The Hazardous Materials Disclosure Program's primary function is to help emergency responders identify, monitor, and assist businesses using or storing hazardous materials, helping to reduce the probability of accidents involving such materials. Having this information helps the City handle emergency incidents more effectively, which will reduce the impact of emergency incidents involving hazardous materials on surrounding businesses, public safety staff, and the neighboring community. As the City's primary emergency response organization, the Huntington Beach Fire Department manages the Hazardous Materials Disclosure program within the city limits.
If you have further questions concerning whether your business is required to participate in the disclosure program, or if you have questions concerning the forms in the disclosure package, you can also call (714) 536-5469 or (714) 536-5676.
General Questions and Answers
What is a hazardous material?
These are materials that can pose a threat to life, health, property, or the environment. Some of the more common hazardous materials are lubricating oils, cleaning agents, fuels, paints, solvents, acids, metal finishing chemicals, fertilizers, and pesticides.
How do I determine if I use any hazardous materials?
In general terms, a hazardous material is any solid, liquid or gas hat has the potential to threaten the life, health or safety of any person, the environment, or property. Hazardous materials could be toxic, flammable or combustible, corrosive, or explosive. If you have a material at your facility that comes with a Safety Data Sheet (also known as a SDS or MSDS) you are handling hazardous materials. I t does not matter if the physical or health hazard is "low" or "high", all hazardous materials must be disclosed.
How do I determine if I need to disclose?
If your business has or uses hazardous materials equal to threshold you must electronically file a hazardous material disclosure. Typical thresholds are 55-gallons for liquids, 500 pounds for solids, and 200 cubic feet for gases, with exemptions in some specific areas. Hazardous materials contained solely in a consumer product handled at and found in a retail establishment (business that sells consumer products prepackaged for distribution to, and intended use by, the general public) are exempt.
Answer the following questions:
My business has 55 gallons or more of a liquid hazardous material or hazardous waste. This is based on largest container size or cumulative of smaller containers (e.g., Eleven (11) 5-gallon containers of the same material). You may answer NO if the only material you have is virgin lubricating oil and you do not exceed five (5) drums (275 gallons), one drum per type of oil (e.g., various grades, ATF, etc.). If you generate used oil into a 55 gallon drum or larger, you must answer YES).
My business has compressed gas (or liquid/cryogenic equivalent) of 200 cubic feet or more (e.g., carbon dioxide, oxygen, propane). You may answer NO if you are a medical, dental, or veterinarian office and you store no more than 1,000 cubic feet of each nitrous oxide, nitrogen, or oxygen. You must answer YES if you are a food establishment and have a carbonated beverage system with 1,000 cubic feet (13.5 gallons) of carbon dioxide in gas or liquid form. You must answer YES if you handle propane for commercial patio use (e.g., restaurant patio) or forklift use in excess of 200 cubic feet (5 gallons = 170 cubic feet).
My business has inert compressed gas (e.g., argon, nitrogen, helium) of 1,000 cubic feet or more.
My business has 500 pounds or more of a solid hazardous material or hazardous waste.
My business has extremely hazardous material or radioactive material in quantities that exceed threshold amounts listed in 40 CFR 355 or a hazardous material that could potentially pose a significant hazard to human health and safety, or the environment.
By selecting YES for one or more of the above responses, hazardous material disclosure is required.
How often do I disclose?
To meet regulatory new requirements and to conform to other Orange County cities, the Huntington Beach Fire Department Hazardous Materials Program is going to require businesses to complete annual hazardous material inventory and emergency plan certifications on March 1st of every year rather than on a rolling anniversary date.
Beginning in January 2015, you will be required to submit your certification electronically, either through the Orange County Portal known as ESubmit, or the California Environmental Reporting System (CERS) by March 1st of each year. The window for annual certifications will be between January 1 and March 1. Certifications or submissions that do not fall in the January 1 to March 1 window will be subject to violations and late fees.
To assist businesses, Orange County Health Care Agency CUPA will be sending you email reminders for annual certifications on behalf of the HBFD. Please expect this email in November of each year, with subsequent email reminders to assist you with compliance.
When do I notify your Agency of any changes to the Plan?
You are required by law to notify this Agency in writing of any changes in the business and/or chemical inventory information within 15 days. Such changes may include but are not limited to the following:
Changes to your Business Emergency Plan must be submitted to this Agency within 30 days via the online system. If you are unsure whether you must report, please call this office for further assistance.
Are there any businesses that are exempt from filing a disclosure statement?
* If you have waste oil or used oil in a 55-gallon container (or multiple containers that exceed 55 gallons) you must disclose.
Are the disclosure amounts cumulative or per container?
It is cumulative. One 55-gallon drum is the same as eleven 5-gallon drums. Add up all containers of the same material and if it exceeds the disclosure amount (55 gallons, 200 cubic feet, 500 lbs, or exceeds thresholds for extremely hazardous materials or radioactive materials), then you must comply with disclosure requirements.
If I have a 55-gallon container, but never have it filled to capacity, is that less than 55-gallons?
No. The disclosure threshold is based on the container size.
This question is asked very frequently. For example, if you have a 55-gallon drum for liquid waste you must disclose regardless of if you only have q few gallons of waste stored in the container at the time of disclosure.
The best option: obtain a smaller waste container.
I purchase a hazardous material in 55-gallon containers to get the best price. But as soon as I receive it, I use some of it so it is less than 55 gallons. Do I need to disclose?
Yes. Again, the disclosure is based on the container size. The best option: order in less than 55 gallon containers. But remember, two 30-gallon containers of the same hazardous material still exceed the threshold of 55 gallons for reporting.
All of my chemicals are used and re-circulated in a machine. Do I disclose these chemicals?
Yes. There is no exemption for chemicals in a process. Examples include:
How do I fill out the Chemical Information form?
First step is to obtain the manufacturer's Safety Data Sheet or SDA (formerly called the MSDS). Once you have that information, you can fill out the form in CERS.
The State offers businesses templates for common chemicals. Click here to link to the Unified Program Chemical Library:
Do I need to inform my landlord?
Yes. The Health and Safety Code Section 25505.1 requires you to provide the owner of the property with written notification that the facility is subject to and in compliance with the Business Plan requirements.
What if I have a contractor on my facility and they bring chemicals on site?
Your business will be responsible for any chemicals stored on your facility, including those brought in by contractors that perform services onsite.
The only exception is if it is a short-term project and the storage of hazardous materials is less than 30 days, then no reporting is required.
Can I modify my chemical inventory to get out of the hazardous material disclosure program?
We encourage you to reduce your hazardous material inventory below disclosure amounts to avoid fees and inspections. However, if your business requires hazardous materials equal to or in excess of disclosure amounts, you must comply.
A simple way to avoid disclosure is to handle less than regulatory levels of hazmat at your business. For example, if you can utilize a 30-gallon hazardous waste container vs. a 55-gallon container, that waste stream would be exempt from reporting.
Sources of less than 55-gallon containers (not an exhaustive list; check online or other local sources):
What if I have confidential or trade secret processes at my facility?
Both Federal and State laws and regulations require the release of hazardous materials information for a site whenever we get a written request for such information. Please note that all we are required to release is a list of the hazardous materials and facility contact information; we do not release facility diagrams, process flow diagrams, or any other information regarding your facility. Exceptions do exist, such as releasing information to other public regulatory agencies, and to licensed contractors doing underground tank remediation services. If you have any questions about specific information, please contact us at the numbers shown on the start of this web page.
What is the Business Emergency Plan?
The (BEP) section allows you how to determine and document what you will do to respond to an incident involving hazardous materials, and gives emergency response personnel a guide to both your response activities and contacts at the facility. It requires you to examine your operation and plan who will do what before an emergency incident occurs. It can also be a valuable tool to consolidate all emergency information into one reference document, and make you aware of the hazards associated with the operations at your facility.
What are the training requirements?
The Health and Safety Code requires training for all new employees and annual training, including refresher courses, for all employees in safety procedures in the event of a release or threatened release of a hazardous material. You are allowed to take into consideration the position of each employee.
IMPORTANT! You must document your training electronically or by hard copy and it shall be made available for a minimum of three years. During your HMBP inspection, you WILL be requested to show proof of training.
Example: Training Record
What happens if I don't comply?
Late Disclosure: You are subject to a late fee of $125.
General Non-Compliance: Any business that violates any provision of the Business Emergency Plan shall be civilly liable in an amount of not more than two thousand dollars ($2,000) for each day of the violation. Any business that knowingly and willfully violates any provision of the Business Emergency Plan shall be civilly liable in an amount not to exceed five thousand dollars ($5,000) for each day of the violation (CA Health and Safety Code, Section 25514(b)).
Spill Release Reporting
Zoning Administrator meetings are held on the 1st and 3rd Wednesdays of each month. Meeting Agendas, Action Agendas, and Minutes are available to view online.