Tuesday, September 11, 2007

DTSC Inspection

September 11, 2007

State of California
California Environmental Protection Agency
Department of Toxic Substances Control
700 Heinz Ave
Berkeley, CA 94710

RE: Summary of DTSC Violations
Alameda County Computer Resource Center
Inspection, August 15, 2007

Following is an objection to the Section I violation. Also enclosed are several documents supporting our corrective action on Section II violations as required by the Summary of Violations for the inspection of our facility on 8/15/07.

Section I
1.Violation: Alameda County Computer Resource Center (ACCRC) violated California Code of Regulations (Cal. Code Regs.), Title 22 (tit. 22), section 66273.35, subsections (c)(1) and (c) (2), in that on or about August 15, 2007 ACCRC failed to maintain an inventory onsite that identifies the date each UWED became a waste or was received. ACCC failed to demonstrate inventory for the universal wastes:
a.Stockpile that ACCRC claimed to be used by Aftermath Technologies.
b.Items that ACCRC claimed may be of value for the museum or collector items.
c.Other universal waste items in the room with computers and peripherals that may be of some use.
Compliance Action: ACCRC shall develop an inventory for all items set aside for possible use by Aftermath Technologies and for donation/development of a museum, etc. The inventory shall be submitted to Asha Arora C/o DTSC, 700 Heinz Avenue, Berkeley, CA 94710 within 30 days of receipt of this report. In addition, ACCRC shall ensure that those universal wastes are not accumulated onsite for longer than one year.


Objection: We dispute the definition of universal waste in this context.

a. Repurposable material is not waste.
b. Items of historic interest are not waste and disposing of them after one year would be destroying history for a short sighted bureaucratic requirement.
c. What does this mean? Please define.

As it is not waste, we dispute the requirement to inventory and dispose of non-waste.

Is it the intention of the DTSC to encourage destruction over reuse? We have neither staffing or funding to maintain an inventory. In addition we cannot come up with any logical argument that applies to this material that does not apply to the computers we refurbish and
charitably place. We fear that this interpretation on all our other reuses would eventually be applied to our computer refurbishment and therefore stop all reuse operations. As our primary goal is reuse and this inventory requirement would preclude reuse, is it the DTSC’s intention to close us down?

Also, we wonder if this rule is applied to any other organizations that do these functions for charitable purposes, such as Goodwill Industries? If not, why are we being singled out for this inventory issue? Is Goodwill required to get rid of their inventory after one year?

The material in question is not waste. In an effort to promote environmental responsibility, ACCRC demonstrates that one does not need to squander resources by buying new materials if more environmentally correct materials are available for reuse.

People bring their material to us because we contribute to the protection of our environment by making every effort to reuse any and all material first, before consigning them to the waste stream to be recycled. When items and material are donated to ACCRC, we first direct potential items/materials to either of our reuse departments (Computer Placement or Aftermath Technologies). If we determine at initial donation that the material has no current reuse potential, it is sent on to a recycler.

Aftermath Technologies is a project of ACCRC that is devoted to technological reuse. This department supplies material to other organizations for projects ranging from alternative energy to art. Examples include organizations like Make, the Shipyard, Greenpeace, the Crucible, the Exploratorium, many local schools and the Boy Scouts, who draw from Aftermath for various educational, environmental and artistic projects.

We also investigate reuse potential. Examples include making super-computers out of reutilized commodity hardware and converting our entire facility to run on waste vegetable oil, propane/methane powered vehicles, etc. All of these projects draw exclusively from what you call the waste stream. By conventional means these accomplishments would have cost tens of thousands of dollars and would be rendered impossible by this requirement.

Section II
1.Violation: Failed to provide training to all employees conducting treatment of UWEDs.
Compliance Action Completed: Following please find a copy of the training provided to employees who dismantle UWEDs. We have provided UWED training for Phil Fraser and James Burgett. Please see the following signed and dated “UWED Training Acknowledgement” forms and our UWED training module.

2. Violation: Failed to provide training to employees for CRT treatment (yoke removal).
Compliance Action Completed: We in fact did provide training, to our employees for CRT treatment (yoke removal). On 8/15/2007, I faxed signed copies of our “ACCRC Employee Safety Training Sign-in Sheet” indicating that both Diane Paulson and I (Ilma Willard) received CRT training on November 2nd & 3rd of 2006. On the next day’s followup meeting with Ms Arora, I showed her our ‘ACCRC CRT Training’ module upon her request. Ms Arora then decided that our training module, which had passed two prior inspections, was incomplete. We request that Ms. Arora explain what previous inspectors missed regarding our CRT training module so we can revise it to her specifications.

As we consider the Ms. Arora’s interpretations to be fundamentally flawed, we would like to formally request that we converse with a different DTSC inspector regarding these issues.

Thank you,
James Burgett


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