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Determining Your Hazardous Waste Generator Status

Determining Your Hazardous Waste Generator Status

The determination of your hazardous waste generator status is necessary in order to identify which of the RCRA regulations (Federal & State) apply to your operations and what you must do to ensure compliance.  This determination is based on the amount of non-exempt hazardous waste you generate in a calendar month.

In a future article I will address the determination of hazardous waste generator status based on the generation of acute hazardous waste and the amount of hazardous waste accumulated on-site.

Some States have their own criteria for determining hazardous waste generator status, do not recognize all three of the US EPA status, and/or have added an additional status level to the base three of the US EPA; so be sure to check with your State.  However, the three categories of hazardous waste generator status identified by the US EPA and most States are:

  • Large Quantity Generator of hazardous waste (LQG).
  • Small Quantity Generator of hazardous waste (SQG).
  • Conditionally Exempt Small Quantity Generator of hazardous waste (CESQG).  In some states this same status is referred to as:  Very Small Quantity Generator or VSQG.

Take this survey to determine your generator status, but before you do, read below to ensure you understand properly the terms used in making this determination.

“Generates”:  The determination is based solely on the amount of hazardous waste generated.  It does not include hazardous waste that was shipped off-site for disposal, accumulated onsite, or the amount moved from one accumulation area to another within the same facility.  This includes the transfer of hazardous waste from a Satellite Accumulation Area to a Central Accumulation Area (aka:  90/180 Day Accumulation Area).  Read here to learn how to avoid double-counting your hazardous waste.

“Hazardous Waste”:  You need only account for hazardous waste.  Other forms of waste that are non-hazardous (not listed or characteristic hazardous waste), exempt from regulation as a solid waste or hazardous waste, or perhaps are a “de-regulated” form of hazardous waste:  Universal Waste or Used Oil; are not counted towards the determination threshold.  This article has more information about the types of waste not counted for the hazardous waste determination.

“Calendar Month”:  The determination is based on a calendar month, not a 30 day rolling time period, or an average taken over a year, or anything else.  As a generator of hazardous waste, you must make your determination anew for each month of the year.  Changes to your generator status on a month-to-month basis are addressed by the US EPA as Episodic Generator Status.

“You”:  The determination is limited to the hazardous waste generated by you at your site.  A generator site is a fixed geographic location and may include contiguous parcels under the same ownership instead of a single property.  There are some gray areas where another person may generate a hazardous waste at your site, this is known as Co-Generator Status.  Read this earlier article for an explanation of Co-Generator Status.

Do your homework and prepare yourself prior to conducting your hazardous waste determination.  If you have already determined your status, I suggest you check it again periodically – even monthly – to ensure there has not been a change in your status.  As always, please don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions.