When hazardous waste disposal is conducted improperly, harm can be done to the land, animals, plants, and people that/who are exposed to the waste. From a business perspective, a strong, hazardous waste disposal program safeguards your employees, reduces your insurance premiums, and decreases your financial liability when cleanup is needed.
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What Is Hazardous Waste?
Hazardous waste has toxic, reactive, ignitable, or corrosive properties – posing an ecological and human health threat. Businesses that use products with those same properties typically generate hazardous waste and need to follow standardized hazardous material disposal procedures.
Some of the most common businesses that need to be concerned about hazardous waste disposal are the following:
- Auto body and repair shops
- Construction and painting firms
- Dry cleaning companies
- Equipment repair services
- Furniture refurbishing firms
- Metal manufacturing businesses
- Printing companies.
Business Hazardous Waste Disposal 101
How do you proceed in getting rid of toxic or otherwise hazardous waste? It cannot get onto the ground, channeled down storm drains, dumped into the sewer, or included in regular garbage. You always want to use a licensed and certified hazardous waste recycling or management facility.
The scope of your waste generation will determine the applicable regulations. The Environmental Protection Agency has three tiers within its framework:
- Very small quantity generators (VSQGs) – Produce less than 100 kilograms (kg), equivalent to 220 pounds (lb), monthly
- Small quantity generators (SQGs) – Produce 100 to 1000 kg (between 220 and 2200 lb) monthly
- Large quantity generators (LQGs) – Produce over 1000 kg (2200lb) monthly.
Below are the core federal disposal requirements for each of those three.
VSQG Hazardous Waste Disposal & Management Requirements
If you are a very small quantity generator, the EPA has the following three core requirements, which allow you to remain designated as a VSQG and avoid the more extensive regulations for the other categories:
- Identify all the waste you produce.
- Make sure your on-site hazardous waste storage never exceeds 1000 kg (2200 lb).
- Use one of the following types of disposal or treatment centers, located off-site, to dispose of the waste:
- An LQG that the person who manages the VSQG also manages, as long as containers are labeled “HAZARDOUS WASTE” and the nature of the hazard – e.g., that it is reactive, corrosive, ignitable, toxic, or meets some other federally acknowledged label
- A treatment, storage, or disposal facility (TSDF) that is regulated by the state or federal government to manage hazardous wastes
- A facility that manages industrial or municipal solid waste, backed by a state permit, license, and registration
- A facility that recycles or reuses that waste following standardized treatment
- A facility that is subject to the 40 CFR Part 273 requirements for universal waste (lamps, batteries, mercury-containing equipment, thermostats, collected or recalled pesticides, etc.) or that is a universal waste handler
SQG Hazardous Waste Disposal & Management Requirements
If your company falls into the small quantity generator category, key EPA requirements are the following (although there are various other rules):
- Get an EPA ID number. You will need to get an EPA identification number if you are an SQG (i.e., if you generate from 220 to 2200 lb of hazardous waste monthly). When you send waste off-site for management or disposal, you will need to use the identification number. States and the EPA use the 12-character ID number to track and monitor hazardous waste activity.
- Manage satellite accumulation areas. You can use satellite areas to accumulate waste, as long as it is within containers listing the hazards and with the words “Hazardous Waste.” You cannot have more than 55 gallons accrue at one satellite area for more than three days. Waste must accumulate in storage containers or tanks that are managed in line with EPA regulations.
- Use carefully vetted facilities.SQGs can only ship waste to regulated recyclers and/or TSDFs. Make sure the facility you choose has an EPA ID number. Since you retain liability for mismanaged waste, researching the facility is in your best interests.
LQG Hazardous Waste Disposal & Management Requirements
Finally, if your business is a large quantity generator, a couple of core EPA requirements include:
- Follow strict accumulation & contingency practices. Accumulate waste in containment buildings, drip pads, tanks, or containers. Strategize emergency planning and preparedness; create a contingency plan.
- Track and report activity. By March 1 of each even-numbered year, submit a biennial report covering the past year’s generator activity.
Working With An Industrial Waste Management & Services Company For Disposal
Do you need to find the right way to dispose of your company’s hazardous waste? Working with an industrial waste management company to manage this aspect of your business taps expertise, translating to risk reduction. AOTC’s hazardous waste disposal and management services are highly beneficial to your company by controlling costs and minimizing your long-term liability. Contact us today to discuss how we can provide hazardous waste management services to your business.