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Hazardous Waste Treatment Tiered Permitting


Tiered Permitting

California’s tiered permitting system regulates hazardous waste treatment based on risk levels. Facilities must acquire permits matching their waste quantities and treatment methods. CDMS expertly navigates the complex process – evaluating operations, determining appropriate tiers, filing notifications, providing professional engineer certifications, developing mandated programs, and more.

Regulatory bodies
  • California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC).
  • Certified Unified Program Agency (CUPA).
  • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Who needs it

California Title 22 requires that TSDF’s (hazardous waste Treatment, Storage, and Disposal Facilities) to have a permit to treat hazardous waste.

Hazardous Waste Treatment is defined in the law as follows:

Any method, technique, or process which is not excluded from the definition of treatment and which is designed to change the physical, chemical, or biological character or composition of any hazardous waste or material contained therein, or which removes or reduces its harmful properties or characteristics for any purpose.

While not a full list, some common treatment activities are:

  • Adjusting pH
  • Precipitation or Settling solidsFiltration
  • Crushing of cans or containers
  • Oil water Separation
  • Drying or curing
Regulation reference
  • Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA).
  • California Hazardous Waste Control Law.
  • Title 22, California Code of Regulations.
  • Tiered Permitting Regulation.
What our service provides:

CDMS prepares the necessary documentation to comply with the Hazardous Waste Treatment Tiered Permitting regulation for facilities treating hazardous waste, including:

  • Evaluating the facility’s operation to determine if Tiered Permitting is required
  • Determining Tier level
  • Preparing necessary reporting forms
  • Providing required tank and unit closure certifications by a registered Professional Engineer (PE).
  • Developing the programs required by this regulation.
  • Conducting waste analysis to determine if waste qualifies for Tiered Permitting.

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Contact us

What are the 3 tiers in California’s program?
Tier I is for small quantity waste treatment. Tier II covers treatment of wastes excluded from federal regulation and some reactive wastes. Tier III is required for extremely hazardous wastes like dioxins or large quantities of waste.

What types of treatment require a tiered permit?
Common treatment methods like neutralization, phase separation, precipitation, filtration, drying to remove water, crushing containers, and other processes that change the physical, chemical or biological character of the hazardous waste.

How do I determine which tier applies to my facility?
You need to thoroughly evaluate all waste types you are treating, the specific treatment processes involved, and the quantities of waste handled to determine your proper tier. DTSC guidance documents outline qualifying criteria.

What reporting is required for Tier I?
Initial notification before conducting treatment activities and annual notifications by March 1st each year. You must also certify closure of any tanks, containers or containment buildings used.

Does Tier I require contingency and emergency response plans?
No, contingency planning and emergency procedures are only mandatory under Tiers II and III.

What is the process for obtaining a Tier I permit?
You submit a notification form to DTSC providing all required information about your facility, wastes, and treatment processes. Once submitted, you can operate in compliance with the guidance manual.

How often do I need to resubmit notifications for Tier I?
You must re-notify annually by March 1st and certify that your activities remain within Tier I requirements, even if nothing has changed. This renews your authorization.

Can I modify my tier or waste types without reapplying?
Yes, you can submit a Tier Change Notification or Waste Type Addition Notification to DTSC and once approved, modify your activities without reapplying.

How long does it take to get a tiered permit?
Typically DTSC will finalize your tiered permit within 90 days of receiving a complete notification form, allowing you to begin operating as specified.

Will I get inspected under a tiered permit?
Yes, DTSC conducts routine unannounced inspections of Tier I and II facilities. Tier III undergoes extensive permitting and is inspected regularly.

What are the record keeping requirements?
You must maintain records like waste analysis plans, manifests, inspection logs, equipment maintenance, training, and any lab analyses for at least 3 years.

What happens if I operate outside my approved tier?
You may be subject to enforcement action including fines if you are found to be violating your permit by treating prohibited wastes or exceeding operational limits.

How long are tiered permits valid?
Your tiered permit remains valid as long as you submit timely annual re-notifications and comply with the conditions of your authorized tier.

Can I store waste under a treatment tiered permit?
No, tiered permits only allow temporary storage directly related to the ongoing treatment processes. Separate tiered permitting for storage is required.

Does a tier permit allow land disposal?
No, the tiers only authorize specific treatment processes. Land disposal would require a full hazardous waste facility permit.

Do I need to certify closure of treatment units?
Yes, you must submit an independent registered engineer’s certification for any tanks, containers, or containment buildings upon permanent closure.

When do I need to conduct staff training?
Facility personnel must undergo initial and annual refresher training on waste handling, emergency response, and operating procedures relevant to their tiered permit.

What if my treatment process changes?
You must submit a revised notification form to DTSC within 90 days if your treatment processes change substantively.

How can violations affect my permit?
DTSC can revoke your authorization to operate under the tiers if inspections reveal serious violations of your permit conditions.