This will be the last in a trio of articles looking closely at the process of determining your hazardous waste generator status. The preceding two were:
- Understanding the Requirements for Determining Your Hazardous Waste Generator Status.
- Determining Hazardous Waste Generator Status Based on Generation of Acute Hazardous Waste.
And now this one: The Determination of Hazardous Waste Generator Status Based on the Amount of Hazardous Waste Accumulated Onsite.
Keep in mind that this article is meant to assist in determining compliance with the Federal regulations of the US EPA. Your State, if it has an authorized hazardous waste program, may have its own method for determining hazardous waste generator status that differs greatly from the US EPA. As always, be sure to check with your State Environmental Agency in order to ensure compliance.
The most common method of determining your hazardous waste generator status is to consider the amount of hazardous waste generated. However, there are two situations where the amount of hazardous waste accumulated onsite can make a change – in one situation, a drastic change – to your hazardous waste generator status.
We’ll start at the top. The Large Quantity Generator (LQG) status of hazardous waste generator is based solely on the amount of hazardous waste (≥1,000 kg/mo) or acute hazardous waste (>1 kg/mo or >100 kg/mo spill residue) generated. An LQG has no upper limit on the amount of hazardous waste or acute hazardous waste it may generate or accumulate. There is however a limit to how long an LQG may accumulate hazardous waste onsite (≤90 days).
Next is the Small Quantity Generator (SQG) status, which may be determined by the amount of hazardous waste generated (>100 kg/mo but <1,000 kg/mo) or by the amount accumulated onsite. The accumulation of hazardous waste is a factor if a Conditionally Exempt Small Quantity Generator (CESQG) accumulates ≥1,000 kg of hazardous waste at any one time. If the threshold of 1,000 kg of hazardous waste is met or exceeded by a CESQG, the hazardous waste immediately becomes subject to all the regulations of an SQG [40 CFR 261.5(g)(2)].
An SQG must also watch the amount of hazardous waste it accumulates. If at any time a Small Quantity Generator exceeds 6,000 kg of hazardous accumulated onsite the SQG catapults over the LQG status where you might expect it to land and finds itself in the realm of a storage facility “…subject to the requirements of 40 CFR parts 264, 265 and 267, and the permit requirements of 40 CFR part 270…”[§262.34(f)]. The hazard presented by this threshold of 6,000 kg cannot be over-stated. There can be very stiff fines associated with operating a hazardous waste storage facility without a permit. For this reason, an SQG must keep a close watch on the amount of hazardous waste accumulated onsite. An SQG also has an onsite accumulation time limit of no more than 180 days for its hazardous waste.
Conditionally Exempt Small Quantity Generator (CESQG) status, similar to LQG status, is based solely on the amount of hazardous waste (≤100 kg/mo) and acute hazardous waste generated (≤1 kg/mo or ≤100 kg/mo spill residue). However, as noted above, if a CESQG accumulates onsite at any one time an amount of hazardous waste ≥1,000 kg, then that hazardous waste immediately becomes subject to the regulations applicable to a Small Quantity Generator of hazardous waste.
The big take away from this article is that both SQG’s and CESQG’s must keep a close eye on the amount of hazardous waste they accumulate onsite while monitoring the amount of hazardous waste they generate, and – in the case of the SQG – the length of time the hazardous waste is accumulated onsite.
The determination of your hazardous waste generator status is an important step in maintaining your compliance with the regulations, but it’s not the only one. Once your status is determine with confidence you must then focus on complying with the regulations applicable to your hazardous waste generator status. That takes knowledge of the regulations and – depending on your status – may require training.