Proclamation of a Local Health Emergency by Sonoma County Health Officer

Published:  March 5, 2019

In the Matter of  Proclaiming the Existence of  "A Local Health Emergency"

Whereas, California Government Code section 8630 and Section 10.5, Chapter 1 0 of the Sonoma County Code, empower the County Administrator to proclaim the existence of a local emergency when the County is affected or likely to be affected by a public calamity, subject to ratification by the Board of Supervisors at the earliest practicable time; and

Whereas, conditions of extreme peril to the safety of persons and property arose within Sonoma County beginning on February 12, 2019 and continuing to date due to consecutive major winter storm events, which resulted in major flooding in parts of Sonoma County; and

Whereas, the County Administrator of the County of Sonoma did proclaim the existence of a local emergency within Sonoma County on February 26, 2019, which proclamation was ratified by the County Board of Supervisors; and

Whereas, Governor Newsom proclaimed a State of Emergency with respect to the same storms on February 28, 2019; and

Whereas, the area impacted by the flood contains household hazardous wastes; typical household hazards waste materials can consist of, but are not limited to: adhesives; latex and oil-based paints; paint thinners and strippers; grease and rust solvents; wood and metal cleaners; nail polish and removers; certain types of cosmetics; household polishes and cleaners; oven cleaners; drain openers; lighter fluids; fungicides and wood preservatives; insecticides, herbicides, and rat poisons; oil, used oil, and oil filters, fuel injection and carburetor cleaners; antifreeze; batteries; and thermometers; and

Whereas, each home in the United States generates approximately 20 pounds of household hazardous waste and stores an average of 100 pounds at any given time, with rural residents storing more household hazardous waste than metro areas; the flooding and storm damage impacted approximately 2,572 homes and businesses along the Russian River, and in certain other areas, and a large amount of household hazardous waste in the flooded area must be addressed; and

Whereas, household hazardous waste cannot be disposed of in the general trash disposal and must be disposed of at an authorized facility; proper disposal is required for health and safety; and

Whereas, household hazardous waste is accumulating at non-household hazardous debris collection points and household hazardous waste materials have been reported scattered along the water ways, roadsides, and on public and private properties; and

Whereas, ad hoc staging and household hazardous collection sites are being created, increasing the potential for releases; and

Whereas, the river has fallen and is currently rising again, increasing the exigent need to address household hazardous waste in certain areas where waste is not contained; and

Whereas, pursuant to sections 29-17 and 11A-12 of the County Code, exigent circumstances require coordination of State and local responders to prevent imminent releases of household hazardous waste on public and private property; and

Whereas, Health and Safety Code section 101075 confers upon the local Health Officer powers necessary to protect public health and safety; and

Whereas, pursuant to Health and Safety Code section 101080, the Health Officer for the County of Sonoma is authorized to proclaim the existence of a local health emergency when this County or any area of the county is affected or likely to be affected such a public health threat while the Board of Supervisors is not in session, subject to ratification by the Board of Supervisors within seven days, and subject to reaffirmation every 30 days thereafter until such local health emergency is terminated; and

Whereas, the Health Officer for the County of Sonoma hereby finds that:

  1. The 2019 Winter Storms and Flooding have created certain waste conditions in the County from household hazardous waste/materials resulting from the flooding; and
  2. The household hazardous waste debris poses a substantial present or potential hazard to human health and the environment unless immediately addressed and managed; and
  3. There is an imminent and proximate threat of release of household hazardous waste; and
  4. The Board of Supervisors of the County of Sonoma is not in session and cannot immediately be called into session; and
  5. These threats to public health necessitate the proclamation of the existence of a local health emergency.

Now, Therefore, it is proclaimed that a local health emergency now exists in the flooded areas of the County due to household hazardous waste that requires proper disposal; and

It is further Proclaimed and ordered that during the existence of the local emergency the powers, functions , and duties of the County Health Officer shall be those prescribed by State law, including the provisions of Sections 101040 and 101085 of the Health and Safety Code, and by ordinances, resolutions, and approved plans of the County of Sonoma in order to mitigate the effects of the local emergency.

This order may be signed in counterparts.

Sigend and Subscribed at 1:15 PM this 5th day of March, 2019.

Sigend by Karen Holbrook, MD, MPH
Sonoma County Health Officer

To see a signed copy of this document please visit our office during regular business hours.

Contact Information

County of Sonoma
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Health Services Administration
1450 Neotomas Avenue

Suite 200

Santa Rosa, CA 95405
38.432779, -122.684341

Crisis Stabilization Unit

2225 Challenger Way

Santa Rosa, CA 95407

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