EPA wraps 75% of cleanup of Napa, Sonoma fire-scorched household hazardous waste

Environmental Protection Agency workers sort a variety of hazardous materials collected from the fire zone, at the EPA's Sonoma County staging area for household hazardous waste in Windsor, California on Thursday, November 2, 2017. (Alvin Jornada / The Press Democrat)


Thousands of containers identified as household hazardous wastes have been pulled from fire-scared sites in Napa and Sonoma counties, according to the EPA which also noted fire victims have reported people posing as EPA agents seeking financial information and offer bogus grant opportunities.

The collected hazardous materials, which range from small paint canisters to “large chemical drums” have come from the approximately 5,570 properties the EPA states it has surveyed so far following the early October wires were ravaged the Wine Country. The removal has reachd three-quarters of the burned out properties, the agency estimated.

What was left behind by the fire that is deemed hazardous household waste has been removed and taken to staging areas in Windsor in Sonoma County or Yountville in Napa County for eventual removal to permitted waste facilities.

Household hazardous waste includes leftover unstable, corrosive or toxic household products such as paints, cleaners, solvents, oils, batteries, herbicides, and pesticides that can contain hazardous ingredients and require special handling and disposal. Taking away those materials, allow other agencies and contractors to follow behind for ash and debris cleanup.

In announcing the progress so far on hazardous household waste cleanup, the EPA also report it has received reports of “fraudulent calls from individuals posing as EPA staff and asking for financial information or offering grant awards.”

EPA officials said Wednesday that in their current work responding to the North Coast wildfires, they are not requesting such information.

“We are not asking for any personal financial information like Social Security numbers and bank account numbers,” said EPA spokeswoman Margot Perez-Sullivan.

Reports of potential fraud are taken at the EPA’s Inspector General hotline: (888) 546-8740 or the California Attorney General’s office: (800) 952-5225 or file a complaint at: http://oag.ca.gov/complaint.

_The Press Democrat contributed reporting for this story.