Welcome to the Department of Toxic Substances Control

Get Involved!

DTSC's Public Participation Philosophy

DTSC managers and staff members believe the best decisions are made with a fully informed and involved public. Our approach is unique in that we involve the affected or interested communities on the community's terms.

Our outreach is as informal as possible, conducted at times and locations that are convenient to the community, and in appropriate languages. We use information that is understandable and accessible to the public. Also, our process emphasizes early and continuing public involvement throughout the process.

Accountability is important. DTSC staff and managers regularly participate in outreach efforts to ensure there is an understanding of community issues at all levels of the department.

During the past several years, DTSC has been a leader in implementing environmental justice principles at the project level, conducting project-specific community assessments to determine the information needs. These assessments typically result in DTSC providing translation and interpretation services, placing information in publications that address the different cultures within a community, and providing outreach at times and places that fit the cultural makeup of the community.

In addition, at each "listed" site, a Community Advisory Group (CAG) may be established by the affected community to review any response action and comment on the response action to be conducted in that community. DTSC shall assist in the formation of a CAG when 50 or more affected residents sign a petition or the legislative body for a community adopts a resolution.

Environmental Justice
DTSC has recognized and addressed Environmental Justice over the years by encouraging community members to participate in the decision-making process.  The focus has been on addressing cultural and community needs.

Citizen Guides

Several State and Federal laws and regulations provide a legal foundation for DTSC's cleanup and permitting work. The processes for accomplishing these goals include public involvement components. The following are "guidebooks" that outline how and where members of the public can become involved in the decision-making process.

  • Removal Action Workplan Process
    Cleanup actions called Removal Action Workplans (RAWs) allow for the cleanup of hazardous waste at sites where large and expensive cleanups may not be required. Removal actions generally occur on projects where there is only one contaminant, when the cleanup timeframe is relatively short, and where the cost is under $1 million. Removal actions may sometimes be an interim step in the cleanup process.
  • Remedial Action Plan
    Cleanup actions called Remedial Action Plans (RAPs), provide for the cleanup of hazardous waste on sites where the cost exceeds $1 million, and when the timeline for cleanup can extend for a long period of time. These projects may involve extensive removals of contamination or groundwater cleanup. Remedial actions are usually the final action of a cleanup process.

Public Notices

Public notices are an important part of the Public Participation process. Typically required by statute, public notices serve as a formal notification to the public of a department activity such as a comment period on a pending decision.


Our calendar allows you to review DTSC's activities at a glance. The calendar identifies public meetings, hearings, comment periods and events that are of interest to the public.

What's in My Community?

You can link to a variety of databases that provide information on the location and nature of cleanup sites, and permitted facilities in California. Included are active and inactive cleanup sites; properties with deed restrictions; National Priority List (NPL) sites typically overseen by the United States Environmental Protection Agency; waste generators; and facilities with a permit to store, treat or dispose of hazardous waste.

Questions on the Risk Assessment Process

At sites involving remedial action, human health risk assessment is used to determine the nature and extent of remedial activities, such as establishing preliminary cleanup goals. It involves examining issues related to specific contaminants and evaluating the toxicity parameters. These evaluations are based on sound scientific knowledge and fact, and comply with DTSC and U.S. EPA risk assessment guidance and policy.

Public Participation & Community Affairs Management Team

If you have questions on the Public Involvement Process, please contact the Supervisor in your area:

Patrice Whisenant Bowen
Chief, Office of External Affairs

Marcus Simpson
Supervisor, Public Participation & Community Affairs Management

Maya Akula
Supervisor, Public Participation & Community Affairs Management
Chatsworth Office: (818)717-6566
Cypress Office: (714)484-5416

Randi Jorgensen
Supervisor, Public Participation & Community Affairs Management
Chatsworth Office: (818)717-6572

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