Big news for people rebuilding in wake of fire

The county has released important information about guidelines on clean-up, and assistance that is being offered.

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MENDOCINO Co., 10/24/17 — Are you or a loved one in the process of trying to clean-up and rebuild in the wake of the fires? Unfortunately, along with the tragedy of losing your house, cleaning up is also a very complicated process, due to requirements about how to clean-up hazardous waste and how that can affect your insurance claims. The county of Mendocino is trying to clarify that a bit, and so if you know anyone whose home was damaged or destroyed in the fires, please spread this valuable information.

Mendocino County’s Environmental Health Services department will be offering clean-up services to people impacted by the fires starting today, October 24, in coordination with the California Office of Emergency Services and the California’s Department of Toxic Substances Control. However, these services will only be available for a limited time and require property owners to complete a “Right-of-Entry” agreement. These forms have been mailed to property owners and are also available at the Local Assistance Center at Mendocino College.

Here’s the press release from the county, and a Clean-up “Frequently Asked Questions” below it. For more information please contact, Planning and Building Services at (707) 234-6650.

October 24, 2017, California’s Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) and Mendocino County’s Environmental Health Services will be entering properties in the fire area to perform a limited inspection and removal of household hazardous waste. Once that is complete, there will be a short window in which property owners may choose to participate in a program to have burned structures removed by government contractors. In order to participate in the free program, property owners must complete a Right-of-Entry Agreement (ROE). The ROE form has been mailed out to affected property owners, with a return envelope included. In addition, forms will be available at the Local Assistance Center, Planning and Building Services and online at www.mendocinocounty.org/fireinfo. The forms can be mailed or returned in person to Planning and Building Services, 860 N Bush Street in Ukiah. The County encourages property owners to return the ROE this week to be included in the first round of cleanup.

If property owners choose to participate in this program, the fire debris will be removed from the property and the site will be cleaned to meet California’s environmental standards. The cleanup offered through this program is provided at no cost to the property owner. Property owners with fire insurance will need to provide insurance coverage information on the ROE form. Any insurance proceeds designated by their policy for debris cleanup must be contributed to the program. If property owners do not have fire insurance or if their policy does not have an item for debris cleanup, they are still eligible to participate in this program.

For more information please contact, Planning and Building Services at (707) 234-6650.

And here is the FAQ on debris removal:

Debris Removal: Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is the Debris Removal Program?

A: The Debris Removal Program is made up of two phases: removal of Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) and removal of other fire-related debris. County, state and federal agencies are organizing teams of experts from the California State Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) to inspect your property for HHW and remove it from the property. In coordination with Cal OES, FEMA and local officials, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) will execute contracts to conduct fire related debris removal from properties.

Q: How do I get involved?

A: The first step is to complete a Right of Entry (ROE) form to allow access to your property. Forms have been mailed directly to properties affected. Once you give the consent to enter on to your property the County will coordinate with FEMA and Cal OES to develop a debris removal collection strategy.

Q: How do I obtain a Right of Entry form?

A: Mendocino County has mailed forms directly to affected property owners. In addition, forms are available at the Local Assistance Center, Planning and Building Services and online at www.mendocinocounty.org/community/mendocino-county-fire-information.

Q: My home was destroyed in the fire. Can I go back onto my property to see if I can find any valuables or mementos?

A: Property owners who desire to search debris for possible salvageable items should do so with caution and with proper protective gear: eye protection, masks, gloves, long-sleeved shirts and long pants. Residents should minimize contact with fire debris. There may be Hazardous Household Waste, which contains materials that can be hazardous to your health.

Q: When will the debris removal begin?

A: Crews have already begun removal of HHW. Removal of fire debris has been scheduled by CalOES and FEMA to begin in the region by November 1, 2017, based on the percentage of right of entry forms received.

Q: Who is going to pay for it?

A: The cleanup offered through this program is provided at no direct cost to you, but does require you to assign that portion of any insurance proceeds (if any) designated by your policy for debris cleanup. If you don’t have fire insurance or if your policy does not have an item for debris cleanup, you are still eligible to participate in this program.

Q: Will USACE use local contractors in this effort?

A: Yes, under the USACE Advanced Contracting Initiative (ACI) the Prime Contractors are using local contractors. The prime contractors for this response are Ashbritt and Environmental Chemical Corporation. Local contractors can register as subcontractors at the primary contractor websites located at:http://www.ashbritt.com/, http://www.ecc.net

Q: Will USACE use California State prevailing wage, Davis-Bacon, or GSA rate?

A: The USACE ACI contractor is required to pay Davis-Bacon or California state prevailing wage, whichever is higher.”

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