Managing Hazardous Waste

We strengthen regulations and streamline waste management

California Wildfire Cleanup & Recovery in 2020

DTSC staff cleaning up hazardous waste after a wildfire

The Department Toxic Substances Control’s (DTSC) Emergency Response Program oversees the cleanup of hazardous waste that is released after wildfires ravage residential and commercial properties.

This year, the people and environment of California are besieged by unprecedented wildfire activity, which has consumed more than 4 million acres of land.

Once the flames are extinguished, DTSC is mission tasked by the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (OES) to begin assessing fire-impacted properties and remove harmful household hazardous wastes (HHW) and bulk asbestos that threaten public health and the environment.

DTSC Emergency Response staff fosters strong partnerships with communities during this difficult transition between devastation and rebuilding.

DTSC’s priority through Wildfire Cleanup & Recovery is to help community members and wildfire survivors by clearing their properties of household hazardous waste, keeping them informed of the process through the real-time Public Dashboard mapping system and providing other essential resources.

As of September 11, 2020, DTSC’s Emergency Response Program arrived in Lake, Napa, Solano, and Sonoma counties to begin cleanup activities on the residential properties that were destroyed or damaged in the LNU Lightning Complex Fire.

What you need to know

How is my home selected for household hazardous waste assessment and removal?

Once mission tasked by OES, DTSC Emergency Response staff assesses and removes household hazardous waste and bulk asbestos-containing material from all residential properties destroyed by the wildfire. DTSC’s implementation of the Phase 1 assessment and removal of HHW and bulk asbestos facilitate the expeditious removal of wildfire debris during the Phase 2 portion of the operation.

What is the cost?

There is no cost to you as a residential property owner. And, there’s no need to file a request to participate.

What is HHW and bulk asbestos?

Examples of HHW include lead-acid and household batteries, compressed gas cylinders, bulk pesticides, fertilizers, pool chemicals, paints, thinners, aerosol cans; asbestos siding, pipe insulation, and floor tiles.

E-waste can include cathode ray tubes (CRTs) from televisions, computers, and other electronic devices. E-waste will also be removed during Phase 2.

Why is it necessary for DTSC to oversee the removal of household hazardous waste and bulk asbestos-containing material?

Household hazardous waste and bulk asbestos-containing material must be removed to protect public health and the environment. This is an emergency protective measure. Household hazardous waste could have significant long-term environmental impacts and should not be combined with general debris cleanup that is disposed of at a municipal landfill.

DTSC’s goal is to prevent environmental contaminants from polluting the environment, protecting workers and the public from exposure.

DTSC-led HazMat crews are specifically trained to handle household hazardous waste and bulk asbestos-containing materials.

How do I know that an assessment has been completed?

DTSC will post at the entrance to each property a sign stating that the property has been assessed.

This means that your property has been assessed and household hazardous waste and bulk asbestos-containing material has been removed.

Our Public Dashboard mapping system streamlines DTSC’s cleanup of household hazardous waste and bulk asbestos-containing material keeps the public updated after each day.

Can property owners hire their own contractors to remove the remaining debris once DTSC is done?

Property owners that chose to hire their own contractor for the debris removal portion of the operation need to contact the local city and/or county agency overseeing the Phase 2 debris cleanup.

Public Dashboard mapping system

DTSC’s Public Dashboard mapping system provides critical information to crews on the ground. In addition, it keeps the public informed by displaying the latest information regarding DTSC’s cleanup process.

North Complex fire

View the interactive map for updates on the North Complex fire.

LNU Lightning Complex

View the interactive map for updates on the LNU Lightning Complex.