Awarded for its response to Hurricane Sandy in 2012.
Debris: One of the most immediately visible signs of a disastrous storm; its removal, an early sign that recovery is possible and has begun.
New York City’s Hurricane Sandy Debris Removal Task Force (DRTF), comprised of 25 federal state and local agencies including Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the US Corps of Engineers, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA), NY State’s Department of Environmental Conservation and NYC’s Departments of Sanitation and Parks and its Office of Emergency Management, was charged with the coordination, removal and final disposal of the over two million cubic yards of debris of all imaginable types generated by that October 2012 storm.
As NYC does not have a municipal landfill, and open space for staging debris is severely limited, and as the Bloomberg administration stresses environmentally sustainable problem solving, reusing and recycling debris was mandated and immediately made a priority. Through twice daily meetings, chaired by the Mayor’s Incident Commander and attended by up to 65 action agency representatives, the DRTF developed and successfully implemented innovative, environmentally and fiscally sustainable, multi-faceted strategies to conserve natural resources, reduce long-distance trucking and minimize final disposal in distant landfills.
Sand: 187,000 cubic yards of sand, displaced onto streets and parks by wind and water, was collected for return to the beach, saving taxpayers over $80,000,000 from forgone transportation and dump fees and from obviated sand replacement costs.
Boardwalk: More than three miles of Rockaways and Coney Island Beach Boardwalk, constructed years ago from tropical rainforest woods, were picked up by the storm and disastrously relocated. Over 144,000 square feet of 2×4 decking and 55,000 lineal feet of 4×12 supporting timbers were salvaged. They were used to repair slightly damaged Boardwalk and construct new public beach structures.
Vegetative Debris: Of Sandy-generated 200,000+ cy of destroyed vegetation – more than 20,000 trees downed -, almost 145,000 cy was chipped for use in landscaping.
Wetlands: Novel methods were employed to remove whole houses, their scattered contents and vehicles swept into wetlands – decreasing the likelihood of toxic summer fires and assuring recovery of important ecosystems.
Household Hazardous Wastes (HHWs) and E-goods: More than 110,000 containers containing a wide variety of HHWs were recovered and, as with e-goods, properly disposed of.
Concrete: 5,000 cy of concrete were crushed for reuse.
White Goods and Metal: Well over 1200 tons were collected for recycling.