Debris Removal

Debris removal is the clearance, removal, and/or disposal of items such as trees, sand, gravel, building components, wreckage, vehicles, and personal property. Disaster Public Assistance funds are available to eligible applicants for debris clearance, removal and disposal operations. Eligible applicants include State and local governments, Indian tribes, and certain private nonprofit organizations. In order to be eligible for FEMA funding, the debris removal work must:

  • Be a direct result of a presidentially declared disaster
  • Occur within the designated disaster area
  • Be the responsibility of the applicant at the time of the disaster

In addition, debris removal work must be necessary to:

  • Eliminate an immediate threat to lives, public health and safety
  • Eliminate immediate threats of significant damage to improved public or private property
  • Ensure the economic recovery of the affected community to the benefit of the community at large

Examples of eligible debris removal activities include:

  • Debris removal from a public right-of-way to allow the safe passage of emergency vehicles
  • Debris removal from public property to eliminate health and safety hazards

Examples of ineligible debris removal activities include:

  • Removal of debris, such as tree limbs and trunks, from an applicant’s unimproved property or undeveloped land
  • Removal of pre-disaster sediment from engineered channels
  • Removal of debris from a natural channel unless the debris poses an immediate threat of flooding to improved property
  • Removal of debris from Federal lands or facilities that are the authority of another Federal agency or department, such as Federal-aid roads, USACE navigable waterways, and NRCS canals

Please see the Ohio EMA Debris Factsheet for Local Officials for resources and points of contact related to removing debris in local jurisdictions.Click for Debris Removal Applicant’s Contracting Checklist.

Debris Estimation Field guide