Dawn Koepke

OAL approves DTSC permitting regulations, effective January 2019

By Dawn Koepke

Capitol Update, Nov. 5, 2018 Share this on FacebookTweet thisEmail this to a friend

As expected, the Office of Administrative Law (OAL) has approved the Department of Toxic Control’s (DTSC) regulations related to hazardous waste facility permitting criteria. The regulatory package is intended to implement the Track 1 portion associated with the broad requirements under SB 673 (Ricardo Lara, D-Bell Gardens, 2015) in an attempt to provide additional protections for public health and the environment at hazardous waste facilities, and increase DTSC’s transparency and accountability.

According to DTSC, the new rules improve five broad aspects of DTSC’s authorities, including instituting a transparent process for considering a facility’s past violations in permitting decisions; expanding worker training to enhance safety; instituting stronger financial assurance rules; providing better information to promote community involvement; and requiring further assessment to identify health risks from facility operations, including in vulnerable communities. While some beneficial revisions were made during the regulatory process, substantial concerns remain. Regardless, the regulations are effective January 1, 2019.

Further, these regulations are merely the first phase in a two-track approach to implement SB 673. The next phase, which has just begun, will be even more impactful for hazardous waste permitted transport, storage, and disposal facilities (TSDFs) and those generators that interact with those facilities for management of hazardous waste. Track 2 will evaluate and establish a framework through which to evaluate a hazardous waste facility’s (TSDF) cumulative impacts and impact on a surrounding community’s vulnerability. Additionally, it seeks to establish a framework to impose mitigation requirements as conditions of a hazardous waste facility’s’ permit approval. Notably, in this early stage concerns are already surfacing about the framework and its potential to have implications far beyond hazardous waste impacts, leading to mitigation requirements on those facilities that are not based on a particular hazardous waste facility’s contribution to the impacts of the surrounding community but on unrelated impacts and vulnerabilities.

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