Debris Removal >> How To Remove Ice Storm Damage Debris In An Emerge

A monitor (usually located in a monitoring observation tower at the debris management site) assesses what percentage of the truck's volume is full of debris. This percentage is then multiplied by the truck's declared maximum volume (as previously certified and announced on a placard on the side of the truck) to determine the volume of debris to be credited for the How To Remove Ice Storm Damage Debris In An Emerge load. 

This amount is noted on a load ticket. Copies of the load ticket are given to the truck driver and to accounting. 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 individuals from a debris-monitoring company conspired to falsify debris load tickets, How To Remove Ice Storm Damage Debris In An Emerge causing FEMA to pay more than $700,000 in fraudulent costs. 

FEMA, state, and local government officials all have monitoring responsibilities, 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 How To Remove Ice Storm Damage Debris In An Emerge 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 truck was certified for a larger volume than was actually the case. A former debris contractor How To Remove Ice Storm Damage Debris In An Emerge employee reported that he had witnessed trucks being issued fraudulent load certificates. 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, intimidation of the monitor by the debris hauler, or collusion between the monitoring company and the hauling company. These How To Remove Ice Storm Damage Debris In An Emerge 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 How To Remove Ice Storm Damage Debris In An Emerge monitors are at the site.One experienced state official said when he was working as a temporary employee in an out-of-state disaster, 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, How To Remove Ice Storm Damage Debris In An Emerge the load assessments went back to 100%. This official took photos and 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 be in grated as being 80% or How To Remove Ice Storm Damage Debris In An Emerge 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 debris load volumes were consequently overestimated.

Federal, state, and local officials reported that options are available for reducing these problems. One state's officials said they "do not ever" contract for monitoring services; How To Remove Ice Storm Damage Debris In An Emerge 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 How To Remove Ice Storm Damage Debris In An Emerge 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. 

Monitoring costs in operations we reviewed ranged from 20% to 33% of the total cost of debris operations. Other reviews have reported monitoring costs of as much as 50% of total debris costs. Having enough FEMA, state, or local officials present to monitor the How To Remove Ice Storm Damage Debris In An Emerge monitors increases the direct cost of oversight even more. 

In such cases, oversight may cost more than the operations being overseen. Debris removal is generally performed effectively and in a timely manner, How To Remove Ice Storm Damage Debris In An Emerge but not necessarily at the lowest possible cost. Debris monitoring presents opportunities for improvement, as current methods leave FEMA and its applicants vulnerable to potential waste, fraud, and abuse.

The effectiveness and integrity of monitoring activities could be improved by having local governments perform monitoring,especially if they are sharing in collection costs. This could be funded by authorizing FEMA payment for force account labor as was done under the pilot program. Paying for local government employees to address leaning trees and hanging branches could also provide a more secure, How To Remove Ice Storm Damage Debris In An Emerge lower cost approach to handling these potentially complicated and difficult-to-control efforts.

If contracted monitors are used, How To Remove Ice Storm Damage Debris In An Emerge local officials must ensure that the monitoring company does not have an inappropriate relationship with the debris collection contractor, and that monitors are qualified, trained, and accurate. FEMA should ensure that in cases where the federal government is reimbursing 100% of all debris costs, additional federal oversight is in place, since the incentives for local oversight have been diminished.

One option for reducing collection and monitoring costs is to pay contractors based on the weight of debris collected rather than volume. Trucks could be weighed on truck scales when they arrive at the collection site and again when they depart, How To Remove Ice Storm Damage Debris In An Emerge with the difference being an accurate measure of the weight of the debris.

Local officials reported that this system worked well and that truck scales could be rented easily How To Remove Ice Storm Damage Debris In An Emerge and at a reasonable cost for the period that collection centers were operating. No system is totally fool proof. Drivers could still inflate debris weights by wetting down the debris prior to taking it to the collection site or even by adding gravel, but these actions should be apparent at the collection site.

Making weighing systems the basis of an automated load ticket accounting system could further reduce the possibility of fraud and How To Remove Ice Storm Damage Debris In An Emerge result in improved and better controlled accounting systems for debris collection costs. We recommend that the Associate Administrator, Response and Recovery: 

Recommendation #4: Provide force account labor reimbursement to cover local governments' costs of employing workers to monitor debris collections How To Remove Ice Storm Damage Debris In An Emerge and to remove leaning trees and hanging branches, and encourage them to undertake such responsibilities.

Recommendation #5: Strengthen the requirements involved in monitoring contracts to ensure that no relationships exist between debris collection contractors and monitoring contractors, How To Remove Ice Storm Damage Debris In An Emerge and that monitors are properly trained and capable of independent and accurate performance. Recommendation #6: Explore advanced technologies to supplement monitoring staff such as GPS in trucks or surveillance cameras. 

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