Special Operations Section
The Special Operations Section is comprised of the following three units:
The Investigations Unit (IU) investigates civil complaints alleging misdemeanor and felony violations of local, state and federal hazardous materials and hazardous waste laws and regulations. The unit is comprised of four investigators and a supervisor, who conduct surveillance, collects physical and chemical evidence and interviews witnesses, informants and respondents.
The Cal-ARP Unit administers and enforces the Cal-ARP Program at businesses that handle Regulated Substances (listed flammable and toxic hazardous materials) in quantities above threshold levels. These “high risk” facilities are capable of releasing materials which could result in significant public health impacts. Businesses regulated by this program, such as oil refineries, chemical plants and food processors, are required to submit Risk Management Plans (RMPs) to reduce the risk of accidental releases. Cal-ARP staff review and approve all applicable plan components. Site inspections are conducted to verify compliance. This unit also investigates accidental releases of regulated substances.
In some situations, the IU prepares and executes search warrants in order to collect the necessary evidence for a successful case. After collecting and evaluating the evidence, the investigators assembles and submits the case reports to the jurisdictional prosecutorial office for case filing. In some cases, the investigators are summoned to testify in court as expert witnesses to attest the facts and findings of the investigation. In addition to submitting civil and criminal cases, the IU conducts Administrative Enforcement cases for lesser degree violations that do not warrant criminal charges. The IU represents the Department as an active member in the City Attorney, District Attorney and US Attorney Environmental Strike Force committees.
The Site Mitigation Unit reviews and approves assessment and mitigation work plans for sites contaminated with hazardous substances. These sites can be active or closed businesses where years of past mismanagement practices have resulted in various levels of contamination in impacted soils and groundwater. Unit staff oversee the work of private environmental consultants to ensure that the appropriate remedial action and cleanup standards are met to protect public health and the environment.