Welcome to the Department of Toxic Substances Control

Hazardous Waste Emergency Permits

Immediate Response and Emergency Permits


Regulations for Emergency Permits are found under California Code of Regulations (CCR) Title 22, Section 66270.61. DTSC issues this special type of permit when a hazardous waste poses an imminent and substantial threat to human health or the environment, but action to remediate the situation does not require an immediate response. Emergency situations requiring immediate action do NOT need an emergency permit.

This webpage was designed to help distinguish between situations requiring immediate action and situations requiring an emergency permit, and to provide information for meeting DTSC's requirements.  

For more information or if you have questions, please contact the DTSC Office of Permitting by e-mail at emer_permit@dtsc.ca.gov .  

What is an Emergency Permit?

An emergency permit is a temporary authorization from DTSC for the management of hazardous waste, which poses an imminent and substantial endangerment to human health or the environment.  Emergency permits may be issued to a facility that does not have a hazardous waste facility permit or to a permitted facility for activities not otherwise authorized.  The determination of whether or not an emergency permit should be issued is made on a case-by-case basis, and includes ongoing assessment throughout the resolution of the situation.

Where merited, DTSC can issue an emergency permit orally, followed by a written permit within 5 days.  The effective time durations for emergency permits vary, but cannot exceed 90 days.  Emergency permits cannot be renewed.  There are no fees required to request or conduct activities under an emergency permit. Emergency permit determinations must comply with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). Generally, a Notice of Exemption from CEQA is warranted and will be prepared by DTSC. DTSC must publish a public notice of the issuance of the emergency permit in a daily or weekly newspaper within the area affected by the facility or activity.

When is an Emergency Permit Required and Not Required?

I. Emergency Permit Not Required

Under CCR Title 22, Section 66270.1(c)(3)(A), a person is not required to obtain a permit for treatment or containment activities which are necessary to perform an immediate response to any of the following situations:

1. a discharge of a hazardous waste;

2. an imminent and substantial threat of a discharge of hazardous waste;

3. a discharge of a material which, when discharged, becomes a hazardous waste.

In these situations, there is sufficient evidence that persons or the environment may be harmed if IMMEDIATE actions are not taken to reduce or eliminate the threat from the hazardous waste involved.

Examples of Situations When an Emergency Permit is NOT Needed

II. Emergency Permit is Required

If an immediate response, however, is clearly not necessary to address the situation, meaning a response can be delayed without compromising safety or increasing the risk, DTSC should be consulted as to how to proceed and to examine whether the issuance of an emergency permit is appropriate.

Examples of Situations when an Emergency Permit should be requested

How is an Emergency Permit Requested?

The initial request for an emergency permit may be submitted to DTSC electronically, but must be followed by a letter, signed by a person having appropriate authority at the facility.  Indicate in the e-mail message and/or letter that an emergency permit is being requested and attach a completed application to the e-mail.  Once DTSC determines that the application is complete, and where merited, an emergency permit can be granted orally.  A written permit will be issued within 5 days of the oral permit.

For more information or if you have questions, please contact the Emergency Permit by e-mail at: emer_permit@dtsc.ca.gov. To request an emergency permit, follow the instructions for Emergency Permit Application below:

Emergency Permit Request Application

What Information Needs to be Provided to DTSC After an Emergency Permit is Issued?

Typically a condition of the emergency permit will require submittal of a final report. The report should briefly summarize the operation conducted and must also include certification that the area has been cleared of all residual hazardous waste generated from this emergency and all generated waste has been properly managed.

The final report and the Emergency Permit Request Application must contain the following certification:  "I certify under penalty of law that this document and all attachments were prepared under my direction or supervision in accordance with a system designed to assure that qualified personnel properly gather and evaluate the information submitted.  Based on my inquiry of the person or persons who manage the system, or those persons directly responsible for gathering the information, the information submitted is, to the best of my knowledge and belief, true, accurate, and complete.  I am aware that there are significant penalties for submitting false information, including the possibility of fine and imprisonment for knowing violations."

Copyright © 2007 State of California