Environmental Health

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Environmental Health

Director: Jennifer Johnson

Local Source Control Program

What is the Local Source Control Program, and where did it come from?

Small business owners are independent, hard working, and very, very busy. Making enough money to pay employees, cover rent, and feed their families doesn't leave a whole lot of time to look up and read government regulations, let alone implement them in their entirety. Sometimes the inevitable mistake ensues and a small business owner finds themselves talking to government officials, trying to sort out what regulation was violated and heaven forbid how to deal with an enforcement action.

Then a brilliant idea was had, and a plan was hatched...

Instead of waiting until a small business owner makes a mistake, how about if local governments go to businesses FIRST and provide the information up front? Let's offer information, education, and technical assistance in the hopes of preventing pollution at the source instead of trying to clean it up afterwards. It was then that the Local Source Control Program was born. Washington State Department of Ecology sponsors the program, but whom better to visit local businesses than your local Environmental Public Health Division, where preventing illness from any source is what we do.

This program has been designed to work with specific business sectors that create and dispose of hazardous and dangerous waste. It provides these businesses information from a technical assistance standpoint. This means that when a violation is witnessed we don't instantly go into regulation mode, instead we inform the business owner, we teach them how to correct that violation, and then we show them how to prevent future violations.

Will my business sector be visited?

If your business is a Conditionally Exempt Small Quantity Generator of Hazardous Waste (CESQG or SQG) then your business will likely be visited in the coming months. If you read the previous sentence and said to yourself, "what the heck is that" I'll explain. A SQG is a business that produces 0 - 220 pounds of hazardous waste per month and stores less than 2,200 pounds of hazardous waste on site at any given time. If you're still scratching your head here are some examples of business sectors we will be visiting.

Dry Cleaners
Screen Printers
Collision Repair Shops
Dental/Veterinarian/Medical Facilities
Mechanic Shops
Boat Builders & Repair Shops

This list is by no means comprehensive it is only meant to give you an idea as to the scope of this program.

If they are producing such small quantities why are you visiting them?

The idea is that many small generators of hazardous waste are the same as one big generator. King County is a good example of this. They have 1.6 million people and 20,000 SQGs. That's 1 SQG for every 80 people. Each SQG on average produces around 119 pounds of hazardous waste per month, which means 2,380,000 pounds of hazardous waste for their county per month and 28,560,000 pounds of hazardous waste per year. That is a lot of hazardous waste. If a small fraction of this waste is disposed of incorrectly it is still a very significant amount that can contaminate our environment and negatively impact human health.

If we extrapolate these numbers to Skagit County we see that with 115,700 residents we may have approximately 1,446 SQGs. So Skagit county's SQGs could produce 172,103 pounds of hazardous waste per month and 2,065,245 pounds of hazardous waste per year. That is a significant amount of hazardous waste! If the waste is handled improperly, it will negatively impact the health of our community.

I still have questions who should I contact?

The health department has two Environmental Health Specialists ready to answer all of your Local Source Control questions.

Ed Evanson
Environmental Health Specialist
(360) 336- 9380
Britt Pfaff-Dunton
Environmental Health Specialist II
(360) 416-1500

Ed and Britt already visited my business and I forgot everything they said, where can I get more information?

Right Here! The following are links to many of the handouts we provided along with other links you might find interesting or useful. Just click on your business sector and then select the appropriate link.

I'm a….

Dry Cleaner/Laundromat (pdf)

Other Helpful Links

Washington State Dept. of Ecologies Toxics Reduction Program

Department of Ecology hazardous waste director

Skagit County Public Works Department- SQG program

Pacific Northwest Pollution Prevention Resource Center

Environmental Protection Agency

Shop Talk Newsletters

Continuing Education through WSU