In our last post, we discussed hazardous material requirements enforced by your local CUPA (Certified Unified Program Agency). In this post, we focus on hazardous waste requirements.
What is Hazardous Waste?
That is a more complicated question than it may sound. First, something must be a waste. That is to say it is: abandoned, inherently waste-like, a discarded military munitions, or recycled item. For that waste to be a federal hazardous waste, it must be defined by statute as hazardous according to 40 CFR Part 261. Some federal hazardous wastes are identified by the following characteristics: ignitability, corrosivity, reactivity or toxicity. Others are explicitly listed as a hazardous waste.
To further complicate the definition, California has its own hazardous waste list that goes above and beyond federal hazardous waste.
If you are unsure if waste material on site is hazardous, contact a qualified expert and handle all hazardous wastes in compliance with federal and state law.
Storing Hazardous Waste:
Hazardous waste must be stored in chemically compatible containers. Containers must also be labeled as “Hazardous Waste.” All labels should include the following information:
Generator EPA ID Number
Accumulation start date (date the first hazardous waste was put container)
Contents and composition
Physical state (solid, liquid or gas)
Hazard properties (flammable, toxic, reactive or corrosive)
In addition, hazardous waste should:
Be stored inside or under cover to prevent exposure to rain and other elements.
Be stored inside or on secondary containment to prevent any accidental release from harming people or the environment.
Flammable hazardous waste should be grounded to prevent accidental fires due to static discharge.
How long you can maintain hazardous waste on site depends on how much waste you generate.
Large Quantity Generator- More than 1000 kg
If your facility generates more than 1000 kg of hazardous waste in any calendar month, it is considered a Large Quantity Generator (LQG) and the waste must be removed within 90 days of the “accumulation start date” recorded on the waste label.
Small Quantity Generator- Less than 1000kg
If your facility generates less than 1000 kg of hazardous waste in any given calendar month, it is considered a Small Quantity Generator (SQG) and waste can be maintained on-site for up to 180 days from the “accumulation start” date.
Conditionally Exempt Small Quantity Generator- Less than 100 kg
Businesses that generate less than 100 kg of hazardous waste may be considered Conditionally Exempt Small Quantity Generators (CESQG) and have even greater latitude in waste storage duration and other requirements.
Storage Compliance Documentation
The hazardous waste accumulation area should be inspected weekly. The weekly inspection consists of the following elements:
1. Containers are marked properly
d. Physical state
e. Hazard properties
f. Start date
2. Stored in accordance with generator status
a. LQG = 90 days or less
b. SQG = 180 days or less
3. No leaks or staining
4. Containers with closed tops
5. Containers with no dents or corrosion
6. Incompatible wastes stored separately
7. Aisle space maintained to allow access to all containers
8. Secondary containment is liquid free
9. Inspector’s Initials
The San Diego County Department of Environmental Health, Hazardous Materials Division has an excellent form for documenting these inspections.
In California, hazardous waste can only be removed from your site by a hazardous waste transporter that is registered with the Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC). A database of California registered waste transporters can be found on the DTSC website.
Manifesting and Bills of Lading
When a transporter removes waste from your site, you should be provided with documentation of that transaction. Usually as a Uniform Hazardous Waste Manifest, or if the waste is being consolidated by the transporter, a bill of lading. The bill of lading should also include the hazardous waste manifest number the transporter is using to document the legal transport and disposal of your waste.
Hazardous waste manifests are essentially a “Chain-of-Custody” document that tracks the generation, transportation and disposal of hazardous waste from cradle to grave. Hazardous waste manifests and bills of lading for hazardous waste disposal should be retained indefinitely. In addition, hazardous waste generators in California must make an additional copy of the “Generator’s” copy of the hazardous waste manifest and send it to the DTSC. The mailing address is:
DTSC Generator Manifests
P.O. Box 400
Sacramento, CA 95812-0400
Complying with the requirements listed above will keep you in the good graces of your local CUPA inspector and prevent a notice of violation. And, just like hazardous materials, hazardous wastes are regulated by other agencies, like the fire marshal. You should be familiar and compliant with those requirements as well.
Next, Part 3: Underground Storage Tanks