FAQs - Hazardous Materials Programs

Q01:  What is the Unified Program?
A01:  Senate Bill 1082 (1993) established the Unified Hazardous Waste and Hazardous Materials Management Regulatory Program. The Unified Program consolidates, coordinates, and makes consistent the following hazardous materials and hazardous waste Program Elements:

  • Hazardous Waste Generation, including onsite treatment under Tiered Permitting
  • Aboveground Petroleum Storage Act (APSA)
  • Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasure Plan (SPCC)
  • Underground Storage Tanks (UST)
  • Hazardous Material Release Response Plans and Inventories
  • California Accidental Release Prevention Program (Cal ARP)
  • Uniform Fire Code Hazardous Materials Management Plans and Inventories

Q02:  What is a Certified Unified Program Agency (CUPA)?
A02:  A CUPA is a County, City, or Joint Powers Agency approved and designated by Cal EPA to implement the Unified Program and is responsible for all six program elements of the Unified Program within its jurisdiction. The Environmental Management Department is the CUPA for Sacramento County.

Q03:  Do I need to prepare a Hazardous Materials Business Plan (HMP)?
A03:  If your business handles or stores quantities of hazardous materials including hazardous wastes equal to or exceeding 55 gallons, 500 pounds, or 200 cubic feet of compressed gasses, an HMP is required to be completed and submitted to the Environmental Compliance Division. For exceptions to these requirements contact the Hazardous Materials Staff at 916-875-8550.

Q04:  Where can I get the Hazardous Material Business Plan forms or assistance with filling them out?
A04:  Please see the HMP page for blank forms & instructions that you can download. The Environmental Compliance staff conducts monthly Hazardous Materials Business Plan Assistance Workshops at the EMD facility at 10590 Armstrong Ave in the Mather Park area of Rancho Cordova. See CUPA HMP Portal Workshop Training Dates and Information for dates and times. For additional assistance please call 916-875-8550 during regular business hours.

Q05:  How often do I need to have hazardous waste removed?
A05:  Hazardous waste may be stored on-site for specified periods depending on the amount of total waste accumulated in a month:

  • If you accumulate less than 100 Kg (27 gallons) of waste in a month you may store the waste until you accumulate 100 Kg then the waste must be legally removed within 180 days.
  • If you accumulate more than 100 Kg in a month but less than 1,000 Kg (270 gallons), you may store the waste for up to 180 days from the date the first drop is added to the container.
  • If you accumulate waste over 1,000 Kg in a month, then you must dispose of the waste every 90 days.

Q06:  What information do I need to include on a hazardous waste container?
A06:  Each hazardous waste container shall be labeled with the following information:

  1. Contents or common name
  2. Category of hazard, i.e. toxic, reactive, corrosive, ignitable
  3. "Hazardous Waste"
  4. Generator name and address
  5. Physical state of waste (i.e. liquid, sludge, etc)
  6. Accumulation and/or start date  

Q07:  Who needs a Permit?
A07:  Permits are required for businesses which:

  • Handle or store hazardous materials in reportable quantities
  • Generate, store, or treat hazardous wastes
  • Maintain one or more underground storage tanks
  • Handle or store regulated substances in a process
  • Have aboveground petroleum storage tanks storing petroleum in quantities of 1,320 gallons or greater

Q08:  How do I report a spill or illegal disposal of hazardous waste?
A08:  You must call the Sacramento County Environmental Management Department at (916) 875-5656 during business hours (7:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.)

After hours and weekends call the Sacramento County Communication Center at (916) 875-5000 or CalEPA at (916) 845-8911.

You should also call 911.

Q09:  What information is required on containers of "new" hazardous materials?
A09:  Containers holding "new" products are required to have the manufacturer's label. If a manufacturer's label is not present then a label must be put on the container that identifies the contents of the container and the known hazards of the chemical and the protective equipment needed to handle or use the materials. A Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) must also be available for emergency reference and employee safety training.

Q10:  Do my hazardous materials containers and tanks need to be secondarily contained?
A10:  Containers and tanks must be protected against any unplanned release to air, soil or surface water as warranted. For specific requirements please contact the EMD Environmental Compliance Division at (916) 875-8550.

Q11:  Where can I find information on the Risk Management Plans (RMP)?
A11:  You can contact the Environmental Compliance Division staff at (916) 875-8550 for specific questions or see the EMD CalARP web page. The regulations covering RMPs is available to view at  www.caloes.ca.gov and www.epa.gov.

Q12:  When is my RMP due?
A12:  The RMP is required to be prepared and submitted to the Sacramento County Environmental Management Department and United States Environmental Protection Agency no later than the date that the acutely hazardous material is present in the process above Federal threshold quantities;

The RMP is required to be prepared and submitted to the Sacramento County Environmental Management Department no later than the date that the acutely hazardous material is present in the process above State of California threshold quantities.

Q13:  What are the CUPA's responsibilities?
A13:  As the Sacramento County CUPA, the Environmental Management Department's responsibilities include:

  • Consolidation of the administration of the six program elements.
  • Development of a program to consolidate the permits for the six program elements and any other permits for hazardous waste or hazardous materials required by local ordinance.
  • Development and implementation of a single unified inspection and enforcement program.
  • Implementation of a single fee system replacing the separate fees for all program elements.
  • Establishment of a fee accountability program before implementation of the single fee system.
  • Implementation of the state standards for the Unified Program.

Q14.  What do I do with my waste oil?
A14:  Businesses are required to have their waste oil removed legally by a permitted company. Residents may use the Sacramento County Waste Management & Recycling curbside pickup program or take the oil to a recycling center.  Residents can consult recycling guide information found in the ATT Yellow Pages and can also go to www.calrecycle.ca.gov/UsedOil/Reports/CenterSearch. Oil must not be poured on the ground, in the gutters, or storm drains as it may go to environmentally sensitive areas and you may be subject to fines if you dispose to the storm drain system.