Storm damage debris could affect public health

Environmental awareness encouraged during storm cleanup

In situations where damage from floods and storms is widespread, the Kentucky Department for Environmental Protection (KYDEP) can assist with information about storm cleanup. Flooding from storms Monday night has caused at least two deaths, with several other people still missing in the Johnson County area, according to multiple reports. Approximately 150 homes have been destroyed and hundreds more damaged, officials reported. Flooding in Johnson County and in other parts of the state, including hard-hit areas such as Rowan County, have led  Gov. Steve Beshear to declare a state of emergency.

Cleanup efforts from recent heavy storms in Johnson County and other areas of Kentucky will likely take many months to complete. The work will be difficult, and generate significant amounts of storm debris.

Managing storm debris improperly can  potentially affect public health and create environmental concerns. The KYDEP maintains a fact sheet that will help Kentucky citizens understand the requirements associated with storm debris cleanup. If you have additional questions regarding storm debris management and disposal, contact the agency at 800-926-8111. 

If the storm results in a release of a hazardous substance, pollutant or contaminant or creates an environmental emergency, immediately call the Environmental Response Team (ERT) at 800-928-2380 or 502-564-2380. ERT is part of the Kentucky Natural Disaster Plan and responds to natural disasters, such as floods, tornadoes and other severe weather, earthquakes, forest fires, landslides and water shortages. During natural disasters, ERT is responsible for effective and efficient containment, mitigation and removal of hazardous material releases and works to limit environmental damage.