Management of Change and Communicating with the Local CUPA


Did you notify your local CUPA[1] about the recent modifications at your facility? If not, you probably should have.

For facilities located in California and subject to the California Accidental Release Prevention Program (CalARP), communication with the local CUPA may be required when making modifications to a process.

Covered Process Modification [CalARP §2745.11]
If a facility intends to modify their process (e.g. ammonia system), coordination with the local CUPA must occur if there is a “significant” increase in either:

  1. The amount of regulated substances handled at the stationary source as compared to the amount of regulated substances identified in the stationary source’s RMP
  2. The risk of handling a regulated substance as compared to the amount of risk identified in the stationary source’s RMP

While some can get lost in debates about what “significant” means, I find it is best to keep it simple and fall on the side of over communication. If a modification project calls for any amount of additional ammonia, notify the local CUPA. If the project includes equipment which is not typical of what a facility already has (e.g. adding hanging coils when the facility currently only has bunker coils), notify the local CUPA.

There are some CUPAs which have taken the guess work out of when or when not to notify them about a modification. Kern County Environmental Health, in a letter dated July 6, 2017, clarified that they now require facilities within their jurisdiction to notify them of “any modifications to a process, including the removal, temporary shutdowns, or decommissioning of process equipment.”

How do I Notify the CUPA and What Documents Should I Submit?
All notifications should be in writing and at least five (5) days in advance. If work is being done through a refrigeration contractor, submit a copy of the contract, assuming it includes a scope of work description. An email notification may read something like this:

In accordance with CalARP §2745.11(1), I’m writing to inform you about an expansion project at Facility XZY. I have initiated a MOC to ensure all necessary documentation is on file and tracked to completion. Additionally, I have attached a copy of our refrigeration contractor’s proposal which includes details about scope of work. Let me know if you have any questions.

While most CUPAs accept email notifications, some have a designated process for submitting documents. Kern County Environmental Health, for example, has recently developed a dedicated website for uploading and submitting documents, called the CalARP File Upload.

Next time your facility plans to modify its process, make sure you understand the notification requirements for your local CUPA. When in doubt, it is always better to over communicate.


[1] Certified Unified Program Agency

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