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Toxics Management Division
Toxics Management Division

Residents Topic Listing

 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) from Residents -

If you have a chemical emergency, please dial 9-1-1.

For questions which are not listed below, please call Toxics Management Division (TMD) at (510) 981-7460.

  1. How do I report someone who is dumping a hazardous substance?
  2. How do I dispose of household hazardous waste?
  3. What can I do with paint cans?
  4. Where can I dispose of used motor oil and oil filters?
  5. How do I dispose of needles and syringes?
  6. How do I dispose of expired/unused medications (prescription & over the counter)?
  7. How can I get information about household lead poisoning?
  8. What is the Lead Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule?
  9. How can I get information about asbestos handling and exposure?
  10. How can I dispose of old mercury-containing thermometers?
  11. How do I clean up spilled mercury?
  12. How do I report an odor or exterior emission?
  13. How do I report a smoking vehicle?
  14. How can I get more information on a facility in my neighborhood?
  15. How do I dispose of treated wood?
 
Toxics-Abandoned Drums 
 

Toxics - Hazardous Debris


1. How do I report someone who is dumping a hazardous substance?

Call Toxics Management Division at (510) 981-7460 and provide information about the incident such as:

  • the exact location of the incident (address with cross street or intersection);
  • a detailed incident description;
  • a description of the nature of the hazardous substance;
  • your contact information (if you would like follow-up or to help us clarify the incident); and
  • a description of the person and/or vehicle involved in the incident.

If the business is a restaurant, please contact Environmental Health at (510) 981-5310.
If it is construction-related, please contact Building and Safety at (510) 981-7440 and ask for an Engineering Inspector.

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2. How do I dispose of household hazardous waste?

Do not dispose of any hazardous wastes in the sewer (sinks, toilets, drains); storm drain (street gutter); garbage, yard waste, or recycling bins.

Household hazardous wastes (HHW) are common household products that can pose a hazard to human health and the environment if they are not handled properly for disposal. HHW includes materials like:

  • Paint, stain, varnish, thinner and adhesives;
  • Auto products such as old fuel, motor oil, oil filters and batteries;
  • Household batteries, fluorescent lamps, cleaners and sprays; and
  • Garden products, including pesticides and fertilizers.

If you are a resident of Alameda County, take your HHW to one of the three Alameda County HHW drop-off locations listed below.

  • Oakland Facility – 2100 East 7th Street, Oakland
  • Hayward Facility – 2091 West Winton Avenue, Hayward
  • Livermore Facility – 5584 La Ribera Street, Livermore 

These facilities accept most types of HHW, however, please contact Alameda County HHW at (800) 606-6606 for a complete list of materials accepted and for dates and hours of operation, or visit their website at www.StopWaste.org.

According to California law, it is legal to transport up to five (5) gallons of liquid or 50 pounds of solid hazardous waste without having a special license. After you carefully pack your car, go directly to the HHW facility. Drive carefully.

For locations within and around Berkeley that accepts Universal Waste, including fluorescent light bulbs, household batteries, electronic devices, and other types of mercury containing devices, please visit TMD's Household Hazardous Waste webpage.

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3. What can I do with paint cans?

Empty plastic and metal paint cans, with lids removed, can be placed into your garbage container if they contain NO liquids or other materials; some dried residue is acceptable, as long as it is minimal.

If your paint cans contain liquids, including latex or water-based paints, the best way to get rid of the paint is to use it up in the manner that it was intended. Check with neighbors, public-service clubs or organizations, local schools, theaters, or low-income housing organizations to see if they have a use for it. If this is not an option, ensure that you take the paint to the Alameda County Household Hazardous Waste for recycling or proper disposal. Call (800) 606-6606 for dates and hours of operation, or visit their website at http://www.stopwaste.org/home/index.asp?page=293.

Spreading paint for the purposes of drying and disposing of it is not permitted.

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4. Where can I dispose of used motor oil and oil filters?

Berkeley has a used oil collection program funded by a grant from the California Integrated Waste Management Board. Up to 15 gallons per visit may be dropped off at the City of Berkeley Transfer Station located at 1201 Second Street. Also, up to 5 gallons of used oil may be taken to a Berkeley certified used oil collection center. Many of these centers also accept oil filters and antifreeze. For a list of collection centers in Berkeley and their hours of operation please go to TMD's Used Oil Recycling webpage.

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5. How do I dispose of needles and syringes?

Home-generated “sharps” are defined as disposable hypodermic needles, syringes, lancets, and other medical devices used for self-injection or blood tests, which may have a sharp tip or end. These sharps can be a hazard because they may be contaminated with potentially fatal diseases. Improperly discarded sharps can also injure family members, waste and recycling workers, or end up in places such as beaches where they are a danger to the public. Medical and health care facilities and in-home health care professionals are required to properly collect and dispose of their sharps as medical waste. As of September 2008, households are also required to dispose of sharps as medical waste.

Sharps may be disposed of at the Alameda County Household Hazardous Waste facilities. See their website http://www.stopwaste.org, or call (800) 606-6606 for more information. You may also use the Recycling Wizard at http://recyclewhere.org/ for other sharp disposal options. NOTE: Sharps MUST be packaged in approved sharps containers before taking to the disposal site.

The California Department of Public Health, Medical Waste Management Program is the oversight agency in the City of Berkeley. For more information on the program, visit their website at http://www.cdph.ca.gov/certlic/medicalwaste/Pages/default.aspx or call (916) 449-5671.

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6. How do I dispose of expired or unused medications (prescription and over the counter)

Old, expired, or unused medications should not be thrown in the trash or flushed down the toilet.This type of improper disposal may contaminate drinking water and the environment. There are locations throughout Berkeley and the Bay Area that offer free and safe disposal of unwanted medicines. New laws allow for a mail-back program, collection receptacles and take back events. Visit East Bay Municipal Utility District's website for more information.

Controlled substances should not be taken to Household Hazardous Waste facilities. Users & their family should take them to a location that accepts controlled substances.  A list of locations that accept controlled substances can be found here:  http://www.stopwaste.org/recycling/residents/household-hazardous-waste/medicine

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7. How can I get information about household lead poisoning?

Lead is a metal used in numerous products because of its strength, low melting point, density and other properties. Unfortunately, lead is a carcinogen and may present a health hazard in the workplace or to young children. Although lead exposure can result from many sources through hobbies, plumbing, etc., the principle source of concern is from lead paint. Lead paint was used primarily before 1978. Lead dust hazards can be created when lead paint is sanded, scraped, burned, etc., without adequate control measures. Numerous federal and state laws regulate work with lead and the disclosure of lead hazards in housing. Soils with hazardous waste levels of lead must shipped to hazardous waste facilities like Kettleman Hills or Buttonwillow in the central valley. Analyses are needed by landfills. Analyses must be made by state certified hazardous waste labs. Lead impacted soils no longer accepted by Household Hazardous Waste facilities.

The City of Berkeley’s Public Health Department has a Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program. For information on their services go to: http://www.ci.berkeley.ca.us/ContentDisplay.aspx?id=11244 or call (510) 981-5289.

The Alameda County Lead Poisoning Prevention Program also provides many health, environmental and residential hazard reduction services, including how to test your paint and soil for lead. Visit http://www.achhd.org/ or call (510) 567-8280 for more information on their programs.

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8. What is the Lead Renovation, Repair, and Painting Rule?

EPA issued the Lead Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule requiring the use of lead-safe work practices to ensure that common renovation activities like sanding, cutting and demolition, which can create hazardous lead dust, are conducted properly by trained and certified contractors or individuals. For more information, please visit the EPA's website at http://www.epa.gov/lead/pubs/renovation.htm.

Please report violations to EPA through their Report an Environmental Violation website: http://www.epa.gov/compliance/complaints/index.html.

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9. How can I get information about asbestos handling and exposure?

The Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) regulates all asbestos removal and handling activities. For more information on asbestos removal and exposure please visit http://www.baaqmd.gov/permits/asbestos or call (415) 749-4762. Asbestos no longer accepted by Household Hazardous Waste facilities.Contact landfills shown on table here.

To report improper removal of asbestos, call BAAQMD at (800) 334-6367. Visit http://www.baaqmd.gov/contact-us/air-quality-faqs/odors-and-complaints for more information.

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10. How can I dispose of old mercury-containing thermometers?

Small spills involving less than a dime-sized puddle of mercury metal can be scooped up using a small, disposable dustpan or sucked up using a syringe or an eyedropper, but this method doesn't deal with the vapor problem. The most effective way to clean up mercury spills is to first spread sand, clay or sawdust in a circle around the spill to stop the mercury from spreading. Keep uninvolved people and pets away until the spill is completely cleaned up. Safety equipment, if available, should include disposable liquid-proof gloves and eye protection. . By no means should the vacuum cleaner be used to pick up or remove mercury. Instead, use a damp cloth to carefully remove the substance. The cloth together with the mercury should be placed in a sealed bag and taken to a hazardous waste collection center. Old, non-functional thermometers should also be discarded in this manner.

Liquid mercury evaporates at room temperature and gives off harmful, invisible, odorless vapors. Mercury is a fast-moving liquid and spreads quickly, so promptly containing and controlling both the liquid and its vapors are very important.

Many old glass thermometers contain mercury, a silver-colored liquid.Glass thermometers are extremely fragile and can be easily broken, allowing the mercury to escape. Accidental mercury releases in the home present some of the greatest poisoning risks to children (See Question #11 for directions on how to clean up a spill of mercury). Unfortunately, mercury doesn't disappear when it is dumped down the drain or thrown in the trash - mercury finds its way into the environment where it can ultimately affect lakes, rivers and creeks. The mercury in one old-fashioned thermometer can contaminate nearly 4 tons of fish.

You can help prevent mercury pollution and protect your family by eliminating mercury-containing thermometers from your home. Take your mercury thermometer to a thermometer exchange event, or to a Household Hazardous Waste facility.

For information on exchange events, see the Save the Bay website, http://www.savesfbay.org
Please call Alameda County HHW at (800) 606-6606 or visit their website at http://www.stopwaste.org/home/index.asp?page=293 for dates and hours of operation. For locations within Berkeley that accepts mercury containing devices such as thermometers, please visit TMD's Household Hazardous Waste webpage.

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11. How do I clean up spilled mercury?

Small spills involving less than a dime-sized puddle of mercury metal can be scooped up using a small, disposable dustpan or sucked up using a syringe or an eyedropper, but this method doesn't deal with the vapor problem. The most effective way to clean up mercury spills is to first spread sand, clay or sawdust in a circle around the spill to stop the mercury from spreading. Keep uninvolved people and pets away until the spill is completely cleaned up. Safety equipment, if available, should include disposable liquid-proof gloves and eye protection. . By no means should the vacuum cleaner be used to pick up or remove mercury. Instead, use a damp cloth to carefully remove the substance. The cloth together with the mercury should be placed in a sealed bag and taken to a hazardous waste collection center. Old, non-functional thermometers should also be discarded in this manner.

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12. How do I report an odor or exterior emission?

The Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) is the lead agency to investigate and control odors in the city. It is important to report foul odors immediately to BAAQMD to begin an investigation and trace odors. It is this process that determines sources and starts corrective actions. Inspectors interview the observer, track the odor source and provide advice to modify operations as needed. They may also issue violation notices if appropriate, and will coordinate with enforcement agencies to enforce odor control requirements.

Visit the BAAQMD website for more information: http://www.baaqmd.gov/online-services/air-pollution-complaints.

For wood smoke complaints concerning your immediate neighbors, please visit TMD' Wood Smoke webpage.

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13. How do I report a smoking vehicle?

The Bay Area Quality Management District (BAAQMD) allows the public to report any excessive exhaust smoke from cars, trucks, and buses through their Smoking Assistance Vehicle Assistance Program. Emission of excessive visible exhaust for more than ten seconds is against the law and may be cited by law enforcement. After receiving a complaint, BAAQMD will send a letter to the owner explaining the air quality consequences from a smoking vehicle, warning about the possibility of being cited, and encouraging owners to have their vehicle checked and repaired.

To report a smoking vehicle, please call 1-800-EXHAUST (1-800-394-2878), email exhaust@baaqmd.gov, or fill out an online form on the BAAQMD website. You will need the license plate number, time, and location of your smoking vehicle sighting. To report a bus, you’ll also need to record the name of the bus company and the bus number.

For more information, please visit BAQQMD Complaints page.

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14. How can I get more information on a facility in my neighborhood?

Toxics Management Division (TMD) maintains documents related to Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA). EPCRA provides the public with important information on chemicals that can be hazardous in their communities. Members of the public may submit a request form to review documents related to any facility regulated under TMD. For more information regarding EPCRA and how review these files, please visit our Community Right-to-Know page.

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15. How do I dispose of treated wood waste?

Treated wood wastes (TTW) are treated with preserving chemicals which are hazardous to human health and the environment. Arsenic, chromium, copper, creosote, and pentachlorophenol are among the chemicals commonly used to treat wood. These chemicals are known to be carcinogenic or toxic. All treated wood waste must be properly disposed. Household Hazardous Waste facilities will not accept treated wood waste. Contact landfills shown on table here.

City of Berkeley Transfer Station (1201 Second Street) accepts treated wood. Please visit http://www.ci.berkeley.ca.us/transferstation/ for more information.

AJ Hauling is a local vendor within Berkeley that picks up treated wood. Please call (888) 907-4285 for fees and restrictions.

A list of alternative vendors outside of Berkeley can also be found on www.stopwaste.org. For additional information regarding treated wood waste, please review the Department of Toxics Substance Control's TTW Generators Fact Sheet.

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 Household Hazardous Waste -

Many common products we use in our homes or at work contain hazardous materials, some of which can be harmful to human health or the environment. When household products which are harmful to humans or the environment are discarded, they are classified as "household hazardous waste" or HHW. In California, it is illegal to dispose of HHW in the trash, down the drain, or by abandonment.

The US Environmental Protection Agency initially classified hazardous waste to control what is permissible to be disposed of in early landfills which were not robust and could not contain all the chemicals that were regularly dumped in them. California EPA built on the US EPA list and added more chemicals considered hazardous waste.

Alameda County has a program, paid for by an assessment to property taxes, that will take HHW from county residents for free. Please go to www.stopwaste.org for hours of operation and materials they accept and not accept.

To help you identify some of the harmful effects of common household products, please see the extensive list in the NIH database: http://householdproducts.nlm.nih.gov/.

In general, wastes that are harmful are classified into a few categories called characteristics of hazardous wastes. Many products exhibit more than one characteristic of hazardous waste.

Manufacturers are required to provide users of their products with Safety Data Sheets (SDS) that list chemicals (over 1%) and outline the hazards of the products they manufacture or distribute. The SDS is an essential document to review when determining what the hazards of any product in the home. The label on the product also has a summary of the SDS information. You are encouraged to review he SDS on the manufacturer's web pages.

Hazardous Waste Characteristics and Common Household Products

Toxic: Many products are toxic to humans and the environment in high concentrations and sufficiently large doses. Some chemicals like copper is toxic to aquatic organisms but not to humans. Latex paints may have heavy metal pigments which are toxic, such as cadmium or nickel. Most pesticides and herbicides are toxic to humans and the environment. Fluorescent bulbs contain toxic mercury and phosphorous. Batteries can contain either corrosive (acid or alkaline) or toxic components (cadmium or lithium) or reactive components (lithium).

Flammable: Some materials will ignite at room temperature with a spark. Such wastes are considered hazardous for flammability. These include gasoline, propane, many undiluted spirits, solvents and de-greasers. Flammable HHW can cause fires at home if spilled and can also exhibit some characteristics of toxicity. Flammable products in the home can pose fire hazards if they leak or are spilled in earthquakes.

Corrosive: Batteries, acid solutions, lime (or lye), etc can be corrosive and harmful to both humans and the environment. Many batteries can also be reactive (lithium), and toxic (cadmium).

Reactive: Lithium batteries, concentrated acid (sulfuric). Reactive products must be segregated from other products. Lithium batteries must be taped prior to disposal so they do not react with other batteries. Sulfuric acid etch products must be separated from organic materials.

Drugs: Some drugs can be hazardous waste but most are not. The harm of drugs are by accidental use or misuse of the drugs. Some drugs classified as controlled substances (may create dependence) are hard to dispose of, but there are locations that accept them for proper disposal. Go to http://www.stopwaste.org/recycling/residents/household-hazardous-waste/medicine to find local disposal sites near you.  In addition, some communities have drug take back days where you can also dispose of controlled substances. 

Sharps: Needles and syringes used to inject drugs; the needles can cause injuries and transmit diseases, so they must be disposed of in special containers. Visit www.stopwaste.org for more information.


The Alameda County Household Hazardous Waste Program currently operates three drop-off facilities for household hazardous waste. The facilities, located in Hayward, Livermore and Oakland, are free to all Alameda County residents on a limited drop-in and/or appointment basis.

  • Oakland Facility: 2100 East 7th Street, Oakland
  • Hayward Facility: 2091 West Winton Avenue, Hayward
  • Livermore Facility: 5584 La Ribera Street, Livermore

Please visit www.stopwaste.org or call them at 1-800-606-6606 for hours of operation, proper handling procedures, and specific household hazardous waste they will accept.

Other facilities in or near Berkeley may accept certain types of HHW. This table highlights a few:

20161123_HHW Disposal List

For tips on reducing household hazardous waste, visit the U.S. EPA at http://www2.epa.gov/recycle/reducing-waste-what-you-can-do.

For environmentally friendly household products, visit the U.S. EPA at http://www.epa.gov/dfe/ and Alameda County at http://www.stopwaste.org/home/index.asp?page=585.

For household hazardous waste recycling options outside of Berkeley, visit http://recyclewhere.org/.


Consequences of Improper Handling and Disposal

Household hazardous waste can have several adverse health effects. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) explain why household waste is sometimes hazardous here: http://householdproducts.nlm.nih.gov/

It is important to properly handle and dispose household hazardous waste as they can pose a threat to animals and the environment.

DO NOT throw HHW in the sink or toilet. Doing so brings HHW to septic tanks and/or sewage treatment facilities. This causes contamination that is detrimental to their operation and costly to correct.

DO NOT throw HHW in the trash. Trash goes to a transfer station where HHW may harm sanitation workers and staff who sift through garbage for recycling. Additionally, HHW in trash may ultimately reach a landfill, resulting in landfill contamination with hazardous waste. In rare cases, the landfill may not have a liquid collection liner which may result in groundwater pollution.

DO NOT throw HHW into the street or storm drain. Storm drains flow directly to the creeks and Bay without treatment. Throwing HHW into the street would cause pollution of our aquatic resources.

DO NOT leave HHW around your home. HHW can be harmful to children and pets.


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 Community Right-to-Know and File Reviews -

The Toxics Management Division (TMD) is the Certified Unified Program Agency (CUPA) for the City of Berkeley. TMD administers various CUPA and other environmental programs. TMD maintains documents related to the Emergency Planning and Community Right-To-Know Act (EPCRA). http://www2.epa.gov/epcra. California has more stringent requirements than EPCRA and these laws are known as Hazardous Materials Business Plan (HMBP) per California Health & Safety Code, Division 20, Chapter 6.95. California Office of Emergency Services administers this program http://www.caloes.ca.gov/FireRescueSite/Pages/HazMat-Business-Plan.aspx

The TMD maintains HMBP files for Berkeley facilities. In addition, the TMD maintains inspection and enforcement history for this and other CUPA programs and industrial stormwater pollution prevention program. Note: State law prohibits the TMD from releasing all HMBP documentation, including personal information, maps showing exact locations of hazardous materials and any trade secrets. Trade secrets may be released if no request for intervention is applied for by the facility.

Clean up program. TMD no longer maintains documents on current cleanup activities for contaminated sites. For current information you should review the S.F. Regional Water Quality Control Board program at https://geotracker.waterboards.ca.gov/ and the Department of Toxic Substances Control program at: http://www.envirostor.dtsc.ca.gov/public/

A File Review request form is available at: http://www.ci.berkeley.ca.us/uploadedFiles/Planning_and_Development/Level_3_-_Toxics/FileReviewRequestForm_rev041415.pdf

A File Review request form is required to view files at the TMD office. To receive access to these files, please either fax the request form to (510) 981-7470, or email it to toxics@cityofberkeley.info. The request form may also be dropped off at our office, located at 2120 Milvia Street, 3rd Floor, Berkeley. Please note: TMD will notify you the status of your file review request within ten (10) calendar days after the submission of the request form.


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 Odor Complaint -

The Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) is the lead agency to investigate and control odors in the city. It is important to report foul odors immediately to BAAQMD to begin an investigation and trace odors. It is this process that determines sources and starts corrective actions. Inspectors interview the observer, track the odor source and provide advice to modify operations as needed. They may also issue violation notices if appropriate, and will coordinate with enforcement agencies to enforce odor control requirements.

To make an Odor Complaint, please call BAAQMD at (800) 334-6367, or visit the BAAQMD website.

The following information should be provided to BAAQMD:

Odor Complaint


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 Used Oil Recycling -

In California, used oil is a hazardous waste. It can contain such contaminants as lead, magnesium, copper, zinc, chromium, arsenic, and chlorinated compounds. Motor oil poured onto the ground or into storm drains, or tossed into trash cans (even in a sealed container) can contaminate and pollute the soil, groundwater, streams, and rivers (and it's illegal!). The oil from a single oil change (1 gallon) can ruin a million gallons of drinking water – a year’s supply for 50 people. Recycling your used motor oil reduces this pollution threat.

There are many benefits to recycling used oil besides keeping our water and land clean and safe. For example:

  • Re-refining is energy efficient. Less energy is required to produce a gallon of re-refined oil than to produce a gallon of virgin oil.
  • If the oil generated by all do-it-yourself oil changers in America were collected and rerefined, it would provide enough motor oil for over 50 million cars each year. This would reduce our dependence on imported oil, help reduce our trade deficit, and provide jobs.

The City of Berkeley and the State of California provide numerous collection centers for the recycling of your used oil and used oil filters. These certified used oil collection centers will accept used oil from the public at no charge during regular business hours that the center is open and even offer a 40-cent per gallon refund.

Certified collection centers will not accept used motor oil that has been contaminated with other fluids such as antifreeze, solvents, brake fluid or water, so please, do not mix your used oil with anything. If your used oil accidentally gets contaminated, it must be disposed of as hazardous waste. Alameda County Household Hazardous Waste accepts contaminated oil and other household hazardous wastes such as antifreeze, cleaners and paints. For more information or to find a drop-off location near you, call (800) 606-6606 or visit their website at http://www.household-hazwaste.org/.

The following is a list of certified used oil collection centers in the City of Berkeley:

Berkeley Transfer Station

• Also accepts filters.

1201 Second Street • 981-6350

Mon-Sat 8:00-4:30

Berkeley Marina

• Also accepts filters.

201 University Avenue • 981-6740

Mon-Sat 8:00-4:00

Berkeley Honda

• Also accepts filters and antifreeze.

1500 San Pablo Avenue • 665-0106

Mon-Fri 7:30-6:00
Sat 7:30-4:00

Art's Automotive

• Also accepts filters and antifreeze.

2871 San Pablo Avenue • 540-7093

Mon-Fri 8:00-6:00

Jiffy Lube

• Also accepts filters.

960 University Avenue • 843-3057

Mon-Sat, 8:00-6:00
Sun 10:00-4:00

Oil Changers

• Also accepts filters.

2246 San Pablo Avenue • 841-3731

Mon-Fri 8:00-7:00
Sat 8:00-6:00
Sun 9:00-5:00

Call 1-800-STOPWASTE or visit http://www.stopwaste.org for other locations in the State of California.

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 City Of Berkeley Wood Smoke Nuisance Ordinance -

On October 7, 2008, the Berkeley City Council adopted Ordinance No 7063 - N.S. This ordinance added Chapter 15.16 to the Berkeley Municipal Code (BMC) defining standards and a process for establishing a nuisance condition for wood smoke for the immediate and confronting neighbors of an indoor wood burning device.

If you are bothered by wood smoke from an immediate neighbor and the wood burning device is not compliant with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standards for smoke emissions, and it is not a pellet stove or gas burning device, you have recourse by following the procedures set out in BMC Chapter 15.16 to resolve your concerns. The intent of this City Code is to encourage neighbors to mediate rather than to go to court over nuisances caused by wood smoke. Only if all avenues of mediation fail, does the ordinance proposes complainants go to Superior Court to resolve their dispute.

Physical requirements that must be met for complaints under this ordinance:

  1. The neighbor must be using a wood-burning device not compliant with EPA standards or is burning inappropriate materials such as damp wood, trash, glossy paper, etc. Compliant wood burning devices are gas devices, pellet burners, and devices that are listed with the EPA as meeting acceptable smoke emission limits. Non-compliant devices are open-hearth fireplaces and older wood burning stoves that are not on the EPA’s list of compliant units;
  2. The neighbor causing the nuisance must live in either an immediate adjoining property, or across the street. Typical lots have 5 properties that are in contact with them and three properties that are directly across the street;
  3. There is no solid physical barrier (like a structural wall or another building) between you and the neighbor that is in the visual path from the chimney to your residence; and
  4. The neighbor’s chimney must be less than 120 feet from your habitable living space.

Don’t start with court. Try mediation first.


If you are not able to reach verbal agreement with your neighbor, follow the resolution process as outlined in BMC 15.16:

  1. Initial Reconciliation: Send a written communication to your neighbor within 30 days of a burn that caused a nuisance to you. The initial reconciliation letter must describe the problem and must reference that you are following the dispute resolution process in BMC 15.16.  Offer to discuss solutions that can work for both of you.  Possible solutions may include changing the frequency, duration, or timing of wood burning; using the wood burning appliance during certain weather conditions; operating the wood burning appliance only when the complaining party is not at home; or finally, replacing the wood burning device with an EPA compliant device, or a non-wood burning device.
  2. Mediation: If the operator of the wood-burning device does not respond within 30 days of the initial written communication issued per step “a” above, the complainant shall send another written communication requesting mediation. If the wood burning appliance operator agrees to mediation within 30 days of the written request for mediation, the two parties shall find a mutually agreed upon mediator and should split the cost.
  3. Binding Arbitration: If the initial reconciliation and mediation do not resolve the dispute, the complainant must offer to submit the complaint to an arbitrator. If the wood-burning device operator agrees to binding arbitration, a mutually agreed upon arbitrator shall be used.
  4. Litigation: If initial reconciliation and mediation fail, and binding arbitration has not been elected, the complainant may file an action in court.

Helpful Information to gather and include in dispute resolution process:

  1. If your complaint needs to go to mediation, the mediation request letter should ask for mediation with a community mediator such as SEEDS Community Resolution Center (510) 548-2377 or email info@seedscrc.org;
  2. When you go to a mediator, an arbitrator, or court, you should have proof that the distance between you and the chimney causing the nuisance is less than 120 feet. This proof could come from scaled maps or photos with a scale indicator or another similar method.
  3. Pictures of the smoke generated from the neighbor’s chimney could be very helpful and may be advantageous to your case.
  4. Other evidence - witnesses, expert opinions, etc., that may assist your case.

For more information: For more information on wood smoke pollution, health effects and regulations governing wood-burning devices, visit the Bay Area Air Quality Management District's Wood Smoke and Fine Particulate Matter webpage.


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 Biodiesel Regulations and City of Berkeley Biodiesel Use Policy -

Effective June 1, 2009 - New State Regulations for Biodiesel Storage in Underground Storage Tanks

Recent regulations have been adopted by the State of California Office of Administrative Law to allow storage of up to 20% biodiesel (B20) in certain Underground Storage Tanks (USTs) that have been tested and approved for storing petroleum diesel. Before these regulations were adopted it was unlawful to store biodiesel in USTs that were installed before July 1, 2004, and it was unlawful to store any blend greater than B5 in USTs installed after July 1, 2004.

For information on how Toxics Management Division (TMD) is regulating biodiesel in USTs, see our Biodiesel Storage in USTs advisory bulletin.

For information on the State Water Resource Control Board's interim regulations and rulemaking process visite their website at: http://www.waterboards.ca.gov/water_issues/programs/ust/regulatory/biodiesel_regs.shtml

City of Berkeley Biodiesel Use Policy

On May 19, 2009, the Berkeley City Council adopted a proposal to review the current practices of City biodiesel use. On September 29, 2009, staff presented the Council with an evaluation of the proposal from the Community Environmental Advisory Commission (CEAC). For more information on this review, see TMD's Council Action advisory bulletin.


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Commissions: Community Environmental Advisory Commission Homepage -

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Community Environmental Advisory Commission 

Agendas and Minutes:  Current Year | Previous Years

Mission:
Develops a plan, prioritizes strategies and makes recommendations for environmental protection, hazardous materials and reduction, with outreach to and education of the public, small businesses and industry.
 
Meetings:
South Branch Library
1901 Russell Street
Generally the 2nd Thursday (no meetings in January and August 2017)
7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Please check the community calendar to verify.
 
Contact:
Communications to Berkeley boards, commissions or committees are public record and will become part of the City’s electronic records, which are accessible through the City’s website.  Please note: e-mail addresses, names, addresses, and other contact information are not required, but if included in any communication to a City board, commission or committee, will become part of the public record.  If you do not want your e-mail address or any other contact information to be made public, you may deliver communications via U.S. Postal Service or in person to the secretary of the relevant board, commission or committee.  If you do not want your contact information included in the public record, please do not include that information in your communication.  Please contact the secretary to the relevant board, commission or committee for further information.

The Secretary of the commission is responsible for relaying all communications from the public to the members of the commission.  The Secretary’s contact information is listed below.

Secretary:
Nabil Al-Hadithy
Planning & Development
(510) 981-7461
E-mail: NAlHadithy@CityofBerkeley.info
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Mailing Address:
Community Environmental Advisory Commission
Nabil Al-Hadithy, Secretary
Toxics Management Division
1947 Center St., Fl. 1
Berkeley, CA 94704

Enabling Legislation:
Resolution No. 58,997-N.S. (Reauthorized 06/03/97)

Additional Information: 
Commission Vacancies

What's New:
1.
City of Berkeley Safe Gardening
2. Safety Study on Potential Chemical Impacts on Storm Water System: UC Berkeley
3.Safety Study on Potential Chemical Impacts on Storm Water System: Lawrence Berkeley National Lab  

Meeting Agendas & Minutes:
Agendas & Minutes are presented in PDF format. To view PDF files, download a free copy of Adobe Acrobat Reader.

Agendas and Minutes:  Current Year | Previous Years

2017 Agendas and Minutes:  

Agendas
 

Minutes 
01-16-17 Stormwater Infrastructure Subcommittee-
01-24-17 Lead Abatement Subcommittee-
02-09-17 Regular Meeting   - 02-09-17
02-23-17 Stormwater Infrastructure and Measure T1 Subcommittee 
 03-09-17 Regular Meeting    
03-23-17 Subcommittee on Measure T-1 Response    
   

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Toxics Management Division, 1947 Center Street, 1st Floor, Berkeley, CA 94704
Questions or comments? Email: toxics@cityofberkeley.info Phone: (510) 981-7460
(510) 981-CITY/2489 or 311 from any landline in Berkeley
TTY: (510) 981-6903
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