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Hearing Set on Development of Toxics Plan

December 19, 1985|JULIO MORAN | Times Staff Writer

TORRANCE — A public hearing will be held Jan. 14 to determine if the city should develop its own state-mandated program to keep tabs on hazardous substances stored in the city and to prepare a plan for responding to emergencies involving such substances. The alternative is to join a program coordinated by Los Angeles County.

The matter will be discussed at 3 p.m. today at the Torrance police station by the city Disaster Council, a city staff and citizen board which coordinates city emergency preparedness. Recommendations from the council will be presented at the public hearing next month.

The inventory and the response plan are required under a state law written by Assemblywoman Maxine Waters (D-Los Angeles) that will take effect Jan. 1. It requires local governments to obtain inventories of hazardous substances and emergency response plans from businesses that handle such materials. The businesses must identify the types, amounts and locations of hazardous material typically kept on their sites. Companies must also submit to the city emergency response plans detailing procedures, personnel and materials available.

Submit Programs

Cities may operate their own programs or be part of a county-run plan. Programs must be submitted to the state Office of Emergency Services by Sept. 1.

The county has not yet developed its program, and the city Building and Safety Department is recommending that the city set up its own, saying it would probably be cheaper and more effective.

John R. Karcic, an analyst for the building department, said the county will probably charge businesses inspection fees for gathering information and charge the city a fee for access to the data.

Annual Inspections

Karcic said businesses would have fewer interruptions and lower fees if the Torrance Fire Department checked on hazardous substances when conducting its annual fire prevention inspections.

City Manager LeRoy Jackson said he agrees that the city should develop it own program, because it would allow the city to maintain local control.

Karcic said about half of the city's 5,000 businesses deal with hazardous substances. He said emergency response programs are of special concern in Torrance because the city is home to the Mobil Oil Refinery and large manufacturing firms, such as Standard Brands Paint Co., that handle toxic chemicals.

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