Hazardous Materials Division



The County of San Diego, Department of Environmental Health and Quality, Hazardous Materials Division (HMD) held virtual stakeholder meetings on March 17, 2023, providing a presentation on HMD programs, accomplishments, the Fiscal Year 2023-24 cost recovery proposal, and compliance guidelines for inspections.

HMD CUPA and UST Program Stakeholder Meeting
Recording Link

HMD Silver-Only Hazardous Waste Stakeholder Meeting
Recording Link

For questions regarding the meetings and/or cost recovery proposal, contact our Specialist on Duty at (858) 505-6880 or via email to hmdutyeh@sdcounty.ca.gov.






Earth day Logo


Earth Day 2023 is coming up on 04/22/2023! For information, visit the County's Virtual Earth Day site to see activities and events: https://www.sandiegocounty.gov/content/sdc/sustainability/earth-day.html



The goal of the Hazardous Materials Division (HMD) is to protect human health and the environment by ensuring that hazardous materials, hazardous waste, medical waste and underground storage tanks are properly managed. To accomplish this goal, the HMD regulates facilites that:

All businesses in the County of San Diego that conduct any of these activities are required by law to obtain and maintain a valid  Unified Program Facility Permit through the  California Environmental Reporting System (CERS). For additional information please visit our  CERS information page.   HMD Forms and HMD Guidance Documents are still available and are accessible from any HMD webpage from the Popular Services menu on the right side of the screen. 

IMPORTANT. Please Read: Changes in the law might affect your facility and hazardous materials reporting. See this link for more information.

Additional Services:

Emergency Response and Border Inspections are also important programs within HMD.  Both programs are collaborative efforts with local, state, federal and international agencies to protect the lives and health of all residents and visitors of San Diego County.  


The Hazardous Materials Division (HMD) has been sending updates related to changes in operations due to COVID-19 and receiving many questions regarding impacts to businesses. To streamline the information and make it easier to find previous communications, we have compiled a list of Hazardous Materials Division Frequently Asked Questions during COVID-19. We will continue to update this page with additional FAQs and guidance/resources as they become available.

General COVID-19 Related FAQs

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Hazardous Waste FAQs

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Permitting, HMBP and CERS FAQs

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  • How do I submit a Hazardous Materials Questionnaire for review and approval if I have an existing business that is undergoing Tenant Improvements or if I have a new business?

    New businesses with hazardous materials and/or hazardous wastes at or above reportable threshold quantities and those undergoing tenant improvements may be required to submit a Hazardous Materials Questionnaire and pay a fee for the information to be reviewed and processed. This is also known as the Hazardous Materials Plan Check Program. To expedite the review and approval process, the Hazardous Materials Questionnaire can be submitted and processed online. If you need further assistance or, if you’re unable to submit the application online, please contact the HMD Duty Desk at 858-505-6880 or, by email at HMDOPS@sdcounty.ca.gov.

  • We stopped our business operations, but we still have hazardous materials, hazardous waste, and/or medical waste on site. Do I still need a permit?

    Yes, a Unified Program Facility Permit is still required so long as the regulated hazardous materials, hazardous wastes and/or medical wastes remain on site. Be Advised: All hazardous substances, whether materials or wastes, must be properly managed and/or disposed of. For questions on proper management and disposal, please contact the HMD Duty Desk at 858-505-6880 or DEH.HMDUTYEH@sdcounty.ca.gov. You may also visit our Hazardous Waste Page for additional guidance.

    Please note that on May 5, 2020, to help ease the impacts of COVID-19, the San Diego County Board of Supervisors took action to defer fees (meaning delay invoice due dates) for some programs.  If your annual invoice is due in the timeframe

  • Why am I getting so many emails from “CERS Automated Messaging”?

    The California Environmental Reporting System, also known as CERS, is the “statewide information management system” for electronic submission of Hazardous Materials Business Plans (HMBP). CERS is also used for electronic reporting of other Unified Programs and locally required information. The CERS Business Portal is used by regulated facilities to submit required information to the local Unified Program Agency. The CERS Regulator Portal is used by regulators, such as the San Diego County CUPA, to review, accept or not accept the information submitted by regulated facilities. Every time a submittal is reviewed and processed by a regulator/inspector; an automated email gets generated from CERS indicating how the submittal was processed.

  • What does it mean when my submittal is “UNDER REVIEW” or “NOT ACCEPTED”?

    If corrections are required to one or more submittals sections, the regulator/inspector will change the submittal status to “UNDER REVIEW” or “NOT ACCEPTED” and add a comment indicating what needs to be corrected and resubmitted for final review.  If no corrections are needed, the regulator/inspector will “ACCEPT” the submittal. Additionally, if you have multiple redundant submittals, the regulator/inspector will review the most recent submittal and place the prior submittals in “NOT ACCEPTED” status with a comment indicating that your most recent submittal is under review and/or has already been “ACCEPTED.” If you have additional questions or, if you need assistance with your CERS submittal, please call our CERS Help Desk at (858) 505-6990.

  • The “Lead Users” for my CERS account have changed. What do I need to do?

    To ensure the appropriate authorized business representatives have access to your facility’s CERS account, please complete and submit a CERS Application. The CERS Application can be used to designate new Lead Users and update your Facility Information. For additional guidance visit our CERS Information page or, contact our CERS Help Desk at 858-505-6990. 

  • I already notified the APCD, Fire Department, Water Authority, etc. that I closed my business. Do I need to notify the San Diego County CUPA as well?

    Yes, in order to inactivate your Unified Program Facility Permit, you must notify the San Diego County CUPA and certify in CERS that you are no longer conducting any of the business activities regulated under the Unified Program. Each regulating agency that issues a permit or license based on their regulatory authority has different requirements and procedures for permit/license closures. 

  • How do I notify the San Diego County CUPA that I no longer need a permit?

    To initiate the permit inactivation process, you must resubmit the CERS Facility Information section with all answers to the Business Activities page changed to “NO” and include a comment for the regulator explaining why you no longer require a permit. These activities are listed on the Business Activities page in CERS located under “Facility Information” and were last submitted by a representative of your business. If you need assistance or are unable to make a submittal through CERS, please submit your request to inactivate the permit in writing to HMDOPS@sdcounty.ca.gov and include the date that your business stopped regulated activities. The Hazardous Materials Division will conduct follow-up actions for confirmation and verification purposes, as needed. Please note that additional information may be required in order to inactivate your permit, such as but not limited to, proof of final hazardous waste or medical waste disposal and/or proof of proper management/disposal of aboveground tank systems used to store hazardous materials or wastes. To request assistance with the permit inactivation process, you may contact the area specialist/inspector listed on your last Compliance Inspection Report or, contact the HMD Permits Line at 858-505-6661.

  • Why have I received an invoice if I am no longer operating?

    Permitting requirements, including fees, apply any time regulated activities continue at the regulated facility, regardless of when the operations may have stopped. If you have already notified the San Diego County CUPA and you no longer require a permit, but you still received an invoice, please call our Permits Line at 858-505-6661 for further assistance.

    Please note that on May 5, 2020, to help ease the impacts of COVID-19, the San Diego County Board of Supervisors took action to defer fees (meaning delay invoice due dates) for some programs.  If your annual invoice is due in the timeframe of May 2020 to October 2020, you have until November 30, 2020 to pay your facility’s invoice.

  • I closed my business and had my hazardous wastes picked up by my waste hauler, but I still have an empty tank on site. Do I still need a permit?

    Maybe. Tanks that store or previously stored hazardous materials or hazardous wastes must be managed and/or disposed of properly when no longer needed or in use. Due to the complexity of the closure and disposal requirements for tank systems, it is recommended that you work closely with your assigned inspector or, contact the Hazardous Materials Duty Desk at 858-505-6880 or DEH.HMDUTYEH@sdcounty.ca.gov so that we can gather more information to best guide you in the closure of your tank system and permit. For additional guidance on tank closures, see our Hazardous Waste Tank Closure Certification form. 

  • Am I required to certify my Hazardous Materials Business Plan (HMBP) annually?

    Yes, if your facility is subject the HMBP program, then the California Office of Emergency Service (CalOES) has determined that all facilities subject to Hazardous Materials Business Plan reporting requirements must submit/certify their HMBP on an annual basis. In San Diego County, the annual submittal must be made within 365 days from the date of your last full submittal. In order to meet the annual certification requirement, you must submit the following submittal sections: (1) Facility Information; (2) Hazardous Materials Inventory/Site Map; and (3) Emergency Response and Training Plan. For more information on annual HMBP submittal requirements, go to the CalOES website or see the following guidance document: Is an HMBP Required to be Submitted Annually? Please note that a substantial change, as defined in HSC Section 25508.1(f)(2), to any portion of your HMBP is required to be updated in CERS within 30 days from the effective date of the change.

  • I received an invoice in the mail and the due date for payment is November 30, 2020 even though my permit expires before that. Am I required to pay now to keep my permit active?

    No, if your due date for payment is between May and October 2020, you are not required to pay now. To keep your permit active, just maintain a copy of the invoice you received with the note about the deferral. On May 5, 2020, to help ease the impacts of COVID-19, the County Board of Supervisors voted to defer payment of Unified Program Facility Permit fees that are normally due for payment between May and October 2020. The payment due date for deferred fees is November 30, 2020. During the six-month deferment period, payment is not required, and late fees will not be assessed. Some customers have expressed an interest in paying their renewal invoice by its normal due date, rather than deferring payment. While this is not required, if you elect to pay the renewal invoice by its normal due date, please visit dehpay.com. Once the payment is received and processed, you will receive your renewed permit. Please note that the billing cycle for 2021 will return to original due date and not the deferment date.

Underground Storage Tank (UST) FAQs

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Medical Waste FAQs

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COVID-19 Websites/Guidance Documents/Letters: 

San Diego County COVID-19 website:



California Department of Public Health COVID-19 Updates and Guidance:



CalEPA COVID-19 Statement (4/15/20):



DTSC COVID-19 Updates:



SWRCB COVID-19 Updates:



CalFire OSFM COVID-19 Updates


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention COVID-19 Information:



Federal EPA Updates, Guidance, and Letters:

COVID-19 Implications for EPA's Enforcement and Compliance Assurance Program

EPA Memo (3/26/20):



EPA Letter to Congress (4/2/20):



Additional Response Letters to EPA on Temp Enforcement Policy:



AG Letter to EPA (4/9/20):