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CERS (California Environmental Reporting System)

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Published on November 10, 2016. Last modified on September 05, 2019

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IMPORTANT: 2018/2019 Deadline

If you have not yet completed a 2018 submittal in the California Environmental Reporting System (CERS) you are required to do so by January 1, 2019 (Monterey County Code section 10.65.050(D)). Failure to do so will result in graduated enforcement action by the Monterey County Environmental Health Department. Please keep the following in mind:

  • You are required to do a complete submittal every calendar year. This includes all submittal elements which, at a minimum, include Facility Information, Hazardous Materials Inventory and Emergency Response and Training Plans. If you operate underground or aboveground storage tanks you are required to resubmit those elements as well.
  • Your resubmittal is required regardless of whether or not previous submittals have been approved.
  • You can access CERS resubmittal help at our FAQ page located HERE.

Information regarding CERS

New electronic reporting requirements were mandated by AB 2286 and required all businesses statewide handling hazardous materials to report electronically to the CERS (California Environmental Reporting System), at https://cers.calepa.ca.gov. CERS is a statewide web-based system to support California Unified Program Agencies (CUPAs) and Participating Agencies (PAs) in electronically collecting and reporting various hazardous materials-related data such as:

  • Hazardous Materials Business Plan (HMBP)
  • Acutely Hazardous Materials (Cal ARP)
  • Hazardous Waste
  • Hazardous Waste Onsite Treatment
  • Hazardous Waste Tank Closures
  • Remote Waste Consolidation
  • Recyclable Materials Reports
  • Underground Storage Tanks (UST)
  • Aboveground petroleum storage over 1,320 gallons (APSA/SPCC)

Electronic reporting has replaced all paper submittals, and began on January 1, 2013. Information submitted into CERS includes the following:

  • Facility and owner/operator identification information including site and mailing addresses and business contact names and phone numbers.
  • Emergency contact names and 24-hour phone numbers.
  • Description of the primary business activity.
  • An inventory of all reportable hazardous materials to include common name, chemical name, physical state, waste classification number, physical and health hazards, amount of time stored, quantity stored, description of material container, location of containers, and the related CAS and DOT numbers of each hazardous chemical.
  • A confidential site map indicating the locations of hazardous materials and wastes, emergency employee meeting areas, utility shutoff locations, storm drain locations and street names.

CUPA Consolidated Emergency Response/ Contingency Plan Documents

Document Name Description
CUPA Downloadable Contingency Plan Prior to completing this Plan, please refer to the INSTRUCTIONS FOR COMPLETING A CONSOLIDATED CONTINGENCY PLAN

CUPA Downloadable Instructions

Health and Safety Code (HSC) §25504(b) requires that Hazardous Materials Business Plans (HMBP) contain Emergency Response Plans and Procedures in the event of a reportable release or threatened release of a hazardous material. HSC §25504(c) requires that HMBPs address training of employees in safety procedures in the event of a reportable or threatened release.

Site Map with Instructions

Complete This Map and Use the “Upload Document” Feature in CERS to Complete Your HMBP for Electronic Submittal

Add Data to CERS Database

Monterey County Environmental Health Bureau (EHB) is requesting all regulated facilities to submit their various hazardous materials-related data to the CERS database.

  • If you currently are regulated by EHB CUPA, we have pre-populated some of your existing facility information into CERS and it is available to you through the CERS Business Portal.
  • Most of our business users will only need to create a CERS account containing a user name and password.
  • EHB staff is also available by appointment to assist business users in establishing a user account in CERS.
  • For newly regulated businesses a new CERS facility will need to be created by going to CERS website.

For assistance contact your Monterey County Environmental Health Bureau Hazardous Materials Specialist at (831) 755-4511.

FAQs about California Environmental Reporting System (CERS)

A.Assembly Bill 2286, which took effect on January 1, 2009, requires all regulated businesses and all regulated local government agencies, called Unified Program Agencies (UPAs), to use the Internet to file required Unified Program information currently filed on paper forms. In Monterey County, the Environmental Health Bureau is the local certified UPA.

Information that is required to be filed electronically includes facility data regarding hazardous materials, hazardous waste, chemical inventories, site maps and underground and aboveground storage tanks. All regulated businesses and UPAs in the State of California were required to begin filing relevant information electronically by January 1, 2013.

The new reporting system is called the California Environmental Reporting System (CERS) and was built by Cal EPA. CERS is now available for use free of charge by regulated businesses and UPAs for the purpose of reporting electronically.

Electronic reporting will save businesses time and money. They will be able to view their stored information on-line, and can easily complete their submittal with a few clicks of a mouse. Annual re-submittals are even easier.

For more information about CERS and Unified Program electronic reporting requirements, please click HERE.

A.The first thing you need to do to begin reporting in CERS is to create an account. Click HERE to watch a short step by step video on how to do this. The video references the CERS home page which can be found HERE

BE SURE TO WRITE DOWN YOUR USERNAME AND PASSWORD! Forgotten usernames and passwords are one of the most common problems we assist people with. Also, you will need your username and password in years to come because you are required to re-submit by December 31 of every year. There is a FAQ in this section to assistance with the re-submitting process.

A. After you have signed in to CERS you need to find your facility to begin the data entry or submittal process. It is likely Monterey County Environmental Health has already uploaded some of your basic facility information into CERS. We did this using information we have stored in our in-house data base. You just need to request access to your facility’s CERS data before you can begin reporting on your facility.

To find your facility/business in CERS, follow the process shown below. CERS will direct you on what you need to do as you go.

  1. Select the “Search” button under the “Request Access to an Existing CERS Business” section as shown below. Do not use the “Add a New Facility” section at this time. Unless yours is a brand-new facility it is likely Monterey County CUPA has already ‘seeded’ your basic facility information into CERS.
  2. Search for your facility by entering the facility’s street address and city as shown in the search screen below.
    CAUTION: Only enter the city your facility is in and your facility’s street address numbers as shown below. Do not enter a street name or any other identifiers.
  3. Review your search results, and if your facility’s business is shown, select the “Request Access…” link as shown below.
  4. You must provide your phone number as shown in the screen shot below. Click on the green “Submit” button and an inspector from Monterey County Environmental Health Bureau will be prompted to review and approve your request. Once approved you will get an email notification instructing you to proceed with your submittal.
  5. If you did not find your business in CERS, then select the “Home” link at the top of the screen and select the “Add New Facility” button.

    CAUTION: Do not do this until you are certain your business has not already been seeded into CERS. Contact the Hazardous Materials Management Service of the Monterey County Environmental Health Bureau to verify your business has not been seeded into CERS.

A. First, you must create an account in CERS. If you need help, please see the FAQ titled “How do I get a CERS account?”. After you have logged into CERS you’ll need to click on the “Add Facility” button as shown below.
You will then be prompted to enter your facility’s street address, city and zip code as shown below. Once complete, click “Next”.
On the next screen enter your business’s name and click “Continue”
Finally, add your phone number and title and click the green “Submit” button as shown below.
You’ll be prompted to click on a green “Continue” button on one last screen and then be taken to the first reportable data page in CERS. As you fill in all the requested information in the CERS data fields, please note that there are instructions and applicable templates at the top of each section.

A. In 2013 Monterey County Hazardous Materials Management Service ‘seeded’ some basic facility, owner and operator information from our own in-house data base into CERS. This provides a starting point for all existing permitted facilities to begin their first CERS submittal. If you need help finding your business in CERS, please see the FAQ titled “How do I find my business in CERS?” Once Monterey County CUPA has granted you permission to access your business in CERS you are ready to begin reporting. Log into CERS (because you remembered to write down your Username and Password!) and click the “Start/Edit Submittal” button as shown below.
At this point CERS will take you through two different pages of information. As mentioned previously, Monterey County CUPA has already seeded this information into CERS but you will need to verify the information to be correct. As you complete your reviews click on the green “Save” and or “Continue” buttons to advance.

Now that you have finished your review of the data we seeded into CERS, the next step will be to complete each section on your facility’s “Prepare Draft Submittal” screen as shown below. NOTE: Each facility may have different “Submittal Elements” then what is shown below (the Submittal Elements are circled in red). It is your answers on the “Business Activities” page that generate the associated Submittal Elements.
As you work on each document listed under the submittal elements, please remember that there are instructions with templates and examples at the top of each page you are working on. Once you have completed the documents in all the shown Submittal Elements you are ready to submit (if a document title is colored red as seen above then you have missed something and need to go back and correct it before submitting). To submit all your hard work, click on the “Submit” button circled in blue above. CERS will then direct you to a “Submittal Summary” page as shown below. Click the “Submit Selected Elements” as shown.
Monterey County CUPA will review your submittal and provide feedback through CERS. You will receive an email from CERS indicating your submittal was either accepted or needs a little more work.

A. Part of your CERS submittal will be to include all hazardous materials and wastes you have onsite at or over threshold quantities (threshold quantities are 55 gallons of a liquid, 200 cubic feet of a gas or 500 pounds of a solid). You must list your materials in the “Hazardous Material Inventory” section within the Hazardous Materials Inventory submittal element as shown below.

Once you click on the “Hazardous Material Inventory” link you’ll be taken to your inventory which will show all the chemicals you have entered so far. If you are just getting started this area will be empty. To add a hazardous material, click on the green “Add Material” button. You’ll then be taken to one of the best features of CERS, the Chemical Library. There are thousands of chemicals in the Library and several ways to search as shown below.

Enter a search term and select your chemical from the list CERS generates for you. Don’t see any chemicals when you search? Try another search term. Try common names, chemical names or names from your chemical’s safety data sheet.

A. Before CERS you submitted your chemical and facility information to us on paper documents. You might remember Unidocs? Well CERS requires all the same information as Unidocs and needs to be re-submitted once a year. Monterey County CUPA has established a re-submittal deadline date of December 31.

NOTE: When you resubmit, be sure the email address in CERS is correct. We will be sending your re-submittal reminders/instructions to the email address as well as information about upcoming workshops and important changes to regulations.

A. If there have been no changes to personnel, contact information (email addresses are particularly important), hazardous materials types or quantities or site plan elements CERS offers an expedited way to resubmit. You must first log in to CERS and begin a new submittal as shown below:
Next, click on the “Create All HMBP Submittal Elements” button as shown below:

After that you will need to confirm the creation of your submittal as shown below:

Finally, click on the Submit button with the checkered flag. You’ll then have the opportunity to print your entire submittal if you would like paper copies for your records.

A. A Business refers to a company as a whole while a Facility is one property under that Business organization. One Business can be made up of many facilities. For example, AT&T is a Business which has hazardous material handling sites which are considered Facilities. When you report in CERS, you are reporting on a Facility.

A. Be sure to read the instructions in the header of the Site Map section of CERS. Map requirements and instructions are listed there. The purpose of the map is to keep fire fighters and emergency responders safe should they need to respond to a fire or other incident at your facility. Your Site Map must include:

  • A north arrow
  • Street names
  • Building names
  • The locations of electrical, gas (or propane) and water shutoffs
  • Hazardous materials and waste storage locations as well as what is stored there
  • The locations of storm drains
  • Employee evacuation meeting area
  • Map scale
  • Anything else you think a fire fighter might need to know about to stay safe

A. There is more than one way to accomplish this. First, if you have assigned more than one lead user to your business in CERS then one of the other lead users may log into CERS and delete the desired user account. To do this, the user must log in and click on the “My Business” button in the upper right corner as shown below.
On the next screen, select the user you wish to delete and follow the prompts to finish deleting their account.
NOTE: You can also change a user’s status or contact information by clicking on the “Edit” button instead of the “Delete” button. Status options include Approvers, Editors and Viewers and are explained in greater detail in the “What is the difference between a Lead User, Approver, Editor and Viewer in CERS?” FAQ.

A. Essentially, they offer different levels of control over the content you enter into CERS. They can be summarized in the following way:

  • Approvers can add, view, edit and submit facility information to Monterey County CUPA.
  • Editors can add or edit facility submittals but cannot submit to Monterey County CUPA.
  • Lead User is the highest permission level. They can add, view, edit and submit data as well as add and delete other internal user accounts. All businesses should have at least one Lead User.
  • Viewers can only view data in a static, read-only format.

A. You communicate the closing of a business by logging into CERS, beginning a new submittal and answering “No” to all the question on the Business Activities page. This will place your facility in a “Non-Regulated” status. A Monterey County CUPA inspector will be notified of the change and may contact you with a few clarification questions. Please note, if your business includes more than one facility you’ll need to repeat this process for each of the facilities you intend to close.

A. CERS IDs are assigned to an address, not a particular business or facility. Therefore, when you move your business to a new location you will need to inactivate the CERS ID associated with your old location and activate the CERS ID for the new location. If you need assistance inactivating your old location, see the FAQ titled “What do I do if I close my business?”. If you need help finding and activating the CERS ID for your new location, see the FAQ titled “How do I find my business in CERS?”

A. If your business only generates hazardous waste you do not need to register and submit in CERS if the following two conditions are met:

  1. Your business does not store a hazardous material onsite above threshold quantities for greater than 30 days. Threshold quantities are 55 gallons of a liquid, 200 ft3 of a gas or 500 lbs. of a solid. If you do store such quantities, you must register as a Hazardous Materials Handler in CERS and report on both your hazardous materials as well as your hazardous waste and;
  2. You do not store hazardous waste above the threshold quantities for longer than 30 days. If you do, you must register as a Hazardous Materials Handler in CERS and report your hazardous waste in the same manner you would report any hazardous material.

A. Currently, Monterey County CUPA does not regulate food facilities that only handle Carbon Dioxide at less than or equal to 1,000 cubic feet. Non-food facilities shall be regulated at 200 cubic feet and above.