Tahoe looks to state for help in cleaning up | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Tahoe looks to state for help in cleaning up

William Ferchland

Local officials asked the state Friday to lead clean-up efforts in the areas affected by the Angora fire, and if the request is granted, sites could be cleared by Sept. 1.

Norma Santiago, Tahoe’s representative on the El Dorado County Board of Supervisors, met with officials from California Sen. Barbara Boxer’s office Friday to discuss the clean-up.

If the state denies the appeal, the county will lead the effort but that could mean a later date for the area to be cleared of debris.

Various agencies would be involved in the clean-up, but only after property owners have had time to sift through the rubble. Depending on the person’s insurance carrier, individuals could be charged with contributing to the cost of the chore, estimated at $7 million.

“Who’s going to share that piece of that pie, I can’t speculate,” said Mike Applegarth with the county’s chief administrative office.

No hazardous materials have been found in the burn zone where homes were destroyed.

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Dave Johnston, supervising hazardous materials specialist at the El Dorado County Environmental Management Department, said the area was cleared for dangerous chemicals early Friday afternoon.

Officials with hazmat training conducted air monitoring surveys and inspected every destroyed or damaged house, Johnston said. Nearly three drums worth of materials were taken from the site. Gases such as Freon, found in refrigerators and air conditioners, were burned up in the fire, Johnston said.

On Friday, South Tahoe Refuse Company had six trucks picking up trash left on the side of the road in some of the damaged neighborhoods. Spoiled food and pine needles were some of the more frequent pick-ups, said John Marchini, one of the owners of the refuse company.

Regular trash pick-up of the area will resume on the usual day of Tuesday, Marchini added.

Marchini said steel could be recycled at the refuse plant. Russell Crawford, general manager of Tahoe Asphalt, said concrete could also be recycled. Nearly 750 truckloads would be needed just to carry away the waste concrete, estimated around 12,000 tons.

Santiago mentioned asking the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency to extend the construction dig season, which ends Oct. 15.

“It’s very, very important to me that this community starts rebuilding itself as quickly as possible,” she said.