California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) 

LEA Advisory #39—March 21, 1997

Issuance of Multiple Permits

To All Local Enforcement Agencies:


As facilities are slotted into the Regulatory Tiers, Enforcement Agencies (EA), Board staff, and operators have been questioning whether multiple Solid Waste Facility Permits (permit) can, or should be issued for a single site. The advisory is intended to help all interested parties understand the options available for determining when it is appropriate to issue more than one permit at a site. There are three different combinations of permits that could occur: (1) more than one full permit; (2) full permit and one or more operations with less than a full permit(s) (in this advisory, standardized, registration, or notification tiers will be called "tiered permits"); (3) more than one tiered permit.


More Than One Full Permit

Enforcement Agencies have issued, with Board concurrence, separate full permits for new activities within the boundaries of an existing permitted facility. An example is the issuance of a permit for a transfer station within the boundaries of a permitted landfill.

Full Permit and Tiered Permit

Board practice has been to allow operators to obtain a tiered permit for an operation within the boundaries of a facility with a full permit. An example of this would be a compost facility(s) with a tiered permit located within the boundaries of a landfill.


An operator has two options when proposing to add an activity that will need either a full or tiered permit within the boundaries of an existing facility with a full permit. The operator can revise the existing permit to incorporate the new operation, or obtain a separate full or tiered permit for the new operation. However, if the EA determines that the addition of an operation eligible for a full or tiered permit necessitates significant changes in the design and operation of the existing facility with the full permit, or if it is necessary to change the terms or conditions of the existing full permit to accommodate the new on-site operation, then the EA may require the operator to apply for a permit revision. This would be consistent with Title 14 of the California Code of Regulations (14 CCR) Section 18211, that requires operators proposing to make significant changes in the design or operation of their facility to apply for a revision. If the changes are determined to be not significant, the EA can require a permit modification, or a Report of Facility Information amendment.

Either approach listed above would comply with Public Resources Code Section 44002, which prohibits the operation of a solid waste facility by any person without a Solid Waste Facility Permit.

Deciding whether to issue multiple tiered permits or a single tiered permit for a site can be more difficult. For distinctly different operations, the only option may be to issue separate permits. For example, if an operator wants to operate a compost facility and a contaminated soil disposal facility there are no provisions in the regulations to issue a single permit.

Operators may try to obtain multiple tiered permits for similar operations to avoid obtaining a higher tiered permit with more requirements. For example, an operator might request multiple compost Registration Permits for operations that are not separate from each other, instead of a single Standardized Permit. In these cases, if the EA determines that the operations are not separate, they can require the operator to obtain the appropriate higher-tiered permit.

A determination must be made whether the operations are separate or are one when deciding if multiple permits or a single permit is appropriate. The factors used in making this determination can include:

  • Physical proximity of the operations (i.e., are the operations on contiguous, or multiple parcels).
  • Types of waste being handled by each operation.
  • Whether processing equipment is shared by the facilities.
  • Whether storage or processing areas are shared.
  • Whether personnel are shared.
  • Whether record keeping is shared.
  • Protection of public health, safety, and the environment.
  • The intent of the operator.
  • Environmental impacts, including cumulative impacts of multiple facilities.  (Please refer to LEA Advisories #33 and #36 for additional guidance.)

Multiple Operators

In all of the cases listed above it is assumed that only one operator is applying for the permits. If more than one operator is involved in activities that overlap, or are connected in some way, then separate permits could be issued. The EA should ensure that the operations are adequately separated when there are multiple operations with separate operators. The separation of the facilities is needed to allow the EA to take appropriate enforcement action should it be necessary.  These situations should be handled on a case-by-case basis.

If you have any questions concerning this advisory please contact your Permits Branch liaison or Bob Holmes, the Tiered Permit Coordinator.


Original signed by:

Deputy Director
Permitting and Enforcement Division

Publication #232-97-007

The intent of the advisories is to provide guidance to Local Enforcement Agencies (LEA) in performing their duties. Guidance, for this purpose, is defined as providing explanation of the Board’s regulations and statutes.

Unless included by reference in the LEA's Enforcement Program Plan (EPP), advisories are not enforceable in the same manner as regulations because they have not been adopted through the formal rulemaking process (see Government Code sections 11340.5 and 11342.6). Advisories do not take precedence over statute or regulation.

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