Disaster Debris Monitoring Services

Tetra Tech partners with state and local governments to manage and monitor complex disaster debris operations, focusing on compliance, safety, and technology to maximize federal reimbursement.

In the aftermath of disasters, state and local governments face the enormous logistic and financial burden of conducting large-scale debris removal operations. Due to the sheer magnitude of debris generated by disasters, affected communities are often unable to manage all aspects of an in-house successful debris removal program, and instead rely on experienced contractors to help them navigate the complexities of disaster debris removal programs.

More than 300 state and local governments have relied on Tetra Tech to manage and document the disaster debris removal process to ensure compliance with stringent and ever-evolving Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) requirements. With Tetra Tech guiding the disaster recovery process, communities maximize the potential amount of FEMA reimbursement for disaster-related costs.

Tetra Tech has been providing disaster management, recovery, and reimbursement services to government clients throughout the U.S. for more than 20 years. We have collectively managed the recovery effort for 120 million cubic yards of debris on behalf of 300 public sector clients, resulting in more than $6 billion in FEMA reimbursement costs.

Tetra Tech’s disaster response team is recognized for its agility and capacity to respond promptly to a wide range of emergency situations, allowing clients to return focus to their critical day-to-day operations. Tetra Tech has never failed to respond to our clients’ deployment and mobilization needs, regardless of location or disaster. This ranges from pre-disaster support of emergency operations centers, to assisting with long-term recovery many years post-disaster. Our extensive work with FEMA has allowed us to negotiate for additional funding more quickly and cost-effectively for all parties and provide extensive appeals support when disputes occur. Our subject matter experts are committed to developing and implementing best practices based on decades of disaster response experience.

Tetra Tech’s robust and proprietary RecoveryTrac automated debris management system (ADMS) is one of only three systems validated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and is the ADMS preferred by USACE debris contractors. Since 2015, our ADMS has been successfully implemented on more than 250 debris monitoring missions. RecoveryTrac ADMS is composed of a hardened, reliable infrastructure providing a scalable and capable debris management solution and four applications, including:

  • RecoveryTrac ADMS. The mobile application automates the field data collection process, improving accuracy and timeliness of debris information. The mobile device can operate in connected and disconnected modes, depending on communication infrastructure availability
  • RecoveryTrac TimeKeeper. Time tracking application electronically tracks an employee’s time, function, location, and tickets issued. This system mitigates the risk for human error when recording projects, tasks, and labor by virtually eliminating the need for staff to handwrite records
  • RecoveryTrac Fleet. Tracking commercial fleet vehicles provides visibility into real-time truck operations. Data collected through Tetra Tech’s proprietary RecoveryTrac Fleet application recreates routes and serves as a secondary data source to confirm mileage data needed for accurate invoicing
  • RecoveryTrac Geospatial. A highly capable Environmental Systems Research Institute (ESRI) geospatial-based solution provides data visualization, analyzing, information sharing, and reporting. GPS coordinates display waypoints with geospatially programmed boundaries to ensure that pickup remains within eligible bounds
RecoveryTrac ADMS was used in response to the Camp Fire, the most destructive wildfire in California history, and the largest ADMS activation in U.S. history. 

Implementing comprehensive quality assurance and quality control (QA/QC) protocols and technologies is critical to a debris monitoring effort. Proper QA/QC protocols streamline back-end data management, reduce invoice reconciliation timeframes, prevent fraud, and establish a sound dataset for future audits. Tetra Tech has developed industry-leading QA/QC standards and protocols, including use of our ADMS technology to expedite the QA/QC process, reduce ticket errors significantly, and house all project data for real-time reporting and analysis.

Tetra Tech leverages a suite of fully dedicated and agile human resources experts to support our clients. This includes rapid recruitment, onboarding, and training to enable an accelerated response for field staffing needs. Our project management team is typically present in the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) within a 24-hours’ notice. In most cases, projects are mobilized, transported, and set up in less than 72 hours from the notice to proceed. Our depth and breadth of in-house resources enables us to deploy thousands of qualified disaster response staff each year. In 2017, Tetra Tech successfully deployed more than 6,000 field staff throughout the country to respond to clients affected by Hurricane Irma in Florida, Hurricane Harvey in Texas, Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, and multiple wildfires in California.

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