Regulatory Library

RCRA Details for Generators

RCRA regulatory coverage varies based on the amount of waste you generate, but the six main requirements for generators include:
 

  1. Determine hazardous waste type and amount
  2. Obtain EPA Identification number
  3. Prepare and manage the hazardous waste
  4. Follow storage limitations
  5. Perform recordkeeping and reporting, particularly the manifest
  6. LDR assessment and notification



1.  Determine hazardous waste type and amount

Law:  RCRA Section 3002
Regulations: 40 CFR 262.10 and 261

Your first obligation is to determine if discarded material and other wastes from your production processes are hazardous. Hazardous waste either 1) shows certain hazardous characteristics (i.e., it is ignitable, corrosive, reactive, or toxic), or 2) is listed by EPA. You may therefore have to test your waste for hazardousness – particularly for the toxicity characteristic. In addition, there are some tricky rules about whether any recycled or reclaimed waste is hazardous waste – to fully understand this, you will need to consult with EPA or your state officials.

You will then need to measure how much you produce per month. Your generation level will determine your "generator category" – i.e., the level of regulation you must meet. If you generate under 100 kg per month, you will be exempt from most other reporting requirements, although you will still be responsible for safe management of your waste.  If you generate between 100 and 1,000 kg (220 and 2.200 lbs.) per month, you will be considered a Small Quantity Generator (SQG); if you generate over 1,000 kg (2,200 lbs.) per month, you will be considered a Large Quantity Generator (LQG).


2. Obtain an EPA Identification number


Law:  RCRA Section 3002
Regulation: 40 CFR 262.12

Once you determine you generate over 100 kg per month, you will need to get an EPA Identification number that will be used to monitor and track your hazardous waste activities.


3. Prepare and manage the hazardous waste


Law:  RCRA Section 3001-3003; HMTA (42 USCA 1801-1812)
Regulation: 40 CFR 262.12, 262.30; 40 CFR 172-173

In most cases, you will be sending your hazardous waste off-site for treatment and disposal. Therefore, your management will be oriented towards packing and storing the waste before shipping.  There are specific Department of Transportation requirements related to how you must package and label the waste for shipment.  You must also follow specific rules regarding waste storage.  For example, hazardous waste must be segregated from other wastes, there must be spill protection, you must conduct regular inspections, and so forth.  Other requirements include:  1) training employees in hazardous waste handling and management, 2) developing a Contingency Plan for responding to accidents, 3) developing a waste minimization program, and 4) selecting a regulated transporter and disposal facility.  These and other requirements will vary somewhat depending on your generator category.


4. Follow storage limitations


Law:  RCRA Section 3001
Regulation: 40 CFR 262.34

There are specific rules regarding how long you can store hazardous waste, based on how much waste you generate.  For LQGs, you can store waste only up to 90 days unless you secure a permit.  For SQGs, the limit is generally no more than 6,000 kg (13,228 lbs.) of waste for up to 180 days, with some exceptions.  As with other areas of hazardous waste management, you will need to check with EPA or the state for specifics.


5. Perform recordkeeping and reporting, particularly the manifest


Law:  RCRA Section 3002
Regulation: 40 CFR 262.20, 262.40

A cornerstone of RCRA is the manifest system. The manifest is a data sheet that identifies each waste shipment. The manifest will accompany the waste from your plant to the final disposal site, and allows for clear identification of waste type and source at all times. In addition to the manifest requirements, you have other recordkeeping and reporting requirements, including a biennial summary report of all hazardous waste generation for the previous year.

This summary report will also require you to detail the efforts you have made to minimize your waste volume and/or toxicity.


6. LDR assessment and notification


Law:  RCRA Section 3004; as amended by HSWA
Regulation: 40 CFR 268

The LDRs or "Land Disposal Restrictions" prohibit certain kinds of hazardous wastes from land-based disposal unless they receive certain types of treatment. You are responsible for identifying whether your waste contains LDR substances and for informing the TSD or recycling facility of the waste type and LDR treatment requirements.







Upcoming Events