California Standards for Characterizing Contamination and Assessing Risk from Hazardous Waste Sites

by Fran Anderson, California Dept of Health Services, Sacramento, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Environmental Engineering


The Toxic Substances Control Program (TSCP) of the Department of Health Services is responsible for managing California's hazardous waste program. A primary goal of TSCP is to ensure the protection of public health and the environment from adverse impacts of hazardous waste. To accomplish this goal, TSCP is responsible for mitigating unauthorized releases at uncontrolled sites and permitting facilities which store, treat or dispose of hazardous waste. Part of this management program necessitates characterizing contamination from unauthorized releases and assessing risk from the release to nearby people and the environment. Like EPA, California relies on the development of a conceptual model for a site and the surrounding area by collecting sufficient information to determine the extent of contamination and assess risk to receptors. The goal is not to know everything about a site, but rather to collect sufficient information within desired confidence levels to decide what the important pathways are, characterize the site sufficiently to determine risk, and select remedial strategies. Inherently, guidance is needed for both facility operators, site owners and government staff overseeing these projects. To this end, TSCP is developing definitive scientific and technical requirements for characterizing the extent of contamination and conducting site specific risk assessments. These standards are based upon, and supplement, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) guidance documents.

Subject Headings: Occupational safety | Waste sites | Pollution | Risk management | Hazardous wastes | Site investigation | Environmental Protection Agency | Data collection | California | United States

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