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CAL/EPA ANNOUNCES STEPS TO ASSIST LOCAL QUAKE VICTIMS; OFFERS PRECAUTIONS FOR HOMEOWNERS ENTERING DAMAGED BUILDINGS

 SACRAMENTO, Calif., Jan. 18 /PRNewswire/ -- In the wake of the devastating earthquake that hit Los Angeles yesterday, the California Environmental Protection Agency (Cal/EPA), in coordination with state and local emergency officials, announced steps to speed recovery and offered precautions for those seeking to inspect their damaged property.
 "The men and women of Cal/EPA stand ready to assist those who have suffered during this tragic and devastating earthquake that has cost families their homes, possessions and personal belongings in speeding along efforts to recover and rebuild," said James M. Strock, secretary for Environmental Protection.
 Strock noted that Cal/EPA personnel were monitoring several incidents, including a derailment of container cars loaded with sulfuric acid in Northridge and an oil pipeline break near Valencia. Cal/EPA teams will be sent to inspect hazardous waste facilities throughout the region to assure the integrity of containment systems.
 Strock outlined a series of steps that were put into motion as soon as Gov. Pete Wilson declared a state of emergency in Los Angeles County:
 -- The Integrated Waste Management Board (IWMB) will adopt emergency regulations allowing landfills to exceed their tonnage limits in accepting earthquake debris, in order to expedite recovery by allowing owners to clear their property quickly. The waiver is valid for 120 days. The waiver will also allow setting up temporary staging and storage areas where access to transfer stations or landfills is unavailable. The IWMB will also be inspecting landfills for damage to containment and environmental control facilities;
 -- The Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) will also provide variances for staging purposes to allow cities to set up areas to collect hazardous materials to be repackaged and hauled off for appropriate disposal. Cities will also be provided assistance in arranging and writing contracts with companies that perform cleanups;
 -- Emergency permits will also be issued as needed by DTSC for permitted companies who are involved in handling hazardous waste;
 -- The Air Resources Board and Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment will also provide air monitoring and assessment when requested of any ash, smoke or gas contamination that results from fires.
 Cal/EPA also issued the following precautions to residents seeking to re-enter burned or damaged property:
 -- Adhere to all public safety officials announcements and
 avoid entering any structure that is damaged;
 -- When property is cleared by local officials for
 re-entry, wear sturdy shoes to prevent puncture wounds;
 -- Wear dust masks when sifting through debris. Head
 coverings, eye protection (glasses or goggles) and
 gloves are also advised; and
 -- Avoid contact with any damaged containers of cleaning
 solvents, paints, strong caustics or acids (i.e. drain
 cleaners, pool chemicals), used motor oil, pesticides,
 herbicides, fungicides, aerosol cans containing
 hazardous materials, photographic solutions, lead acid
 batteries, or other similar products that may be toxic,
 flammable or corrosive.
 For information on disposing of debris at approved landfills or recycling centers, residents are asked to call the IWMB's Consumer Hotline 1-800-553-2962 or the Southern California Information Services Office for the IWMB at 714-449-7072. Both offices are open, Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
 All other requests for information on response activities to this disaster should be directed to the Office of Emergency Services at 916-262-1843.
 -0- 1/18/94
 /CONTACT: James J. Lee of Cal/EPA, 916-324-9670/


CO: California Environmental Protection Agency ST: California IN: ENV SU:

TM -- SF020 -- 2882 01/18/94 15:25 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Jan 18, 1994
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