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California Laws Regarding Transportation of Biohazardous Waste

An important element of the biohazardous waste cleanup process is the safe transportation of those potentially dangerous materials from the location of the remediation to the destination where the waste will be treated or disposed. In the state of California, there are a set of laws, and associated regulations, that govern the manner in which biohazardous waste is to be transported. The laws dictate how application is made for registration, how ongoing or recurring inspections of a transporter are to be made, and what reporting requirements a transporter must satisfy.

What is a Transporter of Biohazardous Waste?

The laws of the state of California define a transporter of biohazardous waste as a person or business engaged in the offsite movement of biohazardous waste. The transport can occur by roadway, rail, water, or air.

Application for Registration as a Hazardous Waste Transporter

The first step in garnering authorization to transport biohazardous waste is to register with the California Department of Toxic Substances Control. By registering with the agency, a transporter need not obtain a permit for each individual transport job.

The application form is available from the Department. The application form technically is known as Hazardous Waste Hauler Application form (Form DTSC 187, Rev. 2/92). The application form can be obtained online through the Department’s website or by writing:

California Department of Toxic Substances Control

Biohazardous Waste Registration
1001 I Street
MS 11-A
Sacramento, California 95184

In addition to a completed application, an entity seeking registration to transport biohazardous waste must also provide a copy of an appropriate insurance policy or evidence of self-insurance. In addition, in order to obtain approval of an application for registration as a transporter of biohazardous waste, an applicant must demonstrate “proof of ability to provide adequate response in damages resulting from the operation of the person’s business.”

Within in 14 days of submission of an application, the Department must inform an applicant that or acceptance or deficiency. If there is some deficiency associated with the application, the Department must notify the applicant. The Department must advise of what specific information is missing in the application.

If a biohazards transporter already is registered, the Department requires submission of an application to re-register before the expiration date of the existing registration. Specifically, California law states that an application to re-register must be submitted at least 45 days before the expiration of an existing registration. If a new registration application is not approved prior to the expiration of an existing registration, a transporter cannot lawfully transport biohazardous waste in the state of California.

The term of registration is for one year. The clock starts running on the registration beginning on the date of formal issuance.

Inspection of California Biohazard Transporter

The state of California has developed an extensive protocol for the inspection of a transporter of biohazardous waste. In this regard, a transporter must:

  • Allow the California Highway Patrol to randomly inspect a transporter’s trucks, trailers, semitrailers, vacuum tanks, cargo tanks and containers at any time.
  • Make vehicles and containers available for inspection at a safe work location when a random inspection is conducted at a transporter’s base of operations.
  • Allow the Department of Toxic Substances Control to inspect manifests, reports, permits, licenses, billing records and other documents related to the transportation of biohazardous wastes;
  • Make available to the Department of Toxic Substances Control and California Highway Patrol, when requested, all records of inspection required by section 1163(e), Title 13, California Code of Regulations.

The failure to comply with any of these inspection requirements can result in the immediate suspension or revocation of a biohazardous waste transporter’s registration.

Transporter Registration Reporting Requirements

A registered transporter of biohazardous waste has a legal obligation to make certain reports to the Department of Toxic Substances Control. The notification must be made in writing to the Department when certain events occur. These are:

  • Change in majority ownership of the transporter
  • Change in ownership or control of a vehicle or container previously certified by the Department
  • A truck, trailer, semitrailer, vacuum tank, cargo tank, or container previously certified by the Department is involved in any spill or accident which renders, or may have rendered, the vehicle or container out of compliance.

Biohazardous Waste Storage

If a biohazardous waste transporter will store waste for a period beyond 10 days, the transporter must obtain a permit for this activity. Similarly, if a biohazardous waste transporter intends to treat or dispose of waste at its facility, a permit for those types of operations is required as well. Storing as well as treating and disposing have different registration, inspection, and reporting requirements.

Photo Courtesy of By Mr.choppers.