Contractors need to sign up for debris cleanup

Contractors seeking tornado debris removal work in Tuscaloosa have an opportunity to apply online via the general contractor working on behalf of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The Corps, officially contracted Tuesday by the city of Tuscaloosa, also has a contract with DeKalb County, Alabama, to oversee debris cleanup work. The Corps lets general contracts every five years “for debris removal, water supply and other things we know are going to be required after a natural disaster,” explains Patrick Robbins, public affairs officer, Mobile District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Phillips & Jordan, Knoxville, Tennessee, has the general contract for storm cleanup in this region of the country. Contractors can go to Phillips & Jordan’s website ( to fill out the necessary forms.

“We don’t tell Phillips & Jordan who to hire,” says Robbins. “We tell them, ‘You’ve got the contract. This is the mission. Get it done!’ They often hire local businesses because they’re right there and they’re ready to work.” Specific requirements for potential Alabama debris cleanup subcontractors are listed at the sign-up page on the Phillips & Jordan website.

Tuscaloosa’s contract with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers means the city will have no financial liability in the local cleanup efforts, estimated by Mayor Walt Maddox to cost between $75 million and $100 million. Under disaster declaration authorized by President Barack Obama, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) covers 100 percent of the cost, but there is a process connecting the dots, says Robbins. “The local community has to tell the state they want to go through the federal government, and then the state goes to FEMA, and then FEMA tasks us,” he says. “We actually work for FEMA. FEMA tells us what we’re expected to do. And, with debris removal, we would then go to Phillips & Jordan.”

Robbins anticipates other local communities will contract the Corps in the coming days, but some may decide to continue to oversee cleanup efforts themselves (meaning those governments will have to work directly with FEMA for reimbursement). He encourages contractors to monitor those local governments directly for opportunities. “I would hate for your folks to miss out on something waiting for it to come up on our website (,” he told Randall-Reilly’s Construction Division.

Headquartered in Knoxville, Tennessee with offices throughout the country, Phillips & Jordan was named Civil Works Contractor of the Year by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for its response following the 9/11 tragedy at the World Trade Center in New York City.