DTSC Seeks Public Comments on Potential Permit Denial of Sacramento-Area Hazardous Waste Facility

SACRAMENTO August 9, 2019 – The Department of Toxic Substances Control is asking the public to review and comment on DTSC’s tentative decision to deny a hazardous waste facility permit renewal application for Stericycle Environmental Solutions Inc., which conducts business as General Environmental Management (GEM) in Rancho Cordova. DTSC has taken this action because of GEM’s failure to comply with California’s hazardous waste laws, which are designed to protect public health and the environment.

“We look forward to hearing from the public regarding this decision,” said Meredith Williams, Acting Director of DTSC. “This is a company that has a history of not complying with the law, and this action protects the public and our environment.”

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GEM will be required to close its hazardous waste operations if the permit renewal application is denied.

The public may comment on this permit denial through September 24, 2019. Send written comments to [email protected] or to DTSC, Attention: Randy Snapp, 8800 Cal Center Dr., Sacramento, CA, 95826.

DTSC will host a public meeting and hearing on the subject at the following time and location:

  • 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. Friday, September 13, 2019; Rancho Cordova Library, 9845 Folsom Blvd., Sacramento, California 95827

In an October 2018 civil settlement, DTSC required the company to pay more than $1.4 million in penalties for multiple violations, including those resulting from a fire in 2017 where employees intentionally ignited hazardous waste containing naphthalene, which is made from crude oil or coal tar. There were also two earlier fires and an explosion at the facility, located at 11855 White Rock Road in Rancho Cordova. The settlement prohibits GEM from receiving reactive waste and requires GEM to compile reports to document adequate training of employees handling hazardous waste, among other conditions. Reactive waste is ignitable and can undergo violent reactions.

In April 2019, DTSC determined that GEM failed to provide documentation to demonstrate that employees are properly trained to safely operate within the facility, which focuses heavily on consolidating a wide variety of hazardous waste. During a site visit in May 2019, DTSC observed unsafe container stacking activities that do not comply with GEM’s permit. DTSC also discovered that on 11 occasions since the 2018 settlement, GEM accepted reactive hazardous waste in direct violation to the settlement.

View documents related to this proposal to deny GEM’s permit renewal on our General Environmental Management project page.