The Unified Program consolidates, coordinates, and makes consistent the administrative requirements, permits, inspections, and enforcement activities of six environmental and emergency response programs.
The Unified Program is implemented at the local level by 83 government agencies certified by the Secretary of California Environmental Protection Agency (Cal/EPA). These agencies known as Certified Unified Program Agencies (CUPAs) have typically been established as a function of a local environmental health or fire department. Some CUPAs also have contractual agreements with one or more other local agencies, “participating agencies” (PAs), which implement one or more program elements under the oversight of the CUPA. There are 34 PAs.
California law requires that the Secretary of Cal/EPA periodically review the ability of each CUPA to carry out the requirements of the Unified Program. The goal is to assess whether the CUPA is effectively implementing all of the Unified Program elements, and is continually improving to meet the intent of the law: coordination, consolidation, and consistency of all Unified Program elements. Cal/EPA annually assesses each of the CUPAs through a review of specific reports to determine those that will have a more in-depth evaluation by a team of staff from each state agency with Unified Program responsibilities. The evaluation process is defined in Title 27 of the California Code of Regulations and expanded in a variety of guidance documents.
The state agency partners involved in the Unified Program have the responsibility of setting program element standards, working with Cal/EPA on ensuring program consistency, and providing technical assistance to the CUPAs and PAs. The following state agencies are involved with the Unified Program:
- California Environmental Protection Agency (Cal/EPA) - The Secretary of the California Environmental Protection Agency is directly responsible for coordinating the administration of the Unified Program. The Secretary certifies Unified Program Agencies. The Secretary has certified 83 CUPAs to date. These 86 CUPAs carry out the responsibilities previously handled by approximately 1,300 state and local agencies.
- Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) - The Department of Toxic Substances Control provides technical assistance and evaluation for the hazardous waste generator program including onsite treatment (tiered permitting).
- California Emergency Management Agency (Cal EMA) - The California Emergency Management Agency is responsible for providing technical assistance and evaluation of the Hazardous Material Release Response Plan (Business Plan) Program and the California Accidental Release Response Plan (CalARP) Programs.
- Office of the State Fire Marshal (OSFM) - The Office of the State Fire Marshal is responsible for ensuring the implementation of the Hazardous Material Management Plans and the Hazardous Material Inventory Statement Programs. These programs tie in closely with the Business Plan Program.
- State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) - The State Water Resources Control Board provides technical assistance and evaluation for the underground storage tank program in addition to handling the oversight and enforcement for the aboveground storage tank program.
For more Unified Program information visit the Ca/EPA Unified Program HOME webpage at http://www.calepa.ca.gov/cupa/