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News Releases from Region 09

EPA concludes hazardous waste cleanups in California after wildfires

Agency’s work was first element in two-phase recovery process for burned properties

Contact Information: 
Media Contact: Rusty Harris-Bishop (

SAN FRANCISCO – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has completed the removal of household hazardous waste from more than 2600 fire-damaged properties in seven counties across northern and central California. The prperties were impacted by wildfires that started in August. Removing this waste from the properties ensures that the materials are properly handled and disposed and helps protect workers slated to begin removing ash and debris as part of the second phase of the cleanup.

“After another devastating fire season in California and the west, EPA marshalled resources from around the country to help the communities affected by the fires,” said EPA Pacific Southwest Regional Administrator John Busterud. “We are honored to work with our dedicated state and local partners as California communities move forward in their recovery and rebuilding.” 

EPA began cleaning up properties in Santa Cruz County on September 29, 2020, expanding into Monterey County on October 10, 2020, and San Mateo County on October 17, 2020. As fires continued to burn and destroy property throughout California, EPA’s mission grew to include Santa Clara, Fresno, Madera, and Butte counties. The total parcels EPA assessed and cleaned up for each county are:

County Parcels

Santa Cruz


San Mateo




Santa Clara 










During this first phase of the cleanup, EPA removed household hazardous waste that included paint, solvents, pesticides, fuel, batteries and other combustible items. In the second phase the California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery will begin removing solid waste, debris and ash.
At approximately 43 properties, crews could not enter the property due to a locked gate or fence, a property owner who denied access, dangerous trees or terrain, unstable structures or other unsafe conditions. Another 44 properties require additional household hazardous waste removal that could not be completed due to physical hazards at the site. These properties will be cleared of household hazardous waste by the California Department of Toxic Substances Control during the second phase of the cleanup.
Those who have questions about household hazardous waste removal, or the second phase of the cleanup should contact their respective county for more information, as the EPA hotline will no longer be staffed. Information regarding EPA’s work in each of the seven counties can be found on EPA’s StoryMap:

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