Process for Evaluating and Remediating Burn Dump Sites

The following are clarifications to LEA Advisory No. 56, Process for Evaluating and Remediating Burn Dump Sites. This clarification sheet has been prepared to clarify some of the more critical aspects of burn dump remediation. Until LEA Advisory No. 56 is revised, this clarification sheet should be used together with the existing LEA Advisory No. 56.

Question 1: Does the advisory apply to all burn dump sites?

Answer: No. The advisory does not apply to burn dump sites where postclosure land use (PCLU) other than nonirrigated open space is proposed.

If a PCLU other than nonirrigated open space is proposed, DTSC’s Site Mitigation Program should be notified. Any future PCLU on and/or adjacent to the site would have to be evaluated separately to determine what additional measures would need to be taken at the site to adequately protect public health and safety and the environment from any impacts from the proposed new use. Depending upon the PCLU and the waste characterization, direct DTSC involvement, in particular for risk assessment purposes, may be required.

Question 2: What is DTSC’s involvement in the remediation of burn dump sites?

Answer: If the burn ash is considered a hazardous waste, certain DTSC requirements must be met. The requirements for management of hazardous waste activities are contained in Health and Safety Code (HSC), Division 20, Chapter 6.5 and Title 22, California Code of Regulations (22 CCR), Division 4.5. A burn dump site may be determined by DTSC to be a hazardous substances release site depending on the potential threat to public health and the environment. DTSC’s requirements for identification, investigation, and remediation of hazardous substances release sites are contained in HSC Division 20, Chapter 6.8.  Furthermore, if the owner of the burn dump site wants DTSC to certify the adequacy of the clean closure for proposed future land uses, then DTSC must provide oversight for the site cleanup.

Question 3: For the four scenarios provided in LEA Advisory No. 56, when would a DTSC Hazardous Waste Facility Permit (HW Permit) be required?

Answer: If the burn ash is a nonhazardous waste, no HW Permit would be necessary. However, if the burn ash is a hazardous waste according to 22 CCR, the following applies.

In Scenario 1 (minimal action) and Scenario 2 (cap in-place) no active management of hazardous waste will occur. Therefore, a HW Permit would not be necessary. Scenario 3 (consolidation) includes two options: consolidate ash (a) on site in a non-contiguous contaminated area or (b) in a contiguous area already containing ash. A HW Permit is required in the former option (a), except under conditions 2, 3, or 4 listed below. Please see Question 4 below for the latter option (b). In Scenario 4 (clean closure) a HW Permit is necessary except for the following conditions:

  1. The hazardous waste is only excavated and sent to an appropriate offsite disposal facility, not treated or disposed onsite (waste generator requirements, 22 CCR Division 4.5, Chapter 12, apply),
  2. The hazardous waste is managed under a Remedial Action Plan or Removal Action Workplan which is approved by DTSC Site Mitigation Program (HSC Section 25358.9),
  3. If the hazardous waste is a non-RCRA contaminated soil and meets the requirements in HSC Section 25123.3, or
  4. If a DTSC variance is granted (HSC Section 25143) to waive DTSC HW Permit requirements.

Note that other agencies (e.g. RWQCB and LEA) can be a lead agency for some remediation projects, but DTSC must provide authorization of any treatment or disposal of hazardous waste.

All offsite hazardous waste handling, such as treatment, transportation, and disposal activities (e.g., manifesting, disposal at a Class 1 site, etc.) must be in compliance with DTSC requirements.

Question 4: How much/what kind of waste consolidation can be performed without needing a permit?

Answer: No permit would be required if consolidation occurs within an area of contamination (AOC). An AOC is an area of contiguous contamination of various hazardous constituents in various concentrations. The AOC is delineated with both depth and area boundaries. Movement of hazardous waste, including consolidation, can occur within these boundaries without requiring a hazardous waste permit. However, the use of this approach should not be used as a means of circumventing appropriate risk management at these sites. DTSC is currently evaluating the continued use of this policy, which may result in it being modified.

Question 5: Are the remedies described in LEA Advisory No. 56 considered by DTSC to be final remedies?

Answer: DTSC determines the adequacy of remedial actions using the procedures specified in HSC Division 20, Chapter 6.8. Under its own authority, the LEA may consider a clean closure to be a final remedy. However, DTSC may determine that additional remedial actions are necessary, particularly if there is a change in postclosure land use. The other scenarios, which consist of placing cover, grading, revegetation, and security, would be considered abatement or an interim remedy. The site would still be considered a solid waste disposal site and need to be inspected periodically to determine if the site remains stable and is in compliance with the applicable closure and postclosure standards. The primary purpose of the Advisory was to present alternatives that could be undertaken to stabilize and/or abate threats to public health and safety and the environment.

Question 6: Is the deionized water WET adequate for hazardous waste characterization? Why is the deionized water WET used?

Answer: While the WET using deionized water cannot be used for classification of waste (i.e., determining whether the waste is hazardous), deionized WET may provide important information regarding the potential threat of the waste under ambient conditions. For example, a deionized WET may provide more accurate data on the potential leaching of constituents from burn ash when the potential leaching agent would be rainfall and/or run-on.

Please note: These LEA advisories are retained for historical purposes. Over time, some information and links on these pages may become dated and/or inaccurate.