TRI -Toxics Release Inventory
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 the TRI data? See the 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 site: Union of Concerned Scientist(What Toxic Chemicals are Released in Your Neighborhood?)
EnviroStor – State Priority List (CalSites)
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: California DTSC(Evaluating and Cleaning-Up School Sites)
LUST – Leaking Underground Storage Tanks
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.
Please visit: California EPA(Water Boards) For more information
EPA Office of Underground Storage Tanks
GeoTracker 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.
CECRLA / NPL
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 assessments”.
Clandestine Drug Labs
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 systems.
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:
US DEA(National Clandestine Laboratory Register) for additional information.
The 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:US EPA(Envirofacts Data Warehouse)
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 community.
For more information see: California GEO Tracker
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 environmental hazard.
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
Active Oil Wells / Abandoned Oil Wells
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 California.
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. Problems 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 may 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 current standards.
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, thousands of oil and gas wells have been shut down or abandoned and many of those wells are in areas where residential neighborhoods now exist.
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.
Buyers should be aware that the DOC database lists oil & gas wells in Any 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.
Since 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: