Water and Waste Management


Emergency Management

Public Health

Roads and Transportation Services

Development Services


A. Purpose

To provide for the removal, recycling, and disposal of solid waste including debris, wreckage, and household hazardous materials following a disaster.

B. Scope

This ESF addresses all emergency solid waste management activities including collection, transportation, disposal, and emergency workers.


A. Thurston County may collect for actual costs incurred by authorized representatives, contractors, and sub-contractors in carrying out necessary work on private property needed to protect public health and safety, including debris removal, demolition of unsafe or abandoned structures, removal of debris and wreckage, landfill tipping fees, and administration costs. The collection of these costs and penalties may include billing the owner or placing a lien on the property and withholding further permits to the permittee or property until penalties are paid.

B. Debris from earthquake damaged structures usually contains reclaimable property, valuables, and mementos of disaster victims. Victim reclamation of damaged property should be accommodated as a priority consistent with health and safety.


A. In the aftermath of floods, fires, windstorms, or earthquakes, solid waste debris can impact emergency responders, delay repair and reconstruction, and pose a threat to the public, health and safety, and the environment.

B. If Thurston County removes solid waste, or orders it removed, it may be a FEMA reimbursable expense.

C. If private property owners remove solid waste debris, they are normally responsible for all costs, including landfill tipping fees, which may be covered by insurance.

D. Several years of landfill capacity may be used up by a disaster. Loss of landfill capacity will have an impact on the rates charged customers. Rates will increase depending on how much debris waste is disposed in the landfill.

E. Debris removal may have environmental consequences including erosion or landslides, falling trees or structures, and the release of asbestos or other contaminants.

F. County, state, and federal environmental regulations (air quality, landfill, solid waste handling, etc.) may severely limit options in solid waste removal and disposal.


A. Solid waste cleanup is an essential component to terminating emergency conditions.

B. Coordination of emergency solid waste management is the responsibility of the Water and Waste Management Department - Solid Waste Division, the Division of Emergency Management, Environmental Health Department, and other related support departments.

C. Emergency solid waste management is usually an incremental process:

1. Solid waste debris removal from streets to provide access.

2. Removal of hazardous and/or moderate risk waste.

3. Solid waste debris removal of damaged public structures.

4. Salvaging or recycling of solid waste.

5. Expedite the permits and inspections required for repairing, rebuilding, or demolition of damaged structures.

D. Emergency workers and volunteers may need to be assigned to solid waste debris cleanup. They must be provided with:

1. Hard hats, safety goggles, approved dust respirators, as necessary.

2. Other personal protective equipment for specific tools and equipment.

3. Drinking water, portable toilets, and hand washing facilities.

4. Training and supervision.

5. Blood-borne pathogens protection and decontamination equipment as needed.


A. Local

1. Water and Waste Management - Solid Waste

a. Provide management of emergency solid waste removal, disposal, and recycling; coordinate with Environmental Health on the collection and disposition of household hazardous goods.

b. Provide emergency operation of county landfill, transfer stations, and coordinate long-haul transportation.

c. Coordinate with the EOC to formulate emergency policies and regulations regarding solid waste collection and disposal for private citizens.

d. Coordinate with other agencies the disposal of hazardous materials.

e. Provide staff to weight and document solid waste at the county landfill and other drop-box facilities in the county.

f. Provide record keeping for recovery of disaster funds.

g. Coordinate with the Public Information Coordinator to provide information to the public.

h. Coordinate the long-haul transportation and disposal of debris outside of Thurston County.

i. Manage contracts for private company collection, salvation rights, and recycling of solid waste debris.

2. Emergency Management

If additional resources are needed, coordinate volunteer, state and federal support.

3. Roads and Transportation Services (RATS)

Provide available transportation and personnel resources as requested or directed.

4. Development Services

a. Provide damage assessment of disaster area regarding debris and wreckage.

b. Coordinate demolition of unsafe and/or abandoned structures and removal of wreckage.

c. Manage contracts for private contractors to provide services.

d. Coordinate emergency permitting and inspection process for private cleanup work to ensure compliance with cleanup standards and procedures.

e. Document department and county costs.

5. Public Health - Environmental Health

a. Provide permitting and monitoring of county landfill and other solid waste sites.

b. Monitor unpermitted dumping.

c. Advise on collection and disposal of household hazardous waste.


A. Thurston County 1993 Solid Waste Management Plan

B. WAC 173-351 Regulations regarding Solid Waste Handling and Disposal