The number of industries generating hazardous waste covers everything from large manufacturing facilities to small “mom-and-pop” businesses, but regardless of size, every hazardous waste generator must comply with the US Environmental Protection Agency’s regulatory guidelines, as well as any other federal, state, or local laws. Failure to comply with the relevant statutes and guidelines could result in penalties, fines, and other legal liabilities.
Six Steps for Compliance
The EPA identifies six steps organizations should follow in order to make they are in compliance with hazardous waste regulations.
The first phase involves identifying all the hazardous waste being generated based on Title 40 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Section 261.3. For regulatory purposes, hazardous waste includes any waste appearing on one of four RCRA hazardous waste lists. Materials not on the RCRA lists can still be considered hazardous waste if they have one of four characteristics: ignitability, corrosivity, reactivity, or toxicity.
From there, organizations should identify which generator category applies. Large quantity generators (LQG), generate more than 2200 lbs. per month or more than 100 kilograms of acutely hazardous waste per month. Small quantity generators (SQG), produce less than 2200 lbs. per month. Conditionally exempt small quantity generators (CESQG) generate less than 200 lbs. per month, or less than one kilogram per month of acute spill residue or soil.
Management of hazardous waste onsite must follow a set of specific rules for storage and treatment. In addition, universal waste, pharmaceutical hazardous waste, and hazardous waste generated from academic laboratories all have additional requirements. Universal wastes is any mercury-containing equipment, including batteries, lamps and bulbs. Pharmaceutical hazardous waste is usually created by hospitals and pharmacies and includes expired medications and controlled substances. Academic laboratories must dispose of ingredients and components used in scientific research, including beakers, chemicals, and other compounds.
When treated off-site, the method of transportation of hazardous waste must also conform to a set of health and safety procedures. Because of the danger of spills or “midnight dumping” (abandoning waste at random locations), the law now requires proper labeling and tracking of all hazardous materials. The manifest chronicles all the details of the waste pickup and delivery, including volumes, quantities, and waste descriptions.
Rely on the Experts
Thanks to almost 30 years of experience in the waste management industry, MCF Environmental understands all the intricacies of hazardous waste disposal. Our knowledgeable staff are well-versed in the federal, state, and local regulations governing the collection, treatment, and disposal of hazardous waste. We are familiar with all compliance requirements, and we follow all best practices for proper waste disposal, including certified drivers, ongoing training, and all necessary permits and insurance coverage.