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    Michigan environmental group urging Midland area residents to follow its guidelines for managing debris

    LANSING, Mich. – In the aftermath of massive flooding in Midland resulting from dam failure, residents and businesses impacted by the incident are assessing damage and evaluating cleanup efforts.

    As they return to their properties, the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy is offering basic guidance on how to manage debris.

    From addressing immediate hazards to exploring disposal options, EGLE urges residents to follow guidelines set by the state.

    “In times of disaster, we are keeping the health and safety of Michiganders at the forefront of cleanup efforts that protect our state’s environment,” EGLE Director Liesl Clark said. “We are committed to help build a safe path to recovery.”

    EGLE offers the following guidelines:

    • After evacuation, be sure to check with local authorities before returning. Upon arrival at the property, conduct a visual inspection to check for any downed power lines.
    • Itemize items on property, with special attention to hazardous materials such as paint, motor oil and solvents. For a list of common types of household hazardous waste and local household hazardous waste collection contacts, visit Michigan.gov/EGLEHHW.
    • Use caution when walking through standing water or large debris piles to avoid hidden hazards, such as nails and other sharp objects.
    • Residents and business owners should treat flood-related construction and demolition debris as potentially containing asbestos. This material should be in a wet condition until disposal. For more information on handling asbestos waste, visit Michigan.gov/EGLEAsbestos.
    • Contact local officials regarding disposal instructions for structural materials, roofing, insulation, siding, appliances, carpet, furniture and other household items.
    • Storm-generated woody and vegetative debris such as trees and untreated wood should be sorted and allowed to dry. These items can be chipped into mulch, composted or, saved for municipal collection in areas that do so.
    • Check with your local city, township or village officials before lighting a fire. If no local ordinances are in effect, state law allows burning grass and leaves in municipalities with populations less than 7,500 unless prohibited by local ordinance. It also prohibits burning any yard debris within 1,400 feet of an incorporated city or village limit under EGLE air quality rules. For questions about open burning, visit gov/OpenBurning.

    EGLE’s Materials Management Division has the authority to issue emergency disposal authorizations to municipalities recovering from a disaster or emergency. Requests for emergency disposal authorization generally come from the county emergency management program and are sent to the State Emergency Operations Center, which coordinates with appropriate EGLE staff. For questions about emergency disposal permits, contact the MMD Solid Waste Section at 517-284-6588.

    For EGLE guidance on storm debris, visit: michigan.gov/documents/egle/egle-tou-mmd-ManagingStormDebris_688194_7.pdf

    Additional resources:

    • EGLE’s Environmental Assistance Center: 800-662-9278
    • The Michigan State Police Local Disaster Debris Management Planning Handbook
    • The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) Disaster Debris Recovery Tool
    • The USEPA Planning for Natural Disaster Debris guidance 

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