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Sandy Debris Removal Passes 95 percent in 95 days

Release date: 
February 1, 2013
Release Number: 

NEW YORK – Debris removal efforts after Hurricane Sandy in New York are nearing completion. More than 95 percent of the debris has been removed within 95 days of the storm hitting New York.

That includes everything from fallen trees to vehicles, boats, drywall and furniture, washers, dryers and insulation. It all amounts to 5.25 million cubic yards of debris caused by the strong winds and heavy rains created by Hurricane Sandy, beginning Oct. 27, 2012. That’s enough debris to fill the 102-story Empire State Building a little more than 3.5 times.

Collecting and hauling debris to the curbs has involved homeowners, neighbors and volunteers working with city, state and federal agencies. Neighbors and volunteers combined their skill and chainsaws to remove broken trees from yards and streets along with cleaning up disaster debris from public streets.

The demolition of destroyed structures is ongoing and about 20 percent complete.

Early in the cleanup, barges were used to haul debris to landfills in upstate New York.

The debris is also being trucked to landfills in other states.

Vegetation, such as wood, tree branches, leaves and other organic matter, is incinerated or chipped. Chips will be recycled for beneficial reuse.

FEMA’s Public Assistance program reimburses state and local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations 75 percent of eligible debris removal costs. In order to qualify, damage must be a direct result of Hurricane Sandy.

A U.S. Army Corp of Engineers video of the Hurricane Sandy debris work is at this link: /medialibrary/media_records/11140

Editors: for a free-use FEMA debris news photo: /photolibrary/

For more information on New York’s disaster recovery, visit,, and

FEMA’s mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.

Last Updated: 
January 3, 2018 - 12:09