Hurricanes Katrina & Rita

Client: US Army Corps of Engineers

Service: Disaster Debris Management


Multiple counties, Louisiana, Mississippi, & Alabama

PJE Role

Prime Contractor

Date Completed

September 2007

Project description

In late August of 2005 Hurricane Katrina made landfall near the Louisiana-Mississippi border with a strong storm surge that resulted in the failure of numerous levees and subsequent flooding of New Orleans. Shortly thereafter, Hurricane Rita made landfall near the Louisiana-Texas border. P&J responded to both events and successfully resolved all of the challenges associated with simultaneously providing disaster recovery services on multiple fronts in New Orleans and throughout western Louisiana.


Following the arrival of Katrina, P&J was awarded a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Firm Fixed Price Indefinite Delivery/Indefinite Quantity (ID/IQ) contract through a competitive solicitation process to provide debris removal and management services for Sector 1 (Orleans Parish, Louisiana). The work area was subsequently expanded to encompass Sector 4 (Western Parishes, Louisiana) following the landfall of Hurricane Rita which required deployment of P&J resources to Vermillion, Cameron, Lafayette, Jefferson Davis, Beauregard, Allen, and St. Landry Parishes. Both of these projects were managed simultaneously by P&J which proactively established a working capital credit of $100M to fund ongoing work. New Orleans was still flooded when P&J mobilized to the area, and in response to the absence of basic services in the city, temporary worker housing was established for approximately 75 individuals in City Park – some of the only high ground in the Parish. The housing site was secured, portable power established, and food service was mobilized to the site. A support team was deployed to operate the site, and during the early stages of work the P&J food service provider fed up to 4,000 contractor and Government workers per day. 47 task orders were issued under the USACE ID/IQ contract to accomplish necessary services including safety management; quality control management; emergency debris clearance; segregation, loading, hauling, and reduction (burning, grinding, etc.) of debris; recycling (metals, White Goods, e-Waste); personal property debris removal (PPDR); demolition; waterway debris removal; debris management site selection, construction, and management; and final disposal of reduced debris.

In Sector 1, P&J collected and processed debris from an area measuring 72.8 square miles (average 125,000 CY per square mile), and in Sector 4 P&J collected and processed debris from an area measuring 6,262 square miles (average 270 CY per square mile). The wind and flood damage in the greater New Orleans metropolitan area resulted in catastrophic damage to commercial, public, and private property. The resulting debris stream presented environmental complexities unlike any encountered during previous disasters, which were further complicated by limited local landfill and disposal options. Through application of its experience and mature management approach, P&J overcame all of these operational challenges and successfully collected Asbestos Containing Materials and Household Hazardous Waste items, recycled a large quantity of metals (White Goods, electronics, of small, motorized equipment), and completed PPDRs and demolitions.

Project Highlights

CY of debris (Sector 1)


Household Hazardous Waste items


units of small motorised equipment recycled


man-hours with only 3 lost-time accidents


CY of debris (Sector 4)


units of White Goods recycled




CY of Asbestos Containing Materials


units of electronics recycled




As part of its response to Hurricane Katrina, P&J was awarded a debris removal contract by Gulfport, Mississippi to address Katrina restoration efforts. P&J segregated, collected, and processed debris from public ROWs which included vegetation, damaged boats and vehicles, and hazardous animal carcasses. During the initial phase of the recovery mission, P&J reduced vegetative debris by open burning which was approved by local and state authorities. However, due to citizen complaints regarding the practice, open burning of the debris was subsequently banned. In response, P&J mobilized additional personnel and grinding equipment to the region and chipped the remaining vegetative debris.

Project Highlights

CY of debris


As an additional part of its response to Hurricane Katrina, P&J’s ACI contract was activated by the USACE to address Katrina restoration efforts in Alabama. Under the contract, P&J collected and processed vegetative debris; performed beach sand removal, screening, and replacement; removed hazardous tree limbs from approximately 60 parks; and performed waterway debris removal and disposal. All work was performed on county and municipality ROWs and other eligible public property in Mobile County.

Project Highlights

CY of debris

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