Capitol Alert

The go-to source for news on California policy and politics

Audit blasts toxics agency for uncollected bills

08/07/2014 11:20 AM

08/07/2014 11:22 AM

The state Department of Toxic Substances Control has racked up almost $194 million in cleanup costs since 1987 for which it has either not billed polluters or collected payment, and the department may never recover a portion of that money, the state auditor said Thursday.

In a scathing report, state Auditor Elaine Howle blamed the department that oversees contaminated property cleanups for “inadequate procedures, incomplete documentation, and miscalculation of certain sites in its database.”

“These issues are so pervasive that the department has not yet determined the exact amount it may be able to recover,” the audit said.

According to Howle, the Department of Toxic Substances Control as of March had more than 1,600 projects with outstanding costs totaling almost $194 million. Of that amount, nearly $142 million was unbilled, and almost $52 million was billed but uncollected.

According to the department, the statute of limitations for cost recovery has expired for 76 projects totaling about $13.4 million in outstanding costs, the audit said.

The audit’s release comes after DTSC officials last year acknowledged the billing problem publicly, and Howle credited the department for progress on the issue. However, she said DTSC “still lacks processes for tracking and monitoring the statute of limitations on contaminated sites and for tracking the progress and resolution of its settlement agreements.”

DTSC said in a written response to the audit that it concurred with recommendations made by Howle and “will reassess its reform efforts” to improve collections.

Capitol Alert staff

Amy Chance
Political editor
achance@sacbee.com
@Amy_Chance

Dan Smith
Capitol bureau chief
smith@sacbee.com
@DanielSnowSmith

Jim Miller
California policy and politics
Capitol Alert editor
jmiller@sacbee.com
@jimmiller2

David Siders
Brown administration
dsiders@sacbee.com
@davidsiders

Christopher Cadelago
California politics and health care
ccadelago@sacbee.com
@ccadelago

Laurel Rosenhall
Legislature, lobbying, higher education
lrosenhall@sacbee.com
@LaurelRosenhall

Jeremy B. White
Legislature
jwhite@sacbee.com
@capitolalert

Alexei Koseff
Insider Edition editor
akoseff@sacbee.com
@akoseff

 

Join the Discussion

The Sacramento Bee is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Terms of Service