California’s Hazardous Materials Business Plan
Are you aware of California’s Hazardous Materials Business Plan (HMBP) reporting requirements for certain refrigerants? It is an initiative for environmental sustainability and corporate sustainability to decrease companies’ environmental footprints. This post explains which facilities are impacted along with why, how, and when such facilities must submit annual reports to the California Environmental Reporting System (CERS) to show how they are dealing with extremely hazardous substances.
In fact, because reports are due by March 1st, we thought now is a good time to review reporting requirements and ensure that your facility is in compliance with HMBP requirements for refrigerants.
Overview of HMBP Reporting Requirements
The Hazardous Material Business Plan (HMBP) program is meant to prevent or minimize the threat to public health and the environment due to a release or threatened release of hazardous materials handled or stored at a facility.
Certain facilities that handle hazardous materials are subject to the HMBP program.
Facilities that have to comply with the HMBP program meet the following criteria:
- have hazardous materials equal to or greater than applicable reporting thresholds found at California Health and Safety Code (HSC) Division 20 Chapter 6.95 Article 1; or
- are required to submit for the federal EPA’s Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) found at 42 U.S. Code § 11022.
The California HSC Division 20, Chapter 6.95, Article provides CERS reporting thresholds for materials. The standard thresholds are 55 gallons, 200 cubic feet, or 500 pounds.
However, some hazardous materials, like refrigerants, have different reporting thresholds for when they are included on an HMBP. The refrigerant reporting thresholds are explained in the next section.
CERS Reporting Thresholds
A facility must establish an implement a business plan for emergency response to a release or threatened release of refrigerants if the facility meets the following condition:
- Handles at any one time during the reporting year nonflammable refrigerant gases, as defined in the California Fire Code, that are used in refrigeration systems in a quantity of 1,000 cubic feet or more at standard temperature and pressure (STP) equipment.
To put that another way, the threshold at which fluorocarbon nonflammable refrigerants become reportable is listed in the table below:
CERS Reporting Threshold
|Nonflammable refrigerant gases used in a refrigeration system||
1,000 cubic feet or more at standard temperature and pressure (STP)
Thus, a facility must report if it has 1,000 cubic feet or more of non-flammable refrigerant gases.
You should convert all onsite refrigerants to cubic feet and then compare the maximum amount of each refrigerant stored in all containers at any one time during the year to the 1,000 cubic feet threshold quantity. (A grocery store with 450 lbs or more of refrigerant likely meets the reporting threshold.)
A regulated facility must provide:
- Facility information;
- Hazardous material inventory;
- Site map;
- Emergency contingency plan; and
- Training plan.
Would you like to download the essential information you need to know now to ensure HMBP compliance at your facility? Contact us for the report!
Hurry! Reports are due March 1st.
Where and When to Report
Businesses must submit a complete HMBP electronically to the statewide information management system, known as the California Environmental Reporting System (CERS).
EPCRA Regulated Facilities
If your facility is also subject to the federal Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA), then you will be required to submit a complete HMBP to CERS annually.
Non-EPCRA Regulated Facilities
If your facility is not subject to EPCRA, then the year after you initially submit a complete HMBP to CERS, you are required to annually review and certify your HMBP information in CERS is still accurate and complete if there has been no change.
A change may include a 100 percent or more increase in quantity of hazardous materials, change of business or facility address, change of business ownership or name.
Non-EPCRA regulated facilities have a reporting period of once every three years, but they are still required to annually review and certify their HMBP in CERS.
The HMBP is due by March 1st or within 30 days of a change. (CUPAs can set the business annual reporting date.)
It’s important to keep in mind that the HMBP Program is implemented and enforced by the local Certified Unified Program Agency (CUPA). You should check with your local CUPA, as it may have different reporting thresholds for refrigerants or certain exemptions for them.
Failure to electronically report as required may lead to an enforcement action resulting in a penalty or fine.
California Health and Safety Code Section 25508(a)(1)(a) states, “A handler shall electronically submit its business plan annually to the statewide information management system in accordance with the requirements of this article and certify that the business plan meets the requirements.”
It goes on to state, “If a handler fails, after reasonable notice, to electronically submit a business plan in compliance with this article, the unified program agency shall take appropriate action to enforce this article, including the imposition of administrative, civil, and criminal penalties as specified in this article.” (Emphasis mine.)
Ensure HMBP Compliance in CERS with Trakref
As you can see, it’s important to know if your facility must submit a HMBP and ensure compliance with the program. It is also something you may want to include in ESG reporting and may want to answer for sustainability audit questions.
In sum, if your facility handles 1,000 cubic feet or more of refrigerant at any one time, your facility is required to submit an HMBP, train employees annually, and prepare for inspections.
Trakref is here to help ensure HMBP compliance for your facility. If you’re looking to stay on top of regulations in your own refrigerant tracking, get in touch with Trakref today. We’re a software corporation that has been in the regulatory compliance software and environmental compliance calendar software space for years. As an environmental software provider, we make sure our refrigerant capabilities will keep you in compliance with reporting requirements like HMBP. Get in touch with one of our Refrigerant Geeks today.
As always, thanks for joining us here on the Trakref blog.
We are refrigerant geeks with proven techniques to manage leaks in our HVAC/R and refrigerant management software.