California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) 

CIWMP Enforcement Policy

Commonly Asked Questions and Answers

Questions and Answers

1. When is our Five-Year County/Regional Agency Integrated Waste Management Plan Review Report due?

The five-year review report is due five years from the CalRecycle approval date for the waste management plan (for regional agencies to which all of the jurisdictions in the county(s) belong). If you have questions about your five-year review report due date, contact your local assistance staff representative at (916) 341-6199.

2. Is the next five-year review report due five years from the date the first report is approved by CalRecycle?

No, the five-year review report due date is calculated every five years from CalRecycle-approval date of the waste management plan. So, as mentioned above, the first five-year review report is due five years from the date CalRecycle approved the plan. The second five-year review report is due five years from the date of the first report due date (or 10 years from CalRecycle approval date of the plan) and so forth.

3. What is the difference between a five-year review report and a five-year revision?

The five-year review is a county's or regional agency’s evaluation of all the planning documents included in its waste management plan and a vehicle for notifying CalRecycle whether one or more of its planning documents needs to be revised. The five-year review report is the document that is due on the anniversary dates referenced above, not a revised planning document. If the county or regional agency determines that a revision to one or more individual planning documents is necessary, a revision schedule for the planning document(s) must be included in the five-year review report.

4. Can you clarify when a county has to prepare the five-year review report as opposed to a regional agency?

The county is responsible for preparing the five-year review report for the entire county, including any regional agencies. For example, a county includes two regional agencies, one to which the unincorporated county area belongs, and three other cities. The county will prepare the five-year review for the whole county (i.e., the two regional agencies and the three cities). The five-year review report is due five years from the date the county's waste management plan was approved by CalRecycle.

The county is responsible for preparing the five-year review report for the entire county, including any regional agencies. For example, a county includes two regional agencies, one to which the unincorporated county area belongs, and three other cities. The county will prepare the five-year review for the whole county (i.e., the two regional agencies and the three cities). The five-year review report is due five years from the date the county's waste management plan was approved by CalRecycle.

5. So, what happens when the waste management plan is approved for a county and then all the jurisdictions in the county, including the unincorporated county area, form a regional agency? Is the five-year regional review report due date based on the date of the county or regional waste management plan approval?

If the planning documents were not altered in the formation of the regional agency (e.g., they did not prepare new planning documents for the new regional agency, but rather incorporated them by reference), the due date is still based on the waste management plan’s approval date. If, however, the regional agency prepared regionwide or multijurisdictional planning documents, which were approved as their regional waste management plan, then the five-year regional plan review report due date is calculated based on the date of the regional plan’s approval.

6. Our county no longer has a local task force, but does have a "Solid Waste Committee" that addresses and votes on solid waste issues. The five-year review process requires a local task force to provide written comments to the county or regional agency, and CalRecycle, on areas of the waste management plan that need revision, if any. In the case where the local task force no longer exists, can another entity (e.g., Solid Waste Committee or regional agency) act as the local task force for the purpose of the five-year review? If not, are there options for reconstituting the local task force that do not involve the approval process that was required previously (e.g., membership determined by the county and by a majority of the cities within the county which contain a majority of the population of the incorporated area of the county)?

PRC, section 40950 references convening a local task force every five years, presumably for the purpose of the five-year review. With respect to determining membership, the statute is clear regarding these requirements. There is, however, no provision for "disbanding" the local task force, so the original one, with the original members, still exists even though it may not have met in years. So, the original local task force can resume meeting (for example, send notices of the next meeting) and to the extent that vacancies need to be filled, include that as an agenda item for the next meeting. At the present time, statute does not authorize the use of a different body instead of the local task force.

7. What is the appropriate level of local task force involvement in the five-year review (i.e., what exactly does the task force need to do)?

Regulations (Title 14, CCR section 18788) require a county’s local task force to provide written comments to the county or regional agency and to CalRecycle, on areas of the waste management plan that need revision, if any, prior to the five-year anniversary date of CalRecycle approval of the plan, but no later than 45 days prior to the anniversary date.

Since the exact level of local task force involvement is not specified in the statute or regulations, it is recommended that this decision be addressed/negotiated by the county and the local task force. As the regulations are written, the local task force essentially serves as a vehicle for getting the individual jurisdictions' comments on the continuing adequacy of their original SRREs, HHWEs, and NDFEs to the county (and CalRecycle). The county is responsible for making the final determination regarding any need for a plan revision in the five-year review report. In part of its making this determination, the county will most likely rely heavily on the information provided by the local task force as a part of its review regarding each jurisdiction’s individual planning documents. It is recommended that the county and local task force discuss the data needed for the analysis and review and develop a plan regarding how the local task force will collect and prepare the information. How much effort each local task force member contributes to the project, however, is a local matter.

Please remember that your local assistance staff representative is an excellent resource to you during this process. For example, you can request a report of the Electronic Annual Report information relating to each jurisdiction’s planning document adequacy to help prepare the local task force comments as well as the five-year review report.

8. Where exactly does it say that it is the county’s responsibility to review all of the cities’ planning documents?

Title 14, CCR section 18788 provides that the county or regional agency is responsible for determining if a revision is necessary and notifying the local task force and CalRecycle of its findings in a five-year review report. This same section, however, also provides that the local task force is first required to complete a review of the waste management plan to assure that the county's and regional agency’s waste management practices remain consistent with the hierarchy of waste management practices defined in statute. The local task force is also required to submit written comments on areas of the waste management plan which require revision, if any, to the county or regional agency and CalRecycle. The county’s determination should be based, at least in part, on the local task force’s comments.

9. Who (as in a jurisdiction) would be responsible before CalRecycle if a jurisdiction fails to conduct a planning document review and/or provide review comments to the county for the five-year review (e.g., a jurisdiction does not participate in the required local task force review and input)?

PRC section 41822 provides that each city, county, or regional agency shall review its SRRE or the waste management plan at least once every five years to correct any deficiencies in the element or plan. Additionally, Title 14, CCR section 18788 requires a county’s local task force to provide written comments to the county or regional agency, and CalRecycle, on areas of the waste management plan that need revision, if any.

Since the exact level of local task force involvement is not specified in the statute or regulations, the specific expectations for each local task force member in conducting the review and preparing comments is considered a local matter. As a result, it is recommended that this decision be addressed/negotiated between the county and the local task force (e.g., at a local task force meeting). If the county requests information from a jurisdiction regarding its five-year review and none is forthcoming, it is recommended that the county document this fact in its five-year review report and indicate that, as a result, the county cannot determine whether a revision of the jurisdiction’s planning documents is necessary.

There is no explicit penalty provided in statute or regulations for noncompliance with the five-year review requirements (e.g., planning document review, local task force comment process, reporting). Noncompliance could, however, be taken into account during the applicable biennial or quadrennial review.

10. What is the difference between an update to the planning documents and a revision?

Updates include reporting technical changes or modifications that have already been undertaken by jurisdictions to fulfill the requirements of AB 939 (program implementation information in annual reports, etc.). A revision to a planning document is needed if significant changes to the overall plan are proposed that should involve the formal local public input process.

11. What level of analysis is CalRecycle looking for with respect to demographic and waste stream changes in determining whether a SRRE revision is needed?

The five-year review report template provides a number of resources to document demographic and waste stream changes. Additionally, the analysis needs to address whether, in light of these changes, the SRRE is still adequate (e.g., does not contain any deficiencies). If not, can the deficiencies be addressed via program updates or is a revision necessary?

12. Do counties or regional agencies have to include statewide per capita generation and disposal tonnage in their five-year review report?

No, such statistics are not required by either statute or regulation and therefore, are not necessary to include in the report. You should keep in mind that what is required for the five-year review is an analysis of how things have changed in the county (or regional agency) since the planning documents were written, and whether a revision to one or more of the planning documents is necessary.

13. Would rural reductions (or other programmatic changes related to time extensions or alternative diversion requirements) cause a significant enough change as to require SRRE revision?

Generally, a revision would only be recommended when there are changes to the overall structure of how the jurisdiction planned to achieve the diversion goals, in which case there should be local formal public input for policy-making decisions through the formal SRRE revision process. Otherwise, jurisdictions can use their annual reports to CalRecycle to update diversion program information, e.g., selected, implemented, alternative, planned programs, where it has been determined that a revision is not necessary. Additionally, if a jurisdiction is on compliance or has a time extension or alternative diversion rate, the compliance order or plan of correction, respectively, can serve as updates to the SRRE or HHWE in terms of program implementation. Corrections to, or approved new base years, also update the Solid Waste Generation Study component of the SRRE.

14. PRC 41736 indicates that “At the time of the five-year revision of the source reduction and recycling element, each city, county, and city and county shall incorporate the nondisposal facility element and any amendments thereto into the revised source reduction and recycling element.” Does the NDFE have to be incorporated into the SRRE at time of the five-year review?

According to PRC 41730, “the nondisposal facility element and any amendments to the element may be appended to the city's source reduction and recycling element when that element is included in the countywide integrated waste management plan, prepared pursuant to section 41750.” This language was changed to provide that incorporating the NDFE into the SRRE is not mandatory and CalRecycle regulations were modified accordingly.

15. PRC 41770 (a) indicates that the city, county, or regional agency shall conduct waste disposal characterization studies, as prescribed by the board, if it fails to meet the diversion requirements of section 41780, at the time of the five-year revision of the SRRE. So, if at the time of the five-year review the jurisdiction has not met the diversion requirements, will it have to conduct a waste characterization study?

PRC 41770 does reference a waste characterization study, but it is linked to CalRecycle being authorized, but not required, to order one when a jurisdiction is not in compliance with the mandates. (…the city, county, or regional agency shall conduct waste disposal characterization studies, as prescribed by the board, if it fails to meet the diversion requirements of section 41780…). Any CalRecycle action or direction associated with failing to meet the diversion requirements of PRC section 41780 is addressed via the biennial or quadrennial compliance review process.

If at the time of the five-year review a jurisdiction is not achieving the diversion requirements, the respective county will have to address in the five-year review report whether that jurisdiction’s SRRE, as updated, is still meeting the jurisdiction’s planning needs. Specifically, the county should address whether the jurisdiction’s SRRE should be revised or has been sufficiently updated with respect to program implementation in the jurisdiction’s annual reports, compliance order, or other CalRecycle reporting mechanism. In analyzing the jurisdiction’s current waste stream and whether the current or planned programs are addressing the largest waste generators and types, CalRecycle’s waste characterization data, Electronic Annual Report and Countywide, Regionwide, and Statewide Jurisdiction Diversion Progress Report are recommended resources.

16. With the passage of Senate Bill 20 (Sher, Chapter 526, Statutes of 2003) on hazardous electronic waste, do jurisdictions need to revise their HHWE by Jan. 1, 2004 to identify those actions the city, county, or regional agency is taking to promote the collection, consolidation, recovery, and recycling of covered electronic waste?

No, this requirement only applies if, after Jan. 1, 2004, as a result of the five-year review, a jurisdiction or CalRecycle determines that a revision to the HHWE is necessary. For example, if as a result of the five year review, the county or regional agency determines that a revision to one of the jurisdiction’s HHWE is necessary to address significant funding and/or administrative changes, the revision must also identify those actions the city, county, or regional agency is taking to promote the collection, consolidation, recovery, and recycling of covered electronic waste. If however, the county or regional agency determines no revision to the jurisdictions’ planning documents are necessary, no revision to applicable jurisdictions’ HHWE is necessary as a result of this bill. Similarly, if the county or regional agency determines that a revision to one or more of the other planning document (but not one of the jurisdiction’s HHWEs) is necessary, still no revision to the HHWE is required as a result of this bill.

However, when reviewing each jurisdiction’s planning documents for adequacy during the five-year review, please keep in mind that e-waste program implementation should be updated in the electronic annual report (9045 program code). This allows jurisdictions to update their planning documents relating to e-waste programs when a revision is not necessary.

17. If we have a new nondisposal facility in our jurisdiction, do we need to revise our NDFE?

Statute requires a revision (i.e., an amended NDFE) if a nondisposal facility is being used (or planned to be used) in your jurisdiction that is not already identified in the NDFE.

18. There have been changes to the nondisposal facilities used outside of our jurisdiction (e.g., we have changed haulers and now use a different material recovery facility). Do we need to revise our NDFE, as a result of such changes?

If your jurisdiction has started using a nondisposal facility that is not identified in your NDFE and you are not the “host” jurisdiction (i.e., the nondisposal facility is not sited or planned to be sited in your jurisdiction) you do not have to amend your NDFE at the time of the five-year review (of course, you may if you want to), but you should provide an update as follows:

  • Identify the nondisposal facility in your Electronic Annual Report providing the information required in 14 CCR 18753.5 (type of facility, estimated amount of waste the jurisdiction will transport to the facility, anticipated/expected diversion rate for the facility as a whole, location of the facility); and,
  • Attach a copy of this information to your NDFE (to provide anyone reviewing the document access to the current information).

19. Does each jurisdiction included in a multi-jurisdictional NDFE have to adopt an amendment(s) made by another jurisdiction(s)? For example, if one of the jurisdictions amends the NDFE to site a new composting facility, do all of the other jurisdictions included multi-jurisdictional NDFE also have to adopt the amended NDFE?

Although the multi-jurisdictional NDFE includes nondisposal facility information for multiple of jurisdictions, each jurisdiction locally adopted it as their own planning document. As a result, each jurisdiction would only need to revise its NDFE to reflect changes in nondisposal facilities sited or planned to be sited within its jurisdiction (A jurisdiction may wish to update its NDFE at the time of the five-year review to reflect current conditions, but it is not required). The exception to this would be a CalRecycle-approved regional agency with a multi-jurisdictional NDFE, in which case each member jurisdiction would need to locally adopt any amendments to the NDFE unless one of the member jurisdictions is specifically appointed to do so for the regional agency and its member jurisdictions.

20. If the NDFE and/or SE are amended, is there a requirement that the entire waste management plan be revised?

The NDFE and the SE can be amended without having to revise the entire plan. Depending on the nature of the change, however, these amendments may require a revision to the summary plan at the time of the five-year review. So, in the five-year review report, the county should address these changes and whether they affect the adequacy of the summary plan to the extent that a revision is necessary. The five-year review report template is designed to assist you in analyzing and reporting the need for revising each element and plan comprising the waste management plans.

21. What type of “proof” or documentation is necessary to demonstrate 15 years disposal capacity?

The Countywide Siting Element (SE) will need to be revised if the county has less than 15 years disposal capacity and the SE does not include an adequate strategy for obtaining 15 years disposal capacity. With respect to documenting 15-year disposal capacity, Title 14, CCR section 18755.3 Disposal Capacity Requirements, requires the following for the preparation of the SE:

  • Existing disposal capacity in cubic yards and tons.
  • Anticipated disposal capacity needs in cubic yards and tons on an annual basis and aggregated for a minimum five-year period.

In terms of “proof” of 15-year disposal capacity, the county should have available the method and sources of data for determining these estimates for CalRecycle staff review. For a discussion of the statutory, regulatory and content adequacy requirements of a SE, see the CIWMP Enforcement Part 1: Plan Adequacy. The section on Countywide Siting Element Adequacy contains information regarding what staff focused on during the review of a SE to determine and define adequacy.

22. A city has newly incorporated since the preparation and approval of the county’s planning documents and is still determining whether to join the regional agency to which the county is a member. If the city does not join the regional agency, the city will need to prepare its own planning documents. How should this change be addressed in the five-year review report? Should the county wait to see what the city decides even if that delays the submittal of the five-year regional review report past the due date?

The county should not wait for the city to decide whether to join the regional agency to submit the five-year review report. The county should include the details of the incorporation in its report, including the possibility that the city’s planning elements may be added to the waste management plan (i.e., if the city does not join the regional agency and prepares its own planning documents).

Additionally, the county should include an analysis regarding how the withdrawal of the newly incorporated city (and any other changes) affect the county’s waste stream, demographics, program implementation, etc; and whether this change is so significant that the county’s existing planning documents become less than adequate to meet and maintain the diversion requirements. In other words, does this change alter what the county reported it would do in terms of program implementation, funding, etc. in its SRRE and HHWE, and does this change affect the facilities and information provided in the NDFE, SE and SP? If so, are these changes addressed via updates to these documents or is a revision necessary? If the county determines that a revision is necessary, it will need to include in its five-year review report a timeline showing when the revision(s) will be completed (provided that the city does not join the regional agency).

23. Title 14 CCR, section 18788 provides that the county or regional agency shall determine if a revision is necessary, and notify the local task force and CalRecycle of its findings in a five-year review report, but it is not clear who in the county makes this determination nor how the determination is made. Does the county need a resolution from the county Board of Supervisors or can the recycling coordinator make the determination?

The internal process by which each county responds to the requirements of CalRecycle may vary. In some cases, the county Board of Supervisors makes such determinations based on the recommendations of county staff; in other cases, the AB 939 coordinator (or other such personnel) may be authorized to make such determinations (depending on the level of authority the county has given its AB 939 coordinator). With respect to the submittal of the five-year review report, CalRecycle will need whatever is considered an official determination from your county.

Many county Boards of Supervisors will want to hear the county’s findings and determination prior to submittal of the five-year review report to CalRecycle, with or without action (e.g., adopting or approving the five-year review report). In such cases, a copy of the meeting agenda and/or minutes or resolution would be an appropriate reference/appendix to the five-year review report. In other cases, the AB 939 coordinator may be authorized to make this determination and to author and submit the five-year review report. Ultimately, it will depend on the county’s internal procedures.

It is recommended that you check with your department head regarding what the county’s internal process is for such reports and whether it is something that should go before your county Board of Supervisors. You should also include any approval documentation in the five-year review report and/or have it available for CalRecycle staff review.

24. A letter regarding the five-year revision process went out on July 21, 2000 to city and county contacts. The letter had a copy of CCR 14 section 18788 attached. (4) (b) of section 18788 (CIWMP or RAIWMP Revision) states that "if a revision is necessary the county or regional agency shall submit a waste management plan revision schedule to CalRecycle." How much time does the county or regional agency have to submit this revision schedule?

The revision schedule must be included in the county’s or regional agency’s five-year review report to CalRecycle. The revision schedule should outline the steps and time frames necessary to prepare, review, approve and submit the applicable revised documents to CalRecycle. There is no guidance in statute or regulations, however, on how much time a jurisdiction has to actually revise and submit the revised planning documents to CalRecycle. Part of local assistance staff’s review of any revision schedule(s) included in a five-year review report will be an evaluation of whether time frames included in the revision schedule are reasonable.

CIWMP 5-Year Review Home | Letters from Local Assistance

Last updated: August 24, 2010
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Local Assistance & Market Development: LAMD@calrecycle.ca.gov (916) 341-6199