Welcome to the Department of Toxic Substances Control

Three-Step Process


Step One: Phase I Environmental Site Assessment

School districts contract with qualified environmental consultants to prepare a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment (Ed. Code, § 17210, subsec. (b) and § 17213.1, subsec. (a)). The consultant reviews records to determine if the potential exists for exposure to hazardous materials, including methane and naturally occurring hazardous substances (Ed. Code, § 17210.1, subsec. (a)(1) and (2)). The school district submits this assessment for DTSC review, comment and approval.

DTSC must provide a determination on this assessment within 30 days.  However, if the assessment is not complete and DTSC requests additional information, DTSC will review and approve the assessment 30 days after receiving the information (Ed. Code, § 17213.1, subsec. (a)(2) and (3)).

If assessment identifies no potential contamination, the school district will receive a “No Action” determination letter from DTSC, and the process is complete (Ed. Code, § 17213.1, subsec. (a)(2)). When a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment reveals potential contamination, a Preliminary Environmental Assessment may be required to evaluate the threat to human health or the environment.

In September 2002, DTSC filed emergency Phase I regulations to add  the Phase I Addendum to the school site environmental review process to save school districts time and money (Cal. Code Regs., tit. 22, div. 4.5, ch. 51.5). These regulations were finalized and approved in February 2003.  These regulation enable school districts to conduct focused investigations for potential soil contamination from lead-based paint and electrical transformers. If the results indicate contaminant concentrations above acceptable limits, further action will be required.

In November 2006, DTSC filed an emergency amendment to the Phase I regulations to reference the updated American Society of Testing and Materials (ASTM) Standard E1527-05, and allow evaluation of termiticide application, in addition to lead-based paint and electrical transformers, in a Phase I Addendum.

The final amended Phase I regulations were approved in July 2007.  In addition to the emergency amendment, these regulations clarify the Phase I and Phase I Addendum processes, and streamline the environmental review process to help minimize site assessment costs for properties historically considered unlikely to have contamination, such as residential properties.

To submit a Phase I for review, Please submit one paper copy and one electronic copy of the Phase I to:

          Ellen DelMar
          Phase I Coordinator
          Brownfields & Environmental Restoration Program
          Department of Toxic Substances Control
          5796 Corporate Avenue
          Cypress, California  90630

DTSC may request submittal of additional paper copies to facilitate review.  The electronic copy should be submitted in Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) in accordance with the Guidelines for Submitting PDF Documents to DTSC.  All submittals should include applicable signature and certification stamps.

Please forward a check in the amount of $1,500.00, payable to Department of Toxic Substances Control and bearing on its face the project name and School District to:

            Department of Toxic Substances Control
            Accounting/Cashier
            1001 I Street, 21st Floor
            P.O. Box 806
            Sacramento, California  95812-0806

 For additional information regarding the Phase I review process, please contact Ms. Ellen DelMar at (714) 484-5482 or edelmar@dtsc.ca.gov.

 

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Step Two: Preliminary Environmental Assessment

A Preliminary Environmental Assessment is required when there is potential contamination on the school site. This can be determined through a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment or districts may elect to proceed directly to a Preliminary Environmental Assessment based on site knowledge (Ed. Code, § 17213.1, subsec. (a)(4)(B)). The assessment includes collection of environmental samples and evaluation of potential health risks. School districts enter into an Environmental Oversight Agreement with DTSC, then contract with a qualified environmental consultant to prepare an assessment according to DTSC guidelines.  The assessment includes preparation of a work plan, collection and analysis of environmental samples, and preparation of a Preliminary Environmental Assessment report (Ed. Code, § 17210, subsec. (b) and § 17213.1, subsec. (a)(4)(B)). The report includes results of environmental sampling and a health risk assessment conducted according to DTSC guidelines (Ed. Code, § 17213.1, subsec. (a)(4)(B)). As required by the Education Code (Ed. Code, § 17213.1, subsec. (a)(6)), school districts must make the report available for public review and comment before DTSC’s final determination. DTSC is required to approve or disapprove the Preliminary Environmental Assessment Report within 30 days of close of public review period (Ed. Code, § 17213.1, subsec. (a)(6)(A)) or within 30 days of the school district’s approval of the Environmental Impact Report for the school (Ed. Code, § 17213.1, subsec. (a)(6)(B). If the assessment identifies no significant health or environmental risks, the school district will receive a “No Further Action” determination letter from DTSC (Ed. Code, § 17213.1, subsec. (a)(9)) and the process is complete. If the assessment identifies potential contamination, further action will be required.

To start the PEA process, submit an Environmental Oversight Program (EOP) application Environmental Oversight Program Application (school district), signed by an authorized school district representative, to:
        
         Ellen Delmar
         Agreement Coordinator
         Brownfields & Environmental Restoration Program
         Department of Toxic Substances Control
         5796 Corporate Avenue
         Cypress, California  90630
Ms. Delmar will prepare and forward the appropriate agreement for review and signature.  Then, the project will be assigned to a project manager who will contact the school district to schedule a scoping meeting

For additional information regarding Preliminary Environmental Assessment process or entering into an agreement, please contact Mr. Shahir Haddad at (714) 484-5368 or Shahir.Haddad@dtsc.ca.gov.

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Step Three: Response Action

If the Preliminary Environmental Assessment identifies significant contamination, school districts may elect to drop the proposed school site from consideration or clean up the contamination under a DTSC Voluntary Cleanup Agreement (VCA) or School Cleanup Agreement (SCA). An SCA is required for school districts planning to obtain final site or plan approval and full funding before completion of required response actions. Consistent with response actions conducted for other contaminated sites, DTSC follows Health and Safety Code requirements for all responses actions (Ed. Code, § 17210.1, subsec. (a)(1) and (2) and § 17213.2, subsec. (a)). DTSC is required to provide opportunities for public comment on the Removal Action Work Plan or Remedial Action Plan before approval of the final document (Health & Saf. Code, div. 20, ch. 6.8, § 25356.1, subsec. (e) and (h)). When all necessary cleanup activities are complete, DTSC will certify that “No Further Action” is needed.

To continue with the response action process, school districts should submit a written request to amend the existing Environmental Oversight Agreement (EOA) to a Voluntary Cleanup Agreement (VCA), or School Cleanup Agreement (SCA) signed by an authorized district representative, to:

         Ellen Delmar
         Agreement Coordinator
         Brownfields & Environmental Restoration Program
         Department of Toxic Substances Control
         5796 Corporate Avenue
         Cypress, California  90630

The request should include the following information:

  • Docket number for the existing agreement.
  • School name and DTSC site code.
  • Description of further action to be conducted (Supplemental Site Investigation, Removal Action Work Plan, Remedial Investigation, Feasibility Study or Remedial Action Plan).
  • Chemicals of concern at the site.
  • Date of final Preliminary Environmental Assessment report.
  • Date of DTSC determination for further action.
  • Designation of the representative who will coordinate agreement activities with DTSC and will be the responsible signatory on the agreement.

Ms. Delmar will prepare and forward the appropriate agreement for review and signature.  For additional information regarding response action process or amending an agreement, please contact Ms. Delmar at (714) 484-5482 or edelmar@dtsc.ca.gov.

Related Links

Fact Sheets and General Information

Advisories and Guidance

Forms

Statutes, Regulations and Policies

 
Last revised: May 19, 2011
 
 
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