Sign up for debris removal

Owner Funded Clean up Alternative Program

Last updated February 26, 2024

view ordinance 5562 (pdf)

Private Fire Debris Removal (opt-out option)

Property owners who choose not to participate in the government-sponsored debris removal program must hire a private contractor to remove fire debris and clean up properties. Private debris removal is done at the homeowner’s expense and must meet or exceed the standards set by local, state and federal agencies. This includes compliance with all legal requirements for disposal, authorized disposal sites, best management practices for activities on site, proper transportation and documentation of debris, soil testing and erosion control.

The County is currently working to develop the process, guidance documents and forms for private fire debris removal and will have the information published soon.

Evaluating Your Debris Removal Options

Debris removal assistance is available to property owners whose homes were tragically lost in the Maui wildfires in August 2023. There are TWO options property owners can choose from for debris removal. Either the Government-Sponsored Consolidated Debris Removal, where you incur no out-of-pocket costs, OR the Alternative Debris Removal Program, where you can opt-out and perform the cleanup yourself. The chart below explains the pros and cons of each option.

Pros & Cons

Cost

Pros: FEMA will pay for the work (estimated to be $200K to $500K+) and the property owner will only have to pay whatever their insurance provides specific to debris removal. 

Cons: You will want to set aside the amount your policy provides for debris removal to pay at a future date.

Pros: If you have a very large amount allotted in your insurance policy (estimated to be $200K to $500K+) to cover debris removal, you may have enough to cover the clean-up without dipping into your rebuild funds. 

Cons: The same professional experts will be needed with either program, so the costs will be nearly the same.

Control Over Scope

Pros: The U.S. Army Corps. Of Engineers will manage all aspects of the clean up: archaeological monitoring, asbestos removal, hazard tree evaluation, soil testing, air quality monitoring and debris removal. Owners can indicate on their Right-of-Entry document if there are any trees, rock walls, or other sensitive areas on the site outside of the structure footprint that they would like preserved or protected during clean-up. 

Cons: The Army Corps is scoped to do a comprehensive clean-up and leaving out certain elements of the clean up may require a waiver.

Pros: Certain elements of the clean up, such as structurally testing and preserving building foundations, could be an option if the owner opts out.  

Please note, due to the extreme heat of the fire, engineering experts have stated nearly all foundations will not be reusable.

Cons: All of the certified specialists and fields of expertise that Army Corps is using will be required for every property owner cleaning up their own site. These contractors would need to develop a work plan to be approved by the County prior to starting work for the protection of the community and the environment.

Timing

Pros: The County is building a temporary debris removal site now, which will accept the ash and debris from Lahaina around mid-January.  The Army Corps will have 30 teams in the field doing clean-up and they estimate they can clean a parcel in 2-3 days. 

Cons: Property owners are subject to the Army Corps schedule.

Pros: Once a site is built to accept the debris (est. 6 mos+) from the alternative program, and a permit for the alternate program is acquired (est. 2 mos), the owner could control their clean up schedule. 

Cons: The Army Corps temporary debris removal site will not accept debris from outside their program because they are responsible for quality and contamination of that material.  This means anyone going with the alternative program will need to wait until a permanent County site is built.  In addition, a permit will be needed for owner driven clean-up.

Eligibility, Sign up & Deadlines

Who is eligible?

In order to be eligible for the government-sponsored clean-up of private properties, the property must contain a destroyed structure of at least 120 square feet or greater.

The County is currently working to develop the process, guidance documents and forms for private fire debris removal and will have the information published soon.

How to sign-up?

Owner must complete a Right-of-Entry (ROE) to allow the U.S. Army Corps. of Engineers and their contractors access to the property.

FAQs for Alternative Programs

Is participation in both Phase 1 and 2 of the debris removal process mandatory?

Yes, fire-impacted properties with eligible debris are required to complete both Phase 1 and 2 of the program.

For Phase 1, all properties are required to have hazardous materials and waste removed. These items can be hazardous and require special handling and disposal. The EPA will complete this process for all fire-impacted properties. Phase 1 of the Program is being conducted at no cost to property owners.

Phase 2 debris removal by the Corps is optional; however, properties that opt out of this option are still required to provide for the timely removal of hazardous debris fields, and deadlines will be set by the County. Removal by a private contractor is authorized but must be done at the homeowner’s expense, and work done must meet or exceed the standards set by local, state and federal agencies. This includes compliance with all legal requirements for handling, disposal at authorized disposal sites, soil sampling and transportation. In addition, best management practices must be utilized along with work activity documentation and erosion control. 

Are there other programs that can help with debris clean-up?

Some volunteer organizations can assist with tasks for reentry, however, it is not anticipated that VOADS will play a role in the USACE Debris Removal Program.

Do people have to take advantage of the debris removal program? If they choose not to, what should they do?

This issue is currently before Maui County Council. Opt-out forms were required in previous events; however, Maui County is still in development of their opt-out procedures. The county will require self-performed debris removal to comply with all legal requirements including compliance with use of appropriate disposal sites, best management practices, proper testing, erosion control, cultural monitoring, etc.

What is the process if residents want to cancel USACE debris removal?

If they wish to cancel, they may request removal through the County.

Can survivors select their own contractor through USACE Debris Removal Program?

No. We cannot in any way direct the means and methods the contractors use to include which crew does what. There will be a Native Hawaiian specifically Lahaina cultural monitor on the site to oversee the work being done.

How can we help?
Find answers in our Online Help Center.

Get the latest FAQs to easily find the information you're looking for.

Other Updates

Can’t find what you are looking for and want to speak to a representative?

Please contact the State of Hawaii Maui Disaster Relief Call Center:

Contact the Call Center at 808-727-1550


Open 7AM – 7PM daily Monday thru Saturday

Or email us at support@mauirecovers.org