Guzziwest Inspection And Consulting

Why You Should Opt-In to the Federal Program for These Fires

We’ve been surprised to see how different landfills and different municipalities are handling the implementation of the both the private and federal and state clean-up programs. As a result, Guzi-West has revised recommendations for each fire in our overall geographic area (Napa County north into Oregon).  The first thing we learned was that the landfills accepting fire debris can interpret what’s required for waste profiling; the state issues an emergency waiver for landfills that will ultimately accept fire debris and waste from a forest fire and that waiver allows them to not require the entire suite of things that would typically be required for waste profiling.  

For the Carr and Camp Fires, local landfills operated under the same waiver as the landfills are for the current fires. The landfills in the vicinities of those fires only required individuals to determine if asbestos was present and if asbestos wasn’t present then the fire debris could be brought to their facilities. However, some landfills are interpreting the waiver differently this year than other landfills and are requiring waste profiling that is far beyond simply determining the presence or absence of asbestos alone. 

Homeowners interested in opt-out need to determine where there closest landfill is, if that facility will accept fire debris, and how will that location affect your overall clean-up costs? If you’re still unsure of the entire cleanup process and what that involves, you can read a quick summary explanation here. Homeowners can elect to participate in a state and federal programs by ‘opting-in’ to their program. Clean up will cost homeowners who opt in nothing out of pocket, although the portion of their insurance dedicated to debris removal will be obtained under the state/federal program. Homeowners can also elect to opt-out and conduct the cleanup of their property utilizing their own insurance coverage. If you’re wondering why everyone wouldn’t opt-in (and many should), we wondered the same thing when the Carr Fire occurred, so we researched and wrote an article found here.  

The sheer distance of some landfills that are accepting fire debris from a given fire is such that we’d recommend opting-in because it’s extremely unlikely that your insurance for debris removal will cover the hauling and disposal costs in full.  We’ve had a chance to review and look at each fire, the closest landfill, and what each municipality is requiring under the opt-out program and can make recommendations for each fire, e.g., the decision we’d make if our home had been destroyed; please see the table below.  The recommendations made are strictly our opinion, are largely based upon total clean-up costs, and whether a typical insurance policy would have enough debris removal coverage to pay those costs. If you aren’t in a hurry to re-build, have poor or no insurance coverage, or simply don’t want to deal with another headache at this time, then opting-in is almost assuredly your best option.

Fire Name: Guzi-West Opt-In/Out Recommendation Reasoning:
Slater Fire Opt-In The hauling distances to the closest landfill/s will likely cause debris disposal costs through private contractors to be greater than the amount of insurance coverage dedicated to debris removal in your homeowner's policy.
North Complex Fire Your Choice Neal Road is again accepting fire debris and operating under the same waiver and decision making as previously (i.e. asbestos presence or absence all that’s required for waste profiling). However, the County Board has directed Neal Road to only take 100K cubic yards from both Phase 1 and Phase 2 so be early in your decision if you want to opt-out.
LNU Complex Fire Your Choice Landfills are present in close proximity to the areas affected by the fire and are operating under the emergency waiver and reportedly only requiring presence/absence of asbestos be determined in terms of waste profiling.
August Complex (North Zone) Opt-In The hauling distances to the closest landfill/s will likely cause debris disposal costs through private contractors to be greater than the amount of insurance coverage dedicated to debris removal in your homeowner's policy.
Zogg Fire Your Choice Landfills are nearby and requiring only asbestos presence/absence for waste profiling. Plus, Shasta County has made the opt-out process much easier and less expensive for homeowners (workplans are not required, confirmation soil sampling is only recommended, etc.).
Glass Fire Your Choice Landfills are present in close proximity to the areas affected by the fire and are operating under the emergency waiver and reportedly only requiring presence/absence of asbestos be determined in terms of waste profiling.
Alameda Drive Fire Opt-In The landfill in closest proximity to the fire requires a list of chemicals, metals, etc. be evaluated in waste profiling. Homeowners could end up starting the opt-out process, paying for the waste profiling, only to find out they exceed some parameter the landfill has set as acceptable to receive the waste; in that case, they could likely still opt-in but the chance isn’t worth it in our opinion.

We sincerely hope everyone is beginning to recover from this disaster and that the process runs smoothly for each of you regardless of whether you opt-in or out.

Please contact Guzi-West if you have further questions or need additional information.

Sincerely,

Clay Guzi and the Guzi-West team

888-351-8189 x 5; clay@guziwest.com


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