Department of Toxic Substances Control Department of Toxic Substances Control

DTSC Concentrates On Cost Recovery Backlog

DTSC spends millions of dollars each year to clean up sites contaminated by hazardous substances, ranging from former military bases to landfill operations to “mom-and-pop” dry cleaners. The Department is obligated to recover those costs when it can identify a responsible party with the means to pay.

However, between 1987 and 2013, DTSC did not take all of the steps needed to resolve about $194 million in costs that the Department incurred cleaning up contaminated sites.

In May 2013, DTSC released a Financial Integrity and State Manager’s Accountability (FISMA) [link to FISMA already posted] report, summarizing the Department’s efforts to address the backlog of costs.

Since then, DTSC has overhauled and standardized its billing and collection process and trained more than 400 employees on new cost recovery procedures. It has created two plans that serve as a blueprint for the department – one to reduce the backlog and the other to ensure that the same problems are not repeated.

In January 2014, the California State Auditor’s Office began an audit of DTSC. Their findings and recommendations are included in a report released on Aug. 7, 2014. The report both guides and validates DTSC’s approach to addressing the backlog of costs.

Our progress in reducing the backlog also will be updated regularly on this webpage.

To find out more:

*Read a Q&A about DTSC’s cost recovery backlog.

Cost Recovery by the Numbers

$1.9 billion
- Spent on cleanup of contaminated properties since 1987

$194 million - Unrecovered cleanup costs between July 1987 and December 2013 (amount reviewed by California State Auditor's Office). Includes

$69.1 million
- Cleanup costs referred to the Office of Attorney General for litigation, bankruptcy or other legal action

 - Number of project sites with outstanding cleanup costs

$109,065,354.24 - Total Costs Reduced to date.