|(c) Susie Vowell|
What is CERS? “The California Environmental Reporting System (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 as mandated by the California Health and Safety Code and new 2008 legislation (AB 2286). Under oversight by Cal/EPA, CUPAs implement Unified Program mandates that streamline and provide consistent regulatory activities.” (CERS Central website) Yikes. In much simpler terms that even I can understand, CERS is an electronic submittal program that allows businesses to submit their HMBPs and some other environmental reporting documents, and keep those submittals updated or certify annually that there have been no changes.
Submittals to CERS include hazardous materials business plans, chemical inventories, site maps, underground and aboveground tank data, and hazardous waste related data. Any business that is regulated by a CUPA and needs to submit such documents must do so electronically using CERS or the individual CUPA reporting portal if they have one. Paper forms cannot be submitted. The local CUPA reporting portals and CERS are supposed to communicate and swap data, but that aspect of the program still has some issues. Your local CUPA is not supposed to require you to submit to their local reporting tool rather than CERS, but you might find that has issues as well.