debris removal process will be established for those who want to opt out of the Consolidated Debris Removal Program. The County is currently working to develop the process, guidance documents and forms for private contractor fire debris removal and will have the information published soon.

How long will Debris Removal take?

The cleanup in Kula/Olinda took a few months, as the quantity of ash and debris was a small fraction of the amount in Lahaina. The cleanup in Lahaina will take the better part of 2024.

Phases of Fire Debris Removal

Fire debris removal is broken down into two phases:

Phase 1:

When Phase 1 was complete; EPA posted a sign on each property when hazardous waste removal was completed, and notified the broader community when hazardous materials removal was completed in an entire neighborhood. View EPA’s online resource tool, which provides information on their process, progress and completion status:

Hazardous Materials Removal is the removal of hazardous materials that may impact human health, animals and the environment through exposure. In coordination with the County of Maui and the State of Hawai‘i, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) assigned the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to survey, remove and dispose of hazardous material from all properties impacted by the wildfires in Lahaina, Kula and Olinda.

Hazardous materials included compressed gas cylinders, pesticides, paints, oils, fertilizers, ammunition and batteries (including lithium-ion batteries, particularly household solar battery storage systems). These items can contain hazardous ingredients and require special handling and disposal.

Phase 2:

Once a Right-of-Entry (ROE) form is signed for Phase 2, Army Corps employees contacts homeowners that are enrolled in the Consolidated Debris Removal Program via phone 24-48 hours in advance to provide notice of work start times. The Corps’ contractor is required to provide the Corps a formal report of completion. The Corps provides those reports to the county, and the county notifies homeowners. A Phase 2 map, showing progress, will be published once work gets underway.

Where has this happened before and what was done to clean up the impacted areas?

FEMA and USACE have dealt with similar situations in recent years in California, Colorado and New Mexico. Experiences and best practices from these incidents are being utilized by both agencies in supporting cleanup and recovery operations on Maui, which are similar to the approaches employed after those disasters.

Can the cleanup work and transport be conducted at night?

No. The cleanup, transport and unloading efforts at the TDS would be less effective and unsafe to conduct during night-time hours for a variety of reasons. Trained archaeological and cultural monitors are present at every worksite and need adequate natural lighting to identify artifacts, archaeological features, and potential burial sites. Cleanup crews walk around parcels during cleanup to visually identify ash and debris which may be left behind or unable to access by excavators. Artificial lighting has been discouraged for ecological reasons as bright lights are known to distract or disorient marine life, particularly nesting turtles, who are active at night. Further, excessive noise associated with night operations might also be disconcerting to nearby community members. Finally, cleanup crews are working up to 12 hours/day, 7 days a week, and need time to rest and recharge before the next day’s shift.

How long will this whole process take?

The cleanup in Upcountry was completed in mid-January, as the quantity of ash and debris was a small fraction of the amount in Lahaina. The cleanup and transfer of ash/debris from Lahaina into the TDS site will extend into January 2025. Efforts are underway to expedite the planning, design and construction of a permanent disposal site (PDS) at the Central Maui Landfill, which could be completed in late 2024.

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