Frequently Asked Questions

      Electronically submitting a HMBP will trigger a regulator to review it. Upon a full review, you will receive an invoice for your permit category. By paying this invoice, you will receive your permit.​

      Assembly Bill 2286 (Feuer) was signed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, chaptered on September 29, 2008 and went into effect January 1, 2009.  As of January 1, 2013, the law requires regulated businesses to use the Internet to file required Unified Program information previously filed by paper forms.​

      HMCD, as the County Certified Unified Program Agency (CUPA) and local fire departments that work with the County as Participating Agencies (PA) are developing a local web portal (i.e., website) named FrontCounter, where businesses may submit required information and access additional compliance tools and resources. Information collected through the FrontCounter portal will be transmitted electronically to Cal/EPA's state-wide database, the California Environmental Reporting System (CERS). We anticipate that our portal, FrontCounter, will be operational in the fourth quarter of 2015. Businesses will be notified when FrontCounter is ready for use. If you are required to make a submittal before FrontCounter is available, you may go directly to CERS.​

      No. You will need to submit using only one of the reporting systems. We highly encourage you to use FrontCounter, as it will allow you to meet both State and local requirements from one website. It will also provide tools and information beyond what is available in CERS. Businesses that use CERS as their primary reporting system may need to submit additional forms and information directly to the local agency in order to meet local requirements.

      If you have used or are using CERS, your latest approved submittal will be available in FrontCounter, as long as the information has been accepted by a regulator. You may switch to FrontCounter, but will be required to stop using CERS.​

      No. Some agencies will choose to develop a local portal, while others will have their businesses reporting directly to CERS. The FrontCounter portal described in this FAQ is intended for businesses within Santa Clara County, excluding those in the cities of Gilroy, Santa Clara, and Sunnyvale.​

      Electronic reporting will save time and resources by allowing all of the following:

      • Businesses and their contractors can quickly access, update, and submit Unified Program information.
      • Multi-jurisdictional businesses can submit required information through a single reporting system.
      • Emergency Responders can quickly see a facility's current hazardous materials inventory and site maps.​

      Hazardous Materials Business Plans must be submitted within 12 months of your last submittal and/or 30 days of any substantial changes to your facility's operations.​​

      Substantial changes include:

      • A 100 percent or more increase in the quantity of a previously disclosed material
      • Any handling of a previously undisclosed hazardous material subject to the inventory requirements of an HMBP
      • Change of business address
      • Change of business ownership
      • Change of business name
      • A substantial change in the handler's operations
      • Any change that would inhibit immediate response during an emergency by either site personnel or emergency response personnel

      Hazardous materials which meet or exceed State-mandated thresholds must be reported. However, your facility may be subject to additional requirements per local or municipal codes. For example, the County's Hazardous Materials Storage Ordinance requires below-threshold hazardous materials to be reported on your HMBP, aggregated by hazard class and storage location.

      If your facility is located within the city limits of MilpitasMountain View, or  Palo Alto, please check with that city's Fire Department. If your facility is located in Campbell, Cupertino, or Los Gatos, please check with the Santa Clara County Fire Department. The cities of GilroySanta Clara, and Sunnyvale​ are all separate CUPAs; please contact them for details. All other areas in our CUPA (Los Altos Hills, Moffett Field, Monte Sereno, San Martin, Saratoga, Stanford, and unincorporated areas, are subject to the aforementioned Hazardous Materials Storage Ordinance.​

      A full HMBP is required annually. Both CERS and FrontCounter facilitate re-submittals by using previously-submitted information so that you need not start a submittal from scratch each year. Please visit CERS or FrontCounter to submit your full HMBP.​

          Electronically submitting the Facility Information submittal element on CERS will prompt a regulator to review your submittal. Upon review, an invoice will be issued to your facility for your appropriate permit category. By paying this invoice, you will receive a hazardous waste permit.


          With the Governor’s veto of 2020’s Assembly Bill 68, Treated Wood Waste is no longer allowed to disposed of at any place except a Class I Hazardous Waste Landfill.  This ban took place on January 1, 2021. Commercial haulers have already notified the Department of Environmental Health and many customers that they will be rejecting loads where they see treated wood in the waste containers.
          If you generate treated wood waste, DEH recommends:
          •    Separating treated wood from non-treated wood during demolition.
          •    Cutting any removed treated wood during demolition so that it will fit into a container for storage. 
          You may continue to handle your non-treated wood as you always have.
          Your Treated Wood Waste should now be:
          •    Placed in a container (e.g. cubic yard box, tri-wall, 20- or 40-yard roll off bin);
          •    Covered when not adding waste to the container;
          •    Marked with the following information:
                   o    The words “HAZARDOUS WASTE”
                   o    Your company’s name and address
                   o    The words “TREATED WOOD”
                   o    The word “TOXIC” 
                   o    The date you started putting the wood waste in the container;
          •    Removed from your site by a hazardous waste hauler within 180 days. 
          Industry representatives are currently working with the State Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) to address this issue.  For more information you may contact the Dept. of Environmental Health at 408-918-3400 or visit DTSC’s website at https://dtsc.ca.gov/toxics-in-products/treated-wood-waste/
          A short term solution is expected near the end of February, middle of March 2021, according to the Department of Toxic Substances Control. 
           

          ​If you witness or suspect a spill or illegal disposal of hazardous waste, contact HMCD immediately. After business hours and weekends call CalEPA at (916) 845-8911. In the event of an emergency, call 911 immediately.

          ​If you are a hazardous waste generator that collects hazardous waste initially at remote sites and subsequently transports the hazardous waste to a consolidation site that you also operate, you must submit a include a Remote Waste Consolidation Site Annual Notification with your CERS submittal. This notification must be submitted every year. Refer to Health and Safety Code §25110.10 for eligibility and notification requirements.

              Electronically submitting all required information in CERS will prompt a regulator to review your submittal. Upon review, an invoice will be issued to your facility for your appropriate permit category. By paying this invoice, you will receive a Tiered Permitting Facility Permit.

                  ​Yes. Farm tanks, heating oil tanks- located at a personal residence and holds no more than 1,100 gallons of heating oil, hydraulic lift tanks, propane tanks, septic tanks, sumps, pits, ponds, or lagoons, wastewater treatment tanks, except those that are part of a UST system, stormwater or wastewater collection systems, and emergency containment tanks kept empty to receive accidental spills are exempt from this Program. See Health & Safety Code, Chapter 6.7, §25281.​​

                      ​Electronically submitting the Facility Information submittal element and Aboveground Petroleum Storage Act Documentation on CERS will prompt a regulator to review your submittal. Upon review, an invoice will be issued to your facility for your appropriate permit category. By paying this invoice, you will receive an APSA Facility Permit.​

                      • ​If your facility has ≤10,000 gallons total petroleum storage capacity and no tank is >5,000 gallons, you may use the Tier I SPCC Plan Template.
                      • If your facility has ≤10,000 gallons total petroleum storage capacity and any individual tank is >5,000 gallons, you may self-certify using the Tier II SPCC Plan Template​, but may not use the Tier I SPCC Plan Template.

                      • Facilities with >10,000 gallons total storage capacity must have a registered Professional Engineer (P.E.) review and certify the SPCC Plan.

                      • ​Farms, nurseries, logging and construction sites with no tank >20,000 gallons and a total petroleum storage capacity <100,000 gallons are conditionally exempt from completing and implementing an SPCC Plan. However, these facilities must:
                        • Submit Facility Information and required APSA Documentation on CERS.

                        • Conduct daily inspections of ASTs in compliance with Federal SPCC rules.

                        • Pay annual invoice to keep an active ASPA permit with HMCD.

                        • Allow HMCD to conduct periodic inspections.

                        • Notify HMCD and CalOES of a spill or release of 42 gallons or more of petroleum.

                      • Farms, nurseries, logging, and construction sites with tanks >20,000 gallons or a total petroleum storage capacity >100,000 gallons must comply with the requirements listed above and complete an SPCC Plan.

                          Upon review of your Hazardous Materials Registration Form, or your Hazardous Materials Business Plan, you will receive an invoice for your annual permit. Please pay this invoice in a timely manner to receive your permit.​

                                  For aboveground tank cutting and/or cleaning, the following documents are required to be submitted to HMCD if the tank is located in an unincorporated area of Santa Clara County or within the city limits of Los Altos Hills, Moffett Field, Monte Sereno, San Martin, Stanford, Saratoga or Stanford:

                                  • A completed Hazardous Materials Storage Tank System Cleaning/Cutting Application
                                  • A completed Aboveground Tank Closure Application
                                  • A copy of the Site-Specific Health and Safety Plan 

                                  If the tank isn't within any of these areas, contact your local fire department.

                                  For underground storage tank cutting and/or cleaning, the following documents are required to be submitted to HMCD if the tank is located within the cities of Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, Monte Sereno, Moffett Field, Saratoga, San Jose, San Martin, Stanford or in unincorporated areas of Santa Clara County:

                                  • A completed Hazardous Materials Storage Tank System Cleaning/Cutting Application
                                  • A completed UST System Closure Permit Application
                                  • A copy of the Site-Specific Health and Safety Plan 

                                  If the tank isn't within any of these areas, contact your local fire department.

                                      ​"Meth" is short for Methamphetamine Hydrochloride. It is also known as speed, crank, crystal, ice, and yaba. It appears as a white crystalline powder or chunks, or clear crystals if it's very pure, but may appear yellowish or brownish due to contaminants.

                                      The most common ingredient in meth is pseudoephedrine or ephedrine, commonly found in cold medicine. Through a cooking process the pseudoephedrine or ephedrine is chemically changed into meth. The ingredients that are used in the process of making meth can include: ether, paint thinner, Freon, acetone, anhydrous ammonia, iodine crystals, red phosphorus, drain cleaner, battery acid, and lithium (taken from inside batteries). Manufacturing methamphetamine can result in explosions, fires, and the release of poisonous and/or corrosive gases.

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