Environmental Tips & Info

WE ARE NAPA COUNTY

District Attorney's OfficeGary Lieberstein, District Attorney

Gary Lieberstein

Environmental Tips & Info

This is a short list of the more frequently committed environmental crimes.

Illegal Storage/Disposal/Transportation of Hazardous Waste

This involves hazardous (usually something that is toxic, flammable, corrosive, or reactive) waste (not useable products) that are stored, treated, transported and/or disposed of without required government approval (usually a permit).

Examples of hazardous waste: used auto fluids, fluids with a ph less than 2 or greater than 12.5, asbestos, cracked batteries, solvents, wire burning waste, and used oil. Lead agencies are local CUPAs and the California Department of Toxic Substances Control.

Illegal Discharge of Anything Other Than Rainwater to Storm Drains or Waterways

Involved agencies are the Department of Fish and Game, Regional Water Quality Control Board, local sanitation districts (for discharges into sewer lines and storm drains). Examples include: Dairy waste (manure), other sewage and oil.

Illegally Dumping Garbage

This is usually an infraction, which may be a low priority for enforcement but it is a misdemeanor if within 150 feet of a waterway. Enforcement agencies are local police/sheriff, Department of Fish and Game, the local solid waste agency, the California Integrated Waste Management board and local code enforcement.

Watch for antifreeze, batteries, unrinsed pesticide containers and other possible hazardous waste.

Improper Storage of Hazardous Materials

The Uniform Fire Code (adopted by state law and by local ordinances) restricts the amounts of materials that may be stored, the manner in which they are stored, prohibits the storage of incompatible materials (Example: corrosives and reactives next to each other). Enforcement agencies are the local fire department or fire warden.

Illegal Burns

Any outdoor burn without a permit from the local Air Pollution Control District. Burning of certain materials such as the insulation off of copper wire may hazardous waste disposal. Enforcement agencies are the local Air Pollution Control Districts and if hazardous waste is present, local CUPAs.

Illegal Drug Lab Waste

Many of the chemicals used to manufacture methamphetamine are extremely hazardous, for example cyanide, hydriotic acid, phosphorus and ether. These materials may have been illegally stored and/or disposed of on the ground or into septic systems. See information under hazardous
waste above.

Illegal Auto Repair

Auto repair for hire requires a state license from the California Bureau of Auto Repairs. Permits are also usually required from local fire departments and Air Pollution Control Districts. City and county ordinances may restrict zoning where this activity may occur. This type of illegal activity may also involve the illegal storage and use of hazardous materials and waste.

Illegal Development of Hillsides

No person can grade or otherwise perform any development on hillside slopes in excess of 5% unless they have filed with and received approval from the Napa County Department of Conservation, Development & Planning for a soil erosion control plan. No development of hillsides may occur between October 1 and April 1 (?) of each year. Report all suspected illegal hillside development to the code enforcement officer in the Napa County Department of Conservation, Development & Planning (253-4417).

Anyone having knowledge of these types of illegal activities should report it to local enforcement agencies and/or call the environmental crimes hotline.