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Pre-Incident Planning and Preparation

Nearly every homeland security incident will generate waste. The amount of waste generated will vary, but for many of these incidents, the amount of waste generated may be greater than the amount of waste many communities typically handle in a year. In addition, homeland security incidents may generate waste streams (e.g., chemical, biological, and radiological-contaminated wastes) that are not typically handled by communities or waste management facilities. Finding treatment and disposal facilities to accept these contaminated wastes may be challenging. Therefore, pre-incident planning is very important. Communities should develop a waste management plan detailing how they will manage the potential waste from different homeland security incidents before any incident occurs.

Advantages of Pre-Incident Planning

Pre-incident planning for waste management:

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Contents of a Waste Management Plan

A waste management plan should, at a minimum:

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Planning Resources

The following resources may be helpful to consult during pre-incident planning. In general, the planning activities described in the incident-specific documents are relevant for other incidents as well. Additional resources will be included in this section as they become available.


Planning for Natural Disaster Debris Guidance (PDF) (94 pp, 1.9MB, about PDF)

Planning for Polychlorinated Biphenyl (PCB)-Containing Debris (PDF) (33 pp, 439K, about PDF)

EPA Website on Disaster Debris

National Homeland Security Research Center's Incident Waste Decision Support Tool (I-WASTE DST) Exit EPA

National Oil and Hazardous Substances Pollution Contingency Plan (NCP)


Public Assistance Debris Management Guide


Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service’s Emergency Preparedness and Response Website

National Animal Health Emergency Management System Guidelines (PDF) (39 pp, 1.6MB, about PDF)

Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service’s Agricultural Health and Homeland Security Emergency Response Integration Plan (PDF) (42 pp, 294K, about PDF)

Web Soil Survey Tool

Disposal Decision Tree for carcass disposal

HSPD-9: Federal Food and Agriculture Decontamination and Disposal Roles and Responsibilities (PDF) (107 pp, 1.1MB)

Guidelines for the Disposal of Intentionally Adulterated Food Products and the Decontamination of Food Processing Facilities (PDF) (355 pp, 355K, about PDF)

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