Environmental Protection

Helping to protect and enhance the campus environment and providing permit and compliance management services.

How Do I:

Get rid of waste?

Visit the Dispose of Waste web page to learn more about waste disposal.

Volunteer to help?

EH&S welcomes clubs, service organizations, and groups of volunteers who would like to perform an activity that benefits the natural environment on campus and beyond.

If you have a group of five or more people we can host you and your volunteers while your group gains knowledge in environmental protection issues and restoration techniques. Contact Tim at tpine@berkeley.edu for more information.

These are typical volunteer events that last on average two to three hours:

  1. Campus Clean-ups - focus on the creek corridor, the natural areas, or the entire campus picking up litter and preventing it from traveling out to the Bay and beyond. EH&S will provide litter bags or buckets, gloves, a safety talk, and for large groups, will arrange to have large trash bins staged at a central campus location. And now that campus is Tobacco-Free we can also host a cigarette butt hunt where volunteers can win prizes for the most butts collected!
  2. Invasive plant removal and weeding of restoration areas - help keep our campus natural areas free of invasive weeds. EH&S staff or Student Restoration Leaders will provide instruction in removal techniques and weed identification skills before leading your group in a restoration event either on campus, up in the Upper Strawberry Creek Watershed (requires either a hike or independently arranged transportation), or at one of Cal’s other properties. We provide tools, gloves, and a safety talk before starting in on the hard work of controlling weeds.
  3. Planting native plants (seasonal) - experience the joy of planting a native back in its former habitat. Staff or Restoration Leaders will provide instruction, tools, gloves, and plants to help re-vegetate campus natural areas where invasive weeds have been removed. These events are usually held starting around Thanksgiving (based on rainfall) and continue through the end of March.

To protect and preserve our environment, anyone can:

  1. Pick up trash and recyclables and dispose of these items in the appropriate campus receptacles.  Please use good judgment and only handle materials that you are familiar with, i.e. don’t pick up sharp items, human body wastes or fluids, or hazardous chemicals unless you have the appropriate implements and protective gear.
  2. Remove weeds from campus grounds if you are confident in the species ID (if in doubt, DON’T pull it out!).
  3. Report conditions on the campus that you feel are harmful to the environment (creek, air, soil, etc.). Use the form to the right, or call EH&S at (510) 642-3073 during normal office hours (9 am - 4 pm) or UCPD (510) 642-3333 after hours.

Resources

Get a permit?

Environmental permits may be needed for your construction, renovation, demolition, or decommissioning project if it will have land, air, water, or human impacts. Some activities will require:

  • filing a permit
  • paying fees to a regulatory agency
  • self-monitoring
  • standard or best practices

Please select a topic below that’s relative to your work for proper guidance and contact David Scrimger, the EH&S Construction Specialist on campus for further information at dscrimger@berkeley.edu.

General Planning Requirements for any project

  • Historical Site Assessments and Hazardous Materials Surveys
  • Plan Review Process
  • Legal Notices-Advisory Information
  • Water Discharges
  • Geotechnical Drilling and Wells

New Construction

  • Office Buildings
  • Laboratories
  • Engineering or Shop Spaces
  • Classrooms and Lecture Halls
  • Residential Buildings
  • Day Care or Medical Buildings
  • Food Preparation or Service Facilities
  • Commercial Buildings
  • Sites Above an Acre in Size
  • Sites Less Than an Acre, but Greater Than - 2,500 Sq Ft. in Area
  • Soil Sampling & Offhaul
  • Fuel Storage
  • Building Equipment

Renovations, Modifications, and Building Alterations

  • Offices
  • Laboratories
  • Engineering or Shop spaces
  • Classrooms and Lecture Halls
  • Commercial Buildings
  • Building Exteriors
  • Creek modifications or stormwater improvements
  • Equipment Upgrades

Demolition, Decommissioning or Relocation of space

  • Offices
  • Laboratories
  • Engineering or Shop spaces
  • Classrooms and Lecture Halls
  • Commercial Buildings
  • Chemical Relocation
  • Equipment Disposal
  • Waste and Recycling

Report a sewage/overflow spill?

Download the Sanitary Sewer Overflow Incident Form.

Immediately call EH&S at (510) 642-3073 with the details of the incident.

Resources

Drain Disposal Restrictions

Did you spill a chemical down a sink or floor drain?

Immediately notify the Office of Environment, Health & Safety (510) 642-3073 during business hours Monday through Friday, 9:00 am to 4:00 pm. After business hours, immediately notify the UC Police Department (510) 642-6760 and ask them to contact the EH&S off-hours emergency responder.

How do I know if I can pour something down the drain?

To see what you can drain dispose of, please read the Drain Disposal Restrictions of Chemicals.

How do I get Drain Disposal Stickers?

Drain Disposal Stickers are available at the Front Desk at the Office of Environment, Health & Safety (EH&S) at 317 University Hall during business hours (9:00 am - 12:00 pm, 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm). Alternatively, you may email ehs@berkeley.edu and stickers will be mailed to you via campus mail.

What if my waste can’t be drain disposed of?

You can follow the procedure in the Treatment of Laboratory Waste (Benchtop) Fact Sheet to reduce the hazard or volume of your waste in order to meet the criteria for drain disposal. If the waste still does not meet Drain Disposal Restrictions, it must be disposed of through the Hazardous Waste Program.

More about Drain Disposal

Who can I contact for further assistance?

If you need additional help after reading the guidelines, contact Environmental Protection at ehs-ep@berkeley.edu.

Water Disposal (Wash Downs, Pump Outs and Vault Discharges)

Essentially, no water, other than clean rainwater may enter any storm drain inlet.  The following must not reach any outdoor drain inlet:

  • mop bucket dumping
  • trash bin or mat washing
  • hose downs of spilled food
  • beverages
  • excreta  

All of these types of discharges must be either captured and disposed of in inside sanitary sewer drains or sinks.

Note: In some instances, these types of discharges may be routed into landscape capable of absorbing all the water if contaminants in the water will not pose a risk to plant life or create a nuisance (odor, visual impact, or attract pests).

If you, or a project you are affiliated with, plan to perform any activity where you need to dispose of water, even clean drinking water, please review the documents linked below or contact a member of the EH&S Environmental Protection Program for assistance.

Prohibited discharges both negatively impact our creeks and Bay and may result in significant fines to the responsible parties.

Services Provided:

  • Planning and assistance for new pipe and fire service discharges
  • Assistance in modifying operations practices to prevent surface water pollution
  • Identification of storm drains and sanitary sewer disposal points
  • Approval of certain exempt discharges to storm drains

Resources

Air Quality & Pollution

The EH&S Air Quality program assists the campus in air pollution prevention and provides compliance assistance on environmental regulations.  If you would like more information on campus air emissions or need assistance with the services below, please contact Bernadette Santos at (510) 642-6568.  If you need assistance with indoor air quality complaints, see the Indoor Air Quality Fact Sheet

Services Provided

  • Assistance in applying for air permits for equipment and operations
  • Purchase assistance to comply with air regulations
  • Investigation and response to outdoor air complaints
  • Facilitate the collection of outdoor air quality parameters
  • Facilitate the assessment of air toxic risk to the community
  • Produce outreach material and guidelines to comply with regulations

Resources

UC Berkeley Idling Requirements

Spare the Air Information

Sulfur Hexafluoride (SF6) & Fluorinated Gas Regulations

  • This report provides information on how campus entities can maintain compliance with the three regulations:
    • SF6 Emission Reductions from the Electricity Sector & Particle Accelerators

    • SF6 Reductions from Non-Electric and Non-Semiconductor Applications

    • SF6 and Fluorinated Gas Use in Semiconductor and Related Devices Operations

Environmental Enforcement Code

Access our Environmental Enforcement Code here.

Equipment Registration and Record-Keeping

Below is a list of items that have specific registration/permitting requirements and recordkeeping requirements. This must be done prior to the purchase of these items. If it is not in compliance, it cannot be permitted or operated.

* A vehicle is defined as a self-propelled unit and may include, but is not limited to:  backhoes, boom lifts, bore/drill rigs, bucket trucks, cranes, excavators, forklifts, graders, lawnmowers, pavers, rollers, and tractors.

** Underground storage tanks are no longer permitted on campus.

For any other inquiries, contact Bernadette Santos at (510) 642-6568 or bsantos@berkeley.edu.

EH&S Contact