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The Marking of a Hazardous Waste Container in California

The Marking of a Hazardous Waste Container in California

California EPA Department of Toxic Substances Control Regulations

The hazardous waste regulations in California are more strict & more broad than those of the USEPA.

Like most states, California is authorized to manage its own hazardous waste program.  And like a lot of other states, California’s hazardous waste program – administered by the Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) within the California EPA (Cal EPA) – is more strict in its regulation of, and more broad in its definition of, a hazardous waste.  But this is California, so being just a little more broad and a little more strict is not enough; they have to set the bar high.  In brief summation, the DTSC hazardous waste regulations differ from those of the USEPA and most other states by being…

…more broad in their definition of a hazardous waste.  To the point of regulating the following as a hazardous waste:

  • Friable asbestos containing material of ≥1% asbestos.
  • Used oil
  • Some anti-freeze
  • Corrosive solids
  • Nickel, copper, & cobalt containing wastes (among others)


…more strict regulations for the cradle-to-grave management of this expanded class of hazardous waste, including:

  • No recognition of the Conditionally Exempt Small Quantity Generator status.
  • “California Empty” (aka: Drip Dry) as an alternative to USEPA’s “RCRA Empty”.
  • One year of on-site accumulation for hazardous waste in a satellite accumulation area v. unlimited time for on-site accumulation in an SAA per the USEPA regulations.
  • Increased marking requirements for hazardous waste containers during on-site accumulation.

It is this last point that is the subject of this article:  The requirements of the DTSC for the marking of a hazardous waste container used for on-site accumulation of a hazardous waste.

Each container or portable tank used for the accumulation of hazardous waste must be clearly marked and have visible for inspection the following:

  •  The date upon which each period of accumulation begins.  This is more complicated than it sounds because depending on which paragraph of section 66262.34 (Title 22 in the California Code of Regulations) a generator complies with, their could be more than one period of accumulation.  For example, a hazardous waste accumulated in a satellite accumulation area may have two separate periods of accumulation.  In its simplest interpretation though, this means the date of initial accumulation in the container.
  • The words, “Hazardous Waste.
  • The hazardous waste’s physical state: gas, liquid, solid, semi-solid (sludge).
  • A description of its properties:  ignitable, reactive, corrosive, toxic.
  • The name & address of the generator of the hazardous waste.

And that’s it!

This marking may take any form you wish, e.g. a pre-printed label, hand-written, spray paint and stencil…whatever it takes.  It doesn’t have to be any more complicated than this:  Container Label for On-Site Accumulation of Hazardous Waste in California

A generator of hazardous waste in California must be aware of their unique regulatory burden.  Contact me with any question you may have about the generation and management of hazardous waste – or other wastes:  universal, non-hazardous, special, extremely hazardous…

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