Managing Hazardous Waste

We strengthen regulations and streamline waste management

Disaster-Related Hazardous Waste Removal

DTSC HazMat crews assess, package, and prepare for offsite disposal of household hazardous waste and e-waste generated as a result of the Sonoma County Floods in February 2019

DTSC assists local, state, and federal agencies after major disasters, including wildfires and flooding, to remove household hazardous waste and other harmful substances, such as e-waste found on parcels and properties.

The contaminated debris is cleaned up and contained as quickly as possible to minimize exposure to emergency personnel, the public, the environment, and workers involved in restoration efforts.

Staff from DTSC’s Emergency Response Unit oversees contractors who remove household hazardous waste (HHW), asbestos, and e-waste from properties, impacted areas, or designated drop-off locations.

What is HHW?

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

What is E-Waste?

E-waste can include cathode ray tubes (CRTs) from televisions, computers, and other electronic devices.

Russian River Emergency Response

For the first time since the mid-1990s, DTSC assisted with the cleanup and removal of household hazardous waste and e-waste following a major flood event. DTSC partnered with Sonoma County to remove HHW following the Russian River flooding in February 2019, which impacted about 2,500 properties, including homes and businesses. DTSC worked alongside county workers and conducted curbside pickups of HHW and e-waste.

DTSC completed work for this response in March 2019.

Residents can access the county’s website to learn more about the flood recovery here.

Recent Wildfire Recovery Projects (Camp, Woolsey, and Hill Fires)

DTSC HazMat crew de-heading a cylinder removed from a residential structure destroyed in the Camp Fire in Butte County.DTSC, with the assistance of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and other local, state, and federal agencies, began to assess and remove household hazardous waste from fire-damaged properties as part of the interagency response to the Camp Fire in Butte County and the Town of Paradise (Northern California) and the Woolsey and Hill Fires in Los Angeles and Ventura Counties (Southern California) last December. 

The Department led efforts to remove HHW after the Thomas Fire in Ventura County in Fall 2017 (HHW removed from 1,001 properties), the Carr Fire in Shasta County in July 2018 (1,171 properties), the Pawnee Fire in Lake County in July 2018 (21 properties), and the Klamathon Fire in Siskiyou County in July 2018 (60 properties).

Wildfire Public Dashboards and Maps

DTSC’s Public Dashboard mapping system provides critical information to crews on the ground. In addition, it displays the latest information regarding DTSC’s cleanup process to keep the public informed. In 2017, DTSC launched a mapping tool that is designed both for emergency crews and public use. The data input by crews on the ground streamlines DTSC’s cleanup of household hazardous waste and keeps the public updated after each day.

Camp Fire Response, Butte County and the Town of Paradise

The Camp Fire Response Public Dashboard map (below) displays the total number of parcels impacted by the recent wildfires, as well as the number of parcels assessed for household hazardous waste each day in Butte County and the Town of Paradise. Click the image below to get more details and access the Public Dashboard map.

Camp Fire Response Public Dashboard

Los Angeles (LA) County Recovers, Woolsey Fire

The LA County Recovers, Woolsey Fire Public Dashboard (map) displays the total number of parcels impacted by the recent wildfires, as well as the number of parcels assessed for household hazardous waste each day in Los Angeles County. Click the image below to get more details and access the Public Dashboard map.

Woolsey Fire Response Public Dashboard

Woolsey/Hill Fire Response, Ventura County

The Woolsey/Hill Fire Response, Ventura County Public Dashboard map (below) displays the total number of parcels impacted by the recent wildfires, as well as the number of parcels assessed for household hazardous waste each day in Ventura County. Click the image below to get more details and access the Public Dashboard map.

Hill Fire Response Public Dashboard

Past Wildfires

To view the Wildfire Public Dashboard Maps for previous fires, please visit our Past Wildfires Public Dashboards page.  The dashboard maps available include:

  • Mendocino Complex Fire (2018)
  • Carr Fire (2018)
  • Lake and Siskiyou County Fires (2018)
  • Ventura County Fires (2017)

Helpful Information (Fact Sheets)

Video

An unrelenting series of wildfires have continued to devastate portions of our State. View the video below to find out more about the work DTSC does after a major wildfire.

Recent Wildfire Coverage

Camp Fire, The New York Times: In California, Houses Burned. So Did the Toxic Chemicals They Contained.

In the charred footprint of each home in Paradise lurks an invisible and dangerous legacy of the Camp Fire: toxic chemicals released by the blaze. There may be radioactive isotopes from burned-up antique crockware, cupboards of incinerated household cleaners, and asbestos from old siding. Heavy metals, chemicals and biological contaminants left behind demand a cleanup of extraordinary scale, before any permanent return to Paradise is safe, according to the department.

Camp Fire, Chico Enterprise-Record: Camp Fire: Crews begin largest wildfire debris cleanup in state history

Officials say they hope to finish the operation within 9-12 months, an aggressive target that will comprise hundreds of workers and coordination between the state Department of Toxic Substances Control, United States Environmental Protection Agency and Butte County Environmental Health.

Carr Fire, HBO’s Vice News: What The Deadly Wildfires Raging Across California Leave Behind