Site Mitigation and Restoration Program

DTSC is committed to establishing and implementing protective and consistent cleanup programs and standards that can serve as a model for California and the nation. An estimated 90,000 properties throughout the State - including former industrial properties, school sites, military bases, small businesses and landfills - are contaminated, or believed contaminated, with some level of toxic substances. Some of these are "brownfields," sites that often sit idle or underused, contributing to both urban blight and urban sprawl.

DTSC cleans-up or oversees approximately 220 hazardous substance release sites at any given time and completes an average of 125 cleanups each year. An additional 250 sites are listed on DTSC's EnviroStor database of properties that may be contaminated.

Expediting cleanups is an important goal of the program, and a series of "Brownfields" initiatives support that effort. The Voluntary Cleanup Program and the California Land Reuse and Revitalization Program encourage responsible parties to clean-up contaminated properties by offering economic, liability, or efficiency incentives. DTSC also encourages property owners to investigate and clean-up contamination if found, through a combination of low-interest loans.

The Investigating Site Contamination and Cleanup Loans and Environmental Assistance to Neighborhoods (CLEAN Loans) Programs provide loans to investigate and clean-up urban properties. At present, funding for the Loan Program is extremely limited, but in 2001, DTSC received 11 loan applications for $7.9 million. The State Superfund covers sites for which there are no cleanup options through the responsible party and which threaten the people or the environment of California.

Additionally, DTSC works to ensure that all new, existing, and proposed school sites are environmentally safe. DTSC's environmental review is required by State law for proposed school sites that will receive state funding for purchase or construction. This process ensures that new school sites are uncontaminated or, if the property was previously contaminated, that they have been cleaned-up to a safe level. Since 2000, DTSC has assessed, investigated, or overseen the clean-up of over 2,300 different school sites in California to ensure that the State's need for new schools is met and children are fully protected.

California has one-third of the closing military bases in the country and more than 1,000 former defense sites. DTSC is currently investigating, cleaning-up, or providing technical assistance at more than 160 current or former military installations statewide. This task presents some unique challenges including addressing residual unexploded ordinance, chemical and biological munitions, and otherwise toxic substances that remain on the property.

In addition, DTSC continues to have lead responsibility for cleanup and enforcement at several high profile federal Superfund sites including Casmalia Resources and Stringfellow. DTSC provides day-to-day operation at these sites from the Stringfellow on-site Pre-Treatment Plant, groundwater extraction wells and other containment systems to the monitoring and treatment systems.

Documentation & Data

  • Site Cleanup Project Documents: DTSC posts on its website key documents related to cleanup sites. If you can't find the project that you're looking for, check the hazardous waste management project documents list, or call our Regulatory Assistance Officers at 800-728-6942.
  • Brownfields and Environmental Restoration Program (Cleanup Program) EnviroStor Database: The EnviroStor database is an online search and Geographic Information System tool for identifying sites with known or potential contamination, and sites where DTSC's environmental oversight or review has been requested or required. Searches can be conducted by site name, address, city, and county, or EnviroStor ID number. The EnviroStor database can also be downloaded. All public inquiries regarding the EnviroStor database should be directed to the Cleanup Program (EnviroStor) help desk at (916) 323-3400 or
  • The Hazardous Waste and Substances Site List (also known as the "Cortese List") is a planning document used by the State, local agencies, and developers to comply with California Environmental Quality Act requirements in providing information about the location of hazardous materials releases. Government Code section 65962.5 requires the California Environmental Protection Agency to develop at least annually an updated Cortese List. DTSC is responsible for preparing a portion of the information that comprises the Cortese List, and other State and local government agencies are required to provide additional hazardous material release information that is part of the complete List. You can develop the DTSC portion of the Cortese List based on the DTSC Site Mitigation and Brownfields Reuse Program information, at the link above.
  • Guidance Manuals for Investigations: DTSC has established guidance documents and recommended procedures for use by its staff, local governmental agencies, responsible parties and their contractors. These documents have been prepared to provide guidelines for the investigation, monitoring and remediation of groundwater at hazardous substance release sites.