Boulder County approves Marshall fire debris-removal contract, paving way for cleanup to begin The Denver Post

Boulder County’s commissioners on Tuesday unanimously approved the contract with the firm they hired to clean up Marshall fire debris and signed off an intergovernmental agreement with Louisville and Superior, paving the way for the work to begin.

The move comes in the midst of an ongoing lawsuit over the selection of a cleanup contractor.

The intergovernmental agreement, previously approved by both Louisville and Superior, requires that both jurisdictions reimburse Boulder County for the costs of private property debris removal from the Marshall fire not covered by the state or by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

On Tuesday, commissioners also approved a $60 million contract with DRC Emergency Services. The company will be responsible for completing debris removal work for the more than 800 property owners who have opted into the program, according to a Boulder County news release.

But how the county selected the contractor to do the job is currently in question.

A lawsuit was filed in February by Demanding Integrity in Government Spending, a nonprofit established by Michael Brown, a former FEMA director who lives in Boulder County. It demands access to records from a number of closed meetings and executive sessions in which county officials discussed the contract for debris removal in the wake of the state’s most destructive wildfire, which blazed across eastern Boulder County on Dec. 30.

During a Friday hearing, visiting District Judge Stephen Howard said he intends to issue a written order by March 30 that determines whether Boulder County violated Colorado’s open meetings law when it selected DRC as the contractor for the program.

Howard also emphasized that the legal proceedings would not impact the cleanup efforts.

“This is an exciting day, as we are able to move the program forward and provide more certainty on timeline for the Marshall Fire survivors,” Boulder County Commissioner Matt Jones said in the news release. “We will continue to do everything we can to help.”

Commissioners also approved a recommendation from Boulder County, Louisville and Superior staff to award a contract to California-based company TetraTech, which will complete soil samplings at every property where debris is removed, the release said. The bid from TetraTech was for $762,923.

The samplings will provide property owners with information about whether hazardous contaminants such as heavy metals exist on each site, the release said. As part of the debris removal program, the county will work with property owners who are found to have any contaminants to assist them with removing additional topsoil to ensure sites are safe for reconstruction.

Boulder County property owners may soon see arborists, inspectors and other staff marking items on properties in anticipation of cleanup as DRC Emergency Services and other contractors prepare for the program, the release said. The preparatory work is expected to take one to two weeks before work with heavy equipment begins on individual properties. The entire program is expected to last about four months.

Residents can access updated information about the county’s debris removal program and the upcoming public meeting at

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