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HAZARDOUS MATERIALS COMPLIANCE DIVISION (HMCD) (County CUPA)
The Hazardous Materials Program within Santa Clara County Department of Environmental Health's Hazardous Materials Compliance Division (HMCD) is the Certified Unified Program Agency (CUPA) for all areas of the county other than the Cities of Gilroy, Santa Clara, and Sunnyvale, which are themselves CUPAs.
CUPAs are agencies certified by the California Environmental Protection Agency to administer the following six hazardous materials program areas:
- Hazardous Materials Release Response Plans and Inventories (i.e., Business Plans)
- California Accidental Release Prevention (CalARP) Program
- Underground Storage Tank Program
- Aboveground Petroleum Storage Act (APSA) Requirements for Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasure (SPCC) Plans
- Hazardous Waste Generator and Onsite Hazardous Waste Treatment (i.e., Tiered Permit) Programs
- California Fire Code: Hazardous Materials Management Plans (HMMP) and Hazardous Materials Inventory Statements
Through formal agreements with HMCD, the following agencies serve as Participating Agencies (PA) within the County Unified Program, implementing several of the programs within their city jurisdictions:
In addition to the above program areas, each CUPA and PA regulates other aspects of hazardous materials storage and handling by implementing either hazardous materials storage and toxic gas ordinances, as HMCD does, or local amendments to the Fire Code.
Agency program responsibilities and contact information for each city, town, and unincorporated area in Santa Clara County can be found by clicking here:
If your facility is located anywhere in the county other than in the Cities of Gilroy, Santa Clara, or Sunnyvale, and you engage in the following activities, you must obtain permits from HMCD (or the city if it issues permits for HMCD):
CalARP Risk Management Plan Facility Permit
If your facility is required to prepare a Risk Management Plan (RMP) pursuant to California Accidental Release Prevention (CalARP) regulations (Title 19 California Code of Regulations, Division 2, Chapter 4.5) you must obtain and keep current a CalARP Program Facility Permit.
If you handle any material in an amount greater than CalARP reporting thresholds, you must submit a completed "California Accidental Release Prevention Program Registration Form." This form serves as a permit application.
Hazardous Waste Generator Permit
If your facility generates hazardous chemical waste (e.g., used oil, spent solvent) in any quantity, you must obtain and keep current a Hazardous Waste Generator Permit.
To apply for a permit, you may either:
- Submit a completed "Hazardous Materials Business Plan" or "Hazardous Materials Registration Form"; or
- Submit a completed "Hazardous Waste Generator Permit Application."
Hazardous Waste Onsite Treatment Permit*
If your facility treats hazardous waste onsite you must obtain and keep current a permit.
To apply for a permit, you must electronically submit Onsite Hazardous Waste Treatment Notification pages.
* Onsite treatment facilities in Mountain View are inspected by Mountain View Fire Department rather than HMCD.
IN ADDITION… If your facility is located in an unincorporated area of the county or within the Cities of Los Altos Hills, Monte Sereno, or Saratoga - or, for underground storage tank installation/upgrade, operation, and closure only, the cities of Los Altos, Morgan Hill, Palo Alto, or San Jose - and you engage in any of the following activities, you must obtain a permit from HMCD:
Hazardous Materials Storage/Handling Area/Facility Closure
A permit may be required for closure (i.e., demolition, removal, or abandonment) of any facility or portion of a facility (e.g., lab) where hazardous materials are stored. Prior to closing the facility or area, you must submit a completed "Closure Application for Aboveground Hazardous Materials Storage Facilities" to HMCD. HMCD will review the application, determine if a closure permit is required, and notify you of any fees that must be paid.
Prior to closing (i.e., abandoning or removing) any aboveground or underground storage tank used to hold a hazardous material, you must obtain a tank closure permit. To apply for a permit, submit a completed aboveground or underground storage tank closure permit application and payment for the permit fee to HMCD. HMCD's tank closure guidelines should be reviewed prior to submitting your permit application.
Tank closure permit applications and closure guidelines are available here.
* Facilities in Los Altos are exempt from HMCD's closure requirements other than those regarding closure of underground storage tank systems. In Palo Alto and San Jose, HMCD handles underground storage tank (UST) system closures.
Hazardous Materials Storage/Handling Area/Facility Construction
Applicable municipal codes and Santa Clara County Ordinance Code require that plans be submitted to HMCD prior to constructing, remodeling, or upgrading any facility where hazardous materials are or will be stored or handled. These requirements apply in all unincorporated areas of Santa Clara County, and within the cities of Los Altos,* Los Altos Hills, Monte Sereno, and Saratoga. The required reviews and approvals by HMCD are in addition to other applicable requirements for construction plan submittal and review (i.e., those by the Fire Marshal and/or building authority).
A permit may be required for the construction, remodeling, or upgrading of any facility or portion of a facility (e.g., lab) where hazardous materials are stored. During a project's Architectural and Site Approval (ASA) phase, you may be directed to submit plans to HMCD.
In the process of obtaining a building permit, you may be directed to obtain "Hazardous Materials Clearance" from HMCD. If this occurs, you must submit a completed "Hazardous Materials Clearance Form." To save time, it is recommended that you contact HMCD prior to submitting the Clearance form to determine whether plan submittal will be required.
If you are directed to submit plans to HMCD, you should carefully review the "Plan Submittal Requirements for Hazardous Materials Systems." Plan approval by HMCD is required prior to beginning construction. You must submit a completed "Hazardous Materials Construction Permit Application" with your plan submittal.
Those wishing to construct or modify communications sites (e.g., cell sites, regen or relay sites) should review HMCD's "Communications Site Requirements" guidance document.
Tank System Installation/Upgrade
A permit is required prior to installing, modifying, or upgrading any aboveground or underground hazardous materials storage tank system. A completed "Hazardous Materials Tank System Installation/Upgrade Equipment List" form must accompany your plan submittal. HMCD provides detailed guidelines and supplements for installation of underground storage tank systems.
If the fuel tank is associated with a standby or emergency generator system, please refer to the "Guidelines for Installation of Temporary and Permanent Aboveground Diesel Fuel Tanks for Emergency and Standby Power Systems Located Outside of Buildings."
Exception: It is not necessary to submit installation plans to or obtain a permit from HMCD for the installation of a propane tank, however hazardous materials disclosure requirements (i.e., Hazardous Materials Business Plan submittal) and the need to obtain approval from the Fire Marshal still apply. Also, the County Office of Development Services may still require submittal of a Hazardous Materials Clearance Form to HMCD for sign-off.
Toxic Gas Facility Construction
A permit is required prior to the construction, remodeling, or upgrading of any facility or portion of a facility (e.g., lab) where certain quantities toxic gases are stored or handled. A completed "Toxic Gas Installation Application" form must accompany your plan submittal. HMCD provides detailed guidelines and supplements for installation of silane and toxic gas systems.
Please note that you may need to obtain approval from additional agencies or departments (e.g., Fire Marshal, building department) prior to beginning construction.
* Facilities in Los Altos are exempt from HMCD's construction/upgrade requirements other than those regarding toxic gases and underground storage tank systems. In Palo Alto and San Jose, HMCD only handles underground storage tank (UST) system installations/upgrades.
Hazardous Materials Business Plan Permit
If your facility is located within the town of Los Altos or the cities of Morgan Hill or San José and is required by State law to prepare and submit a Hazardous Materials Business Plan (HMBP), you must obtain and keep current a Hazardous Materials Business Plan Permit issued by HMCD.
Hazardous Materials Storage Permit*
If your facility stores any hazardous material, you must obtain and keep current a hazardous materials storage permit issued by HMCD.
To apply for a storage permit, simply submit a completed Hazardous Materials Business Plan (HMBP) if your facility handles any individual hazardous material in an amount equal to or greater than 55 gallons (liquids), 500 pounds (solids), or 200 cubic feet (gases) at any time during the year; or a Hazardous Materials Registration Form (if no individual hazardous material is at or above the HMBP reporting threshold). You must include with your HMBP or Registration Form a completed Aboveground Separation, Containment, and Monitoring Plan (unless you have no aboveground storage) and a copy of the form(s) you use to document required periodic inspections of hazardous materials storage areas.
* Facilities in Los Altos are not required to have Hazardous Materials Storage Permits or monitoring plans for aboveground storage of hazardous materials and/or waste, but must comply with State HMBP reporting requirements and obtain a HMBP Permit as noted above.
Temporary Fuel Tank Permit
A Temporary Fuel Tank Permit Application must be submitted to and approved by HMCD prior to bringing any diesel, gasoline, or other non-Propane fuel tank system (e.g., portable compressor, generator system, etc.) with a capacity greater than 10 gallons on-site for temporary use (other than utility power outages lasting 72 hours or less). Temporary storage may not exceed 6 months.
Toxic Gas Facility Permit to Operate
If your facility stores, dispenses, uses, or handles any material which is or may become a toxic gas, in excess of an exempt amount specified in the County of Santa Clara's Toxic Gas Ordinance, you must obtain and keep current a Toxic Gas Permit to Operate issued by HMCD.
To apply for a permit, simply submit a completed Hazardous Materials Business Plan as noted above.
Underground Storage Tank Permit to Operate
If you are the owner or operator of a UST system storing any hazardous material, you must obtain and keep current a UST Permit to Operate issued by HMCD.
To apply for a UST permit, you must submit the following completed documents:
If your facility is located anywhere in the county other than in the Cities of Gilroy, Santa Clara, or Sunnyvale, and you engage in the following activities, you must notify HMCD:
Cathode Ray Tube (CRT) Material Handler Notification
If your facility accepts more than five CRT devices (e.g., monitors, TVs) or more than 100 kilograms (220 pounds) of CRT glass per calendar year from any offsite source, you must submit written notification to HMCD and the California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) no later than November 1 each year. Details on notification requirements are available here:
Hazardous Waste Remote Consolidation Site Notification
If your facility consolidates hazardous waste that is collected from remote, unmanned sites which you also operate, you must submit the following documents annually:
Recycling of Excluded or Exempted Materials Notification
If your facility recycles more than 100 kilograms (220 pounds, or about 27 gallons of liquids) per month of recyclable material under a claim that the material qualifies for an exclusion or exemption from hazardous waste management requirements pursuant to Health and Safety Code Section 25143.2, you must submit the following documents:
For information on Hazardous Materials Program fees, click here.
To access this website's links to other agencies and detailed information regarding proper management of hazardous materials and hazardous wastes, click here.
The County of Santa Clara operates a hazardous waste disposal program to assist Conditionally Exempt Small Quantity Generators (CESQG) (i.e., facilities which generate less than 100 kilograms or 27 gallons of hazardous waste per month). Information on this program is available here.