Storm Recovery and Flooding in Nebraska: Environmental Guidance

Severe storms with tornadoes, high winds, and flooding can cause damage to buildings, other structures, and properties.

The information below provides information regarding debris management as well as other related emergency links.

Debris Management
– NDEQ is the state agency that regulates the management and disposal of solid waste. Natural disaster debris (branches, trees, brush waste, demolition debris, household and chemical waste, landfill banned waste, asbestos and hazardous waste) must be managed in accordance with Title 132 – Integrated Solid Waste Management Regulations. For more information, go to: Natural Disaster Debris Management

Open Burning – NDEQ enforces state regulations pertaining to open fires. Although open fires are generally prohibited statewide, there are allowable exceptions that require two permits, from NDEQ and local fire authorities. For more information, go to Open Burning

Avoid Contact with Floodwaters – The public should avoid contact with floodwaters, including water from the river, standing waters and backwaters. Floodwaters can have dangerous currents that may not be obvious. Additionally there may be hazards of pathogens, petroleum products, chemicals and many other possible contaminants in the water. If you have been in contact with floodwaters, avoid touching your mouth or eyes, and try to thoroughly wash off as quickly as possible.

Dealing With Household Hazardous Chemicals After a Flood
-- NDEQ provides the following tips for handling household chemicals, when cleaning up after a flood:
  • If you come across damaged containers and chemicals following the flood, extreme caution should be used. Do not combine products. Household hazardous wastes should be separated from other wastes before disposal. Do not dump chemicals down drains, storm sewers or toilets. Never burn these products.
  • If the chemicals can no longer be used, the preferred method of disposal is to take these wastes to a household hazardous waste collection site. Or, individuals can send these household wastes to a municipal landfill.

– Nebraska Health and Human Services reminds property owners and contractors that before they begin demolition or renovation of a project (by anyone other than a homeowner) in that person’s residential property, they must have a thorough inspection for asbestos-containing material. If asbestos is found, it may be disposed of in a permitted municipal solid waste area. For more information, go to NDEQ’s documents: Natural Disaster Debris Management and General Asbestos Information.

Sandbag Re-use and Disposal
– NDEQ has developed a Fact Sheet to provide Nebraskans information to help manage sandbags and sand that have been in contact with floodwaters. For more information, go to Floodwater Sandbag Re-use and Disposal.

Wastewater bypasses
– For general information, go to Questions and Answers Regarding Wastewater Bypasses During a Flood. NDEQ provides guidance to local officials considering a wastewater bypass in the document Information for Those Considering Bypassing Wastewater Treatment Plants

Livestock discharges
-- If a livestock waste facility has a discharge, the operation must submit the following form to DEQ: Notification of Discharge of Livestock Waste

Flood Preparation
-- By planning ahead, homeowners and businesses can help protect the environment and make the cleanup easier when they return. For more information, go to Pollution Prevention Tips for Homeowners Preparing to Evacuate from Flood

Menu of State Flood-Related Links and Web Addresses
Web page or document name
Flood Damaged Structure Demolition and Disposal