October 30, 2001



Dear Colleagues:

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has informed the University of California that it will audit the environmental compliance of the entire UC system.  This is part of a larger EPA initiative to ensure that the nation’s colleges and universities are meeting their responsibilities under state and federal environmental laws.  In this national compliance effort, EPA has pursued enforcement actions against institutions from New England to Hawaii, and many of these actions have resulted in significant penalties against the institutions involved.

At the University of California, EPA will focus on three programs:  

  • hazardous waste management;
  • chemical inventory and chemical release reporting; and
  • emergency preparedness planning.

For most campus units, the primary program will be that covering hazardous or chemical waste.  EPA has cited universities for hazardous waste violations at numerous facilities, including laboratories, chemical waste storage areas, vehicle maintenance areas, art departments and athletic facilities.  Under the UC initiative, the University will audit its own compliance with the applicable regulations and report its findings to EPA.  EPA may confirm the University’s report through routine inspections of the campuses.

The UC Santa Barbara Office of Environment, Health and Safety is now conducting the campus audit, a process that will continue through November.  Please extend your full cooperation and support to the EH&S auditors who visit your workplace.  In addition, please take this opportunity to ensure that –

  • your employees are properly trained in everyday management of chemical waste and their roles in the event of an emergency;
  • your chemical containers are secured, labeled, and properly managed; and
  • that all chemical waste is properly disposed of in accordance with campus guidelines.  

EH&S staff are available to answer questions or provide assistance on these requirements.
UC Santa Barbara is committed to full compliance with all environmental and health and safety laws.  To that end, the campus is developing innovative and integrated management systems that will allow UC Santa Barbara to maintain and improve its performance in these areas.  Please extend your full cooperation to the campus EH&S staff as they perform their audits of campus units and develop the necessary management systems.  Your efforts will ensure that UC Santa Barbara continues to set an example of responsible environmental stewardship and acts as a leader in providing a safe and healthy workplace.


Henry T. Yang

cc:    Campus Counsel
    EH&S Directors
    Director Belk
    University Counsel Schlesinger