State/Local Engagement Requested on EPA Disaster Waste Management Study

Nov 23, 2021

EPA’s Homeland Security Research Program has an opportunity for state and local emergency management and waste management professionals to share their experiences and needs of their community with on-the-ground decision-making regarding waste and debris during disasters.

Why is this study being conducted? Researchers want to understand how debris and waste are sorted, staged, and transported in disaster contexts, as well as how final disposal and/or recycling decisions are made in the field. In particular, researchers are interested in learning more about who is involved in these processes and how coordination between agencies and organizations occurs in different types of disasters.

What is the expected outcome of this study? This study would like to bring together emergency management and waste management professionals from across the country to discuss with and learn from one another about waste and debris management. This study will help inform the development of resources at the federal level that can contribute to state and local capacity-building for improved future disaster waste management, and improvement in coordination among federal, state, and local efforts.

How will this study be conducted? Volunteers can choose to participate in either a 90-minute virtual focus group with other state and local emergency response staff or a 60-minute virtual one-on-one interview with the researchers. Focus groups are currently being scheduled for the following dates/times.

  • Tue, Nov 30, 12:00-1:30pm EST / 9:00-10:30am PST
  • Tue, Nov 30, 3:00-4:30pm EST / 12:00-1:30pm PST
  • Wed, Dec 1, 1:00-2:30pm EST / 10:00-11:30am PST
  • Mon, Dec 6, 1:30-3:00pm EST / 10:30am-12:00pm PST
  • Tue, Dec 7, 12:00-1:30pm EST / 9:00-10:30am PST

If dates/times do not work for interested participants, please contact researchers (information below) to schedule virtual one-on-one discussions.

Who should get involved? Researchers would like to hear about experiences with on-the-ground decision-making regarding disaster-related debris/waste (including preparedness or recovery) in various disasters (e.g., tornadoes, floods, wildfires, oil spills, etc.) and types of waste (including hazardous household waste, vegetative debris, construction waste, animal carcasses, etc.). Emergency personnel who are interested in participating in this research should contact Keely Maxwell (maxwell.keely@epa.gov) or Marissa Matsler (Matsler.marissa@epa.gov) to request participation (through virtual focus groups or one-on-one discussions), ask questions or to suggest other participants for this study.


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