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Barbara A. Lee, Director
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 26, 2018
DTSC Announces Enhanced Hazardous Waste Facility
Permitting Regulations to Protect Communities
SACRAMENTO – The Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) today announced newly adopted regulations for permitting hazardous waste facilities. The rules, which take effect on January 1, 2019, are designed to strengthen protections for public health and the environment and to increase DTSC’s transparency and accountability.
The new rules improve DTSC’s authorities when reviewing, approving, or denying permit applications for facilities that treat, store, or dispose of hazardous waste. The rules include the following improvements:
- A transparent process for considering a facility’s past violations in permitting decisions;
- Expanded worker training to enhance safety;
- Stronger financial assurance rules to conserve taxpayer funds and promote timely cleanups;
- Better information to promote community involvement; and
- Assessments to identify health risks associated with facility operations, including in vulnerable communities.
“These are the most significant changes to DTSC’s permitting regulations in the last two decades – they make our permitting decisions more protective, transparent, and accountable,” said DTSC Director Barbara A. Lee. “With the new Violation Scoring Procedure, the public will know how well facilities comply with hazardous waste requirements, and that facilities that don’t comply face real restrictions when their permits are reviewed or when a permit denial is issued.”
The new Violation Scoring Procedure is an innovative tool that evaluates and scores a facility’s significant violations over a rolling ten-year period. The regulation requires DTSC to consider repeat violations in calculating a facility’s score. Facility scores will be published for the public to view. Depending on a facility’s score, DTSC can require facilities to implement enhanced protections or initiate permit denial, suspension, or revocation.
“Providing a transparent way to assess compliance with California’s strong hazardous waste laws deters violations; this helps to better protect communities,” said Rizgar Ghazi, Acting Hazardous Waste Management Program Deputy Director at DTSC.
DTSC made significant changes in the final regulations, largely resulting from extensive public outreach, including three rounds of public comment; two regulatory workshops; two symposia; and presentations to environmental justice organizations, legislators, the California Chamber of Commerce, and the California Council for Environmental and Economic Balance.
The Hazardous Waste Facility Permitting Criteria were authorized by Senate Bill 673.
DTSC’s Permitting Division is responsible for administering the Hazardous Waste Facility Permitting Program, which is established under the Health and Safety Code. DTSC currently oversees 108 facilities that hold 115 permits in California.
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FOR GENERAL INQUIRIES: Contact the Department of Toxic Substances Control by phone at (800) 728-6942 or visit www.dtsc.ca.gov. To report illegal handling, discharge, or disposal of hazardous waste, call the Waste Alert Hotline at (800) 698-6942.
The mission of DTSC is to protect California’s people and environment from harmful effects of toxic substances by restoring contaminated properties, enforcing hazardous waste law, reducing hazardous waste generation, and encouraging the manufacture of chemically safer products.