Natural Disaster Assistance for Missouri Citizens - What To Do With Disaster Debris

Department of Natural Resources fact sheet
Department of Natural Resources Director: Carol S. Comer


The following guidance applies only after the governor has declared a state of emergency due to damage caused by a natural disaster.

After the governor issues an executive order giving the director of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources the authority to temporarily waive or suspend the rules and regulations, the department may issue variances from environmental regulations during the emergency and subsequent recovery period. Failure to comply with federal or state regulations could affect financial assistance reimbursement.

Check with the department’s nearest regional office for details on how wastes shall be handled before implementing any of these special practices. A list of regional offices is found in this document and on the web at

Appliances include clothes washers, dryers, water heaters, trash compactors, dishwashers, conventional ovens, ranges, stoves, woodstoves, air conditioners, refrigerators and freezers.

Appliances damaged by the disaster can be disposed of in a sanitary landfill only if the governor declares a state of emergency, issues an executive order, and the department has issued appropriate waivers. Cities and counties are encouraged to coordinate collection of storm damaged appliances, using their own public works vehicles or contract help. Cities and counties should establish centralized collection centers to accumulate damaged appliances. Refrigerants should be legally recovered from air conditioners, freezers and refrigerators before recycling them or sending them to a landfill.

Processing and Recycling Appliances for Residents and Business Owners
Individuals needing to dispose of damaged appliances should contact their local officials first for collection of drop-off information, either for recycling or disposal. In rural areas where local assistance is not available, individuals should contact scrap metal recyclers.

For a partial list of recyclers, contact the department's Waste Management Program at 800-361-4827 or 573-751-5401. Many recyclers are listed in the yellow pages of your local telephone directory.

Dead Animal Disposal
Small accumulations of dead animals should be buried on site as soon as possible to reduce public health hazards and odor problems.

Large accumulations of dead animals will require special consideration. Contact one of the following offices:

Hazardous Chemical Waste (Drums, Tanks and Barrels)
If you find sealed drums, tanks or barrels of unknown contents, call the department’s Environmental Emergency Response 24-hour spill line at 573-634-2436. If a propane tank is located in disaster debris, a gas distribution company may be able to identify the tank and return it to its proper location. (Propane tanks are identified with serial numbers.) All above ground or underground leaks of fuel or other hazardous substances should be reported to the department’s Environmental Emergency Response 24-hour spill line at 573-634-2436.

For more information contact the department’s Environmental Remediation Program at 573-751-3176, or the regional office in your area (listed below).

Household Hazardous Waste (HHW)
Cities and counties are encouraged to establish household hazardous waste collection programs for disaster wastes. Homeowners and workers should use caution when cleaning up household products in leaking or damaged containers. Wear rubber gloves and avoid breathing any fumes or dust. Avoid working around these damaged products in confined or poorly ventilated areas. For more information contact the regional office in your area (listed below).

Sandbags may be used as clean fill material so long as they are subsequently covered with a layer of soil or other structural materials to a depth of at least 12 inches. Sandbags may also be used as daily cover at permitted sanitary landfills. Placement of the sand in playgrounds, sandboxes or other areas of direct human contact soon after use in sandbags should be avoided, as the sand may have been exposed to harmful bacteria in floodwaters. Bacteria will dissipate with time and exposure to the elements. Sand could be stockpiled and used for winter road sand, fill, concrete or mortar sand, and other uses.

Sandbags may be stored indefinitely in piles so long as local ordinances are observed. Crushed limestone is considered clean fill and may be used where structurally appropriate.

Sand from broken bags should be prevented from eroding into waterways or storm sewers. If sandbags are emptied of their contents, the bags themselves must be properly disposed of in a permitted disposal facility to reduce the potential for litter problems. Testing will not be required unless obviously contaminated. Follow proper procedures for disposing of sand that appears to have been contaminated by petroleum or other hazardous materials.

For more information contact the department’s Waste Management Program at 573-751-5401 or the regional office in your area (see list below).

Sediment and Silt
Sediment and silt are considered clean fill and will not require sampling. If the sediment or silt is known to be contaminated with petroleum products or other chemicals contact the department’s Environmental Emergency Response 24-hour spill line at 573-634-2436.

Storm-Damaged Home Furnishings

Structural Debris and Treated Lumber
Concrete, rock, brick and other materials defined as “clean fill” under state law may be buried onsite. Treated wood and painted or coated construction debris shall be handled as shown below.

Tires must not be burned or buried on-site. Tires should be cut into thirds and buried in a permitted sanitary landfill. You may also contact a local tire retailer for other disposal options or contact a permitted waste tire hauler in your area. A list of scrap tire haulers may be obtained from the department at Individuals or municipalities who accumulate more than 500 tires should contact the department's Waste Management Program at 800-361-4827 or 573-751-5401 for guidance.

Untreated wood, vegetation, structural debris and lumber
Wood or untreated lumber may be mulched for on-site use if chippers are available. Untreated lumber does not include materials that have been painted or impregnated with creosote or other chemicals. Vegetative material may be disposed of in a permitted sanitary or demolition landfill if the material is greater than six inches in diameter. For vegetative material or debris that is less than six inches in diameter, please refer to the department’s Homeowner's Composting Guide at or contact your municipality for information on local collection of this material or for centralized drop-off areas.

Open burning may be permitted, although extreme caution is urged, due to possible gas leaks and other storm-related problems. Be sure to contact your local fire authorities prior to any burning. Some local authorities regulate open burning. Tires or used oil may not be used to start fires. Straw bales or virgin petroleum products, such as diesel fuel, are acceptable accelerants. Burning, unless addressed under an executive order or waiver by the department director, will be allowed only when in compliance with the department’s open burning rule and with approval of local fire officials. Open burning permits may be required and are obtained by calling the department's regional office nearest you (see list below). Local authorities or permits may impose additional requirements. The ash may be buried on-site with a minimum two feet of clean soil.

In rural areas, to minimize impact on neighbors when open burning, start fires after 10 a.m. and discontinue burning by 4 p.m. For more detail on the department’s open burning rule, please refer to the department’s Facts on Open Burning Under Missouri Regulations fact sheet at or contact your local regional office for information.

Regional Offices
The department's Regional Offices provide field inspections, complaint investigation and front-line troubleshooting, problem solving and compliance assistance on environmental issues and emergencies.

Kansas City Regional Office

500 NE Colbern Road
Lee’s Summit, MO 64086-4710
816-622-7044 fax
Counties served: Andrew, Atchison, Bates, Benton, Buchanan, Caldwell, Cass, Clay, Clinton, Daviess, DeKalb, Gentry, Harrison, Henry, Holt, Jackson, Johnson, Lafayette, Nodaway, Pettis, Platte, Ray and Worth.

Northeast Regional Office
1709 Prospect Drive
Macon, MO 63552-2602
660-385-8090 fax
Counties served: Adair, Audrain, Boone, Callaway, Carroll, Chariton, Clark, Cole, Cooper, Grundy, Howard, Knox, Lewis, Linn, Livingston, Macon, Marion, Mercer, Moniteau, Monroe, Osage, Pike, Putnam, Ralls, Randolph, Saline, Schuyler, Scotland, Shelby and Sullivan.

Southeast Regional Office
2155 N. Westwood Blvd.
P.O. Box 1420
Poplar Bluff, MO 63901
573-840-9754 fax
Counties served: Bollinger, Butler, Cape Girardeau, Carter, Crawford, Dent, Dunklin, Howell, Iron, Madison, Maries, Mississippi, New Madrid, Oregon, Pemiscot, Perry, Phelps, Pulaski, Reynolds, Ripley, Scott, Shannon, St. Francois, Ste. Genevieve, Stoddard, Texas, Washington and Wayne.

Southwest Regional Office
2040 W. Woodland
Springfield, MO 65807-5912
417-891-4399 fax
Counties served: Barry, Barton, Camden, Cedar, Christian, Dade, Dallas, Douglas, Greene, Hickory, Jasper, Laclede, Lawrence, McDonald, Miller, Morgan, Newton, Ozark, Polk, St. Clair, Stone, Taney, Vernon, Webster and Wright.

St. Louis Regional Office
7545 S. Lindbergh, Suite 210
St. Louis, MO 63125
314-416-2970 fax
Counties served: Franklin, Gasconade, Jefferson, Lincoln, Montgomery, St. Charles and St. Louis.