Northern California Engineering Contractors Association

Re Building Updates

Minutes from 10-17-17

ECA Cleanup and Rebuild Meeting

The meeting was intended to present information as to how local contractors can be involved in the cleanup from the fire.  The goal was to come up with ideas on how ECA members can take care of their clients that are asking them to mobilize and cleanup with or without the CalRecycle being put into place as the oversight organization.  Another intended purpose of the meeting was to discuss ways to reallocate existing resources from contract work existing to cleanup and erosion control work due to the emergency.  Developing a new work force by holding a job fair was also discussed.  Finally, discussions on the need for housing (temporary and permanent) were discussed.

Here is a summary of the discussions:

*How is the cleanup and debris removal going to happen?  Although this was a “fluid situation” at the time of the meeting, generally it is believed the Feds will have a hand in dictating the rules for surveying the sites for hazardous materials and then CalRecycle will be the governing body in charge of doing the cleanup and the erosion control.  Art Diecke attended the Sonoma County Board of Supervisor meeting Tuesday morning, and discussed what guidelines were presented by Christine Sosko, who is the Director of Environmental Health for Sonoma County (Christine phone # is 707-565-6521).  There was discussion as to what the rules of entry for cleanup will be, and generally it is anticipated there will be two acceptable methods:  1.  Follow the guidelines of the Office of Emergency Services to EPA to Cal Recycle to whatever contractor (s) Cal Recycle puts in place (probably Pacific States) and local contractors should get preference over outside labor forces.  If the OES path is followed, the homeowner will allocate his insurance settlement for debris cleanup over to CalRecycle and the Government will cover the balance of the cleanup costs for the homeowner or business owner.  If the private path is followed, the homeowner or business owner will be responsible for the cleanup costs from his insurance company and the rest will be out of pocket to the homeowner or business owner.

*What is the procedure for cleanup?  Although at the time of the Town Hall meeting, the County and City had not yet posted the protocol required, based upon past fire cleanup we can anticipate the procedure will be as follows-This protocol will be generally followed whether CalRecycle is administering the oversight or whether a private contractor is selected by the homeowner or business owner.

Here is my opinion-uneducated-uninformed-but I am probably right.  Whatever your homeowner decides to do, whether going with CalRecycle or the private route, the authorities want to know the following:  what bad stuff was in the debris?  Where did you take and dispose of the bad stuff?

Dustin Davis spoke to this, and the assumed protocol will be, in simplified form, as follows:  A) A licensed demolition contractor goes to the City or County and applies for a demolition permit (in the case of CalRecycle, the homeowner will fill out a right of entry form, and either the EPA or CalRecycle will pull the permit and conduct survey of the property as described following)-generally these demolition permits are available over the counter.  As part of the demolition permit requirements, the permittee must bring in a licensed and certified consultant company to sample the site for EPA identified hazardous materials.  Lab testing of the samples is involved.  Prior to disturbing any of the ash, metal, or debris, the lab results must be analyzed and a protocol for handling, storing, shipping, and disposing of the debris must be established that follows all applicable EPA and OSHA regulations as well as local regulations as to landfill disposal.  B)  Once the site has had the debris removed and disposed of, including a layer of dirt to depths deemed safe by the haz mat survey, then the homeowner can apply for a building permit but will need to show the appropriate documentation of the debris and hazardous material removal.

Curtis Mikalini of Industrial Carting spoke up and said his firm would have the necessary debris containers and that his firm can also handle the car removal.  Again, EPA regulations must be followed which means the burned autos have to be drained of all fluids and have batteries removed and fluids and batteries must be disposed of with special environmental health firms.  Only after they are drained can the cars be hauled off by Industrial Carting.

Contractors are urged to get their workers that will be on the ground on these burn sites to comply with all personal protective equipment prescribed by OSHA, the EPA, and the local Environmental Health and Safety departments that the site is located in.  Jim Persons, a well-known safety consultant, spoke to what the requirements for PPE are.  The ECA recognized that workers need a 40 hour HazWop certification and have set up a class for the 40 hour HazMat certification to be held on 10-19-17, 10-20-17, 11-2-17, and 11-3-17 for 10 hours each day.  ECA is charging their cost plus a nominal fee to cover hard costs of food and drink and classroom rental.  There is room in the class for signups still. Email if you are interested.

Since our meeting yesterday, I have received several new informational pieces.  I have attached them here:  1 is the 10-18-17 Press Democrat article announcing EPA is overseeing the toxic cleanup,

and the other is a form handed out to a homeowner as they were allowed back into their site.  The form was handed out by the City of Santa Rosa. 

 *In Lake County, Workers Had to be Dispatched to CalRecycle Contractors through the union hall.  Is that going to be the case here?  This was unknown at the time of the meeting but Chris Snyder of Operating Engineers Local 3 addressed the issue by saying that workers would be allowed from local contractors regardless of their signatory status to collective bargaining agreements.  Also discussed was that only licensed contractors would be allowed to perform the work.  If there is any question as to what contractor license is required, contact Eric Stephens of the Contractor State License Board at 707-536-0713 and ask.

*Erosion Control Needs and SWPP will be required as usual?  David Noren of the Regional Water Control Board discussed what the considerations should be for containment of sediment runoff and we also had Mary Larsen and Jason Griffith on hand to discuss erosion control issues specific to the burn sites.  Doug Allard of the Waddle Guys informed us that he has the ability to locate a waddle manufacturing machine right on site for the cleanup projects.  Rich Castle of Castle Pumping informed us that he has a special attachment to his belt conveyor that enables filling of “sand bag tubes” up to 200 lineal feet long.  Much faster and easier than doing it by hand.

*What mistakes were made in Lake County and how can we avoid those here?  Lake County Supervisor Rob Brown was able to share his thoughts and experience on this subject.  Some of the points Rob made were:  Average cost of cleanup for the 500 sites in Lake County was $100,000.  Rob stressed that schools should get back in session as soon as possible with regularly scheduled events taking place.  Rob also pointed out to the workers cleaning up the sites to treat the sites with the utmost respect as families consider those sites sacred ground.  Workers need to be sensitive.

*There is a tremendous need for housing.  What can the ECA do to alleviate this?  Glen Ghilotti spoke about the need for locating appropriate sites to be immediately site conditioned to put RV’s, trailers, and prefab houses on them.  All utilities are needed so sites are preferable close in to City sewer and water infrastructure.  City of Santa Rosa Councilman Chris Rogers was on site and let everyone know that the City was not ruling out anything and would work with us to develop appropriate housing areas.  It was urged for people to think about what sites might be good candidates  for development of housing sites.  Mark Soiland suggested the old Sonoma County Water Agency site on W College as being perfect.  Someone else suggested the fairgrounds near the old little league ball fields.

*Tools have been lost-can we set up a tool room?  Keith Woods mentioned that during his time manning the desks at Mendocino Avenue LAC, he heard story after story of contractors that had lost their truck and tools.  Keith asked the group if they thought it a good idea to develop a tool room for those affected and collect some tools for victims of the fire.  Glen Ghilotti generously donated $5,000 to seed the need.  Another member of the audience suggested there was a pawn shop with some inexpensive tools that we might contact.  All good suggestions!

*Where Are The Workers Going To Come From-We are already busy!  Mike Ghilotti suggested the ECA hold a job fair ASAP.  Folks are out of work because businesses have been lost, and we could all use some extra workers.  Cynthia Murray suggested the County is already set up for this, but the ECA might coordinate with the County and see to it that training specific to our construction needs is being addressed.  John Bly mentioned that City and County and CalTrans might consider allowing non-emergency contract work have dates for completion extended so resources might be able to be reassigned to cleanup, infrastructure repair, and erosion control.

John Bly, Executive Vice President, Northern California Engineering Contractors Association

O-707-546-5500 M-707-483-0859 F-707-546-5507

1000 Apollo Way, Ste 100, Santa Rosa, CA  95407

The City and County are currently working on the protocol on debris cleanup on burn sites due to the fire. At this time homeowners and business owners that want private contractors to clean up their sites must be patient and “stand down”. More information will be presented at a Town Hall meeting at Santa Rosa High School from 6 pm – 8 pm today. As soon as we have more information we will share it with you. Thank you.


John Bly