Prevent PCB release during building demolitions
Keep polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) contaminates out of our water supply.
Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) are a contaminant that have been found at elevated levels in certain species of fish in the San Francisco Bay. When PCBs enter the ocean, aquatic organisms take them up, including species that humans might consume. According to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), PCBs have been found to cause a variety of adverse health effects to animals, including humans, if ingested.
In order to improve the health of our Bay and aquatic life and to protect human health, PCBs sources need to be identified and controlled. One common pathway for PCBs to enter the Bay is through urban stormwater runoff. PCBs sources are found in certain building materials (e.g., caulks/sealants, thermal/fiberglass insulation, adhesive/mastic, rubber window seals/gaskets) from building demolition projects, specifically from buildings that were built or redeveloped between 1950 and 1980.
The Regional Water Quality Control Board requires that local agencies, like the County, to develop a screening program to keep PCBs from building materials out of the storm drain systems during building demolition. The Municipal Regional Permit (MRP) requires:
- Developing methods to identify applicable structures and priority materials before demolition;
- Developing protocols to ensure that PCBs are not discharged to the storm drain during demolition of these structures; and
- Establishing the legal authority for the protocol.
- Please click this link to submit the PCBs Screening Assessment form through Docusign.
- If you have a consultant for the PCBs Screening Assessment, please enter their information and the form will be automatically routed to them once you complete signing the form.
- If you do not have a consultant, you may skip the section titled "Consultant Completing Application Form"
- WPD staff will review form for completeness.
- If form is complete, WPD staff will send a confirmation letter with an assigned PCB Identification Number (PCB ID#).
- If form is incomplete or contains errors, WPD staff will notify the applicant to resubmit with corrections.
- Once you receive your confirmation letter with PCB ID#, submit a copy of the letter to the Department of Planning and Development to file with your Demolition Permit Application.
PCBs screening protocol
Starting July 1, 2019, all applicants proposing to demolish a building must complete a PCBs Screening Assessment Form. The form will help you determine:
- Whether the building proposed for demolition is likely to have PCBs-containing building materials.
- How to conduct representative sampling of priority building materials (if needed).
- Whether PCBs are present at a concentration equal to or greater than 50 parts per million (ppm) in building materials.
For applicable demolition sites where PCBs are detected at concentrations ≥50 ppm
- Notify County of Santa Clara Department of Planning and Development, County of Santa Clara Watershed Protection Division, the San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board, and U.S. EPA at least five working days in advance of the start of the demolition.
- Within five working days after the demolition is complete, notify Department of Planning and Development and Watershed Protection Division of the actual demolition date(s).
- Within five working days of it being determined, notify Department of Planning and Development and Watershed Protection Division whether advance approval from the U.S. EPA is required for this site.
- If it is determined that advance approval from the U.S. EPA is not required for this site, submit the hazardous waste manifest for the disposal of PCBs materials to Department of Planning and Development and Watershed Protection Division within five working days of it becoming available. If advance approval from the U.S. EPA is required for this site, submittal of the hazardous waste manifest is not required.
Forms and additional resources
Watershed Protection Division
Building 1, 2nd Floor
San Jose, CA 95112
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