3960 Department of Toxic Substances Control
Program Descriptions


The Site Mitigation and Brownfields Reuse program implements the state's laws regarding site cleanup and the federal Superfund program. The program currently oversees approximately 850 hazardous substance release site investigations and cleanups, and monitors long-term operations and maintenance activities at more than 375 sites where the cleanup process is complete. Additionally, the program is responsible for ensuring compliance with the terms of 760 land-use restrictions in place on properties throughout the state.

New sites are identified through surveillance and enforcement efforts, emergency response activities, examination of other previously-identified potential sites, and public and private entities that voluntarily request that the Department take action to return local properties to productive use. These sites and projects include cleaning up federal and state Superfund properties, abandoned mines, other abandoned and underutilized properties known as ''brownfields,'' and both active and closed military installations.

The program oversees environmental assessments and the clean-up of proposed new or expanding school sites to prevent or reduce exposing students and staff to hazardous substances. The program is also responsible for the Stringfellow Hazardous Waste Site, a former hazardous waste disposal site and federal Superfund Site.

The program works closely with other state agencies, the United States Environmental Protection Agency, and local agencies throughout the state to establish and implement viable grant and loan programs to aid in the assessment and clean-up of brownfields sites.

The program works with the California Emergency Management Agency and other state agencies to assure response readiness for acts of terrorism involving the use of toxic chemicals. Additionally, the program mitigates off-highway hazardous waste spills and responds to hazardous waste contamination resulting from illegal drug laboratories.


The Hazardous Waste Management program regulates the generation, storage, transportation, treatment, and disposal of hazardous waste to minimize risks to public health and the environment. The program oversees permitting and compliance at 117 authorized facilities that manage hazardous waste, approximately 900 registered businesses that transport hazardous waste, and approximately 300 facilities/generators that are subject to corrective actions. Additionally, the program manages approximately $2.2 billion in financial assurance resources, and supports and oversees local agencies implementing the hazardous waste elements of the Unified Program.

The program monitors hazardous waste transfer, storage, treatment, and disposal facilities for illegal activity, including electronic manifest surveillance and monitoring of registered hazardous waste transporters; enforcement of hazardous waste requirement violations found through routine inspections; complaint intake, triage, and investigations; and other focused enforcement initiatives. The program also ensures compliance with hazardous waste requirements related to electronic waste and used oil.


The Safer Consumer Products (SCP) program strives to get manufacturers to reduce human and environmental exposure to toxic chemicals. SCP calls for industry to develop safer consumer products and use pollution prevention best practices. The program implements the Safer Consumer Products regulations. SCP also collects information on the presence of toxic chemicals in products in order to identify Priority Products for possible regulation; provides support and guidance to Priority Product manufacturers for the analysis of safer alternatives; and issues regulatory responses to proposed alternatives. The program encourages the adoption of "green chemistry" practices.

Pollution Prevention responsibilities are to promote compliance with legislative mandates regarding consumer product chemical safety. The program supports adoption of focused business sector pollution prevention strategies; supports local green business initiatives; and helps the regulated community comply with laws and regulations.

This program, in conjunction with the Department of Public Health and the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment, also implements the California Environmental Contaminant Biomonitoring Program. DTSC's Environmental Chemistry Laboratory (ECL) is charged with measuring both targeted and new chemicals in blood and urine. Ongoing activities include measuring these chemicals in studies of vulnerable populations, including mothers and their newborns, older women, firefighters, and families with childhood leukemia. Additionally, ECL is continuously developing new methods to identify and measure chemicals of emerging concern, including newer flame retardants and other substitutes and alternatives for restricted/banned toxic chemicals. The SCP program will rely on biomonitoring results for implementation of its three-year Priority Products Work Plan. Biomonitoring evidence has been called out in the Work Plan as a priority screening tool for identification of product-chemical combinations warranting consideration of safer alternatives.


The California Environmental Protection Agency designated the Department of Toxic Substances Control as the Certified Unified Program Agency (CUPA) in Trinity and Imperial Counties. As the CUPA, the Department is responsible for implementing the six elements of the Unified Program: hazardous waste generator and onsite treatment activities; spill-prevention control and countermeasure plans for owners of aboveground petroleum storage tanks; underground storage tank program; hazardous material release response plans and inventories; California Accidental Release Prevention program; and certain Uniform Fire Code requirements pertaining to hazardous material management plans and inventories.


The Administration program provides accounting, budgeting, revenue collection, human resource and workforce management, data processing, performance management, business services, and other administrative support to departmental programs. Administration also supports operations in Sacramento, Clovis, Berkeley, Chatsworth, Cypress, San Diego, and El Centro, including two environmental chemistry laboratories located in northern and southern California.