About the Unified Program 

California Environmental Protection Agency (CalEPA) Unified Hazardous Waste and Hazardous Materials Management Regulatory Program (Unified Program) was created in 1993 by Senate Bill 1082. The statutes and regulations are found in Health and Safety Code (HSC), Division 20, Chapter 6.11. and California Code of Regulations, title 27, Division 1, Subdivision 4, Chapter 1, respectively. The Secretary of the California Environmental Protection Agency is responsible for coordinating and evaluating the administration of the Unified Program and certifying Unified Program Agencies (UPAs). UPAs are accountable for carrying out responsibilities previously handled by approximately 1,300 different state and local agencies.

The Unified Program consolidates, coordinates, and makes consistent the administrative requirements, permits, inspections, and enforcement activities of six environmental and emergency response programs. Its mission is to protect public health and safety, to restore and enhance environmental quality, and sustain economic vitality through effective and efficient implementation of the six programs.

The Unified Program takes its fundamental enforcement structure from the implementing statutes of the six unified program elements. This creates a significant level of complexity because not only is each CUPA’s enforcement program governed by the federal and state laws and regulations, but also by local ordinances and codes.

The Unified Program requires CalEPA to certify local government agencies, known as Certified Unified Program Agencies (CUPAs) as able to implement all the required environmental programs and to consolidate, coordinate and make them consistent within their jurisdiction. CalEPA is required to review local programs on a three year or more often cycle to ensure the CUPAs capabilities and adherence to all program requirements.

State agency partners involved in the implementation of the Unified Program are responsible for setting program element standards, working with CalEPA to ensure program consistency, adopt and interpret statewide standards and requirements, and providing technical assistance to CUPAs and PAs. These agencies are:

California Environmental Protection Agency (CalEPA): CalEPA evaluates and provides technical assistance for the Hazardous Material Release Response Plan (Business Plan) Program and the Area Plan Programs, as well as the California Accidental Release Prevention Program.

CAL FIRE – Office of the State Fire Marshal (OSFM): The OSFM evaluates and provides technical assistance for the Hazardous Material Management Plan (HMMP), Hazardous Materials Inventory Statement (HMIS) and the Aboveground Petroleum Storage Act (APSA) Programs. The HMMP and HMIS Program are closely tied to the Business Plan Program.

Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC): DTSC evaluates and provides technical assistance for the Hazardous Waste Generator Program, including Onsite Treatment (Tiered Permitting) and the Resource Conservation Recovery Act (RCRA).

State Water Resources Control Board (State Water Board): The Water Board evaluates and provides technical assistance for the Underground Storage Tank Program.