The Hazardous Material Business Plan (HMBP) program's primary function is to help emergency responders identify, monitor, and assist businesses using or storing hazardous materials. This program provides information necessary for first responders to prevent or mitigate damage to public health and safety and to the environment. Having this information helps the City handle emergency incidents more effectively, which will reduce the impact of incidents involving hazardous materials on surrounding businesses, public safety staff, and the neighboring community. Additionally, it satisfies federal and state Community Right-To-Know laws.
CERS Submittal Guides
General Questions and Answers
What is a hazardous material?
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. Some of the more common hazardous materials are lubricating oils, cleaning agents, fuels, compressed gases, paints, solvents, acids, metal finishing chemicals, fertilizers, and pesticides.
How do I determine if I use any hazardous materials?
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.
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.
Does the business handle any of the following:
This is based on largest container size or cumulative of smaller containers (e.g., Eleven (11) 5-gallon containers of the same material = 55 gallons). If you generate used oil into a 55 gallon drum or larger, you must answer YES.
Examples of compressed gas are carbon dioxide, oxygen, propane, etc. 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).
Examples of inert compressed gas are argon, nitrogen, helium.
Extremely Hazardous Substance 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.
If you answered "YES" to any of the questions above, participation in the HMBP program is likely required. Exceptions exist for specific business activites, see below for more information.
How often do I disclose?
Huntington Beach Fire Department requires businesses to complete annual hazardous material inventory and emergency plan certifications on March 1st of every year.
The window for annual submission is 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.
When do I notify your Agency of any changes to the Plan?
You are required to notify this Agency of any changes in the business and/or chemical inventory information within 30 days. Such changes may include but are not limited to the following:
Changes must be submitted within 30 days via CERS. If you are unsure whether you must report a change, 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, assuming it is filled to capacity.
It is recommended to replace the 55 gal container with one smaller container, if possible.
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. We recommend purchasing in smaller quantities. 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 Hazard Classification section of the Hazardous Material Inventory?
Obtain the Safety Data Sheet or SDS (formerly called the MSDS) from your supplier. Once you have that information, you can use it to complete the Chemical Hazard Classification in CERS.
The State publishes templates for common chemicals. Click here to link to search 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. A copy of the business plan must be furnished to the owner or owner's agent within five working days after receiving a request for a copy.
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 container vs. a 55-gallon container, that material 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 Emergency Response / Contingency Plan?
The Emergency Response / Contingency Plan allows you 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 business operations and plan your internal emergency procedures before an 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?
General Non-Compliance: Any business that violates any provision of the Health and Safety Code Section 25504-25508.2 shall be civilly liable in an amount of not more than two thousand dollars ($2,000) for each day in which the violation occurs. 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)).
Disclosures received outside of the January 1 - March 1 window are subject to late submission fees starting at $150.
Online reporting is required for all businesses. Submit via California Environmental Reporting System (CERS).
Spill Release Reporting
If you have further questions regarding the Hazardous Material Business Plan Program, please email [email protected] or call (714) 536-5411.
City of Huntington Beach
2000 Main Street
Huntington Beach, CA
Phone: (714) 536-5411
Fax: (714) 374-1551