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Asked Questions
San Francisco Health Network
Environmental Health

Maher Ordinance and Voluntary Remedial Action

San Francisco Site Mitigation and Assessment Programs

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is San Francisco Health Code Article 22A, "Maher Ordinance"?

The Maher Ordinance requires San Francisco Department of Public Health oversight for the characterization and mitigation of hazardous substances in soil and groundwater in designated areas zoned for industrial uses, sites with industrial uses or underground storage tanks, sites with historic bay fill, sites in close proximity to freeways or underground storage tanks.

Q: How do I know if I am in a Maher Area?

Check with the San Francisco Planning Department.

Q: How do I know if I am in the Maher Program?

You may be in the program if your work requires a building permit and will disturbing a minimum of 50 cubic yards of soil in a designated Article 22A area or are requested by the Planning Department to contact DPH.

Q: I am in the Maher program. Now what?

The Maher program has several steps:

1) A site history must be submitted for review and it will be determined whether you comply with section 22A or need to submit further documents. If the site history has no record of hazardous substances in the soil or ground water, the Director of Public Health or Environmental Health staff will provide you with a letter and copy the Director of Building Inspections that you have complied with the requirements of Article 22A and no further Maher related work is required.

2) A work plan for a subsurface investigation must be submitted to the Director of Health or the Environmental Health staff approval. The Director or Environmental Health staff will review the work plan and determine if the work plan meets the requirements found within Article 22A. After the work plan is approved, the work plan is implemented. A subsurface investigation report describes the work plan implementation and the analytical results of the sampling.

3) If the subsurface investigation report indicates that soil or groundwater samples have hazardous substances present, a site mitigation plan describing handling, management and mitigation of the contamination will be prepared and submitted to DPH Environmental Health for approval. The site mitigation plan shall be completed by a qualified person.

4) Implement the approved site mitigation plan.

5) A final project report describing site mitigation plan implementation and providing material disposal documentation must be submitted with a Maher certification statement. The Director will then provide a notification that the applicant has completed and complied with Article 22A..