The Santa Barbara County Fire Department is certified by the California Environmental Protection Agency as the Certified Unified Program Agency (CUPA) for the County of Santa Barbara. The CUPA regulates businesses that handle hazardous materials, generate or treat hazardous waste or operate aboveground or underground storage tanks. The primary goal of the CUPA Program is to protect public health and the environment by promoting compliance with applicable laws and regulations.
All inspectors in the CUPA Program are trained Hazardous Materials Specialists who take part in a continuous education program to ensure consistency and uniformity during inspections.
The overall CUPA requirements are found in Health & Safety Code (HSC) Chapter 6.11 and California Code of Regulations (CCR), Title 27, Division 1, Subdivision 4, Chapter 1.
The CUPA is responsible for the following six consolidated environmental programs:
- Hazardous Materials Release Response Plans & Inventory (“Business Plan”) -Authority: HSC Chapter 6.95, Article 1 & Title 19 CCR Chapter 4;
- Underground Storage Tanks (UST) – Authority: HSC Chapter 6.7 & Title 23 CCR, Division 3, Chapters 16 & 17;
- Hazardous Waste Generators – Authority: HSC Chapter 6.5 & Title 22 CCR Division 4.5;
- Onsite Hazardous Waste Treatment (“Tiered Permit”) – Authority: HSC Chapter 6.5 & Title 22 CCR Division 4.5;
- Aboveground Petroleum Storage Act (APSA) Authority: HSC Chapter 6.67;
- California Accidental Release Prevention (“CalARP”) – Authority: Chapter 6.95, Article 2 & Title 19 CCR Chapter 4.5.
Hazardous Materials Business Plan (HSC, Chapter 6.95)
The Business Plan Program requires businesses handling hazardous materials in quantities in excess of specified quantities to submit inventories of those materials to the CUPA, and to develop appropriate employee training and emergency procedures. The thresholds are:
- 55 gallons for a liquid;
- 500 pounds for a solid;
- 200 cubic feet (at standard temperature and pressure) for a gas.
The CUPA maintains the inventory and emergency contact information submitted from businesses in a computerized data management system. The CUPA, in turn provides this information to emergency response agencies.
Hazardous Waste Generator (HSC, Chapter 6.5)
The Hazardous Waste Generator Program covers businesses that generate any quantity of hazardous waste. Waste is generally considered hazardous if it is ignitable, corrosive, toxic, or reactive, or if it can be shown to be detrimental to health and/or the environment. The CUPA conducts periodic inspections of businesses generating hazardous waste to determine compliance with State laws. The CUPA utilizes the Business Plan forms for the Hazardous Waste Generator Application.
Hazardous Waste Treatment (Tiered Permitting) (HSC,Chapter 6.5 & CCR, Title 22, Chapter 45)
Tiered Permitting refers to a graduated series of requirements applicable to hazardous waste generators conducting onsite treatment of their own hazardous waste. If a business treats the hazardous waste it generates, by altering its physical, chemical, or biological state, the business is subject to tiered permitting requirements.
The level of regulation is scaled to the relative risk and complexity involved under each treatment tier. In ascending order, the tiers are:
- Conditional exemption (CE);
- Conditional authorization (CA);
- Permit by rule (PBR).
Businesses treating their hazardous waste may include plating shops, metal-etching shops, or acid or alkaline chemical mixers, etc. Treatment methods include precipitation, evaporation, absorption, phase separation, distillation, or neutralization, etc.
Underground Storage Tank (UST) (HSC, Chapter 6.7)
All UST systems must be permitted. A storage tank system includes the tank itself, the associated piping, the monitoring system, and related equipment. Fuel leaks from underground storage tanks can pose a risk of fire and explosion, contaminate drinking water supplies, and may be extremely costly to clean up.
The State of California has enacted a series of laws designed to prevent such leaks. The Certified Unified Program Agency enforces these requirements, which include:
- Plan review for installation or modification of existing UST systems to ensure equipment compliance;
- Inspection of installation or modification of UST systems to ensure construction compliance;
- Issuance of permits to install, operate, repair, modify, and remove USTs;
- Annual certification and inspection of leak monitoring equipment;
- Testing of secondary containment systems every 36 months;
- Post-installation UST testing (enhanced leak detection);
- New UST construction standards, including requirements for a continuous monitoring system capable of detecting the entry of the hazardous substance stored in the primary containment into the secondary containment;
- UST systems with a single-walled component located within 1,000 feet of a public well must perform Enhanced Leak Detection testing within 18 months following receipt of notification from the SWRCB UST Program, and every three years thereafter.
Aboveground Petroleum Storage Act (APS) (HSC, Chapter 6.67)
A facility is required to prepare a Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasure (SPCC) Plan if a single AST containing a petroleum-based product or the aggregate quantity of petroleum-based products in multiple ASTs or 55 gallon drums exceeds 1,320 gallons. Examples of petroleum-based products are fuel, solvent, lubricants, used oil, etc.
The CUPA is required to conduct inspections at tank facilities with an aggregate storage capacity greater than or equal to 10,000 gallons of petroleum at least every three years. The purpose of the inspection is to determine whether the owner or operator is in compliance with the SPCC plan requirements of APSA.
California Accidental Release Prevention (CalARP) Program (HSC, Chapter 6.95)
The purpose of the California Accidental Release Prevention (CalARP) Program is to prevent the accidental releases of specified highly hazardous substances and to reduce the consequences in the event a release occurs.
This program requires businesses that handle more than a threshold quantity of a regulated substance to develop and maintain a Risk Management Plan (RMP). The main components of a RMP are: hazard assessment, prevention and emergency response. Staff reviews all components of the RMP to ensure completeness and inspect RMP facilities for compliance.
The list of regulated substances and their threshold quantities can be found in California Code of Regulations, Title 19, and can be downloaded from the Office of Emergency Services website.
There are approximately 350 regulated substances subject to this law. The regulated substances are either acutely toxic (such as chlorine, ammonia, sulfur dioxide and hydrogen fluoride) or are highly flammable (such as propane, butane, hydrogen and acetylene).
Hazardous Materials Release Reporting
CUPA Fee Schedule
CUPA File Review Request
To contact CUPA directly call (805) 681-4044 or (805) 686-8143.