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It is the intent of the Board of Supervisors that the County, through its Office of Emergency Services (OES) and the Department of Environmental Health and Quality (Department), should continue to participate in regional arrangements to ensure prompt and effective responses to hazardous materials release incidents (including suspected and threatened releases) within the County. Such participation helps to protect public health and safety and the environment. To the extent allowed by state law, responsible persons should pay for release responses. Where costs cannot be attributed and recovered, coordinated regional efforts should be funded regionally through the Unified San Diego County Emergency Services Organization (USDCESO), a joint powers agency established for these purposes. It is the further intent of the Board of Supervisors that the Department should respond to releases in the unincorporated area that do not fall within the ambit of USDCESO to the extent necessary to protect human health, safety and the environment. Finally, it is the intent of the Board of Supervisors that specialized capabilities developed within the Department to better protect the County be made available for deployment outside of the County at the direction of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, on a full cost recovery basis, where such arrangements will not degrade response capabilities within the County.
For releases in the unincorporated portions of the County, recovery of emergency response costs and expenses is authorized by Section 104.12 of the California Fire Code (as amended in this County by section 126.96.36.199 of this Code) where a release that requires a response is a result of negligence, and by Section 364.1 of the County Administrative Code when recovery is authorized by State law. Several provisions of State law authorize the County, in particular circumstances, to recover emergency response costs incurred anywhere in the County when acting in an authorized capacity. These provisions include Sections 53150 through 53159 of the Government Code (releases caused by persons under the influence of alcohol or drugs), Section 13009.6 of the Health and Safety Code (releases that pose an imminent threat to health and safety and require an evacuation or that result in the spread of a hazardous substance beyond its origin), and Section 25515 of the Health and Safety Code (releases caused by or made worse by certain violations of State law). The chaptered enactments for these State laws clarify that they are not preemptive of other County powers to respond to releases and to recover costs. Finally, when acting under the auspices of USDCESO, a joint powers authority under State law, the above State law authorities and city and county authorities to take action and to recover costs, are applicable to allow USDCESO to recover response costs incurred by any USDCESO contractor.
(Added by Ord. No. 10412 (N.S.), effective 2-26-16; amended by Ord. No. 10536 (N.S.), effective 7-1-18; amended by Ord. No. 10709 (N.S.), effective 1-15-21)