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In honor of throwback Thursday I decided to rehash one of the first things we ever wrote about on this blog. The ten most common violations incurred by hazardous waste generators. As you can most likely infer, these items are ones you’ll want to make sure are not happening at your company. The ten items are listed and explained below. And if you’d like a little more information about the violations and how to avoid them you can also check out our eBook on the subject.

1. Open Container Violations – An open container includes containers that have tinfoil caps, funnels, or loose caps. Containers must be closed at all times unless they are being filled or emptied.

2. Storage Area Accumulation Date Violations – Remember, containers of hazardous waste in a 90 or 180-day storage area must be marked with an accumulation date.

3. Universal Waste Violations – This includes management of wastes such as batteries and lamps.

4. Used Oil Labeling Violations – Remember that any container or tank utilized to hold used oil should be labeled “Used Oil.”

5. Storage Area Labeling Violations – Containers in a 90 or 180-day storage area must be marked with the words “Hazardous Waste” as well as generator name and address, accumulation start date, contents, physical state, and hazardous properties.

6. Satellite Accumulation Area Labeling Violations – Always remember that a container must be labeled after the first drop of waste is added.

7. Contingency Planning Violations – Make sure to have you plan in place and that all employees know what to do if needed.

8. Failure to Perform Weekly Inspections of Hazardous Waste Storage Areas – Fairly self-explanatory, make sure you have weekly inspections done.

9. Failure to Have a Hazardous Waste Reduction Plan On-Site – A hazardous waste reduction plan (often referred to as a waste minimization plan) is required for all hazardous waste generators.

10. Failure to Make a Hazardous Waste Determination – It is imparitive to remember that a hazardous waste determination must be made for each and every waste generated on your site.

Last week we posted about the three different classifications of hazardous waste generators; small quantity generators (SQGs), Large Quantity Generators (LQGs), and Conditionally Exempt Small Quantity Generators (CESQGs). These three categories are broken down based on the quantity of hazardous waste generated in a calander month.

Since hazardous waste generators are divided into these three separate categories based on the amount of waste they generate, it stands to reason that waste counting would be an important aspect of hazardous waste generation.

In order to properly determine their generator classification, generators must count the quantity of waste produced each month. The regulations about which hazardous wastes must be counted in a generators monthly determination can be found in 40 CFR §261.5 (c) and (d).

According to the EPA, “a generator must include all hazardous waste that it generates, except hazardous waste that:

  • Is exempt from regulation in §§261.4(c) through (f), 261.6(a)(3), 261.7(a)(1), or 261.8
  • Is managed immediately upon generation only in on-site elementary neutralization units,
  • Is recycled, without prior storage or accumulation, only in an on-site process subject to regulation in §261.6(c)(2)
  • Is used oil managed under the requirements in §261.6(a)(4) and Part 279
  • Is spent lead-acid batteries managed under the requirements in Part 266, Subpart G
  • Is universal waste managed pursuant to §261.9 and Part 273.”

In order to avoid double counting, §261.5 allows for some wastes not to be counted when determining generator classification. All of these wastes are counted when initially generated. These include:

  • Hazardous waste when removed from on-site storage.
  • Hazardous waste produced by on-site treatment (including reclamation) as long as the hazardous waste was counted once.
  • Spent materials generated, reclaimed, and subsequently reused on site, as long as the spent material is counted once during the calendar month.

All information for this blog post was gathered from the EPA document, “Introduction to Generators.” As always, this blog post is not intended to be comprehensive and it is always best to check with the EPA and local government for full, up-to-date, rules and regulations. 

In last Tuesday’s post we talked about what constitutes a hazardous waste generator. In that post, I mentioned that because hazardous waste generators produce waste in different quantities Congress breaks them down into three distinct categories. Today we’re going to cover what those three categories are and what qualifies a generator for each one.

When the original generator regulations were published in May of 1980, they set regulations for people who generated 1000 kg or more of hazardous waste in a calendar month and people who generated more than 1 kg of acutely hazardous waste in one calendar month. People who generated less than that were considered conditionally exempt and had reduced regulatory requirements set.

The regulations were amended in 1984 to more stringently regulate people who generated between 100 and 1000 kg of hazardous waste in a calendar month and again in March of 1986 when the final regulations were published. These final regulations established a third class of generator and narrowed the scope of conditional exemption to those people generating 100kg or less of hazardous waste in a calendar month. Generators who produce 1 kg or acutely hazardous waste are also exempt.

Generators now fall into one of three categories depending on the amount of waste they generate in a calendar month. The three different classes are broken down in the table below.

Quantity Determines Which Regulations

What is a Large Quantity Generator?

Large Quantity Generators (or LQG’s) produce 1000 kg or more of hazardous waste or 1 kg or more of acutely hazardous waste per calendar month. These generators and wastes are subject to full regulation.

What is a Small Quantity Generator?

Small Quantity Generators (or SQG’s) produce between 100 kg and 1000 kg of hazardous waste per calendar month. These generators and wastes are subject to modified regulations.  Generally, SQG’s must comply with some, but not all, of the regulations LQG’s must follow.

What is a Conditionally Exempt Small Quantity Generator?

Conditionally Exempt Small Quantity Generators (or CESQG’s) produce 100 kg or less of hazardous waste per calendar month. This category also includes generators who produce 1 kg or less of acutely hazardous waste, or 100 kg or less of contaminated soil, waste, or debris resulting from the cleanup of an acute hazardous waste spill. CESQGs are exempt from Parts 262 through 270 if they comply with the requirements in §261.5.

What is an Episodic Generator?

Occasionally, generators exceed or fall below their normal generation limits in a calendar month. When this happens the generator must take care to determine if the increase or decrease places them into a different generator category. If it does, “he or she is responsible for complying with all applicable requirements of that category for all waste generated during that calendar month. For example, if a generator produces 300 kg of hazardous waste in March, that waste must be managed in accordance with the SQG regulations; if the same generator produces 1,500 kg of hazardous waste in April, that waste must be managed in accordance with the LQG regulations.”

All information for this blog post was gathered from the EPA document, “Introduction to Generators.”  As always, this blog post is not intended to be comprehensive and it is always best to check with the EPA and local government for full, up-to-date, rules and regulations. 

The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) is responsible for regulating hazardous waste from its point of generation through its final disposal. This “cradle-to-grave” system begins with hazardous waste generators. The EPA has developed generator standards for several aspects; from on-site accumulation of hazardous waste, to manifesting, to labeling, recordkeeping, and reporting.

Because hazardous waste generators produce waste in different quantities Congress broke them down into three distinct categories. These categories are Large Quantity Generators (LQGs), Small Quantity Generators (SQGs), and Conditionally Exempt Small Quantity Generators (CESQGs). The extent to which each type of generator is regulated is dependent upon the amount of hazardous waste each generator produces. All that said, the first thing to look at is what qualifies someone as a generator.

According to section 260.10, a generator is “any person, by site, whose act or process produces hazardous waste, identified or listed in Part 261 or whose act first causes a hazardous waste to become subject to regulation.” In order to make this statement more palatable, it helps to break it down by three integral terms you will need to understand.

By Site

The first term we need to look at is“by site.” This refers to where a hazardous waste is generated. It is important to note, however, that the regulations do not expressly define the word site. Since the EPA tracks hazardous waste generation by “individual generation site,” they issue unique identification numbers to each generation site. To do this they issue unique identification numbers to identify generators by site.

This is important because one owner or operator can have several sites being regulated. For example, if one owner/operator has 4 buildings on a single plot of land, each producing a hazardous waste, those four buildings can all have the same EPA identification number. If that same owner/operator has 4 buildings on four different pieces of property, however, each will need its own EPA ID number.

So, each individual “site” requires its own identification.

Person

The second important term is “person.”  260.10 defines person as “an individual, trust, firm, joint stock company, federal agency, corporation (including government corporation), partnership, association, state, municipality, commission, political subdivision of a state, or any interstate body.” As you can see, the definition is much more far reaching than you might anticipate. The definition of person as it relates to RCRA encompasses any entity involved with a process that generates a hazardous waste.

Act or Process

The third, and final, part to look at is the definition of the phrase “act or process.” According to a training module available from the EPA, “because a generator is defined as the person whose act or process first causes a hazardous waste to become subject to regulation, sometimes the generator of a waste may not necessarily be the person who actually produced the waste. For example, if a cleaning service removes residues from a product storage tank excluded in §261.4(c), the person removing the residues is the first person to cause the waste to become subject to regulation, not the owner of the tank (i.e., the person who produced the waste).” This example is also a good illustration of co-generators.

Co-Generators

Co-generation happens when more than one person can be considered a generator. In the cleaning example, even though the person removing the waste is not the owner/operator, he or she can still be considered a generator since they were the first person to cause the waste to become subject to regulation. In that same vein, the owner/operator is responsible because, “the act of operating the unit led to the generation of the hazardous waste.”

“In cases where one or more persons meet the definition of generator, all persons are jointly and severally liable for compliance with the generator regulations. The parties may through a mutual decision have one party assume the duties of generator, but in the event that a violation occurs, all persons meeting the definition of generator could be held liable for the improper management of the waste.”

Once it has been determined that a person is a generator, they must be classified into one of three categories. I think we’ll save that for another post though!

All information for this blog post was gathered from the EPA document, “Introduction to Generators.”  As always, this blog post is not intended to be comprehensive and it is always best to check with the EPA and local government for full, up-to-date, rules and regulations.