As a state that operates its own hazardous waste program under the authority of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), Texas has its own unique requirements for the regulation of both hazardous and non-hazardous waste. An essential requirement of compliance with the TCEQ (Texas Commission on Environmental Quality) regulations is the determination of the source of the waste, either industrial or non-industrial. The purpose of this article is to explain the difference between an industrial solid waste and non-industrial solid waste in regard to the waste regulations of the TCEQ.
What is a Solid Waste?
We must go back to the beginning and understand the regulatory term used by both the TCEQ and the USEPA to describe any discarded material: Solid Waste. A solid waste has a long definition with multiple exclusions and conditions that we won’t go into here, but can be found in Title 30 of the Texas Administrative Code (30 TAC) at 335.1(138). Summarized for the purposes of this article:
- A solid waste is a liquid, solid, contained gas (eg. a cylinder or aerosol) or other material that is discarded (ie. thrown away, abandoned, or recycled) from any source (industrial or non-industrial).
- A solid waste may also be a hazardous waste.
- There are multiple exclusions from the definition of solid waste [refer to the definition at 30 TAC 335.1(138)] depending on its source and its final disposition.
In other words, a solid waste is any discarded material from any source unless there is an exclusion. A solid waste may also be a hazardous waste if it meets the definition at 30 TAC 335.1(69).
What is an Industrial Solid Waste?
An industrial solid waste is defined at 30 TAC 335.1(79):
Industrial solid waste – Solid waste resulting from or incidental to any process of industry or manufacturing, or mining or agricultural operation, which may include hazardous waste as defined in this section.
- An industrial solid waste must first meet the definition of a solid waste (see above).
- After confirmed as a solid waste, an industrial solid waste is defined by its source:
- Any process of industry or manufacturing.
- A mining or agricultural operation.
- An industrial solid waste may also be a hazardous waste if it meets the definition at 30 TAC 335.1(69).
- Examples of sources of industrial solid waste include (from the TCEQ Guidance RG-022):
- Power generating plants.
- Manufacturing facilities.
- Laboratories serving an industry.
What is a Non-Industrial Solid Waste?
Non-industrial solid waste is not defined by regulation, though clearly it is meant to be any solid waste that does not meet the definition of an industrial solid waste. The TCEQ Guidance RG-022 offers some guidance:
Nonindustrial wastes, by contrast (with industrial waste) come from sources such as schools, hospitals, churches, dry cleaners, most service stations, and laboratories serving the public.
- Another way of identifying a non-industrial solid waste is to refer to the definition of a municipal solid waste and to the exclusion for waste subject to the regulations of the Railroad Commission of Texas, which we will do below.
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What is a Municipal Solid Waste?
A municipal solid waste is defined at 30 TAC 335.1(101):
Municipal solid waste – Solid waste resulting from or incidental to municipal, community, commercial, institutional, and recreational activities; including garbage, rubbish, ashes, street cleanings, dead animals, abandoned automobiles, and all other solid wastes other than industrial waste.
- Don’t let the name – or most of the definition- fool you, this is not intended to describe waste generated solely by a municipality. Municipal activities are only one of the identified sources of a municipal solid waste.
- The examples of municipal solid wastes listed can be misleading as well, “…including garbage, rubbish, ashes…” A municipal solid waste includes, but is not limited to those wastes only.
- It’s the last nine words that truly describe the full scope of a municipal solid waste, “…and all other solid wastes other than industrial waste.” In other words, if it doesn’t meet the definition of an industrial solid waste, then it must be a municipal solid waste, which is synonymous with non-industrial solid waste.
- As with an industrial solid waste, a municipal solid waste may be a hazardous waste if is listed at 40 CFR 261, Subpart D or exhibits a characteristic as defined at 40 CFR 261, Subpart C. Municipal hazardous waste is defined at 30 TAC 335.1(100):
Municipal hazardous waste – A municipal solid waste or mixture of municipal solid wastes which has been identified or listed as a hazardous waste by the administrator of the United States Environmental Protection Agency.
The definition of solid waste at 30 TAC 335.1(138)(A)(iii) excludes certain non-hazardous wastes from regulation as a solid waste if generated by the oil and gas industry and regulated by the Railroad Commission of Texas (RRC). However, in certain situations this exclusion doesn’t apply(refer to the regulation for a complete explanation), and the waste will fall under the authority of the TCEQ as a non-industrial solid waste.
And finally, What is a Hazardous Waste?
A hazardous waste is defined at 30 TAC 335.1(69):
Hazardous waste – any solid waste identified or listed as a hazardous waste by the administrator of the United States Environmental Protection Agency in accordance with the federal Solid Waste Disposal Act, as amended by the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, 42 United States Code, §§ 6901 et seq.
- More simply stated, a solid waste will be a hazardous if it is not excluded and is listed at 40 CFR 261, Subpart D or exhibits a characteristic as defined at 40 CFR 261, Subpart C of the federal USEPA regulations.
Unfortunately, it can seem to be more complicated than it really need be. In summation, it breaks down like this:
- If you are an industrial facility, any waste you generate (hazardous and non-hazardous) will be subject to the regulations of the TCEQ.
- If you are a non-industrial facility, only your hazardous waste will be subject to the regulation of the TCEQ.
- The generator of a waste subject to the regulations of the Railroad Commission of Texas…well…that is kinda complicated. Be sure you carefully read 30 TAC 335.1(138)(A)(iii) and manage your waste according to the regulations of the RRC or the TCEQ as appropriate.
If you generate an industrial solid waste in Texas, then you must be aware of the regulations of the TCEQ in order to ensure in compliance. One requirement for Large Quantity Generators of hazardous waste is to conduct annual training for all Facility Personnel. Contact me for a free consultation on the waste management regulations of the USEPA, the TCEQ, or for your next high-quality training.
Daniels Training Services