History of IVAN
In November 2007 in the southeastern corner of California, in the border county of the
Imperial Valley, a small group of residents and a handful of Department of Toxic Substances
Control (DTSC) employees led by Comite Civico del Valle (CCV) piled into a school bus to take a
tour of the Imperial Valley region, where California Environmental Protection Agency (CalEPA)
has designated residents at high risk for environmental toxicity. The purpose of this trip was to
visit multiple environmental hazard sites located throughout the region, as identified by
concerned community members. After the tour, participants attended a workshop to
collaborate and develop solutions to address environmental hazards affecting their lives.
Between 2007-2010, a total of eight government-sponsored Toxic Bus Tours and
workshops took place in the Imperial Valley, a predominately Hispanic community with a low
employment rate. A direct outcome of these collaborations was the conception of the
Identifying Violations Affecting Neighborhoods (IVAN) model. The development and
implementation of the IVAN model marks a turning point in environmental justice regulation
history. The IVAN model is reshaping how vulnerable communities protect, and in the process,
reclaim their environment that has been systematically disregarded as a sacrifice zone.
Since 2010, the IVAN model has expanded to seven other locations in California, most notably the Imperial Valley, where it strives to empower disadvantaged communities to participate in solving environmental concerns.