An official website of the United States government.

This is not the current EPA website. To navigate to the current EPA website, please go to This website is historical material reflecting the EPA website as it existed on January 19, 2021. This website is no longer updated and links to external websites and some internal pages may not work. More information »

Disaster Debris Planning

Sometimes local governments must respond to disasters that destroy large numbers of homes. They may need to demolish partially destroyed homes and manage disaster debris.

damaged building
Storm-damaged buildings

If your municipality has a disaster debris management plan, it may be worth reviewing it to see if it addresses environmental issues related to the demolition and disposal of debris from a large number of buildings.

If your community does not have a disaster debris management plan, you may want to consider developing one. EPA has guidance documents that address the environmental issues that arise in such situations and how they can, should or must be handled.

Basic Information

Safe, proper and timely management of debris is an essential but often overlooked component of an emergency response or disaster incident. Debris management is also one of many competing priorities agencies must manage during such events. It is important that disaster debris be properly managed so as to protect human health, comply with regulations, conserve disposal capacity, reduce injuries, and minimize or prevent environmental impacts. It involves advance thought, planning and coordination among individuals at various levels of government and the private sector with experience and expertise in waste management.

Links for planners and incident responders

Tools & References

Guidance, training, manuals or programs