Your Right to know: The EPA’s Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) was created in the
late 1980s after the deadly release of toxic chemicals at a Union Carbide
facility in Bhopal, India in 1984. In 1985 there were other toxicological
catastrophes in West Virginia. These incidents and others during that time
raised concerns and demands by workers and citizens in a number of States for
information on hazardous materials in their communities. In 1986,
recommendations made by David Sarokin and Warren Muir, researchers at Inform, a
national non-profit that whose central mission is to educate the public on
environmental issues, resulted in the United States Environmental Protection
Agency's creation of the Toxics Release Inventory.
According to the EPA The Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) Program compiles the TRI
data toxic chemical releases and waste management activities reported annually
by certain industries as well as federal facilities and makes it available
through downloadable files and several data access tools. The goal of the Toxics
Release Inventory program is to provide communities with information about toxic
chemical releases and waste management activities and to support informed
decision making at all levels by industry, government, non-governmental
organizations, and the public.
How reliable is this the TRI data? See Scorecard:
This page will give the details on the reporting standards. There are issues
with the database accuracy.
CalTRIP Each California facility submitting data to the U.S. EPA TRI must also
file a copy of its forms with the Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC)
California facilities whose total waste management (e.g., recycling, treatment,
releases, energy recovery or other disposal) is more than 500 pounds per year of
any of chemicals listed on the TRI Chemical List must submit the more detailed
Form R to DTSC even though Federal rules may allow them to submit the less
detailed Form A to U.S. EPA.
For more information I would recommend Visiting the following sites:
EnviroStor - State Priority List
EnviroStor's database (known previously as (CalSites)
contains a list of contaminated sites as well as lists of facilities
that process or transfer toxic waste. It includes Federal Superfund
sites (National Priorities List), State response sites, Military sites,
School sites and voluntary cleanup sites. Also included are historical
sites, those that were once listed as contaminated, but are now
designated as either “cleaned up?or “project completed? The database
lists sites that have deed restrictions recorded on land use.
We do not include DTSC's School sites. The Property
Evaluation and Cleanup Division is responsible for assessing,
investigating and cleaning up proposed school sites. The Division
ensures that selected properties are free of contamination, or if the
properties were previously contaminated, that they have been cleaned up
to a level that protects the students and staff who will occupy the new
school. All proposed school sites that will receive State funding for
acquisition or construction, are required to go through a rigorous
environmental review and cleanup process, under DTSC's oversight.
Environmental Report Search Radius is 1 mile.
Details about schools in your community can be
obtained from the following DTSC Website:
Leaking Underground Storage Tanks
are a significant source of petroleum impacts to groundwater and may
pose the following potential threats to health and safety by:
Exposure from impacts to soil and/or groundwater
Contamination of drinking water aquifers
Contamination of public or private drinking water wells
Inhalation of vapors
Benzene, Toluene, Ethylbenzene, and Xylenes together are referred to as
the BTEX compounds. They are the most common hazardous
components of gasoline leaks which make up the majority of (UST's).
Benzene is the most hazardous of these compounds. According
to the EPA the Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) is 5 parts per billion
(ppb). Long-term exposures to benzene in drinking water at
levels above the MCL increase the risk of cancer. The others
toluene, xylenes and ethylbenzene while not
considered cancer-causing, are none the dangerous in excessive
levels. Over the long term, toluene and ethylbenzene damage
the liver, kidneys, and central nervous system.
Methyl Tertiary Butyl Ether (MTBE) is an additive used to increase the
oxygen content of gasoline to improve air quality. At concentrations as
low as 20 parts per billion (ppb), MTBE makes drinking water unfit for
human consumption because of taste and odor.
The risk of drinking contaminated water is highest in areas served by
shallow private wells, almost all of which are in because
those private wells aren't regularly tested and filtered for toxic
chemicals. But experts say that even deeper public wells are becoming
more vulnerable because the large inventory of spill cleanups. In
addition increasing number of those spills involve the
gasoline additive MTBE, which can travel for a mile or more in
groundwater without losing its toxicity un-like the others mentioned
which plumes are generally smaller.
California has not yet been granted state program approval according to
the EPA and California has:
Number of active underground storage
tanks 36,899 (national total: 611,449)
Number of confirmed releases
43,156 (national total: 488,496)
Number of cleanups completed
31,222 (national total: 388,331)
Number of cleanups in backlog to be
completed 11,934 (national total: 100,165)
According to the State Water Resources Control Board as of 2009 Tank,
facility, and onsite inspection information is based on a universe of
15,002 permitted UST facilities with 38,504 petroleum tanks and 2,237
hazardous material tanks.
http://www.swrcb.ca.gov/ For more information
EPA Office of Underground Storage Tanks:
is the Water Boards’ data management system for managing sites that
impact groundwater, especially those that require ground-water cleanup
(Underground Storage Tanks, Department of Defense, Site Cleanup
Program) as well as permitted facilities such as operating USTs and
land disposal sites.
NPL They are shown separately
Superfund is the federal government's program to clean up the nation's
uncontrolled hazardous waste sites. The Comprehensive
Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA),
commonly known as Superfund, was enacted by Congress on December 11,
1980. This law created a tax on the chemical and petroleum industries
and provided broad Federal authority to respond directly to releases or
threatened releases of hazardous substances that may endanger public
health or the environment. CERCLA: established prohibitions
and requirements concerning closed and abandoned hazardous waste sites;
provided for liability of persons responsible for releases of hazardous
waste at these sites; and established a trust fund to provide for
cleanup when no responsible party could be identified.
The Way it works
Once a potential release has been identified, the information is
entered into the Comprehensive
Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Information System
(CERCLIS), which is a computerized database used to track hazardous
substance sites. After being entered each site undergoes a preliminary
assessment to determine if the site poses a potential hazard and
whether further action is necessary.
If the preliminary assessment reveals that a remedial action
is necessary, EPA will conduct a more involved study of the
site. Based on data collected EPA will evaluate the site
using the Hazard Ranking System, a scoring system that determines the
relative risk to public health and the environment posed by hazardous
substances in ground water, surface water, air, and soil.
Only those sites with a score of 28.5 (on a scale from 0 to 100) are
eligible for placement on the National Priorities List (NPL), EPA’s
list of priority hazardous substance sites for cleanup.
In California as of 2009, there are over 1062 sites
on the CERCLA list of which 94 have been placed on the NPL
based on their HRS score. Under some circumstances, sites may
also be placed on the NPL by the state in which the site is located or
by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) in
accordance with EPA.
Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry was also
created by the 1980 by the Comprehensive Environmental Response,
Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA).
The agency's mission is to prevent harm to human health and diminished
quality of life from exposure to hazardous substances found at waste
sites, in unplanned releases, and in other sources of pollution present
in the environment. ATSDR identifies communities where people might be
exposed to hazardous substances in the environment. The
agency also determines how hazardous a site is and recommends actions
that need to be taken to safeguard the health of community members.
ATSDR can tell you where to find occupational and environmental health
clinics. Specialists in these clinics can recognize, evaluate, and
treat illnesses resulting from exposure to hazardous substances. Visit
there web site at:
You might also want to visit ATSDR ‘s
ToxFAQs™ “With one click, access the best science, the latest
research, and the most important information about toxic substances and
how they affect our health including: Characteristics Exposure
risks Associated health effects Related CDC and ATSDR health studies and
According to DTSC the clandestine synthesis of methamphetamine (meth) and
other illegal drugs is a growing public health and environmental concern.
For every pound of meth synthesized there are six or more pounds of
hazardous materials or chemicals produced. These are often left on the
premises, dumped down local septic systems, or illegally dumped in
backyards, open spaces, in ditches along roadways or down municipal sewer
The data is from The U.S. Department of Justice ("the Department")
provides the web site as a public service. It contains addresses of some
locations where law enforcement agencies reported they found chemicals or
other items that indicated the presence of either clandestine drug
laboratories or dumpsites. In most cases, the source of the entries is not
the Department, and the Department has not verified the entry and does not
guarantee its accuracy. Members of the public must verify the accuracy of
all entries by, for example, contacting local law enforcement and local
health departments. To report erroneous information found in the database,
please contact DEA at NCLR@usdoj.gov. The Department does not establish,
implement, enforce, or certify compliance with clean-up or remediation
standards for contaminated sites; the public should contact a state or local
health department or environmental protection agency for that information.
In addition you can contact:
http://www.usdoj.gov/dea/seizures/index.html for additional
Radiation Information Database
The Radiation Information Database (RADINFO) contains basic information about
certain facilities that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulates
for radiation and radioactivity. The regulations that govern radiation across
the federal government are complex, and, therefore, RADINFO may not include
every facility you might expect to find. The sites listed below have radioactive
substances among the contaminants and are listed on the NPL.
More information can also be obtained from:
Environmental Report Search Radius is 1 mile.
Cleanups sites (SLIC)
In the Spills, Leaks, Investigations & Cleanup (SLIC) Program, Water Board
staff oversee soil and water investigations, corrective actions, and human
health risk assessments at sites with current or historic unauthorized
discharges, which have adversely affected or threaten to adversely affect
waters of the state. The program covers all types of pollutants (such as
solvents, petroleum fuels, heavy metals, pesticides, etc) and all
environments (including surface water, groundwater, sediment, and soil).
Public participation is conducted and tailored to the needs of the
For more information see:
Environmental Report Search Radius is 1 mile.
Mine Reclamation - Abandoned Mine Lands
Extensive mining activities in California have resulted in thousands of
inactive or abandoned mines. Many operated before the advent of any
regulatory or reporting authority, or even statehood itself. Each mine may
have multiple man-made "features," such as shafts, tunnels, machinery,
facilities or piles of waste rock that can pose either a physical or
Historical mining practices, ore processing techniques, disposal
practices, closure procedures, and/or surface exposure of ore deposits at
AML sites have resulted in the generation and disposition of large
quantities of mine wastes, including waste rock, mine tailings, mine
drainage water, processing chemicals, and other wastes to the land and
waters of the state. The interaction of natural processes such as
climatehydrology, geochemistry, and weathering with these wastes have
resulted in the release of contaminants which may affect human health, the
environment, and water quality.
BEWARE You should know that a mine, working or abandoned, open pit or
underground, is a potentially dangerous place!
According to the Department of conservation the estimated number of
abandoned mines in the state is 47,084.
Of these, 5,200, or 11%, are estimated to present environmental hazards.
Also, 39,400, or 84%, are estimated to present physical safety hazards.
There are approximately 164,795 mining features in the state.
Approximately 62,000, or 38%, of these features are hazardous openings.
67% of the abandoned mine sites in California are on Federal lands.
31% are on private lands.
2% are on state and local lands.
See the following sites for more information
Abandoned Oil Wells
Oil Well Advisory
The production of oil and gas is an
essential part of California’s economy. Oil and gas are by far the
largest sources of energy found and used in California. In 1980, oil and
gas provided about 91 percent of the total energy consumed in
The California petroleum industry began in the
1860s. Since then, About 200,000 wells have been drilled in the search
for oil, gas, and geothermal resources. About 95,000 production and
injection wells are in use today. As the industry grew, so did the
recognition that controls were necessary to protect the environment and
the oil, gas, and geothermal resources. Since the 1980’s,
construction-site projects have been reviewed under the
Construction-Site Plan Review Program of the Department of
Conservation’s Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources
(division). The program is an integral part of building and safety
procedures for urban development of oilfield properties.
from this encroachment may include methane gas and oil seepage,
contaminated soils, leaking wells, and wells not plugged and abandoned
to current standards. Mitigation costs to develop oilfield properties
can be high. Also, owners of homes who have older improperly
abandoned wells on their property could find it necessary to re-abandon
them to current standards. For example, a property
require $50,000 or more to remove soil contaminated with hydrocarbons
and $50,000 to $150,000 or more to plug and abandon an oil well to
California is currently ranked fourth
in the nation among oil producing states. Surface oil production is
concentrated mainly in Southern California and in districts elsewhere
in the state. In recent decades, real estate development has rapidly
encroached into areas where oil production has occurred. Because the
state's oil production has been in decline since the 1980's,
of oil and gas wells have been shut down or abandoned and many of
those wells are in areas where residential neighborhoods now
According to the California Department of
Conservation, to date, about 187,000 oil, gas, and geothermal wells have
been drilled in, and around 88,000 are still in use. The remaining
wells (1) are used intermittently ("shut-in" wells), (2) have been
sealed ("capped") under the supervision of the DOC's Division of Oil,
Gas and Geothermal Resources, or (3) have been abandoned and have no
known responsible operator; these are called "orphan" wells. The state
has a special fund that pays the cost of safely capping orphan wells,
however, that program is limited in its scope and progress.
should be aware that the DOC database lists oil & gas wells in
County and those may include orphan wells. Health and safety hazards may
be associated with oil and gas wells, whether orphan, capped, or
active, including groundwater contamination, oil and methane
seeps, fire hazards, and air quality problems.
For general information, visit the California Department of
Conservation, Division of Oil and Gas,
1983, construction-site projects in the Los Angeles Basin area have been
reviewed under the Construction-Site Plan Review Program of
the Department of Conservation’s Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal
Resources (division). The program is an integral part of building and
safety procedures for urban development of oilfield properties. Under
its auspices and before issuing building permits, local permitting
agencies review and implement the division’s pre-construction, oil-well
recommendations and requirements. Geothermal Resources at: