Connecticut is a coastal state with a high probability of being affected by a natural disaster such as a hurricane or similar type of destructive storm. The State’s Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection (DESPP) has identified a Category 3 hurricane as the most probable, worst case scenario facing the State, as well as it having the greatest destructive potential of all natural disasters. The State Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP), has projected that the amount of debris that could be generated by such an event could range from 18 to 20 million tons. It has been estimated that the amount of debris generated from the Hurricane of 1938 totaled 20 million tons. In Connecticut, the quantity of solid waste (municipal solid waste and construction and demolition debris) normally processed and disposed annually is 5 million tons.
The State has prepared two primary documents that cover natural disaster and related state-wide level response and operations: the State Natural Disaster Plan, 2009 and the State Disaster Debris Management Plan, June 2013 (Annex to the State Natural Disaster Plan). Strategies for the cleanup of debris are presented in both of these Plans.
In November 2007, the State submitted the State Disaster Debris Management Plan to FEMA for approval under their Public Assistance pilot program. For the Plan to be approved, it had to meet certain criteria set forth by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). In January 2008, FEMA notified the State that the plan received conditional approval pending the State’s establishing pre-event contracts for debris removal operations and for the monitoring of these operations. In August 2008, the State successfully completed this work of establishing these contracts. In September 2008, the State revised this Plan to reflect this change and resubmitted it to FEMA for final approval. FEMA approved the plan on September 22, 2008.
The State has executed monitoring and removal contracts to assist in the State's recovery efforts resulting from a natural disaster debris-producing event.
The State Natural Disaster Plan, signed by the Governor in 2009, was prepared by DESPP. The Plan establishes the mission assignments of state agencies in responding to natural disasters of a severity and magnitude typical for Connecticut. The Plan describes the interaction of state government with local governments, private response organizations (e.g., utilities, the American Red Cross) and the federal government in natural disaster situations.
The State Disaster Debris Management Plan, June 2013 (Annex to the State Natural Disaster Plan) establishes the framework for proper management of debris generated by a natural disaster, with the goal of facilitating prompt and efficient recovery that is cost effective, eligible for FEMA reimbursement, and protective of the environment.
The Plan is an important planning document for all levels of government – federal, state and local. The Plan describes the State contracts that are in place to use in response to a catastrophic natural disaster; the contracts are for both debris removal operations and the monitoring of these types of operations (see below for more information on the State Contracts).
The Plan outlines the planning and operation functions for Debris Management Sites and the two phases of clean-up. The Plan includes a number of appendices that provide references to a number of waste management resources.
FEMA approval letter, dated September 22, 2008.
The Guidance for Connecticut Municipalities-Overview of Disaster Debris Management Planning, 2006 was prepared by the DEEP for the purpose of providing to municipal officials a brief and useful guide to the key elements for planning, mobilizing, organizing, and controlling a large-scale debris clearance, removal and disposal/recycling operation.
A State Contract for the monitoring of the disaster debris removal operations was executed, June 2014 and a contract for the removal of disaster debris was executed July 2014. These are pre-need and pre-event contracts that can assist the state in disaster debris recovery operations. These contracts:
Municipal use of state contracts
If a FEMA major disaster declaration is received, then towns could seek 75% reimbursement for additional work beyond the 70 hours.
Additional Resources for Disaster Debris Management Preparedness
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
Northeast Recycling Coalition (NERC)
CT Department of Public Health (DPH)
Planning and Grants Management - Judy Pahl, DEMHS, 860-685-8543
Note: The following information is provided for information purposes only. Many of the documents listed below were created in response to specific storms, and are no longer in effect. In any future storms, new documents will be created concerning emergency authorizations, debris management sites, etc., and will be posted on this web page.
Content last updated February 2019