Friday, May 29, 2009
by Broderick Perkins
© 2008 DeadlineNews.Com
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Deadline Newsroom - Here's a foreclosure issue you may have overlooked: A "distressed" property could be designated as such because it contains toxic wastes you can't just toss out with the garbage.
The California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC), like other states, has created a cheat sheet to help foreclosure buyers cope with disposing certain hazardous items they may discover left behind.
Often left in the wake of a foreclosure disaster is everything from common household chemicals to "universal waste" -- electronic devices, fluorescent lamps, aerosol cans, batteries and the like.
Disposing hazardous waste in the trash, landfills, public or private drains or other unauthorized points is illegal virtually everywhere because it can be hazardous to the environment and people.
In California, improper hazardous waste disposal can result in fines of up to $25,000 -- per day, per incident -- and jail time or both.
So what do you do with all that junk?
Use it. Many of the common household chemicals left by prior property owners are likely still usable for their original purpose. Also, local charities or other businesses may be willing to take it off your hands. Likewise, find a home for old appliances, electronics and other items in working condition and this option is often more cost effective than self-managing the materials as wastes, according to California's DTSC.
In California, you may qualify to be a Conditionally Exempt Small Quantity Generator (CESQG), if you generate no more than 100 kilograms of hazardous waste (approximately 27 gallons liquid or a total dry weight of 220 pounds) or 1 kilogram of extremely hazardous waste (about 2 pounds) in a calendar month, at each site. You'll have to obtain an Environmental Protection Identification Number but, within the guidelines, you can self-transport hazardous waste to nearby collection facilities without being a registered hazardous waste transporter.
Hire a hazardous waste transporter. If you have more hazardous waste than you can handle, the DTSC maintains a list of registered hazardous waste transporters that will haul hazardous waste for the generator to a permitted facility, for a fee. You'll have to submit to the transporter an EPA ID number and a uniform hazardous waste manifest you've signed at the point where the waste is generated.
Become a waste transporter. If you invest in many foreclosed properties that generate hazardous waste you may want to consider registering as a hazardous waste transporter. You'll have to submit to the DTSC a Waste Transporter Registration Application, register with the California Highway Patrol as a hazardous materials transporter and follow U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and California DTSC requirements for packaging,
marking, shipping, and placarding waste.
For more information, see the California DTSC's Regulatory Assistance Web page for hazardous waste transporters.
Check your state for legal hazardous waste disposal methods where you live.
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Broderick Perkins, an award-winning consumer journalist, parlayed 30 years of old-school journalism into a digital real estate news service, the San Jose, CA-based DeadlineNews Group, including DeadlineNews.Com, a real estate news and consulting service and Web site, and the Deadline Newsroom, DeadlineNews.Com's news back shop.
Perkins is also the first Examiner to cover three beats for the Examiner.com news service:
National Offbeat News Examiner
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