After the hazardous waste determination, the single most important responsibility of any hazardous waste generator is to determine their hazardous waste generator status. The USEPA identifies three (3) status of hazardous waste generators (note that your state may not recognize these three, may have created an additional state-specific status, or may use a different name for a status):
- Large Quantity Generator
- Small Quantity Generator
- Conditionally Exempt Small Quantity Generator or Very Small Quantity Generator in some states.
Your status must be calculated based on the amount of hazardous waste or acutely hazardous waste you generate; or in some specific circumstances, the amount of hazardous/acutely hazardous waste you accumulate. It can be complicated, and so I refer you to a series of articles I have previously written on several topics related to hazardous waste generator status.
However, since the determination is calculated based upon weight (in kilograms, not pounds) and not the volume, the question may arise, “What about the weight of the container? Must that be included in calculation of your hazardous waste generator status?”
The answer is no. At 45 FR 78527 the USEPA indicated that the container is not considered a hazardous waste and it is only the material or residue in the container that the Agency intends to regulate (Faxback 12151).
Confusion may arise since most hazardous waste haulers will record the weight of the entire container on the Uniform Hazardous Waste Manifest, not just the weight of the hazardous waste. While this is acceptable for documenting the shipment of a hazardous waste, you are not required to use this manifested weight when calculating your hazardous waste generator status.
Things to consider if you exercise this option:
- Be certain the weight of the empty drum used in your calculations is accurate as it will vary between different drums.
- Carefully document in section 14 of the manifest the weight of the hazardous waste without the container weight to avoid confusion.
- If your hazardous waste generator status is so close to the threshold that the weight of a few drums is enough to be a factor I suggest you comply with the requirements of the higher status, just to be safe.
Compliance with the regulations for management of your hazardous waste requires an accurate calculation of your hazardous waste generator status, of which this article may be of some help. Once your status has been determined you can begin to manage the hazardous waste as required. Contact me with any question about the management of hazardous waste at your facility.