CalEPA oversees California’s Unified Program. The program protects Californians from hazardous waste and hazardous materials by ensuring local regulatory agencies consistently apply statewide standards when they issue permits, conduct inspections and engage in enforcement activities. The Unified Program is a consolidation of multiple environmental and emergency management programs Read more about the Unified Program
Unified Program and COVID-19 Update
State agencies under the Unified Program are working together to provide regulated facilities and other stakeholders with current information during the COVID-19 pandemic. Performance evaluations of Certified Unified Program Agencies (CUPAs) have now resumed. CalEPA is obtaining regular status updates from CUPAs on impacts to their local Unified Programs. For additional information, visit the Unified Program and COVID-19 webpage.
Effective January 1, 2009, all regulated businesses and local Unified Program Agencies (UPAs) are required to submit Unified Program information electronically, either to the local regulatory agency or to the California Environmental Reporting System (CERS). CERS supports electronic data exchange among businesses, UPAs, state agencies, and U.S. EPA. Read more about Electronic Reporting.
CUPA Performance Evaluations
A periodic performance evaluation of each CUPA is conducted to ensure adequate and effective implementation of the Unified Program by the local agency. Read more about the CUPA performance evaluation process, evaluation schedule, and evaluation results.
The State Surcharges, paid by all businesses regulated under applicable program elements of the Unified Program, are used to fund the reasonable costs for all State Agencies with Unified Program Responsibilities. CUPAs are responsible for billing and collecting the state surcharges from each regulated business or facility as part of the Single Fee System. State Surcharges for Unified Program elements are as follows:
- Oversight: $84.00 per business/facility (includes $27 for the CERS NextGen project assessed per business/facility for four years beginning June 25, 2021)
- Underground Storage Tank Program: $20.00 per tank
- California Accidental Release Prevention Program: $270.00 per regulated business
- Aboveground Petroleum Storage Act Program: $26.00 per tank facility
- Refinery Safety: Assessed to Refinery Facilities according to the daily barrel capacity (DBC)
- $45,000 – Tier 1 (equal to or greater than 200,000 DBC)
- $27,500 – Tier 2 (100,000 to 199,999 DBC)
- $13,750 – Tier 3 (50,000 to 99,999 DBC)
- $3,500 – Tier 4 (Less than 50,000 DBC)
Unified Program News
CalEPA Unified Program State Surcharge Increase for FY 2021/2022
CalEPA published a final notice in the California Regulatory Notice Register on June 25, 2021, upon which the increased Unified Program surcharge amounts became effective immediately.
The increase to the “Oversight” portion of the annual State Surcharge raised the fee from $49 to $84, with the increase allocated as follows:
- $27 for the California Environmental Reporting System (CERS) NextGen project
- CalEPA is responsible for the implementation and overall maintenance of the CERS and has determined that the current CERS must be updated in order to continue providing an effective and stable service to all stakeholders. Therefore, CalEPA has, in collaboration with internal and external stakeholders, initiated the CERS NextGen project to plan and implement this crucial system update. It is estimated that the project will cost approximately 14.1 million dollars and is expected to be completed in Fiscal Year 2024/2025.
- $8 to address the structural deficit related to the State Certified Unified Program Account
- Based on fiscal analysis performed by the CalEPA Deputy Secretary for Fiscal and Administrative Programs, Unified Program staff, and the California Air Resources Board accounting staff, it was determined that beginning in Fiscal Year 2021/2022, the budget appropriation for the State Certified Unified Program Account exceeds the projected revenues by over $1,000,000.
No later than sixty days after the effective date of the new surcharge, Certified Unified Program Agencies (CUPAs) are responsible for collecting the new surcharge amount as part of their single fee system. CalEPA has requested that all CUPAs begin assessing the new surcharge in fiscal year 2021/2022, including those CUPAs that bill prior to the effective date of the new surcharge increase.
CalEPA will assess the surcharge for the CERS NextGen project for four years, beginning Fiscal Year 2021/2022. In Fiscal Year 2024/2025, CalEPA will adjust the Oversight Surcharge to only cover costs for the ongoing maintenance and operations of CERS NextGen.
New CERS Feature: Hazardous Materials Business Plan (HMBP) Annual Certification
In collaboration with the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) and the California CUPA Forum Board, CalEPA deployed a new feature in the California Environmental Reporting System (CERS) on September 18, 2020, allowing a business owner/operator to easily certify Hazardous Material Business Plan (HMBP) information in CERS as complete, accurate and, if applicable, meeting EPCRA reporting requirements.
Hazardous Materials Business Plan Annual Certification (AB1429) Training, January 2021 (pdf)
CalEPA Denies Imperial County Fire Department CUPA Application,Opens the Opportunity for CUPA Participation
(Posted Aug. 6, 2019)
CalEPA Secretary for Environmental Protection Jared Blumenfeld issued a final notice of denial to the Imperial County Fire Department (ICFD) in response to its application to assume authority as the county’s Certified Unified Program Agency (CUPA). The state Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) has served as the CUPA for Imperial County on the public’s behalf since 2005 and will continue to do so.
ICFD submitted the application to become the CUPA on Aug. 31, 2018. A public hearing on the matter was held in December 2018. On March 19, Secretary Blumenfeld issued a Notice of Intent to Deny the ICFD application, citing a number of inconsistencies and gaps in the ICFD’s plans and capabilities. On May 6, ICFD submitted a revised application and requested a second public hearing. CalEPA and the state agencies that participate in CUPA oversight reviewed then revised the application and CalEPA held a second public hearing July 17.
The Secretary’s letter cites several unresolved deficiencies in ICFD’s application and notes that DTSC has not withdrawn from its obligations to implement the Unified Program. Applicable laws and regulations do not provide authority to decertify DTSC while it is in good standing. Nonetheless, the Secretary has directed DTSC to work with ICFD to develop a Participating Agency agreement, allowing ICFD to implement the Hazardous Material Business Plan program element of the Unified Program by Dec. 31. A Participating Agency agreement presents an opportunity for ICDF to demonstrate its commitment and capacity to effectively implement the Unified Program, with close oversight by DTSC and CalEPA. There are 24 other local participating agencies now operating within the Unified Program in other counties throughout the state. The CalEPA staff report accompanying the Secretary’s letter contains further recommendations for terms of the agreement.
To learn more, read the Documents on the Imperial County Fire Department CUPA Application.
- CalEPA Regulated Site Portal
The CalEPA Regulated Site Portal is a website that combines data about environmentally regulated sites and facilities in California into a single, searchable database and interactive map. The portal was created to provide a more holistic view of regulated activities statewide. By combining data from a variety of state and federal databases, the portal provides an overview of regulated activities across the spectrum of environmental programs for any given location in California. These activities include hazardous materials and waste, state and federal cleanups, impacted ground and surface waters, and toxic materials. The portal combines information from the following databases:
- Cal/OSHA – Inspection and enforcement information reported to federal OSHA
- CERS – The California Environmental Reporting System
- CIWQS – The California Integrated Water Quality System
- EIS – U.S. EPA’s Air Emission Inventory System
- EnviroStor – Permitting, enforcement and cleanup activities at hazardous waste facilities and sites with known or suspected contamination
- GeoTracker – Impacted groundwater sites within the state, such as leaking underground storage tanks, cleanup sites, and permitted facilities such as landfills and operating underground storage tank facilities
- SMARTS – The Stormwater Multiple Application and Report Tracking System
- SWIS – The Solid Waste Information System
- TRI – The Toxics Release Inventory
Unified Program Listservs
Unified Program Links
- Unified Program Home
- Unified Program and COVID-19
- CUPA Performance Evaluations
- Electronic Reporting
- Unified Program Publications and Forms
- Inspection & Enforcement Resources for Unified Program Agencies
- Unified Program Laws and Regulations
- Rural Reimbursements
- Unified Program Training
- Subscribe to the Unified Program Listserv
- Unified Program Contacts