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County of Los Angeles
Department of Public Health
Environmental Health
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Baldwin Park, CA 91706
(888) 700-9995


The Permitting Process

In the State of California it is illegal to operate a solid waste facility except under the terms and conditions of a Solid Waste Facility Permit. Although there are several regulatory tiers, the permitting of any but the smallest facility is a time consuming and expensive endeavor. Most transfer stations, whether they are new facilities, or an expansion of an existing facility, can take up to two years for the permitting process to be completed. Landfills are rarely permitted in less than ten years.

In the State of California, any department, agency or program that can issue a Solid Waste Facility Permit (SWFP) has been certified by the California Department of Resources and Recycling (CalRecycle) as a Local Enforcement Agency, or LEA. All SWFPs are issued, and for the most part revised, only with the concurrence of the CalRecycle. In the County of Los Angeles (except for the cities of Los Angeles, West Covina, and Vernon) the LEA is the Solid Waste Management Program, the host of this web site.


At the time a SWFP is submitted to the CalRecycle for concurrence, the LEA must certify that the Lead Agency has evaluated the project for its environmental effects under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and that the facility will be sited according to an approved Conditional [Land] Use Permit (CUP)or a similar entitlement.

A Conditional Use Permit should be obtained before an application for a SWFP is submitted. Based on the information provided in the CUP application, the Lead Agency will decide what type of environmental study will be conducted. Depending on the project scope, an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) might be required. The EIR provides public agencies and the public with detailed information on the effects which a proposed project is likely to have on the environment. It will also list ways in which the significant effects of such a project might be minimized and indicates alternatives to such a project.


At the time a SWFP is submitted to the CalRecycle for concurrence, the LEA must certify that the facility will be operated in such a way as to achieve an acceptable level of health and safety, or in other words, be in conformance with State Minimum Standards for solid waste handling and disposal.

Thus, at the time an application for a SWFP is submitted, the LEA will also require a very detailed description of the project. This detailed description will be contained in a Report of Facility Information (RFI) whose detailed contents are spelled out in state regulations. The LEA will rely on the RFI to make this determination.


A solid waste facility may also need permits from the State Air or Water Boards, the State Department of Toxic Substance Control, and the Environmental Protection Agency. Locally, there might be sewer connection permits and/or waste-water discharge permits, as well as building permits and construction permits that may be required.

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Angelo J. Bellomo
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