CalRecycle expands Ventura County wildfire debris removal crew

CalRecycle expands Ventura County wildfire debris removal crew

Forty-one private contractors are working to remove metals and concrete for recycling.

February 15, 2018
Edited by Hilary Crisan
Concrete and Aggregates Metals

The California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) is now managing 41 private contractor crews to clear wildfire debris from affected properties in the city of Ventura and Ventura County. An additional four crews, consisting of three to five people each, began work late during the week of Feb. 4 to help remove soil, ash, metal, concrete and other debris from properties destroyed by December’s 281,893-acre Thomas Fire.

“CalRecycle is proud to work alongside our state and local partners to help clear this wildfire debris and give the resilient communities of Ventura County the opportunity to move forward,” Scott Smithline, CalRecycle director, says. “At the end of this debris removal process, homeowners can be confident in knowing their properties are clean, safe and ready for rebuilding.”

Debris removal will be conducted in the following phases:

Phase I: The California Department of Toxic Substances Control, Sacramento, removes hazardous debris such as asbestos siding or pipe insulation; paints; batteries; flammable liquids; and other materials.

Phase II: Following the removal of hazardous debris, CalRecycle contractors began the following operations to restore fire-damaged lots to prefire conditions:

Site documentation, assessments and analysis: Contractor crews measure and document foundation, structures, debris, utility infrastructure and property-specific hazards. Any remaining asbestos-containing material is identified and removed. Crews obtain and evaluate background soil samples to establish cleanup goals for the project. This operation began Jan. 11.

Debris removal: Contractor crews remove metals and concrete for recycling and ash and contaminated soil for disposal. This operation began Jan. 19.

Confirmation sampling: Contractor crews sample and analyze soil, compare results to program cleanup goals. This began Jan. 31.

Erosion control: Contractor crews implement storm water best management practices to control sediment runoff and promote vegetation growth. This began Feb. 2.

After the debris cleanup program is complete, CalRecycle will provide each property owner with a certificate that verifies the lot is clean and eligible to receive a building permit from the county. CalRecycle anticipates debris removal work to be completed in all areas in April 2018. Activities related to confirmation sampling and erosion control may continue into May 2018.

Debris removal programs are implemented under the leadership of the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (CalOES) in Mather and local governments. CalRecycle oversees and manages contractors and consultants to conduct the debris removal at no out-of-pocket cost to homeowners. Homeowners who wish to participate must return signed right of entry forms to their local governments. A central Debris Removal Operations Center has been established as a resource for impacted homeowners to return right of entry forms and get answers to any questions or concerns.

Debris Removal Operations Center
290 Maple Court, Suite 120
Ventura, California, 93003

Homeowners who wish to conduct their own cleanup may do so but should be aware of all safety and environmental standards and requirements. The city of Ventura and Ventura County have guidelines available for residents who wish to pursue this option. Commercial properties may be eligible for state-funded debris removal if damaged lots pose a direct threat to public health or the environment. Thus far, CalRecycle crews have been tasked with debris removal for the Hawaiian Village and Harbor View apartment complexes.

For more information about the debris cleanup program, visit