The Regional Water Board oversees site investigation and cleanup for unauthorized releases of pollutants to soils and groundwater and in some cases to surface waters or sediments. Sites include industrial facilities, dry cleaners, underground tanks, and aboveground tanks. Much of the pollution is due to past waste disposal and handling practices, as well as spills and leaks. New sites are discovered as a result of recent spills, property transactions, or nearby environmental investigations.
The Regional Water Board oversees site cleanup through several programs:
- Underground Storage Tank Program (UST) - mostly leaking underground fuel tanks
- Site Cleanup Program (SCP) - range of non-fuel sites
- Department of Defense Program (DOD) - open and closed military bases
- Chapter 15 Waste Discharge Requirements program (Ch. 15) - discharges to land including landfills
You can find information on sites overseen by the Water Board by visiting GeoTracker, our on-line site cleanup database. Once there, select the "site/facility finder" button and use the search tool to find the site you are interested in.
The Water Board is one of several regulatory agencies that oversee such cleanup work in the Bay Area. Others include: the California Department of Toxics Substances Control (DTSC) and County Health agencies. You can find information on sites overseen by DTSC by visiting EnviroStor, a similar on-line site cleanup database.
Parties wishing to receive regulatory oversight for a site should apply to either DTSC or the Regional Water Board, using an application form found on our Site Cleanup Program page (subheading "Requesting Oversight”). The two agencies will determine the appropriate lead agency, using criteria found in the Brownfield Memorandum of Agreement.
The Water Board has developed Environmental Screening Levels (ESLs) to help expedite the identification and evaluation of potential environmental concerns at contaminated sites. Data collected at a site can be directly compared to ESLs, and the need for additional actions quickly determined. ESLs have been developed for more than 100 commonly detected constituents. They address a full range of concerns encountered at contaminated sites and are protective of human health, water quality, and the environment. The ESLs do not constitute policy or regulation, and their use is optional.