Before proceeding with the demolition and/or burning of a flood-damaged structure, there are a number of essential steps that should be taken to ensure protection of public health and the environment. Title 129 – Nebraska Air Quality Regulations authorizes the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality (NDEQ) to issue open fire permits for the purpose of the destruction of materials after cleanup from a natural disaster (Title 129, Chapter 30 §002.07F) when there are no other practical means of disposal (Title 129, Chapter 30 §002.08).
It is important to note that failure to follow these steps could jeopardize individual assistance that may be provided by federal or state programs. (See Federal Disaster Assistance list at the end of this document.)
The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (NDHHS), Nebraska State Fire Marshal’s Office (NSFM), and Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality (NDEQ) have specific statutory responsibilities when it comes to ensuring proper: asbestos inspection and removal; open burning; and solid waste disposal. These agencies have put together this guidance document and attached forms necessary to assist individuals and communities with flood damaged structures that may be disposed by burning.
If you are considering demolishing and/or burning a structure with flood damage, the following procedures must be followed:
1. Asbestos assessment and proper disposal - Structures which have suffered flood damage and the owner wants to conduct burning must have an asbestos inspection done, have asbestos removed and properly disposed prior to conducting any burning of the structure under an approved burning exercise. The HHS form, NESHAP Notification of Demolition and Renovation, is attached below. For assistance on the asbestos regulations contact the Asbestos Program, Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (NDHHS) at (402) 417-0386
2. An agreement must to be signed – The owner who wants to burn a structure must contact the local fire department. An agreement must be signed turning over the structure to the local fire department.
3. Clean out the structure – The owner of the property must remove and properly dispose of wastes, recycle other material, and/or reuse items that were in the house prior to burning. This includes items such as appliances and furniture. For information on disposal or recycling locations contact NDEQ Waste Management Section at (402) 471-4210 or click the following links. List of Household Hazardous Waste Sites, Integrated Waste List of Permitted Facilities, Recycling Directory
4. Nebraska State Fire Marshal Permit to Burn request – State Statutes allow for fire departments to lawfully burn structures for training purposes after obtaining the proper burn permit from the State Fire Marshal’s Agency. Because so many structures in a declared disaster area may be damaged from flood conditions, resulting in the possibility of mold spores and disease, the State Fire Marshal may make an executive decision to relax a requirement of the structure burn permit in those declared counties. This relaxation would remove the requirement that the fire departments have to use the structure for training purposes. Check with your local fire department following a declared disaster to see if the requirements have been relaxed.
A fire department will still have to make application for a structure training burn permit using normal and required procedures. Requests to conduct burns of flood damaged structures must be filed by the local fire chief with the Nebraska State Fire Marshal’s Office. The form “Official Application for Permit to Burn a Building” is attached below. Contact the Nebraska State Fire Marshal at (402) 471-2027 for questions on how the form will be used.
5. File a notification with the NDEQ Air Quality Section – A form must also be filled out and filed with the NDEQ Air Quality Section; The DEQ form “Nebraska Fire Training Demolition Notification” is attached below. For questions related to the form, contact the NDEQ Air Quality Compliance Section at (402) 471-2189.
6. Proper solid waste disposal – After completing the above steps along with any other local requirement, and having conducted a burn, the ash waste must be collected and properly disposed of at a municipal solid waste landfill, unless an alternate disposal location is approved by NDEQ. Alternate disposal location requests will be reviewed on a case by case basis, and NDEQ will consider whether to approve based on environmental factors and the proximity to existing landfills.” It may be possible for landowners to demolish and bury structures on land that is agricultural in nature. For additional info on the solid waste disposal regulations contact the NDEQ Waste Management Section at (402) 471-4210.
Further guidance and forms can be accessed by contacting any of the respective agencies or by contacting the Nebraska Emergency Management Agency at (402) 471-7421.
- NDEQ Waste Management Section - (402) 471-4210
- NDEQ Toll Free Number - (877) 253-2603
- NDEQ Hazardous Waste Compliance Assistant - (402) 471-8308
- Email questions to: NDEQ.firstname.lastname@example.org
- NDEQ Guidance Document – General Asbestos Information
- NDEQ Guidance Document – Natural Disaster Debris Management
- NDEQ Guidance Document – Flood Sediment Clean Up
- NDEQ Report – Nebraska Recycling Directory
Guidance is available on the NDEQ Home Page under “Publications & Forms”
* This document contains links to non-NDEQ websites; these links will open in a new tab or window.
Produced by: Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality, P.O. Box 98922, Lincoln, NE 68509-8922; phone (402) 471-2186. To view this, and other information related to our agency, visit our web site at http://deq.ne.gov.