The Interagency New York City Hurricane Sandy Debris Removal Task Force was awarded a Green Star Award, September 2, 2013, for its outstanding response efforts to Hurricane Sandy in 2012. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), in partnership with 24 other federal, state, and local agencies including Federal Emergency Management Agency, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the State of New York, and the City of New York, was an integral part of the Debris Removal Task Force. USACE provided contractual oversight, technical expertise, reuse of debris streams and workload management, assisting with the coordination, removal, and final disposal of more than two million cubic yards of debris.
The Green Star Awards recognize individuals, organizations, governments and corporations who make remarkable efforts to prevent, prepare for, and respond to environmental emergencies around the world. The awards are a joint initiative between the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, Green Cross International and the United Nations Environment Programme.
Highlights of the Debris Removal Task Force Include:
Sand Renewal – Hurricane Sandy’s wind and water displaced sand from the city’s beaches onto streets and parks. The Task Force collected and returned 187,000 cubic yards of sand to the beaches saving the taxpayer’s more than $80 million.
Boardwalk Recycling – Sandy displaced most of the Rockaway Beach’s 5.5-mile boardwalk, made of valuable tropical woods. The Task Force salvaged the undamaged wood, which was more than 144,000 square feet of decking and 55,000 square feet of support joists, and will use it to repair other sections of the boardwalk.
Wetland Debris Removal – The Task Force removed more than 5,000 cubic yards of debris and hazardous waste from the Oakwood Beach wetland in Staten Island, assuring recovery of important ecosystems.
Reuse of Vegetative Debris – The Task Force chipped nearly 200,000 cubic yards of vegetative debris to prevent the spread of the Asian Longhorned Beetle and lower the combustion risk in debris piles. The chipped debris will be recycled as mulch and ground cover.
Debris Recycling – The Task Force ensured household hazardous wastes and electronics were recycled from debris gathered at the temporary storage site.