A man walks through Journey's End mobile home park in Santa Rosa, Calif. Monday, October 9, 2017 as multiple fires burn across Sonoma, Napa and other North Bay counties. (Jessica Christian/S.F. Examiner)

State officials outline removal process for debris from North Bay fires

The California Office of Emergency Services on Thursday morning gave an overview of the daunting process of removing toxic and hazardous materials from structures destroyed by fires in Northern California counties this month.

The first phase of the process is removing direct threats posed by propane tanks, gas cans, paints, pesticides and herbicides during sweeps of the properties. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will perform that task in Sonoma and Napa counties.

The second phase entails the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers physically removing ash and toxic substances from the soil of properties in the two counties.

The process will begin at burned properties near schools, daycare centers and hospitals, then to burned structures that threaten rivers and watersheds.

State officials said removing the enormous amount of debris to dedicated landfills presents a monumental task.

It will take two working days for a team of five to seven people to remove debris from a property and another week to complete six separate lab tests for asbestos and other toxins in soil at the site.

There will be a one- to two-week lag time before erosion control begins. The goal is for the soil to be in pre-fire condition using soil samples from outside the burn area as a background goal, state officials said.

There is no cost estimate yet for the process since it depends on the number of homeowners who opt out of signing a right to enter their property agreement and use a private contractor for the cleanup instead, state officials said.

Just Posted

Thirty years after Loma Prieta, is San Francisco ready for the next ‘big one?’

Bay Area residents breathed a sigh of relief this week after a… Continue reading

With Loftus set to take office, poll shows voters disapprove of last-minute DA appointment

Mayor London Breed made an unpopular decision when she named candidate Suzy… Continue reading

Proposals for sculpture to honor Maya Angelou meet with rejection

The search for an artist to create a monument to poet and… Continue reading

Market Street is only the beginning of drive to clear city streets of cars

Car-free streets won’t stop at Market. At least, that’s the intent of… Continue reading

SF approves plans for a car-free Market Street

San Francisco will soon kick cars off one of its busiest thoroughfares… Continue reading

Most Read