DEQ clears the path for emergency storm cleanup

Dec. 30, 2013
For More Information                Brad Wurfel, 517-284-6713,

The DEQ today issued an emergency order allowing six Michigan counties hardest hit by the Dec. 21 ice storm to send tree debris to landfills.

Affected counties include Barry, Clinton, Eaton, Genesee, Ingham and Shiawassee.

The move could be a big help to city and county cleanup crews confronting what to do with streets littered by tons of branches from the storm, which left behind an extraordinary amount of debris.

 "This is one way the administration can offer meaningful assistance to affected homeowners communities – helping get streets and neighborhoods cleared faster," said DEQ Director Dan Wyant.

While state rules normally prohibit sending tree trimmings or other yard clippings to landfills, the DEQ is authorized to grant exceptions in emergency situations when the waste poses a threat or substantial nuisance to the public or the environment. With this approval, up to 10,000 tons of tree trimmings and other yard clippings cleared from each county may be disposed in licensed Type II landfills through March 31, 2014. 

This approval for emergency disposal is meant to support clearance efforts by providing another option for managing the debris. The DEQ encourages counties to pursue alternatives that would result in the use of the material (wood fuel, compost, etc.), to the extent practicable given the emergency situation.

The DEQ may extend this approval to other counties if emerging information demonstrates a need.