Debris Removal >> Trash Clean Up From The Nashville Flood

Nashville flooding, FEMA Disaster No. DR 1909 TN (Source: FEMA) Some contractors, in order to increase their payments under their debris removal contract, will collect ineligible debris, such as debris not located on the right-of-way, and haul it to the collection site for payment. This can happen at any time, but it is more likely to occur as the recovery effort is winding down and Trash Clean Up From The Nashville Flood eligible debris is less plentiful. 

We were told of cases where contractors had even gone onto state lands or into neighboring counties or parishes to collect ineligible vegetative debris. Some contractors, Trash Clean Up From The Nashville Flood who are paid for the mileage their trucks accumulate during the operations, have also been accused of putting on unnecessary miles, and even of driving in circles. 

Monitors can prevent or report such ineligible debris collecting and mileage, but only if they are present at the time of the collections. It is expensive to have an individual in every one of the contractor's trucks, as some communities have done. Also, Trash Clean Up From The Nashville Flood FEMA officials have advised that "debris monitors should never be in a debris removal contractor's truck". 

FEMA's Oversight and Management of Debris Removal Operations Page 20 Figure 9. Debris-monitoring tower, Trash Clean Up From The Nashville Flood FEMA Disaster No. DR 1791 TX (Source: FEMA) Local government officials said that the eligibility rules for collections can appear inequitable to their constituents and difficult to enforce. 

For example, residents of trailer courts, gated communities, Trash Clean Up From The Nashville Flood and other less accessible communities may not receive the same level of debris removal services as more accessible locations. Elderly and disabled residents who cannot haul debris to curbside may miss out on FEMA-reimbursed debris removal services. 

The rules governing leaning trees and hanging branches are complex and Trash Clean Up From The Nashville Flood difficult to interpret. We were told that some contractors make unnecessary multiple cuts on a damaged tree to increase their payments. It was also alleged that during one recent disaster, a contractor cut hundreds of ineligible trees and claimed them for reimbursement. 

Tree operations are frequently a source of disputes between applicants and Trash Clean Up From The Nashville Flood FEMA, and even FEMA employees may not agree on eligibility. Debris Volume Assessment at Collection Sites FEMA officials said most of the excessive costs in the debris program are the result of overstated volumes of collected debris. Most debris collection is paid for on a volume basis. 

The following occurs at the collection site: The contractor's trucks arrive at a collection site. FEMA's Oversight and Management of Debris Removal Operations Page 21 A monitor (usually located in a monitoring observation tower at the debris management site) assesses what percentage of the Trash Clean Up From The Nashville Flood truck's volume is full of debris.  

This percentage is then multiplied by the truck's declared maximum volume (as previously certified and Trash Clean Up From The Nashville Flood announced on a placard on the side of the truck) to determine the volume of debris to be credited for the load. This amount is noted on a load ticket. Copies of the load ticket are given to the truck driver and to accounting. Figure 10. 

Unloading vegetative debris, FEMA Disaster No. DR 1909 TN (Source: FEMA) Problems arise because load tickets often go through many hands as they are routed from the debris disposal site to the applicant. A recent DHS investigation determined that four Trash Clean Up From The Nashville Flood individuals from a debris-monitoring company conspired to falsify debris load tickets, causing FEMA to pay more than $700,000 in fraudulent costs. 

FEMA, state, and local government officials all have monitoring responsibilities, Trash Clean Up From The Nashville Flood but the applicant has the primary responsibility. Officials from all of these organizations said there are numerous ways to cheat this volume-based system. Some contractors put false bottoms in their trucks after the load capacity has been certified to overstate credited volumes. 

Contractors switch or alter placards to make it appear that the Trash Clean Up From The Nashville Flood truck was certified for a larger volume than was actually the case. A former debris contractor employee reported that he had witnessed trucks being issued fraudulent load certificates. FEMA's Oversight and Management of Debris Removal Operations Page 22 

Monitors may overstate the percentage load of trucks entering the staging area or landfill. This can occur because of a need for training or capability on the part of the monitor, Trash Clean Up From The Nashville Flood intimidation of the monitor by the debris hauler, or collusion between the monitoring company and the hauling company. These factors can overstate volume estimates by 20% or more. 

That this is occurring can be shown by the fact that the volume percentages assessed are frequently lower whenever the operation is observed by state, local, or federal employees than when only the truck drivers and Trash Clean Up From The Nashville Flood monitors are at the site. 

One experienced state official said when he was working as a temporary employee in an out-of-state disaster, Trash Clean Up From The Nashville Flood he observed that 237 trucks in succession had been recorded as 100% full prior to his arrival at a busy monitoring tower. While he was personally in the tower, the monitors recorded loads at 60% to 70%; after he left, the load assessments went back to 100%. 

This official took photos and Trash Clean Up From The Nashville Flood measurements at the dump sites and landfills and came up with lower percentages than the monitors. He also said that towers sometimes remained unoccupied for up to 45 minutes. Another official reported he had seen trucks consistently being rated as being 80% or more full when they "were not nearly that full.” 

He said that two colleagues also witnessed similar incidents. A FEMA after-action report for Hurricanes Gustav and Ike estimated that FEMA may have overpaid $20 million for debris removal and disposal because qualified monitors were not present at key times and Trash Clean Up From The Nashville Flood debris load volumes were consequently overestimated. 

Federal, state, and local officials reported that options are available for reducing these Trash Clean Up From The Nashville Flood problems. One state's officials said they "do not ever" contract for monitoring services; instead they use local employees who are perceived as less vulnerable to intimidation or collusion. 

In states that use private sector monitoring firms, government officials need to ensure that monitors are competent, properly trained, and Trash Clean Up From The Nashville Flood aware of their rights and responsibilities. FEMA, state, and local officials could oversee all aspects of debris operations to minimize fraud and excessive charges. The problem here, of course, is cost.

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