California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) 

Local Enforcement Agency Permit Toolbox

Permit Implementation Regulations

This web page provides a summary of the major changes to CalRecycle's permitting regulations which became effective on April 13, 2007.

Summary of Top-10 Major Changes

  1. Adds a definition of "Significant Change..."
  2. Provides a decision tree methodology for changes in design and operation.
  3. Provides a list of changes that always require a permit revision.
  4. Adds a process for a modified permit.
  5. Specifies public noticing and informational meeting requirements.
  6. Allows for minor changes which might not require a permit application.
  7. Requires a list of public notices and meetings be submitted with the permit application.
  8. Designates LEAs as responsible for all 5-year permit review notifications.
  9. Specifies random unannounced inspections.
  10. Clarifies the relationship between the SWFP and local land use decisions and approvals (Requires submittal of a copy of SWFP application to the local planning agency rather than including the CUP with SWFP application).

More references, resources, and other changes to the regulations are available at the bottom of this page.

1. Define the phrase "significant change..." to help determine when a SWFP needs to be revised.

The regulations provide a definition of the term "significant change in the design or operation of the solid waste facility that is not authorized by the existing permit." This definition determines when a Solid Waste Facilities Permit (SWFP) needs to be revised using a methodical process in the form of a decision tree for Enforcement Agencies (EAs) to follow when they are presented with a request by an operator to make changes to the SWFP. The methodology provides a consistent analytical process for EAs to use that allows EAs to consider site-specific considerations and circumstances when determining if a proposed change is significant and requires a revision to the permit.

"Significant Change in the design or operation of the solid waste facility that is not authorized by the existing permit" means a change in design or operation of a solid waste facility where the EA has determined pursuant to 21665 that the change is of such consequence that the solid waste facilities permit needs to include further restrictions, prohibitions, mitigations, terms, conditions or other measures to adequately protect public health, public safety, ensure compliance with State minimum standards or to protect the environment. The definition is only for purposes of determining when a permit needs to be revised and should not be utilized for any other purpose.

In following this process, requested changes to design and operation that require the permit to be changed will only be deemed significant if the EA determines that there is a need to condition or limit the new activity in order to protect public health, safety, the environment, or ensure compliance with state standards. It is made clear in the definition that the term "significant change…" is only for purposes of determining when a permit needs to be revised and should not be used for making determinations of significance relative to potential impacts to the environment pursuant of CEQA.

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2. Establish a methodology (decision tree) for EAs to follow when presented with a request by an operator to make changes to the solid waste facilities permit (SWFP).

By applying the methodology, the EA determines how to accommodate the changes proposed by the operator--through an RFI amendment, a modified permit, or a revised permit. The methodology was developed to comply with AB 1497 requirements that CalRecycle adopt regulations that define the term "significant change…" The methodology is used by the EA to determine if a proposed change can be approved through a report of facility information (RFI) amendment, a modified permit, or a revised permit process.

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3. Establish apart from the decision tree a list of changes in the design or operation of a solid waste facility that would always be considered significant and require a revision to a SWFP.

Notwithstanding anything to the contrary in Title 27, Section 21665(e), the following changes in design or operation are considered significant and require an application for a revised permit:

  1. Increase in maximum amount of permitted tonnage of all waste received.
  2. Increase in the facility's permitted acreage.
  3. Increase in the facility's permitted hours of operation.
  4. For landfills, increase in permitted disposal footprint and/or permitted (final grade) maximum overall height.

For all other changes in the design or operation f a facility proposed by the operator that do not qualify as a minor change, the EA will use the decision tree in Section 21665 to determine if the proposed change can be approved through an RFI amendment, modified permit, or revised permit.

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4. Authorize a method to change activities at a solid waste facility by means of a "modified permit" to allow modifications to a permit for changes in the design or operation of the facility that are less than a "significant change…," as defined in the proposed regulations.

Previously the regulations only defined one method for making any changes to a permit, i.e., a revised permit process. During the rulemaking process, it became apparent that there is need to define a process for changes that do not require a permit revision, but still require the permit to be changed to accommodate changes that are less than significant.

In the updated regulations, there are two ways a proposed permit change can qualify as a modified permit:

First, a change can qualify for a modified permit if it is "nonmaterial" and would not result in any physical change that would alter the approved design or operation of the facility (Section 21665(d)(1)). This is a direct way for changes that clearly qualify as a permit modification.

Second, a change can qualify for a modified permit if it results in a physical change to the existing design and operation of the facility, but the EA determines no need to add to the existing permit further restrictions, mitigations, terms or conditions to protect public health, public safety, ensure compliance with SMS, and to protect the environment (Section 21665(d)(2)).

The regulations provide that CalRecycle's Executive Director would have the authority to act on behalf of CalRecycle on modified permits.

Note: The application form needs to be updated to include "modified permit" as a type of application. Updating the application form, which is located in the Appendices of Title 27, will require the regulations to be amended in a separate new rulemaking that could take some time. In the meantime, to submit an application for a modified permit, applicants may change the CIWMB E-1-77 form before submitting it to the LEA by crossing out "revision" under "Part 1.C.2." of the form and writing in "Modification."

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5. Implement additional noticing requirements for RFI amendments and modified, new, and revised permits; and establish informational meeting (hearing) requirements for new and revised full permits.

The new noticing requirements for RFI amendments are less than those for a modified, revised or new permit and consist of the operator posting a notice at the facility entrance and the EA posting the notice on a public notice board, EA's web site, CalRecycle's website, or operator's web site; the notice is required to be posted within 5 days after the EA approves the application for at least 10 days.

The new noticing requirements for modified, revised, and new (full, registration, and standardized) permit applications are that the EA post a notice on the EA's or local jurisdiction's public notice board, and comply with Government Code Section 65091. Among other things, Section 65091 requires that notice of the hearing be mailed to the owners of real property within 300 feet of the facility in question and either be posted in three public locations (at least one of which must be directly affected by the proposed project) or published in a newspaper of general circulation. The EA is also allowed to take additional measures to increase public notice, such as noticing beyond 300 feet if the nearest residence or business is not within 300 feet, posting the notice in a local paper, and providing multilingual notice and translation.

For new and revised full permit applications, the EA is required to notice the governing body of the local jurisdiction where the facility is located and the appropriate State Assembly Member and State Senator of an upcoming informational meeting.

The regulations require the EA to conduct informational meetings for all revised and new full permit applications, but not for registration and standardized permits. The EA is required to submit a copy of the informational meeting notice to CalRecycle when the notice is issued and CalRecycle is required to post the notice on its website. The EA is allowed to combine the informational meeting with another public meeting that meets specified criteria or to substitute the informational meeting with another meeting that is substantially the same as the EA meeting and meets specified criteria. The EA is required to hold a separate meeting if the operator indicates objection to the proposed use of a substitute meeting.

Summary of Notification and Informational Meeting Requirements for Changes to Existing or New Permits

  New Permit Revised Modified RFI Amend Standardized/Registration Notification Minor Change
Informational Meeting Yes Yes No No No/No No No
Public Notification Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes/Yes Yes No
Board Concurrence Yes Yes Yes (Exec Dir) No Yes/No No No
Copy Local Plan. Dept. Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes/Yes Yes No
Notice the Governing Body Yes Yes No No No No No
Notice State Assembly Member & State Senator Yes Yes No No No No No
Note: The application form for 5-year permit review is also required to be copied to the local land use planning agency.

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6. Clarify that an operator can continue to make minor changes at a solid waste facility which do not require EA review and approval if the change meets specified criteria, the operator notifies the EA as required, and the change is on the minor change list, or if not listed, meets the criteria.

The regulations allow operators to make minor changes without EA review, approval or prior notice that include, but are not limited to, those listed and that meet criteria specified in Section 21620(a)(1). These changes, whether listed or not, are supposed to be so minor that EA review and approval is not needed prior to the operator making the change. The operator is required to notify the EA of the change within 30 days of making the change. If the EA finds the change is not minor, the EA is required to provide a written finding to the operator explaining why the change did not qualify as a minor change and to require the operator to comply with all applicable requirements. The could include the EA using the decision tree in Section 21665 to determine that the change requires an amendment to the RFI, a modified permit, or a revised permit.

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7. Establish a new requirement that operators include with the permit application a list of all public notices and meetings conducted relative to the permit application.

The following element has been added to the requirements for a complete and correct application package:

"(11) List of all public hearings and other meetings open to the public that have been held or copies of notices distributed that are applicable to the proposed solid waste facilities permit action."

Requiring the operator to submit a list of all public notices and meetings conducted relative to the changes being requested in the application would improve the reporting of this information to the CIWMB and the furthering of Environmental Justice (EJ) in the consideration of permit actions. This is necessary to be consistent with the intent of AB 1497, which requires that EJ concerns be considered in developing the regulations and new public noticing and hearing requirements be implemented for permit revisions.

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8. Require the EA to notify all facility operators when they must apply for a five-year review of the permit.

Previously, this responsibility was shared by CalRecycle

 and EAs. Board staff notified operators holding registration and standardized permits; EAs notified operators of full permits. The new standard requires the EA notify holders of all types of permits that the permit is due for review, bringing consistency to the permit review process.

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9. Require the EA to design its inspection program so that facility inspections are unannounced and random, insofar as possible.

Previously, regulation authorized the EA to conduct inspections without prior notice to the owner or operator during normal business hours or the site's operating hours whenever possible, but did not require the EA to do so, and the EA was not required to conduct the inspection on randomly selected days. Requiring the EA to conduct random inspections, whenever possible, is necessary to strengthen the concept that inspections should be conducted as surprise, random inspections when possible and provides consistency among all types of solid waste facilities and operations in requiring random and unannounced inspections.

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10. Clarify the relationship between the SWFP and local land use decisions and approvals.

The regulations remove the requirement that a copy of the local land use entitlement be included with the full permit application package.  Instead, the operator is now required to send a copy of the application to the local land use planning agency for new, revised, or modified full permits, RFI amendments, standardized and registration permits, and 5-year permit review applications.  The applicant was already required to copy the local land use planning agency EA notifications.

Further, the regulations advise EAs that when writing permit conditions, the EA shall take into consideration Public Resources Code Section 44012, which requires the EA to ensure that primary consideration is given to protecting public health and safety and the preventing environmental damage, and the long-term protection of the environment; and the EA may also take into consideration other permits and approvals.

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More Resources

Other Changes to the Regulations

  1. LEA now has 60 days instead of 55 days to submit a proposed permit to CalRecycle after an application is accepted as complete and correct.
  2. CDI sites in the standardized and registration permit tiers no longer require an LEA public hearing.

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Last updated: April 26, 2007
Permit Toolbox, http://www.calrecycle.ca.gov/SWFacilities/Permitting/
Kevin Taylor: Kevin.Taylor@calrecycle.ca.gov (916) 341-6582