Grant Money Available for Solid Waste Cleanup

Thirty-one Kentucky counties that suffered damage from the tornadoes that ravaged the state last week are eligible to apply for grants of $50,000 to assist in covering the cost of collecting, transporting and disposing of solid waste generated by tornado damage.

The Energy and Environment Cabinet’s Division of Waste Management will administer the grants. The deadline for application is March 15. Waste management staff is visiting the affected counties in an effort to hand-deliver the grant applications. Counties have 120 days to complete the activities outlined in the grant agreement. A final spending report will be due to the waste management division on July 25, 2012.

Kentuckians affected by the tornadoes should contact or watch for information from their county’s solid waste coordinator on where to drop off solid waste. The Kentucky Department for Environmental Protection has specific guidelines for proper disposal of solid waste in the aftermath of severe weather.

Kentuckians should be aware of health, safety and compliance hazards associated with debris handling and disposal. These hazards include burning of debris, asbestos removal and mold growth.

The Division of Air Quality offers the following advice when cleaning up after a storm:

Recycle, Don’t Burn

      • Local governments are strongly encouraged to recycle woody and vegetative debris by composting, shredding or chipping for reuse as mulch.
      • Debris from homes and businesses should not be burned.  This includes structural materials, roofing, insulation, siding, carpet, furniture, and other household items.
      • Storm-generated vegetative debris managed at a staging area may be disposed of in a permitted, contained landfill or construction debris landfill.
      • Burning of vegetative debris is permitted; however, if local governments decide to burn woody and vegetative debris, they should allow local fire departments to oversee the burning and ensure there are adequate fire breaks.  All trash, tires, appliances, construction/demolition debris, etc. must be removed prior to burning to be in compliance with state regulations. To minimize environmental impact, debris should not be burned until dry, at least on exterior surfaces. Small amounts of clean diesel fuel or kerosene, not to exceed five gallons, may be used to aid ignition.  Storm-damaged building materials, appliances and furniture may not be burned.  After burning vegetative storm debris, ashes may not be buried.
      • For questions about open burning, call 888-BURN-LAW (888-287-6529).

Building Debris and Asbestos

      • Building materials, such as bricks, concrete, masonry, rock, wood, lumber and insulation should be disposed of at a construction and demolition landfill or a contained landfill. Building materials and other flood debris that could contain asbestos should be properly handled by qualified professionals using specialized equipment. For homeowners, the most likely materials containing asbestos are ceiling tiles, floor tiles, linoleum and transite siding.


      • Materials that remain wet for more than two days are ideal sites for growing mold. Absorbent materials, such as carpet, wallboard and ceiling tiles, will need to be removed and replaced. When cleaning mold and areas affected by mold, use protective goggles that do not have ventilation holes and an N-95 mask, available at hardware or home improvement stores, to keep mold spores out of your eyes and lungs. Use rubber boots and long, waterproof gloves. Wash clothing after cleaning up mold. Avoid touching mold or moldy items with your bare hands. If you use chlorine bleach, it is very important to provide adequate ventilation. Never mix chlorine bleach with other cleaning solutions or detergents that contain ammonia.  Detergents, such as borax, are safer for the homeowner to use. There are also mold-cleaning products available at home improvement stores.

Detailed information may be obtained at the Division for Air Quality’s Web site at by clicking on “Disposing of Storm and Flood Debris” at the bottom of the page.

A listing of county solid waste coordinators can be found online at

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