Programs & Services

The County of Riverside Department of Environmental Health offers a wide range of services throughout the County.   The Department is divided into two divisions:  District Environmental Services (DES), and Environmental Protection and Oversight (EPO).  For reference each of the services is listed below with a division identifier at the end of each the (DES, ERM & HMM).

For an overview of the Department and its programs, click here.

Aboveground Storage Tank Program - EPO
In order to protect the state's people and natural resources from aboveground petroleum storage tank spills, facilities with a single tank or cumulative aboveground storage capacities of 1,320 gallons or greater of petroleum-based substances are covered by this program. At the local level, hazardous materials inspection staff verify that a spill prevention plan is in place and refer the findings to the Regional Water Quality Control Board.

Business Emergency Plan/Handler Program - EPO
In order to protect public health and safety, as well as the environment, the Business Emergency Plan/Handler Program regulates the storage and handling of hazardous materials through education, facility inspections and enforcement of State law. A Hazardous Materials Handler is identified as any facility storing more than 55 gallons, 500 pounds or 200 cubic feet of a hazardous material or hazardous waste at any one time. For acutely or extremely hazardous materials, these amounts are less. All handlers are required to disclose their inventory of hazardous materials in the form of a Business Emergency Plan.

California Accidental Release Prevention Program (CalARP) - EPO
The CalARP program affects businesses that store or use certain hazardous materials in excess of threshold quantities that may seriously affect the community if released. The program requires preparation of a Risk Management Plan, an assessment of the offsite hazard potential, and the implementation of a program to minimize the risk of release.

Certified Unified Program Agency (CUPA) - EPO
In 1994 SB 1082 was enacted in a statewide effort to consolidate the 6 hazardous materials related programs. These programs are as follows: Business Emergency Plan/Hazardous Materials Handler, Hazardous Waste Generators, Underground Storage Tanks, California Accidental Release Prevention Plans, Aboveground Storage Tanks and Uniform Fire Code Hazardous Materials Management Plans. The result of this effort evolved into what is now called the CUPA program. The intent was to streamline and provide coordination, consistency and consolidation of the 6 programs so that a business would have one permit, one fee and one inspection.

Environmental Clean-up Oversight - EPO
In the event that environmental contamination occurs, or is discovered as a result of a real estate transaction, the Hazardous Materials Management Division has a mechanism to oversee the activities required to achieve an efficient remediation which is protective of public health and the environment. Professional services provided include document review, oversight of site characterization, risk assessment, evaluation of feasible cleanup alternatives and planned site remediation, and certification upon completion.

Environmental Crimes and Enforcement - EPO
The Hazardous Materials Management Division has taken a strong stand against environmental crimes in the County of Riverside. Two of the formal enforcement tools we use are the Administrative Enforcement Order (AEO) process and referral of cases to the Environmental Crimes and Special Prosecutions branch of the District Attorney’s (DA’s) Office. Investigation staff includes DA Investigators that are highly trained hazardous materials specialists who perform case development through surveillance, collection of evidence and interviewing of witnesses and suspects. The violations investigated involve all areas of environmental health from failure to report a hazardous materials release to illegal disposal of medical waste.  To report an Environmental Crime, please call (800)304-6100.

Food Facility Construction Plan Check - DES
DES provides plan check and field inspection for all new facility construction or remodeling of existing facilities.  They also offer consultation as part of the plan check process for remodeling and/or new construction. Go to our Forms and Guidelines page for a complete listing of guidelines, applications and other materials available for downloading.

Food Handler Certification - DES 
DES administers the testing of Food Handlers to assure minimum knowledge of proper sanitation procedures and practices. Testing is offered at select office locations.

Hazardous Materials Emergency Response Team- EPO
The County of Riverside Hazardous Materials Emergency Response (HAZMAT) Team is a joint agency effort with personnel from the Department of Environmental Health, Hazardous Materials Management Division and Riverside County Fire/California Department of Forestry. This team responds to incidents involving hazardous materials, throughout the County, 24 hours per day, 7 days per week. The County HAZMAT Team is well recognized by the public and a wide variety of allied agencies as a team with the technical expertise and capability to mitigate virtually any hazardous materials emergency.

Hazardous Waste Generator Program - EPO
A hazardous waste generator is any person, (includes commercial and non-profit entities), whose act or process produces hazardous waste. This program applies to facilities that generate, treat, store, accumulate, handle, recycle and dispose of hazardous waste. The Hazardous Waste Generator Program is designed to protect human health and the environment from the adverse effect of exposure to hazardous waste. In Riverside County, this is achieved through our permit and inspection program designed to ensure the hazardous waste is handled according to applicable federal, state and local laws, regulations and ordinances through education and enforcement. For additional information regarding The Department of Toxic Substance Control click here.  

Household Trash, Garbage and Sewage Complaints - DES
We respond to complaints concerning improper disposal/storage of household trash and garbage and complaints concerning overflowing sewage from private septic systems in the unincorporated areas of the County and in certain contract cities (i.e. Rancho Mirage, Palm Desert, Canyon Lake, Murrieta and Temecula).  To file complaints concerning illegal land filling of trash or garbage contact our Solid Waste Management Enforcement Program. Complaints regarding junk cars or other debris and dumping in open lots or areas, contact County Building & Safety’s Land Use Office at (951) 275-3200.

Household Hazardous Waste Collection - EPO
Leftover household products that contain corrosive, toxic, ignitable, or reactive ingredients are considered to be "household hazardous waste" or "HHW".  Products such as paints, cleaners, oils, batteries, and pesticides, that contain potentially hazardous ingredients, require special care when you dispose of them. The County of Riverside offers a variety of free services to residents to encourage the proper disposal of household hazardous waste.

Land Application of Sewage Sludge - EPO
The County regulates the Land Application of Class A Sewage Sludge for Agricultural Activities under County Ordinance No. 830. The land application of Class B sludge is prohibited. 

Local Enforcement Agency - EPO
The Local Solid Waste Management Enforcement Agency (LEA) for Riverside County is certified by the California Integrated Waste Management Board (CIWMB) to enforce state laws and regulations at solid waste facilities within its jurisdiction.

Medical Waste - EPO
ERM registers, permits and inspects medical waste generators, investigates and resolves complaints regarding improper handling of Medical Waste.

Mobilehome Parks - DES
DES conducts inspections of utility connections and safety conditions in mobilehome parks to assure safe and healthy living conditions for occupants.

Massage Facilities - EPO
ERM provides initial inspection of massage facilities upon referral from the Riverside County Sheriff's Dept.

Organized Camps - DES
DES inspects outdoor group living experiences, including camper health, emergency preparedness, food protection, boating and swimming activities, maintenance and safety of the camp to insure compliance with state regulations.

Permit Assistance/Haz. Mat. Mgmt. Clearance - EPO
For questions or assistance regarding the permits required for businesses that deal with hazardous materials, feel free to contact the Hazardous Materials office near you. The Hazardous Materials Management Division also provides clearances for new construction, if required by county planning, upon satisfaction of all requirements.

Pollution Prevention - EPO
Pollution prevention means source reduction and other practices that reduce or eliminate the creation of pollutants. In Riverside County we are dedicated to education, enforcement and public outreach programs designed to reduce pollution at the source.

Poultry Ranches - DES
The Vector Control Program inspects poultry/egg ranches for compliance with state and local requirements. Contact our Hemet office for information.

Public Education - EPO
The Hazardous Materials Management Division maintains several pamphlets, guidelines, sample forms, and informational bulletins to educate the public regarding the various programs related to hazardous materials and protection of public health and the environment. The Division also has a Quarterly Newsletter to keep the regulated community and the public informed on hazardous materials programs.

Public Records Review/Search - EPO
As part of the requirement to implement community right-to-know provisions and the California Public Records Act, the Hazardous Materials Management Division is responsible for processing all requests for review and/or copies of records maintained by the Division. Click here for more information on gaining access to those records.

Public Swimming Pools - DES
DES routinely inspects public swimming pools and spas for compliance with all applicable state and local requirements.

Public Swimming Pools Construction Plan Check - DES
DES conducts plan check and field inspection of all new pool and spa construction.  They also provide consultation as part of the plan check process for remodeling and/or new construction.

Retail Food Service - DES
DES inspects restaurants, markets, vehicles, temporary and occasional events, and all other retail food-related activities for compliance with all applicable state and local requirements. Go to our Public Information page for more information regarding foodborne illnesses, food facilities, food safety and food supply in emergencies.

Tattoo, Body Piercing and Permanent Cosmetics - EPO
ERM registers and inspects practitioners of tattooing, body piercing or permanent cosmetics as well as Body Art facilities to minimize the spread of disease. Go to our  Body Art page for a listing of steps necessary to become a registered practitioner, interim health standards and an application.

Training - EPO
The Hazardous Materials Management Division provides public training sessions related to hazardous materials requirements in different areas of the County on an annual basis. Further, the Division has a training coordinator on staff available to assist with any questions regarding hazardous materials training requirements.

Trash Complaints - EPO
ERM responds to complaints concerning landfilling (i.e. burial) of trash or garbage.

Solid Waste Facilities - EPO
ERM permits, inspects, investigates complaints and monitors activities of facilities accepting, sorting or composting solid waste. In addition LEA personnel serve as staff to the Citizens Oversight Committee for the Synagro Regional Composting Facility. For more information concerning this Committee and its activities click here.

Septic Tank Pumper - EPO
ERM permits, inspects, investigates complaints and monitors activities of businesses engaged in the cleaning and disposal of septic systems, grease traps and portable toilets.

Underground Storage Tank (UST) Program - EPO
An underground storage tank is defined as any one, or combination of tanks, including connected piping and ancillary equipment, that is used for the storage of hazardous substances, where at least ten percent of the system volume is located beneath the surface of the ground or is enclosed below earthen materials. The UST Program assures that underground storage tanks are adequately installed, upgraded, monitored, managed and closed to prevent environmental contamination to the environment and to identify and mitigate any primary sources of contamination. This program also provides a mechanism to educate UST owners/operators, enforce the regulations and to pursue non-compliant and recalcitrant facilities through the legal system. For additional information regarding State Water Resources Control Board click here.

Underground Storage Tank - Clean-up - EPO
All clean-up activities involving sites with underground storage tanks are handled by the Local Oversight Program (LOP).  LOP works under the ERM division.

Vector Control - DES
Vector staff are responsible for monitoring and control efforts against the principal arthropod-borne diseases such as encephalitis and plague, as well as general vector control complaint response, in the unincorporated areas of the County only, and in cities with contracts. Contact our Hemet office for information. Go to our Public Information page for information regarding West Nile Virus, Hantavirus, Lyme Disease and other vector control subjects.

Waste Collection (County Area Only) - EPO
ERM permits, inspects, investigates complaints and monitors activities of businesses engaged in collecting refuse. They also administer annual collection rate adjustments.

Water Systems - EPO
Water engineering is responsible for water well permitting, small water systems, backflow prevention, water sampling and FHA/VA Water well evaluations.  They also keeps track of certified backflow testers and registered well drillers.