Reliable debris and hazard material management
After a disaster, when a region turns its attention to rebuilding, one of the greatest challenges to moving forward may involve how to properly manage debris generated by the event. Options include typical methods of waste management-landfilling, recycling, or burning. The challenge after a major disaster (e.g., a building or bridge collapse, or a flood, hurricane, or earthquake) is in managing significantly greater amounts of debris often left in the wake of such an event. Debris after a disaster may include waste soils and sediments, vegetation (trees, limbs, shrubs), municipal solid waste (common household garbage, personal belongings), construction and demolition debris (in some instances, entire residential structures and all their contents), vehicles (cars, trucks, boats), food waste, so-called white goods (refrigerators, freezers, air conditioners), and household hazardous waste (cleaning agents, pesticides, pool chemicals).
Each type of waste may contain or be contaminated with certain toxic or hazardous constituents. In the short term, removal of debris is necessary to facilitate the recovery of a geographic area. In the long term, the methods by which these wastes are to be managed require proper consideration to ensure that their management (by landfilling, for example) will not pose future threats to human health or the environment.