Failure to properly procure (according to Federal regulations) debris contracts is probably the single biggest factor that can jeopardize reimbursement for debris operations (see procurement checklist).
The initial debris clearance (i.e., Phase I response “cut & toss” operations) to clear debris from the roadway and push to the ROW can be done on a time-and-materials basis for a “reasonable” period of time. Once the roads are open and passable, debris operations shift to Phase II recovery for loading, hauling, reduction, and disposal. These debris removal operations should not be performed by a time- and-materials contract, but instead should be based on unit prices (e.g., per cubic yard, per ton, per leaning tree, per hanging limb, per stump extracted, per unit of white goods, etc.)
• Lack of Proper Monitoring
Failure to properly monitor debris contractors, or failure to self-monitor and document locations and quantities of debris removed by an Applicant’s own forces, will jeopardize an applicant’s reimbursement. FEMA has also identified circumstances in which there has been no oversight by the applicant over their debris monitoring firm, resulting in denial or de-obligation of funding.
For example, when FEMA monitored applicants’ contracted monitors, funding was reduced when FEMA found incidences where the monitoring firm consistently overstated the percent full for debris truck load calls from the monitoring tower at debris management sites, giving credit for 100% full loads that were clearly less than 100% full.
Debris removal activities, such as clearance, removal, and disposal, are eligible as Category A if the removal is in the public interest based on whether the work:
• Eliminates immediate threats to lives, public health, and safety;
• Eliminates immediate threats of significant damage to improved public or private property; or
• Ensures economic recovery of the affected community to the benefit of the community at large.
Debris includes, but is not limited to, vegetative debris, construction and demolition (C&D) debris, sand, mud, silt, gravel, rocks, boulders, white goods, and vehicle and vessel wreckage.
Removal of debris from improved public property and public rights-of-way (ROWs), including Federal-aid roads, is eligible. If State, Territorial, Tribal, or local governments authorize residents to place incident- related debris on public ROWs, FEMA provides PA funding to remove the debris from the ROWs for a limited period of time.
Also eligible is the removal of leaning trees, hanging limbs, and stumps that are on public property and
ROWs that present a threat to public health and safety.
Removal of debris placed on the public ROWs from commercial properties is not eligible. Additionally, removal of materials related to the construction, repair, or renovation of either residential or commercial structures is not eligible.
Debris removal from the following is not eligible:
•Federally maintained navigable channels and waterways
•Flood control works under the authority of the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)
• Agricultural land
• Natural, unimproved land, such as heavily wooded areas and unused areas
• Private roads and private property (unless approved case-by-case based on the Federal Coordinating Officer’s concurrence on the demonstration of an immediate threat as determined by a public health official, and the applicant’s documented legal authority to alleviate such a threat)
Monitoring of the debris removal operations is also required and eligible. For FEMA to determine the eligibility of debris removal operations, the Applicant must provide debris types, quantities, reduction methods, and pickup and disposal locations. FEMA requires the Applicant to monitor all contracted debris operations to document this information and ensure that its contractor removes eligible debris. The Applicant may use force account resources (including temporary hires), contractors, or a combination of these for monitoring. If the Applicant does not monitor contracted debris removal operations, it will jeopardize its PA funding for that work.
If the Applicant does not use a contractor to remove the debris, and instead chooses to remove the debris using their own employees’ labor and equipment, the Applicant is not required to hire a separate party to monitor the Applicant’s debris removal operations. However, the Applicant still must essentially serve as their own monitor and document the same type of information that they would to monitor a debris removal contractor. This will allow FEMA to make a determination of reasonableness of cost for the debris operations performed with Applicant-owned resources, and to determine that the
locations from which the Applicant removed debris was an eligible location (i.e., not on private property or roads, natural areas, commercial properties, etc.).
Temporary Debris Management Sites (TDMS)
If an applicant uses a TDMS to stage, sort, and reduce debris, the TDMS must be approved for use by the NC Department of Environmental Quality, Solid Waste Section. Failure to obtain such approval will jeopardize reimbursement of costs associated with operations at the TDMS.
Applicants must document compliance with Local, State, and Federal procurement standards (2 CFR Part
200.317-326) as a condition of receiving PA funding for contract costs for eligible work. The applicant’s procurement process must provide full and open competition, and conduct all necessary affirmative steps to ensure the use of minority businesses, women’s business enterprises, and labor surplus area firms when possible.
Unless your own procurement policy is more restrictive than the federal guidance, the federal guidance is most restrictive.