Debris removal in Kentucky

FRANKFORT KY -- The Kentucky Department for Environmental Protection (DEP) has specific guidelines for proper disposal of woody and vegetative debris left in the aftermath of severe storms.

Kentuckians should contact their local solid waste coordinator to find out if storm debris will be picked up curbside or if debris must be taken to a designated location. A list of coordinators is online at DEP's Division of Waste Management site:

The City of Florence will be collecting downed trees and limbs through Friday, Sept. 26. Residents are asked to place debris curbside on the right of way (not in the street) and the Public Services crews will drive by and remove it. Branches should be cut down to a six foot length minimum.

Recycling is the preferred disposal method. Local governments are strongly encouraged to recycle debris by shredding or chipping for reuse as mulch. Those lacking the equipment should consider commercial shredders or seek help from other cities and counties.

Kentucky restricts open burning. Burning is only permitted in limited circumstances and under specific conditions. More details are online at DEP's Division for Air Quality site --

If recycling is not feasible, cities or counties should identify staging areas where storm debris can be temporarily stored or burned. At a minimum, staging areas must be well away from residences and businesses. They also must be out of floodplains and away from sinkholes and drainage channels.

Staging-area locations must be provided to the nearest DEP regional office. Contact information for regional offices is online at  DEP staff will inspect the site to ensure it meets specific environmental criteria. Once a staging area is approved, material may be disposed of through controlled burning. Local fire departments should oversee the burning and ensure there are adequate fire breaks.

To minimize environmental impact, debris should not be burned until dry, at least on exterior surfaces. Small amounts of clean diesel fuel or kerosene, not to exceed five gallons, may be used to aid ignition.

Storm-damaged building materials, appliances and furniture may not be burned.

People needing to dispose of storm debris on their property should contact their local emergency operations center for instructions. Most counties address the handling of disaster debris in five-year solid-waste management plans submitted to DEP's Division of Waste Management. The guidance usually is in cooperation with the local department for emergency service.

Property owners should separate storm debris for curbside pickup or hauling by the local government to a central stage area or an appropriate landfill along these lines:

  • § Woody and vegetative waste - Recycling by shredding or chipping is encouraged. If recycling is not feasible, contact the local solid waste coordinator for disposal information. Local governments should contact a Division of Forestry district office (a list of offices is online at ) and Department for Environmental Protection regional office for approval of burning of woody and vegetative waste. The Division of Forestry can also offer advice and/or contact information to address urban trees that have storm damage. The division reminds residents that the fall fire season, Oct. 1 to Dec. 15, is approaching. Six counties -- Anderson, Pike, Floyd, Magoffin, Martin and Johnson -- are under outdoor burning bans. Before burning tree waste, contact your county government to make sure your county has not been added to the list.
  • § White goods - This includes refrigerators, stoves, water heaters, air conditioning units, and washer/dryers. Damaged appliances can be picked up by a hauler and taken to a recycling center or county staging area. Information on recycling centers is available on the Division of Waste Management's recycling page.-- Freon must be recovered prior to crushing or recycling.
  • § Construction and demolition debris - Building materials - bricks, concrete, masonry, rock, wood or lumber, insulation - should be disposed of at a construction and demolition landfill or a contained landfill. A landfill list is
  • § Contained landfill/household garbage - Garbage and all residential waste and household hazardous waste (pesticides, dried latex paint) should go to a contained landfill.

Special handling applies to:

  • Livestock carcasses - Contact the Department of Agriculture's Division of Animal Health,, 502-564-3956, for information and assistance on proper disposal.
  • Abandoned and orphaned drums - Don't attempt to dispose of a drum, since it may contain hazardous materials or waste. Note the location and contact either the local disaster services office or a DEP regional office.