Due to leaking underground tanks in the adjoining City of San Jose during the early 1980s, the City of Milpitas in cooperation with the County of Santa Clara, the Santa Clara County Fire Chief’s Association, representatives from the business community, environmental groups and other environmental regulatory agencies developed the Hazardous Materials Storage Ordinance. In 1983, the City of Milpitas adopted its own Hazardous Materials Storage Ordinance for regulating hazardous materials in both aboveground and underground applications. The reporting requirements incorporated in the storage ordinance was intended to quickly provide information to emergency responders. To ensure that the Fire Department received this information, the Hazardous Materials and Environmental Services Unit was incorporated into the Fire Department’s Bureau of Fire Prevention.
In the late 1980s, the City of Milpitas cooperated with the County of Santa Clara and other cities within the County in developing a model Toxic Gas Ordinance which regulated the handling, dispensing and potential release of toxic gases. In 1990, the City of Milpitas adopted its own Toxic Gas Ordinance. The Hazardous Materials and Environmental Services Unit was charged with the duty of enforcing the requirements of this ordinance.
In 1995, the requirements contained within the Hazardous Materials Storage and Toxic Gas Ordinances were incorporated into the State’s Uniform Fire Code and adopted by the Milpitas City Council as the Milpitas Fire Code.
The Hazardous Materials and Environmental Services Unit administers the following activities and is currently staffed by one Hazardous Materials Program Manager and three full time Hazardous Materials Inspectors.
- Review and approval of Hazardous Materials Business Plans (HMBPs) and Inventories;
- Annual inspection and permit issuance for:
- Aboveground Tanks under State Health and Safety Code (Chapter 6.67)
- Hazardous Materials Storage under Milpitas Municipal Code (Title V, Chapter 300)
- Non-point Source under Milpitas Municipal Code (Chapter 16)
- Underground Tanks under State Health and Safety Code (Chapter 6.7)
- Plan review and permit issuance for new construction, tenant improvements, and installation and closure of hazardous material processes;
- Investigation for cause and origin of hazardous material releases;
- Training of emergency response personnel and the business community; and,
- Processing of public information requests involving hazardous materials under the Freedom of Information Act
The Hazardous Materials and Environmental Services Unit is cost recovery for these aspects of the program providing service to the business community. Fees are based upon the actual time required for permit application review and inspections.
At the time of its creation in 1983, the Fire Department’s Hazardous Materials and Environmental Services Unit’s primary responsibility was to enforce the requirements of the Hazardous Materials Storage Ordinance and to provide training to the Fire Department’s personnel on the hazards associated with the chemicals used throughout the City. Today, the Hazardous Materials and Environmental Services Unit provides a comprehensive environmental regulatory compliance inspection service. The Unit’s responsibilities include permit issuance, inspection and enforcement for compliance with the California Fire Code (with amendments contained in the Milpitas Municipal Code Title V-Chapter 300) and State Health and Safety Code (Chapters 6.67, 6.7 and 6.95)
To report an emergency; on-going dumping of hazardous materials; or an accident involving hazardous materials call 911.
Hazardous Material Resources:
Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD)
California Air Resource Board
P.O. Box 2815
Sacramento, CA 95812
California Office of Emergency Services
P.O. Box 419047
Rancho Cordova, CA 95741-9047
California Environmental Protection Agency (Cal-EPA)/California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC)
400 P Street
P.O. Box 806
Sacramento, CA 95812
Santa Clara County Department of Environmental Health Department, Hazardous Materials Program
United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) –
Region IX (California Nevada, Arizona, Hawaii and Guam)
OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY AND HEALTH
California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal-OSHA)
California Water Resources Control Board
Regional Water Quality Control Board – Region II
San Jose/Santa Clara Water Pollution Control Plant
Santa Clara Valley Water District
Milpitas Utilities Engineering Department
Santa Clara Valley Non-point Source Pollution Control Program
Santa Clara County Pollution Prevention Program
Santa Clara Valley Permit Assistance Center
Peter Frey, Director
CalEPA, Santa Clara Valley Permit Assistance Center