Glossary of Common Permit Terms

The following “working” definitions are based upon CalRecycle staffs’ experience and interpretation of the solid waste laws and regulations as presented at the California Integrated Waste Management Board’s (Board) July 2000 Permit Workshop. These terms should not to be substituted for statute, regulation, written policy, or guidance. The Definitions Summary page provides a collection of links to solid waste terms as defined by statute and regulation.

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AB 939: The 1989 Assembly Bill, also know as the Integrated Waste Management Act, which established the basis for a new approach to management of California’s waste stream, such as the mandated diversion goal of 50% by the year 2000.

AB 1220: The 1993 Assembly Bill that required the Waste Board, Water Board, and LEAs to eliminate overlapping and conflicting regulatory requirements between the agencies.

AB 1497: The Assembly Bill that became effective on January 1, 2004 that requires an LEA public hearing for revised permits, among other provisions.

Application Package: The permit application form and required supporting documentation, which includes the Report of Facility Information (RFI) if applicable.

Cease & Desist Order: An enforcement order issued by the enforcement agency to the operator and/or owner of a facility directing them to stop the operations or activities that are in violation of the solid waste laws and/or regulations. An order may also be issued to an owner/operator if the operation or activity creates a threat to the environment and public health and safety.

CEQA or California Environmental Quality Act: This law requires state and local agencies to prepare environmental impact analyses of the proposed activity and to make decisions based on findings of the studies regarding the environmental effects. In summary, the objectives of CEQA are:

  • To disclose to decision makers and the public the significant environmental effects of the proposed activities;
  • Allow for interagency coordination;
  • Enhance public input in the planning process; and
  • To identify ways to avoid or reduce environmental damage.

Complete and Correct: A LEA is required to certify that the application package is “complete and correct” at the time a proposed permit is submitted to the Board.

“Complete” means all requirements placed upon the operation of the solid waste facility by statute, regulations, and other agencies with jurisdiction have been addressed in the application package.

“Correct” means all information provided by the applicant regarding the solid waste facility must be accurate, exact, and must fully describe the parameters of the solid waste facility.

Conformance Finding: A determination that a new or expanding solid waste facility is “identified” in a County’s Integrated Waste Management Plan. Also see the Local Government Integrated Waste Management Glossary.


Enforcement Agency (EA): The public agency responsible for implementing and enforcing all solid waste laws. These laws ensure that solid waste facilities are operated in a manner to protect public health and safety and the environment. The agency carries out permitting, inspections, and enforcement activities and duties relative to solid waste facilities. Usually the same as the LEA.

Excluded: An operation specifically designated by state minimum standards to qualify for the lowest regulatory tier. Operations of the excluded tier are not required to notify the enforcement agency or submit an application for a solid waste facilities permit. LEAs are not precluded from inspecting an excluded operation to verify that the operation is being conducted in a manner that qualifies as an excluded operation or taking any appropriate enforcement action.

Facility: Term used for solid waste disposal and handling operations such as landfills, composting operations, transfer stations, material recovery facilities, transformation operations, etc. that are required to obtain a registration, standardized, or full solid waste facility permit. As opposed to an “operation” which, in this context, usually refers to those activities governed by the EA notification tier requirements.

Financial Assurances or FA: A demonstration, by operators of solid waste landfills and major waste tire facilities, of financial ability to properly close and monitor a site, and to address liability claims associated with an accidental occurrence at a site. This demonstration helps to ensure that (1) operators adequately plan for the costs of closure, postclosure maintenance, and liability claims, and (2) adequate funds will be available when needed to cover these costs if the operator is unable or unwilling to do so.

5-Year Permit Review: The requirement that all solid waste facility permits be reviewed, and if necessary, revised at least once every 5 years. Used to determine if a facility has made any significant changes in design or operation.

5-Year Permit Review Report: For full permits, the written documentation of the 5-Year Permit Review, consisting of 1) list of documents reviewed, 2) findings, 3) conclusions, and 4) directives to the operator.

Full Solid Waste Facility Permit or Full Permit: Originally the “one size fits all” permit used prior to development of the Regulatory Tiers. Allows LEA terms and conditions, longer review periods, and is described in Title 27 of the CCR.

Inventory: The inventory is a list of solid waste facilities in the State of California which are violating the state minimum standards for solid waste handling and disposal. State minimum standards regulate the design and operation of solid waste facilities in order to protect public health and safety and the environment.

Local Enforcement Agency (LEA): Term used when the responsibilities of the enforcement agency are designated to a local public agency such as a county or city.

LEA Certification:(1) The LEA’s written determination that a proposed permit package is complete and correct, that the RFI meets the state minimum standards, and that the permit is consistent with and supported by existing CEQA analysis. (2) Board authorization and designation of a local government agency to inspect and permit solid waste facilities and other regulatory duties.

Long-Term Violation: A state minimum standard violation, e.g., gas control, which takes longer than 90 days to correct.

Long-Term Violation Policy: A policy that was adopted by the Board in July 1994, which provided procedures for the Board to consider when determining concurrence in or objection to a proposed solid waste facility permit when the Board was the Enforcement Agency — providing there was no threat to the environment, public health and safety. Since its adoption the policy has be used by local enforcement agencies throughout the state.


Notice & Order  (N&O): An enforcement order issued by the enforcement agency to the operator and/or owner of a facility officially informing them of the violations of solid waste laws and/or regulations, and may direct them to take specific actions to by specified timeframes to correct or remedy the violation in order to bring the facility into compliance.

Permit Enforcement Policy (PEP>: A policy that was adopted by the Board in November 1990 that affirmed the Board’s position that the EA should take enforcement action, i.e., Notice and Order, when limits that are established by the solid waste facility permit are exceeded. This policy was replaced by regulations and the Waiver of Permit Terms and Conditions During Temporary Emergencies regulations became effective on April 4, 2003.

Permit or Solid Waste Facility Permit (SWFP): A regulatory document issued by the LEA that describes, authorizes, conditions, and restricts operations of a solid waste facility. Includes the full, standardized, and registrations tiers.

Permit Violation: Operation of a facility outside the terms and conditions of an issued solid waste facility permit. Also operation of a solid waste facility without a permit.

Pre-permit Inspection: A State inspection conducted in conjunction with the LEA in order to confirm a facility’s ability to comply with State Minimum Standards and the proposed permit conditions. Usually conducted one to three months prior to the Board agenda item for a proposed permit.

Regional Water Quality Control Board (RWQCB): The nine RWQCBs in California that are responsible for developing and issuing waste discharge requirements (WDRs) for landfills. These requirements defined the types of waste allowed and the level of containment for purposes of protecting the quality of ground and surface water.

RFI Amendment: Proposed changes to the technical document that describe particular operational activities and/or administrative functions, which require LEA review and approval. In some instances, if certain findings can be made, an RFI can be amended without revising the permit.

RFI or Report of Facility Information: A technical document developed by the operator and/or by the operator’s consultant that is submitted as a part of the permit application which describes the design and operation of the solid waste facility. This document is generally required to be certified by a registered civil engineer. Includes, for example:

  • Report of Disposal Site Information (RDSI)
  • Report of Compost Site Information (RCSI)
  • Transfer Processing Report (TPR)
  • More


Standardized Solid Waste Facility Permit or Standardized Permit: The “next step down” from a Full Permit. Does not allow LEA conditions, has a shorter processing time, and is described in Title 14 of the CCR.

State Minimum Standards (SMS): The Board’s operating and design requirements for solid waste handling and disposal… Not necessarily the same as the terms and conditions of the permit. Title 27, Section 20164 specifically references sections 20510 to 2070120710 to 2093721100 to 21200, 21430 and 21600.

State minimum standards regulate the design and operation of solid waste facilities in order to protect public health and safety and the environment. Examples include litter, daily cover, odor control, record keeping, etc…

State Minimum Standard Violation: Documented noncompliance with State Minimum Standards. Ongoing violations require placement of a facility on the Board’s Inventory of Facilities Violating State Minimum Standards. Not necessarily the same as a “Permit Violation”.

Terms and Conditions: Refers to the specifications, restrictions, prohibitions, findings, and monitoring requirements that an LEA determines should be included in a full solid waste facility permit.

PRC Section 44014(b): “The permit shall contain all terms and conditions which the enforcement agency determines to be appropriate for the operation of the solid waste facility. The operator shall comply with all terms and conditions of the permit.”

Tiers: Refers to the 4-tiered regulatory permit structure established in 1994 in addition to the existing full solid waste facilities permit. The structure is designed to provide a level of regulatory oversight commensurate with the impacts associated with a solid waste handling or disposal activity.  The four tiers include: standardized, registration, notification, and excluded.

Note: Most of these “working definitions” were originally presented at the Board’s July 11, 2000 and August 9, 2000 Permit Workshops. This glossary should not to be substituted for statute, regulation, written policy, or guidance. 

Other Resources

For more information contact: LEA Support Services,