Managing Hazardous Waste

We strengthen regulations and streamline waste management

Emergency Response


The mission of DTSC’s Emergency Response Unit (ERU) is to provide statewide response to actual and potential releases of hazardous substances that pose an acute threat to public health and/or the environment, including clandestine drug labs. The ERU interacts with a number of other state, federal and local agencies in carrying out these emergency response activities.

The Emergency Response Unit responds statewide to requests for DTSC assistance for emergency removals from illegal/clandestine drug labs and other Hazardous Materials (HazMat) emergencies. Requests for assistance are handled by the Emergency Response Duty Officers.

Emergency Response Duty Officers

The DTSC Emergency Response Duty Officers are on duty 24 hours a day, seven days a week, including weekends and holidays. They perform the following functions with regard to a wide variety of hazardous materials incidents statewide, including illegal drug labs, spilled or abandoned hazardous materials, train derailments, floods, fires, earthquakes, and other disasters:

  • Authorize the expenditure of state funds.
  • Dispatch, assign the scope of work, and provide direct oversight of hazardous materials contractors to perform assessment, stabilization, removal, and disposal as needed.
  • Coordinate emergency response activities with various federal, state and local agencies including US EPA, California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES), California Department of Fish and Wildlife, California Department of Justice, and local fire, health, and law enforcement agencies.

To contact the DTSC Emergency Response Duty Officer:

  • Monday through Friday, from 8 am to 5 pm, please contact DTSC at (800) 260-3972 or (916) 255-6504.
  • After hours, weekends, or on holidays, please call the Cal OES Warning Control Center at (800) 852-7550 and ask to speak to the DTSC Emergency Response Duty Officer.

Large structure on fire     Hazardous waste items from wildfire recovery (barrels, etc.)     Various recovered hazardous waste items laid out upon a large tarp