In 2020, California was devastated by out-of-control wildfires that claimed lives, destroyed property and created environmental hazards across the state. When the fires subsided, state Emergency Management officials looked to WSP USA for management of the massive cleanup effort.
“This disaster created a significant amount of debris, including ash, metal, concrete, building materials, contaminated soil and hazardous materials,” said Shannon McKinney, project manager for WSP and the debris group supervisor. “Disaster debris and hazard trees must be removed and properly managed to reduce threats to public health and safety, protect the environment and help communities recover and rebuild.”
In November 2020, WSP began providing multiple services to the California Department of Resources, Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle), which included professional structural debris and public right-of-way hazard tree removal assessment, tracking, management, and financial support services related to structural debris and hazard tree removal in the “Bay Branch” region south of San Francisco. The region includes portions of Monterey, San Mateo, Santa Cruz, Santa Clara and Stanislaus counties, one of the areas hardest hit by the wildfires.
WSP’s responsibilities during the $52 million cleanup effort includes assisting CalRecycle with documentation, coordination with county, state and federal agencies, and related efforts necessary to complete site assessments, removal, processing and transport of the debris and hazard trees to end use and disposal facilities.
As a high-priority project impacting public health and safety, field oversight is on the fast-track for completion in August, with financial and administrative support expected to continue through October 2021. Currently, 97 percent of the originally identified parcels have been cleared of debris and hazard trees.
“This is an emergency project and our team had one week to submit a proposal to CalRecycle,” added Hobart Price, program manager. “WSP’s selection for the project was completed three days after our proposal was submitted, a testament to the firm’s strength and reputation in disaster response and recovery, and our dedication to providing 24/7 responsive service to our clients’ most pressing needs.”