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Department of Toxic Substances Control (California) Files Complaint Against FedEx Ground

Department of Toxic Substances Control (California) Files Complaint Against FedEx Ground

The Bullet:

DTSC alleges that FedEx Ground committed more than 1,500 acts resulting in multiple violations of California hazardous waste regulations.  These acts took place at each of FedEx’s thirty-one terminals throughout California.  Alleged violations stem from improper management of broken or leaking packages that contained hazardous materials.  If proven, the violations subject FedEx to civil penalties of up to $25,000/violation.

View the DTSC news release:  DTSC files complaint against FedEx Ground:  Company allegedly mishandled hazardous materials shipped in California


The Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) is one Department within the California Environmental Protection Agency (Cal EPA).  The DTSC manages the hazardous waste program within the state of California.

FedEx Ground Package System, Inc. (FedEx Ground) is a nationwide Carrier of materials & articles (hazardous & non-hazardous).  In this instance, it is also the Generator of a solid waste.


Alleged violations include:

  • Improper – or absent – hazardous waste determination.
  • Unlawful transportation of hazardous waste.
  • Transportation of hazardous waste without the Uniform Hazardous Waste Manifest.
  • Failure to obtain hazardous waste generator identification numbers.
  • Did not send hazardous waste to authorized hazardous waste treatment, storage, and disposal facilities.
  • Did not use proper hazardous waste labels and markings on the container.

Civil complaint filed in Sacramento County.  Violations are alleged to have taken place at FedEx’s thirty-one (31) terminals within California.


News release:  June 26, 2014.

According to the news release, the alleged violations have occurred, “since at least November 2008”.


The improper management of hazardous waste can lead to the pollution of the environment and jeopardize human health and safety.  DTSC regulates hazardous waste within California to ensure it is managed in a way to minimize its impact on the environment.


As a state with an authorized hazardous waste program, Cal EPA – and DTSC – can create and enforce its own regulations as long as they are at least as strict and broad as those of the USEPA.


What conclusions can be drawn from this?  Number one, that significant fines and violations can accumulate from a relatively simple lack of awareness of being subject to the regulations.  Pursuant to 40 CFR 262.11 (Federal regulations but adopted by all the states) a generator of any solid waste must determine if it is a hazardous waste.  This is known as the Hazardous Waste Determination.  Simply being aware of this requirement as a starting point could have avoided a significant problem for FedEx Ground in California.

Secondly, despite popular misconceptions, big well-known companies make simple – and costly – mistakes like this all the time.  You as the Generator of a hazardous waste and/or the Shipper of a hazardous material cannot rely on other big-name companies to ensure your compliance.  Their mistakes could cost you!

So what’s the answer?  Training.

If you generate – or even have the potential to generate – any hazardous waste, then someone at your facility must be aware of the applicable regulations of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA).  But more than that, someone must be familiar with the regulations of your state, since, as in this case, the regulations of a state (California) can be much more strict and more broad than those of the USEPA.

I provide that training.  Whether you choose to attend one of my nationwide & year-round Training Seminars, schedule a site-specific Onsite Training, participate in a convenient and inexpensive Webinar Training, or a combination of all three; I’ve can provide you with the training you need to avoid costly fines and penalties.

Please contact me for a free training consultation.

Daniels Training Services