Environmental Program Summary



Figure 3-1: Berkeley Lab Environment, Health, and Safety
                    Division Organization


A. Summary of Environmental Permits   §3.3

Table 3-1: Environmental Permits Held by Berkeley Lab at End of 1998

B. Summary of Audits and Inspections   §3.4

C. Summary of Reportable Environmental Incidents   §3.5

Table 3-2: Environmental Audits, Inspections, and Appraisals in 1998

Table 3-3: Summary of Environmental Incidents During 1998


A. Air Quality (Clean Air Act)   §3.6

1. Radiological   §3.7

2. Nonradiological   §3.8

Table 3-4: BAAQMD Permitted Air Emission Sources Renewed in 1998

B. Environmental Restoration (Comprehensive Environmental Response,
     Compensation, and Liability Act; Resource Conservation and Recovery
     Act Corrective Action Program)   §3.9

C. Hazardous Materials

1. Emergency Planning and Community Right-To-Know Act   §3.10

a. Toxic Release Inventory   §3.11

Table 3-5: Trends in Highest Quantities of EPCRA Toxic Release
                   Inventory Reporting

b. Hazardous Materials Management Plan   §3.12

c. Risk Management and Prevention Plan   §3.13

2. Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act   §3.14

3. Toxic Substances Control Act   §3.15

Figure 3-2: Trends in Eliminating Regulated PCBs

D. Hazardous Waste (Resource Conservation and Recovery Act)   §3.16

1. Hazardous Waste   §3.17

Table 3-6: Fixed Treatment Units Subject to State's Tiered Permitting

2. RCRA Corrective Actions Program (Site Environmental Restoration)   §3.18

3. Medical Waste   §3.19

4. Underground Storage Tanks   §3.20

Table 3-7: Underground Storage Tank Operating Permits from City of Berkeley

E. Pollution Prevention and Waste Minimization

1. Executive Order 13301 (Greening the Government through Waste
     Prevention, Recycling, and Federal Acquisition)   §3.21

2. Hazardous Waste Source Reduction and Management
     Review Act   §3.22

3. Pollution Prevention Act of 1990   §3.23

F. Water Quality

1. Clean Water Act   §3.24

a. Wastewater   §3.25

b. Stormwater   §3.26

c. Aboveground Storage Tanks   §3.27

Figure 3-3: Aboveground Storage Tank Locations

2. Safe Drinking Water Act   §3.28


A. Overview   §3.29

B. Process Performance Measures   §3.30

C. Outcome Performance Measures   §3.31

1. Radiation Protection of Public and Environment   §3.32

2. Tracking Environmental Incidents   §3.33

Figure 3-4: Quarterly Radiation Dose to Public

Figure 3-5: Quarterly Radiological Emissions to Air

Figure 3-6: Quarterly Radiological Effluent Discharged to Sanitary Sewer

3. Waste Reduction and Recycling   §3.34

Figure 3-7: Trends in Reducing Routine Nonhazardous or Sanitary

Figure 3-8: Trends in Reducing Routine Hazardous Waste

Figure 3-9: Trends in Reducing Routine Mixed Waste Waste

Figure 3-10: Trends in Reducing Routine Low-Level
                       Radioactive Waste


This chapter provides an overview of Berkeley Lab’s environmental management program, reviews the status of various compliance programs and activities, and presents measures of the Laboratory’s environmental performance in key areas for 1998.


The Environment, Health, and Safety Division (EH&S) is responsible for administering environmental protection and compliance programs at Berkeley Lab. The organizational structure of EH&S for 1998 is shown in Figure 3-1.

The Environmental Protection Group (EPG) oversees sitewide environmental compliance activities, provides technical assistance to Laboratory staff, and assesses site characterization and cleanup. Environmental monitoring programs are an important component, providing critical information to demonstrate compliance and make programmatic decisions. For 1998 monitoring result summaries, see chapters 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10. The Waste Management Group (WMG) manages hazardous, medical, radioactive, and mixed (hazardous and radioactive) waste generated at the Laboratory. The Radiation Protection Group (RPG) is responsible for the safe use of radiation sources at Berkeley Lab, including both machine sources (e.g., accelerators) and radioisotopes.

Figure 3-1      Berkeley Lab Environment, Health, and Safety Division Organization

              III. PROGRAM SUMMARY

§3.3      A. Summary of Environmental Permits

Certain Berkeley Lab activities require operating permits from environmental regulatory agencies. Table 3-1 summarizes the active permits held by Berkeley Lab at the end of the year by area of environmental activity.

Table 3-1     Environmental Permits Held by Berkeley Lab at End of 1998

Type of permit

Issuing agency


Number of permits

Section for more information

Air quality


Various activities with atmospheric emissions



Hazardous waste


Hazardous Waste Handling Facility operations and hazardous waste treatment units





Site-wide stormwater discharges



Underground storage tank

City of Berkeley

Underground storage tanks containing petroleum products





Sitewide and operation-specific wastewater discharges to sanitary sewer



§3.4      B. Summary of Audits and Inspections

The agencies regulating the environmental programs at Berkeley Lab periodically inspect the Laboratory. Table 3-2 lists the inspections by these agencies that occurred at Berkeley Lab during 1998. The list includes self-monitoring inspections conducted by Berkeley Lab as required by East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD) wastewater discharge permits because these activities expose the Laboratory to potential regulatory violations. Out of 29 inspections, Berkeley Lab received five violations in 1998. See §§3.17, 3.19, 3.25.


Table 3-2     Environmental Audits, Inspections, and Appraisals in 1998


Inspection title

Start date



City of Berkeley

Inspection of several generator areas

October 9




Medical Waste Program

April 29




Hazardous Waste Handling Facility

National Tritium Labeling Facility Treatability Study

June 18

August 24






Wastewater monitoring inspections at B25 Treatment Unit

January 14
July 8
November 6




Wastewater monitoring inspections at Hearst and Strawberry Outfalls

January 22
April 27
July 14
November 19




Wastewater monitoring inspections at B77 Treatment Unit

August 11
August 17
November 3




EBMUD self-monitoring inspections at Hearst and Strawberry Outfalls

February 16
April 6
July 13
August 11
November 9




EBMUD self-monitoring inspections at B77 Treatment Unit

February 9
July 6
August 3
September 22
September 23
September 24
October 12




EBMUD self-monitoring inspections at B25 Treatment Unit

April 13
December 7




Annual inspection of permitted air emission sources

May 19



a In the performance measure program, DOE, UC, and Berkeley Lab agreed to apply a weighting factor to three violations because they were minor in nature.
b Not applicable.

§3.5      C. Summary of Reportable Environmental Incidents

Berkeley Lab filed four reports with the Department of Energy (DOE) for minor environmental incidents in 1998 that were reportable under the DOE occurrence-reporting program.1 No injuries, accidents, or damage resulted from these incidents. Table 3-3 identifies these incidents and the sections that provide additional details on each incident.

Table 3-3     Summary of Environmental Incidents During 1998

Incident date

Report number


Section for more information

April 20


Release of washwater from old Hazardous Waste Handling Facility


May 8


Improper release and shipment of radioactive waste samples


July 9


Chromium discharge from Building 77 into sanitary sewer


July 24


Tritium release of 35 curies from National Tritium Labeling Facility


              IV. PROGRAM REVIEW

§3.6      A. Air Quality (Clean Air Act)

The Clean Air Act2 is the key statutory reference for federal, state, and local air pollution control programs. It classifies air pollutants into several main categories:

The State of California’s own air pollution control program3 gives it additional powers to control sources of air emissions. Berkeley Lab divides its air quality protection and compliance activities into two categories: radiological (see §3.7) and nonradiological (see §3.8).

§3.7      1. Radiological

Radionuclides released to the atmosphere from Laboratory research activities must adhere to the standards in 40 CFR 61, Subpart H (National Emission Standards for Emissions of Radionuclides Other Than Radon from Department of Energy Facilities4) as well as DOE Orders 5400.15 and 5400.5.6 Subpart H is part of the National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAPs) program. US/EPA administers NESHAPs, while DOE administers Orders 5400.1 and 5400.5.

To properly account for radiological air emissions, Berkeley Lab conducts a preliminary review of all projects that may release radionuclides. This review includes a determination of the dose to the nearest off-site member of the public following NESHAPs regulations and DOE EH-0173T7 guidance. The assessment takes a conservative or worst-case approach by assuming that no portion of the release is collected by emission controls, even if such controls exist. Berkeley Lab’s methodology for determining the appropriate level of sampling, monitoring, or administrative controls necessary to maintain compliance with NESHAPs has been approved by US/EPA and is summarized in Table 4-2. See §4.2. Results of the emissions-sampling and monitoring program are also presented throughout chapter 4. The Laboratory documents its NESHAPs compliance status with an annual report to the US/EPA, which is available on the Berkeley Lab’s EH&S Web site at http://www.lbl.gov/ehs/esg/index.shmtl.

On July 24, an unplanned tritium emission of 1.3 × 1012 Bq (35 curies) took place at the National Tritium Labeling Facility (NTLF) during a waste treatability study. See §3.17. Silica gel containing tritium was heated in a process kiln with a monitored but unfiltered exhaust system, causing release of tritium oxide to the environment. Although this release was below the minimum reportable threshold, the incident was reported to DOE and the City of Berkeley. Potential doses to the public from this emission were small (0.03 mrem). Releases of this magnitude are not considered a public health threat by US/EPA. Corrective actions were implemented in 1998 to prevent recurrence of this type of unplanned tritium emission.

§3.8      2. Nonradiological

The Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) implements federal and state air quality requirements for most non-NESHAPs air-emission activities. Mobile source activities are the notable exception.

At the end of 1998, Berkeley Lab had six activities holding BAAQMD operating permits8—three fewer than the previous year because (a) two sources were removed from service during the year and (b) one source was reclassified to exempt status during the annual inspection in May. Operating permits are renewed annually, at which time BAAQMD also requests information required by the state’s Air Toxics "Hot Spots" Information and Assessment Act of 1987.9 For a list of active operating permits, see Table 3-4.

In 1998, Berkeley Lab came significantly closer to its goal of eliminating emissions of the most harmful Class I ozone-depleting substances (ODSs). The Ultra-High Vacuum Cleaning Facility (UHVCF) in Building 77 switched to a water-based, closed-loop ultrasonic cleaning system with a complementary vacuum drying oven. This new system allowed the UHVCF to remove its vapor-degreasing system (BAAQMD source #92) and eliminate approximately 1,500 kilograms (3,300 pounds) of 1,1,1-trichloroethane emissions. Since beginning its ODS phaseout efforts in 1992, Berkeley Lab reduced its overall Class I ODS emissions nearly 99% to less than 100 kilograms (225 pounds).

Table 3-4 BAAQMD Permitted Air Emission Sources Active at End of 1998

BAAQMD category

BAAQMD source #




Gasoline dispensing


Gasoline pumps


Vapor recovery

Surface coating
and printing


Paint spray booth
Paint spray booth
Epoxy mixing hood


Liquid separator
Dry filter

Surface preparation and cleaning


Sandblast booth



§3.9      B. Environmental Restoration (Comprehensive Environmental
                   Response, Compensation, and Liability Act; Resource
                   Conservation and Recovery Act Corrective Action Program)

The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980 (CERCLA)10 was passed to regulate actual or threatened releases into the environment. Actions under CERCLA and related statutes include removal and/or remedial action if the release may present an imminent danger, as well as remedial investigations and feasibility studies that determine site cleanup options.

After considering information available in 1991 about historic Laboratory activities, US/EPA determined that environmental risks were low and did not warrant a CERCLA-based investigation. At the request of the Committee to Minimize Toxic Waste (CMTW), a local citizens group, the US/EPA reevaluated the Berkeley Lab site in 1998 to determine whether the site is eligible for the federal Superfund list. Formally known as the National Priorities List (NPL), the federal Superfund list is a list of uncontrolled or abandoned waste sites that have been identified by EPA as priorities for cleanup.

In evaluating Berkeley Lab for possible inclusion on the NPL, EPA considered data submitted by CMTW and additional data provided by DOE. EPA determined, based on screening criteria, that the site is eligible for the NPL. EPA also determined, however, that existing data indicate that low levels of tritium at Berkeley Lab are well below EPA clean air public health standards and do not indicate a need to add Berkeley Lab to the Superfund list. To make a final listing decision, EPA requested additional sampling of the air, water, and soil in and around the Laboratory. Berkeley Lab responded to this request by preparing sampling plans for air, vegetation, soil and sediment, and surface water. Sampling is scheduled to begin in 1999 and to be completed the following year.

Berkeley Lab continues to investigate specific areas of concern at the site under the requirements of the Corrective Action Program of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA).11 Because these areas of interest relate to groundwater protection, all monitoring efforts for the year are described in chapter 6.

                C. Hazardous Materials

§3.10      1. Emergency Planning and Community Right-To-Know Act

The Emergency Planning and Community Right-To-Know Act (EPCRA) was passed in 1986 as Title III of the Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act (SARA).12 This Act establishes requirements for emergency planning, notification, and reporting. In California, the requirements of SARA Title III are incorporated into the state’s Hazardous Materials Release Response Plans and Inventory Law.13 Berkeley Lab activities addressing these requirements are summarized in §§3.11, 3.12, and 3.13.

§3.11      a. Toxic Release Inventory

DOE facilities such as Berkeley Lab are required under Executive Order 12856 (Federal Compliance with Right-to-Know Laws and Pollution Prevention Requirements)14 to evaluate the applicability of the Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) reporting requirements of EPCRA. TRI reporting consists of two steps: (1) determining usage and (2) submitting US/EPA Form R if threshold quantities are exceeded.

Berkeley Lab determined that no chemical usage during 1998 exceeded the TRI criterion of 4,536 kilograms (10,000 pounds) for a listed substance and that, therefore, preparation of a Form R was not necessary. Table 3-5 shows the highest usage levels of the chemicals from the Laboratory’s assessment over the last several years, including several substances either recently removed from the TRI list by US/EPA or now listed by US/EPA for reasons of use or production not found at Berkeley Lab.


Table 3-5    Trends in Highest Quantities of EPCRA Toxic Release Inventory Reporting






















Hydrochloric acid







Isopropyl alcohol





493 e









Nitric acid







Sulfuric acid














aSubstance no longer required by US/EPA under this program.
b Usage for year less than US/EPA reporting threshold.
c Amount includes only 6 kilograms of Class I ozone-depleting substance released; remainder is considered Class II.
d Only seven major TRI chemicals reviewed in 1993.
e Substance not reportable, because use at Berkeley Lab does not meet recently updated TRI use or production criteria for listing.

§3.12      b. Hazardous Materials Management Plan

The City of Berkeley is the local administering agency for certain hazardous materials regulations falling under state law. Berkeley Lab voluntarily submits a Hazardous Materials Management Plan (HMMP)15 to the City of Berkeley each year, although federal sovereign immunity from such regulations has not been waived.

The 1998 HMMP included a list of all hazardous materials present on site in amounts exceeding the state’s aggregate threshold quantities (i.e., 208 liters (55 gallons) for liquids, 227 kilograms (500 pounds) for solids, and 5.7 cubic meters (200 cubic feet) for compressed gases). The plan included annotated floor plans and corresponding hazard lists for each building as well as summary documentation on emergency plans, procedures, and training.

§3.13      c. Risk Management and Prevention Plan

The City of Berkeley requires a Risk Management and Prevention Plan (RMPP)16 for operations using acutely hazardous materials above certain thresholds established in 40 CFR Part 355. Berkeley Lab does not have any operations that contain hazardous substances above the threshold quantities, and therefore no RMPP is required for the site.

§3.14      2. Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act

Passed by Congress in 1972, the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act17 restricts the registration, sale, use, and disposal of pesticides. Pesticides, including insecticides and herbicides, are applied at the Berkeley Lab site by licensed contractors only. The Laboratory operates a composting program to minimize the use of herbicides and to reduce solid waste. The mulch generated from composting is used on site for weed screening and landscaping where herbicides were previously applied. The end products from the chipper and mulcher program are also used to control erosion.

§3.15      3. Toxic Substances Control Act

The objective of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA)18 is to minimize the exposure of humans and the environment to chemicals found in manufacturing, processing, commercial distribution, or disposal activities. TSCA establishes a protocol for evaluating chemicals before they are introduced into the marketplace and controlling their use once they are approved for manufacturing. TSCA regulations are administered by the US/EPA. Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) remain the sole substance at Berkeley Lab currently affected by the TSCA regulations.

Since the TSCA program began, the Laboratory has removed all inventoried TSCA-regulated PCB transformers (PCB concentration greater than 500 ppm). The remaining TSCA-PCB equipment is primarily large low- and high-voltage capacitors. Four of these capacitors are still in use or storage, containing an estimated 114 kilograms (250 pounds) of regulated PCB dielectric fluid. Figure 3-2 shows the trends in reducing regulated PCB transformers and capacitors at the site. Because of the low amounts of PCBs, the Laboratory is not required to prepare an annual PCB report for the EPA.

Figure 3-2      Trends in Eliminating Regulated PCBs

§3.16      D. Hazardous Waste (Resource Conservation and Recovery Act)

The primary goal of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act of 1976 (RCRA)19 is to ensure that hazardous waste management practices are conducted in a manner that protects human health and the environment. RCRA affects waste treatment, storage, and disposal activities at Berkeley Lab in three areas: hazardous waste (including the hazardous portion of mixed waste), medical waste, and underground storage tanks.

§3.17      1. Hazardous Waste

In California, the Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) administers the RCRA hazardous waste program. The California program incorporates the provisions of both the federal and state hazardous waste20 laws. The state program includes both permitting and enforcement elements. The state’s permitting program for hazardous waste treatment and storage facilities consists of five tiers. Listed in decreasing order of regulatory complexity, these tiers are:

Berkeley Lab’s Hazardous Waste Handling Facility (HWHF) operates under the "full permit" tier of the program. A full permit is also known as a RCRA Part B permit. The current permit for the HWHF21 was approved by DTSC on May 4, 1993, and is valid for ten years. The permit allows for storage and simple treatment of certain hazardous and mixed wastes at the HWHF. Simple treatment includes neutralization, consolidation, solidification, and desensitization. Berkeley Lab’s waste management program sends nearly all medical, hazardous, radioactive, and mixed waste generated at the Laboratory off site for disposal. In 1998, however, the waste management program conducted one sewer discharge of very low level radioactive waste in conformance with the EBMUD sanitary sewer permit.

A permit modification request filed by Berkeley Lab in January 1996 remains under consideration by DTSC. Described in earlier site environmental reports, this request asked for certain changes in waste streams, storage designations, treatment methods, training, and sampling. A May 1996 consent order by DTSC allows the Laboratory to continue HWHF operations under a revised set of permit conditions until DTSC makes a determination. That decision had been on hold pending a court decision on a lawsuit filed by a local citizens group in June 1997. In June 1998, the court dismissed this lawsuit. DTSC issued its final permit decision and approved the request to modify the HWHF Part B permit on May 20, 1999, starting a 30-day public appeal period. The modifications did not become effective in June, because an appeal was submitted and is being evaluated by DTSC.

Berkeley Lab has an additional hazardous waste permit22 to operate five fixed treatment units (FTUs). FTU 001, located at Building 77 and authorized under permit-by-rule, was closed in August 1998. An independent professional engineer certified the closure of FTU 001. The type and location of each unit are listed in Table 3-6. These treatment units operate independently of the HWHF. Three of these FTUs are authorized to operate under the "conditional authorization" tier, while the remaining two are authorized to operate under the "permit-by-rule" tier. The level of treatment determines which tier applies. DTSC requests renewal of this permit each year. In April, the Laboratory submitted the 1998 FTU renewal package to DTSC and the City of Berkeley. Beginning in 2000, the City of Berkeley will oversee all future tiered permitting renewals.


Table 3-6     Fixed Treatment Units Subject to State’s Tiered Permitting



Description of treatment

Permit tier



Metals precipitation and acid neutralization




Oil/water separator

Conditional authorization



Acid neutralization

Conditional authorization



Acid neutralization

Conditional authorization



Metals precipitation and acid neutralization


In June, DTSC inspected the HWHF and reported a minor violation, which was corrected during the inspection. This violation consisted of two containers that had been accumulated for greater than one year in a generator area. The containers were already correctly stored in the HWHF, requiring no further corrective action. In August, the City of Berkeley inspected several generator areas under the authority of the Certified Unified Program Agency (CUPA). This inspection resulted in no violations. Waste management permits and regulations require Berkeley Lab to prepare several reports for the year:

In late 1995, DTSC approved the Laboratory’s Mixed Waste Site Treatment Plan (STP),25 which documents the procedures and conditions used by Berkeley Lab to manage its mixed waste streams. The Laboratory prepares update reports that quantify the amount of mixed waste in storage at the end of a reporting period and the anticipated amount that will be placed in storage during the next five fiscal years. These updates are prepared twice each year, covering the periods ending in March and September.

The Site Treatment Plan requires specific schedules for mixed waste treatment. As part of meeting these schedules, Berkeley Lab was required to identify preferred treatment options for each waste stream. One waste stream, consisting of high activity tritium and solvents, was originally slated for treatment at the Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory (INEEL) Waste Experimental Reduction Facility (WERF). A treatment system proposed for study by NTLF would treat the solvents but not release the tritium. This treatability study began in June 1996 and continues to study the destruction of solvents in various concentrations. More information can be found in the annual treatability study reports submitted to DTSC.

DOE’s occurrence-reporting program is designed to track incidents at DOE facilities around the country. The program ranks incidents on a graded scale, using a rigid set of criteria. In May, a sample of radioactive waste was sent to an off-site analytical laboratory for analysis. See Table 3-3. Although the waste was found to have levels of radioactivity in excess of those authorized by that laboratory’s license, the laboratory reported no contamination or personnel exposure. The sample was immediately returned to Berkeley Lab, which corroborated the analysis and determined that the sample had been incorrectly classified as an exempt quantity under 49 CFR 173.4. As a result, an approval program was developed to check all outgoing shipments of waste samples known or suspected of being radioactive.

§3.18      2. RCRA Corrective Actions Program (Site Environmental Restoration)

The Environmental Restoration Program at Berkeley Lab is conducted under the RCRA corrective action program, as mentioned in §3.9. It is intended to satisfy three criteria:

The RCRA Facility Investigation (RFI) Work Plan,26 which details environmental investigations necessary to characterize the site, was submitted to DTSC in October 1992. Now into the final phase of the RFI, Berkeley Lab submitted three RFI Work Plan Addenda27 before initiating construction of groundwater monitoring wells and investigating areas of soil contamination. In addition to these addenda, the Laboratory submitted four work plans28 in 1998 for the implementation of Interim Corrective Measures (ICMs), including removal of contaminated soil and treatment of contaminated groundwater.

In February 1997, Berkeley Lab submitted a Draft Final RCRA Facility Investigation Report29 to the regulatory agencies overseeing the investigation (i.e., DTSC, RWQCB, and the City of Berkeley). The report documents RFI activities through September 1996. A report addendum on subsequent RFI activities (October 1996 through completion of the RFI) is expected to be submitted to the regulatory agencies in mid-1999.

Finally, the Berkeley Lab environmental restoration program submitted four quarterly progress reports30 to DTSC in 1998 in accordance with RCRA Part B Permit requirements. These reports detail project activities conducted during each three-month period and activities planned for upcoming periods.

The Environmental Restoration Program maintains a proactive interaction with stakeholders, including DTSC, the Regional Water Quality Control Board, and the City of Berkeley. The program holds quarterly meetings at which the status of performed and planned activities is discussed. The program also holds technical workshops with the agencies. The technical meetings give the agencies a detailed description of results from field investigations and facilitate agency involvement in planning future activities.

§3.19      3. Medical Waste

Medical waste includes biohazardous waste (e.g., blood and blood-contaminated materials), "sharps" waste (e.g., needles), and other waste produced in research relevant to the diagnosis, treatment, or immunization of human beings or animals or in the production of biological products used in medicine. In California, the state’s Medical Waste Management Act31 contains requirements designed to ensure the proper storage, treatment, and disposal of medical waste. The state program is administered by DHS.

The Laboratory generates medical waste at about 100 different locations distributed over 12 buildings, including four off-site buildings. The Life Sciences programs, including the Human Genome project, are the primary generators of medical waste. Berkeley Lab does not treat any medical waste; treatment of medical waste is performed at off-site vendor facilities. Berkeley Lab ships medical waste off site for treatment through incineration or steam sterilization. The majority of the waste is treated via steam sterilization before disposal at a landfill.

Under the state’s program, Berkeley Lab is considered a large-quantity generator because it generates more than 91 kilograms (200 pounds) of medical waste each month. The Laboratory completed its annual registration renewal in November.

DHS conducted an inspection of the program in April, reviewing program documentation (including tracking records) and visiting several medical waste generation sites. This inspection resulted in three minor violations, one of which was contested by Berkeley Lab. The Laboratory submitted a written reply to DHS regarding this violation and has yet to receive a response. DHS has not assessed any fines or penalties against Berkeley Lab. Because a response has not been received from DHS, Berkeley Lab recorded two minor violations for the DHS inspection. See Table 3-2.

§3.20      4. Underground Storage Tanks

In the early 1980s, California started addressing the serious threat of groundwater contamination from leaking underground storage tanks (USTs) through a rigorous regulatory and remediation program.32 The state requirements for USTs containing hazardous materials include permitting, construction design, monitoring, record-keeping, inspection, accidental releases, financial responsibility, and tank closure. The state’s program satisfies the provisions of RCRA.33 The City of Berkeley is the local administering agency for UST regulations that apply to Berkeley Lab.

At the end of 1998, eight permitted USTs remained at the Laboratory. See Table 3-7. The tanks contain either diesel fuel or unleaded gasoline. All tanks are double-walled and meet regulatory standards for construction, monitoring, leak containment, and design of operating tanks. The Laboratory has removed a total of seven tanks from the site since 1993.


Table 3-7     Underground Storage Tank Operating Permits from City of Berkeley

Registration tank ID #

LBNL building #


Capacity liters (gallons)


Year installed

Fiberglass tanks, double-walled




15,200 (4,000)






3,800 (1,000)






9,500 (2,500)



Double-walled steel with fiberglass plastic corrosion protection




3,800 (1,000)






15,200 (4,000)






7,600 (2,000)





Unleaded gasoline

38,000 (10,000)






38,000 (10,000)



                E. Pollution Prevention and Waste Minimization

§3.21      1. Executive Order 13301 (Greening the Government through Waste
                    Prevention, Recycling, and Federal Acquisition)

Executive Order 13301 (Greening the Government through Waste Prevention, Recycling, and Federal Acquisition)34 replaces Executive Order 12873 (Federal Acquisition, Recycling, and Waste Prevention). Like its precursor, Executive Order 13301 seeks to integrate recycled materials into the procurement and acquisition process. Identified categories of products include:

In procuring these items, all federal agencies must, by December 31, 2004, buy only EPA-listed items with certain contents of recycled materials.

Berkeley Lab has had an affirmative procurement program since 1992. The Laboratory’s buyers search for products made from recycled materials and work with other federal facilities to enhance their power to purchase environmentally sound products. The Laboratory has implemented a "stepped" program to ensure that, by December 31, 2004, only EPA-listed products produced from recycled materials will be purchased as long as these materials are available at reasonable cost and compatible with the Laboratory’s operating needs.

§3.22      2. Hazardous Waste Source Reduction and
                    Management Review Act

The California State Legislature passed the Hazardous Waste Source Reduction and Management Review Act35 in 1989. With an emphasis on minimizing waste and preventing pollution, the Act has the following goals:

Berkeley Lab maintains and certifies a two-part report for compliance with this Act: the Source Reduction Evaluation Review Plan and Plan Summary36 and the Hazardous Waste Management Report Summary.37

§3.23      3. Pollution Prevention Act of 1990

The Pollution Prevention Act38 of 1990 declares that source reduction is a national policy and directs US/EPA to study and encourage source reduction policies. Berkeley Lab’s levels of pollution remain below the de minimis numbers identified in the Act and are not subject to its reporting requirements.

                 F. Water Quality

§3.24      1. Clean Water Act

The Clean Water Act (CWA)39 regulates the discharge of pollutants to the waters of the United States from both point and nonpoint sources using various means, including development of pollutant discharge standards and limitations and a permit and licensing system to enforce such standards. California is authorized by US/EPA to administer the principal components of the federal water quality management program.

Additionally, the Porter-Cologne Water Quality Control Act40 established a comprehensive statewide system for regulating water use in California. This 1969 Act provides for the three-tiered system that is still in use today: the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB), the nine Regional Water Quality Control Boards (RWQCB), and local governments.

For Berkeley Lab, the regional authority is the San Francisco Bay RWQCB. The local authorities are the Cities of Berkeley and Oakland, for stormwater, and the East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD), for drinking water supply and wastewater.

§3.25      a. Wastewater

The Laboratory has four wastewater discharge permits41 issued by EBMUD for the following activities:

Permits are renewed annually, except for the treated groundwater permit, which has a two-year duration. The permits incorporate standard terms and conditions as well as individual discharge limits, provisions, and monitoring and reporting requirements. Under each permit, Berkeley Lab submits periodic self-monitoring reports. The number of reports and their timing depend on the individual permit. For the results of the Laboratory’s annual self-monitoring program, see chapter 7.

EBMUD also inspects the Laboratory’s sanitary sewer discharge activities without prior notice. The agency conducted inspections on ten separate occasions throughout the year. Table 3-2 (see §3.4) contains these dates.

A discharge sample collected by Berkeley Lab from the Building 77 Fixed Treatment Unit (FTU) on July 9 was determined to contain 10 mg/L of chromium, which exceeds the maximum permit limit (2.77 mg/L daily and 1.71 mg/L monthly average concentration). On confirming the analytical results, the Laboratory notified EBMUD, and an incident investigation was initiated on July 21. Berkeley Lab received a violation notice from EBMUD on August 8 for this self-reported chromium discharge.

Although the ongoing investigation implemented interim measures to control chromium discharges from the treatment unit, a subsequent discharge sample collected by EBMUD on August 17 was found to contain 7.07 mg/L of chromium. On September 16, EBMUD issued a second violation notice, and Berkeley Lab shut down the treatment unit pending further review. A series of corrective actions was identified and is being implemented.

Because the two chromium violations exceeded both daily maximum and monthly average wastewater discharge permit limits and occurred in close proximity in time, the Building 77 FTU was characterized as in "significant noncompliance" with these limits. This characterization was noted in EBMUD’s Annual Report and published in the Oakland Tribune on March 17, 1999. For sampling results from the Building 77 FTU, see volume II.

The wastewater discharge permits for Buildings 25 and 77 require that the facility maintain a Toxic Organics Management Plan42 (TOMP). Each TOMP outlines facility management practices designed to minimize the release of toxic organics to the sanitary sewers or external environment.

An Accidental Spill Prevention and Containment Plan43 (ASPCP) is required under the terms of the wastewater discharge permits. Specifically, Berkeley Lab must maintain this plan for areas where spills have the greatest potential to occur. Berkeley Lab has prepared operation-specific plans for photoprocessing activity, Building 25, Building 77, the motor pool at Building 76, and the fixed treatment units at Buildings 2 and 70A. EBMUD requires that these documents be maintained on file in the relevant areas and that essential emergency information be posted. The plans need not be submitted to the agency.

The TOMP and ASPCP for Building 77 have been combined44 and will be combined for Building 25 to reduce duplication of information.

§3.26      b. Stormwater

Berkeley Lab’s stormwater releases are permitted under the California-wide General Permit for Stormwater Discharges Associated With Industrial Activity.45 The General Permit is issued by the State Water Resources Control Board but administered and enforced by the Regional Water Quality Control Board and the City of Berkeley. Under this permit, the Laboratory has implemented a Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan46 and a Stormwater Monitoring Program.47 Together, these documents represent the Laboratory’s plan and procedures for identifying, monitoring, and reducing pollutants in its stormwater discharges. The Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan was revised and updated in 1998.

The General Permit requires submission of an annual report on stormwater activities by July 1. Berkeley Lab transmitted its annual report to the Regional Water Quality Control Board and the City of Berkeley.48 No regulatory concerns were raised by either agency regarding the annual report. For detailed discussion of stormwater results for 1998, see §5.6. The City of Berkeley has the authority to inspect Berkeley Lab’s stormwater program. No inspections of this program took place in 1998.

A minor environmental incident occurred on April 20 when 610 liters (160 gallons) of washwater generated from the cleaning process of the old Hazardous Waste Handling Facility at Building 75 were incorrectly disposed to the stormwater drain. The washwater had been analyzed and approved for disposal to the sanitary sewer, but it was inadvertently released to the storm drain. The City of Berkeley Toxics Management Division was notified of the release on April 21. This minor release presented no health risk to the public or danger to the environment and did not approach any CERCLA, EPCRA, Porter-Cologne, or Clean Water Act reporting thresholds.

§3.27      c. Aboveground Storage Tanks

Aboveground storage tanks (ASTs) also fall under the authority of the Clean Water Act.49 The Clean Water Act and the state’s Aboveground Petroleum Storage Act50 outline the regulatory requirements for this type of tank. Nonpetroleum (i.e., chemical or hazardous) ASTs consist of FTU tank, drum storage at Waste Accumulation Areas (WAA), and drum storage at product distribution areas. FTU tanks are inspected each operating day by operators of the FTU. WAAs are inspected weekly by EH&S staff. Product distribution areas contain petroleum and nonpetroleum drums. Both types of drums are inspected during routine petroleum drum inspections.

Aboveground storage tanks are provided with secondary containment or spill kits to capture any potential spills. No ASTs were identified during the year that needed new or upgraded secondary containment.

Figure 3-3 shows the locations of the ASTs that contain petroleum hydrocarbon products.

Figure 3-3      Aboveground Storage Tank Locations

§3.28      2. Safe Drinking Water Act

The Safe Drinking Water Act51 established requirements to protect underground sources of drinking water and set primary drinking water standards for public water systems. Berkeley Lab has no drinking water wells on site. The drinking water provided to the site comes from the East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD) supply and distribution system. Berkeley Lab has taken measures to protect its drinking water supply distribution system by installing backflow prevention devices on main supply lines throughout the site.

Between February and April 1998, EBMUD switched from chlorine to chloramine for disinfection of the drinking water supply. Although chloramine improves the water supply for human consumption, it is toxic to fish and other aquatic organisms. Berkeley Lab responded to this threat in two ways:

                V. PROGRAM PERFORMANCE

§3.29      A. Overview

Since 1994, Berkeley Lab, DOE, and Berkeley Lab’s managing partner, the University of California Office of the President, have had a system to measure the effectiveness of the Laboratory’s environmental programs. These performance measures have been an annual requirement integrated directly into the operating contract for the site.

Measures were categorized into two types: process and outcome. Process can be thought of as the foundation for building programs. Outcome is the ultimate product of a program’s performance. The remainder of this chapter outlines each type of measure and presents the most current results on their effectiveness.52

§3.30      B. Process Performance Measures

Process performance measures evaluate how well Berkeley Lab has implemented DOE’s integrated safety management system. This system examines the Laboratory’s overall environment, health, and safety performance.

The performance period for these process measures runs from July 1 through the following June 30. For fiscal year 1998, the Laboratory achieved a "good" rating for its processes in waste minimization, pollution prevention, and protection of the environment.

§3.31      C. Outcome Performance Measures

Outcome performance measures focus on bottom-line results during a specified period. Three measures track environmental performance by Berkeley Lab:

As is done with the process measures, a set of assumptions and criteria are jointly established by Berkeley Lab, DOE, and UCOP that lead to a rating on a gradient scale (i.e., "good," "excellent," "outstanding") when the measure is assessed. Unlike the process performance measures, the outcome measures are subject to a performance period that runs from January 1 through December 31. The following sections contain a brief discussion of each measure.

§3.32      1. Radiation Protection of Public and Environment

The goal of this measure is to ensure that radiation doses to the maximally exposed individual member of the public and radiological emissions to the environment from Berkeley Lab operations remain well below applicable regulatory limits. This measure considers the impact from penetrating radiation and dispersible radionuclide sources. Supporting information used to derive the measure’s results comes from established Laboratory environmental monitoring activities. Figures 3-4, 3-5, and 3-6, display the quarterly results for 1998 from each of these media. Together, these indicators received a performance ranking of "excellent."

§3.33      2. Tracking Environmental Incidents

Environmental incidents considered by this measure are either (a) violations resulting from regulatory inspections or regulatory reporting or (b) reportable occurrences of environmental releases exceeding regulatory or permitted levels. Under these criteria, Berkeley Lab had five environmental incidents in 1998. DOE, UC, and Berkeley Lab agreed that three of the five incidents were minor and that the three minor incidents would be given a weighting factor for calculating a score for this measure. The annual score for this measure was "excellent."

Figure 3-4      Quarterly Radiation Dose to Public

Figure 3-5      Quarterly Radiological Emissions to Air

Figure 3-6      Quarterly Radiological Effluent Discharged to Sanitary Sewer

§3.34      Waste Reduction and Recycling

This measure tracks the progress of Berkeley Lab toward the pollution prevention goals that DOE has established for the beginning of 2000. The routine waste streams targeted by this measure are:

The overall goal of the measure is a 33% reduction in the first waste stream and a 50% reduction for the last three waste streams by the December 31, 1999, deadline, using 1993 as the baseline year for comparison. Adjustments in the baseline-year levels can be made, however, to account for significant program growth. Each waste stream is tracked separately. Figures 3-7, 3-8, 3-9, and 3-10, summarize the status of these waste streams. Overall, Berkeley Lab achieved a score that qualifies for an "outstanding" rating, based on the combined waste reduction performance in all four categories.

Figure 3-7      Quarterly Radiological Effluent Discharged to Sanitary Sewer

Figure 3-8      Quarterly Radiological Effluent Discharged to Sanitary Sewer

Figure 3-9      Trends in Reducing Routine Mixed Waste

Figure 3-10      Trends in Reducing Routine Low-Level Radioactive Waste