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Tips for safely managing debris from flood damaged buildings
Pendleton, OR—The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality is providing assistance to Eastern Oregon residents affected by floods that swept last week through Umatilla, Union and Wallowa counties.

Flooding heavily damaged an estimated 300 structures in Umatilla County. Debris from damaged buildings may pose a threat to people and the environment if not handled safely. Find information about safely removing and disposing of debris and hazardous materials on DEQ's blog here.

DEQ staff will be available to provide information at the Multi-Agency Resource Center on Feb. 13, noon-8 p.m. at the Pendleton Convention Center.

Umatilla County is encouraging homeowners, renters and businesses affected by the flood to report damage online (co.umatilla.or.us) by noon Thursday, Feb. 13. This information will be used to demonstrate the widespread impacts to the community and to request additional financial support from the federal government. This is not a supplement or a replacement for insurance coverage. Individuals and businesses should also report damage to their insurance companies.

Tips for safely handling renovation and demolition debris:

• Use caution when working in or around any damaged building. Keep children and pets away from debris, where they could be exposed to sharp objects, electric shock or hazardous material, including asbestos.
• Asbestos is in many building materials, and it’s difficult to determine which ones. Consult with a licensed asbestos removal contractor or call a DEQ asbestos expert before disturbing materials that may contain asbestos.
• Check with the local fire department before conducting any open burning of construction materials. It’s illegal to burn treated wood, asbestos, petroleum-based products, or anything that emits dense or noxious smoke.
• If you encounter hazardous materials that may have been released into the environment during the flooding, immediately report the spill or release to the Oregon Emergency Response System at 800-452-0311.
• It’s dangerous and illegal to mismanage hazardous waste, including paints, fuels, pesticides and more. Contact your local waste management company or the department responsible for waste collection in your area for information on household hazardous waste collection. DEQ is working with local providers and volunteer organizations to schedule special hazardous waste collection events.

Find more information here about safely managing debris from flood damaged buildings.

Contact: Laura Gleim, public affairs specialist, 503-577-3697, gleim.laura@deq.state.or.us

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