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Temporary Rule Suspensions for 2020 Wildfire Cleanup

The following suspensions of DEQ statute and rule are currently in effect for cleanup of ash and debris resulting from the catastrophic wildfires in August and September 2020. You must read each rule suspension carefully to determine whether it applies to you. 

​DEQ strongly urges people whose properties were burned not to undertake cleanup themselves because of the risks posed by asbestos and other hazardous materials. Property owners can participate in the federal and state cleanup of hazardous materials by signing Right of Entry forms, available through their county government. Contact your county or visit the Oregon Wildfire Cleanup and Debris Removal web page for more information and to find the form.

On Oct. 9, 2020, the Environmental Quality Commission approved temporary variances from certain asbestos regulations related to the cleanup of ash and debris following catastrophic wildfires across Oregon in August and September 2020. These variances are for property owners who choose to opt out of federal assistance and conduct cleanup themselves.

The following rule changes apply for those who decide to hire a licensed asbestos abatement contractor to clean their properties:

  • Fees and notification requirements are suspended; commercial and larger residential projects requiring demolition must still submit a notification.
  • Open accumulation of asbestos debris is allowed.
  • No requirement for negative-pressure enclosure of the debris.
  • Use of mechanical equipment is allowed.

The changes also allow residential property owners with four or fewer dwelling units to do the work themselves as long as certain conditions are met. These include:

View the Asbestos and Fire Debris Cleanup Flowchart

Variance Extension

​​DEQ has received approval from the Governor to temporarily suspend two onsite septic rules for properties impacted in 2020 by wildfires. These rule suspension are provided for in Executive Order 20-60.

  1. The Governor has suspended rule OAR 340-071-0205(4)(b), which establishes setback requirements for the distance between structures and residential onsite septic systems for authorization notices. This rule suspension will facilitate rebuilding efforts on small lots where structures were destroyed or became inhabitable due to wildfire damage in 2020.

  2. The Governor also has suspended requirements for annual fee and maintenance contract requirements for alternative systems cited in in 340-071-130 (17)(a)(A), 340-071-0345(14)(a), 340-071-0275(6), 340-071-0290(7)(b), 340-071-0302(6) and 340-071-0345(14) while the structure, septic system or both are unusable due to fire damage. This temporarily suspends annual fee and maintenance contract requirements for systems that are inoperable due to wildfire damage. Annual fee and maintenance contract requirements will resume after systems are repaired or replaced.

These rule suspension are intended to facilitate rebuilding on fire damaged properties. Properties must continue to comply with all other applicable provisions of DEQ's statutes and rules in Division 71. This includes establishing appropriate setbacks and other protections to ensure that the general provisions in OAR 340-071-0130 for protection of public waters and public health are satisfied.

For more information, or to request a fee and maintenance reporting waiver for an approved alternative or ATT system, the public should contact their local agent found on the Onsite County Contacts page for the following counties: Clackamas, Douglas, Klamath, Lane, Lincoln, Linn, and Marion.

Jackson County questions can be addressed to the Medford DEQ Office.

​​The actions described below impact the same solid waste rules, and currently have the same effect. The main difference is the timing: the temporary rules approved by the Environmental Quality Commission are in effect for a period of six months whereas the suspension of DEQ rules approved by Governor Brown is in effect until Nov. 1, 2020, or so long as the Governor extends the state of emergency.

Solid Waste – Temporary Rules

The temporary rules approved by the Environmental Quality Commission on Oct. 9, 2020 allow short-term authorization to stockpile wildfire debris with letters of authorization issued by DEQ. They also temporarily waive permit fees. Solid waste facilities that store or accept burned debris do not need to submit a land use compatibility statement (LUCS).

Given the large volume of debris caused by the devastating 2020 wildfires, the suspension of these requirements is needed to allow waste staging areas to be set up quickly to store and manage the debris for proper disposal. The rapid authorization of these staging areas will allow waste to be removed from locations where it poses a greater risk to human health and the environment.

More information about the solid waste temporary rules.

Solid Waste – Rule Suspension

Governor Kate Brown has determined that compliance with the following administrative rules would prevent, hinder, or delay mitigation of the effects of the wildfire emergencies. Pursuant to her emergency powers according to ORS 401.168(2), Governor Brown therefore declares and orders that the​ EQC rules listed below be suspended for the duration of the wildfires state of emergency declared by Executive Order 20-35​.​

Solid Waste Letter Authorization Rules

OAR 340-0093-0060(1)(g) and OAR 340-097-0120(2)(d), requiring, respectively, the submittal of a land use compatibility statement (LUCS) and fee with a Solid Waste Letter Authorization application, are suspended as applied to facilities within the State of Oregon that are storing or accepting for disposal debris from properties that were burned by the 2020 wildfires in counties approved to receive funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Public Assistance Program.

Program information

If you have additional questions, visit the the DEQ program web page.