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Hazardous wastes come in many forms. They can be liquid, solids, semisolid or contained gases. They can be manufacturing-process byproducts, sludges or spent materials, or simply discarded products. Whatever their form, proper management is essential to protect human health and the environment. In 1976, congress passed the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). Subtitle C of this act directed the United States Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) to develop comprehensive, cradle to grave management standards for hazardous waste. The U.S. EPA RCRA website provides additional information.
Under the broad statutory definition, the universe of potential hazardous waste is extremely large and diverse. As a result, Congress directed the U.S. EPA to develop regulations to specifically define the universe of hazardous waste for regulatory purposes under RCRA. The U.S. EPA developed four defining characteristics of hazardous waste and four lists of specific hazardous wastes. If a waste meets the definition of solid waste, and has not been excluded by rule from the definition of hazardous waste, it is considered a hazardous waste if:
Characteristic wastes are defined in the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations under 40 CFR 261.20 through 261.24 as exhibiting one of four hazardous characteristics:
Listed wastes are comprised of several hundred hazardous or acutely toxic wastes cataloged in four separate lists: the F, K, P, and U lists. The lists are updated as necessary and are published in the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations, under 40 CFR 261.30 though 261.33. These definitions and lists are also adopted by reference in Indiana's hazardous waste rules found under the Indiana Administrative Code at 329 IAC 3.1-6-1.
Note: some listed hazardous wastes have been designated as “acutely toxic” hazardous wastes. These wastes are listed on the “P List” in the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations under 40 CFR Part 261.33. Similarly, six wastes on the “F List” (F020, F021, F022, F023, F026 and F027) of 40 CFR Part 261.31 also are acutely toxic hazardous wastes.
Regulations apply for those who generate hazardous waste, as well as, those who treat, store or dispose of it. Additional information is provided on the IDEM Land Quality: Hazardous Waste page.
It is the responsibility of the person who generates a solid waste to determine if that waste is hazardous. This is done by making a waste determination at the point of generation for each waste generated at your site. The waste determination can be done using generator knowledge of the products and processes used, or by having the waste analyzed. It is the responsibility of the generator to ensure their wastes are properly managed and disposed.
Anyone seeking to exclude a waste from a particular generating facility from being regulated as a listed waste may petition for a regulatory amendment in the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations under 40 CFR 260.22 . However, such exemptions are conditional, usually requiring some specific monitoring, handling, or other remedy or conditional behavior on the part of the generator.
There are two other important rules to remember regarding hazardous wastes:
Any waste which is derived from a listed hazardous waste, is itself considered hazardous, even if the original listed waste is undetectable after treatment. However, there is a “de-listing” procedure whereby a generator can petition, on a case-by-case basis, to have “derived from” wastes which have been effectively treated to be exempted from RCRA disposal requirements.
Similarly, listed hazardous waste that is mixed with non-hazardous wastes to dilute, or reduce, the overall level of concentration, is still considered a listed hazardous waste, even if the mixture’s concentration is below hazardous levels. So diluting hazardous waste can compound disposal problems.
For additional help in determining what is a hazardous waste or whether you are a hazardous waste generator, review “How to Identify Waste and Determine If It's Hazardous Waste” on the IDEM Web site.
Perhaps the best and least expensive management option is to eliminate or minimize the generation of hazardous waste whenever possible through the use of alternative materials. Where hazardous waste generation can not be avoided, recycling is preferred to treatment and disposal. IDEM's Office of Pollution Prevention and Technical Assistance works with business and industry to promote pollution prevention, waste minimization, and recycling.
Those who produce hazardous waste or acutely toxic hazardous wastes are considered generators. All generators must determine which of the three classes of generators (listed below) describes them, and then meet the requirements of that particular class. In addition to the information that follows, additional details are provided on the IDEM Land Quality site, How to Obtain a New RCRA Identification Number. You can also contact the IDEM OLQ Regulatory Reporting Section at (317) 233-0066 for additional information.
Conditionally Exempt Small Quantity Generators (CESQGs) are those who generate less than 100 kilograms (220 pounds) of hazardous waste or less than one kilogram (2.2 pounds) of acutely toxic hazardous waste in any calendar month, and who accumulate on site at any time a total of less than 1000 kilograms (2200 pounds). CESQGs may, but are not required to, notify IDEM for a RCRA Identification Number.
Any CESQG who accumulates on-site at any one time more than 1000 kilograms (2200 lbs, or 1.1 tons) of hazardous waste is subject to all the requirements applicable to a Small Quantity Generator (SQG). A CESQG who accumulates on-site at any one time more than 1 kilogram of acutely toxic hazardous waste is subject to the requirements of a Large Quantity Generator (LQG).
A Small Quantity Generator (SQG) generates more than 100 kilograms (220 pounds), but less than 1000 kilograms (2200 pounds), of hazardous waste during in a calendar month, and never accumulates onsite at any time more than 6,000 kilograms (13,227 pounds, or 6.61 tons) of hazardous waste. SQGs must register with IDEM as generators of hazardous waste and obtain an RCRA Identification Number. SQGs are not required to pay an annual fee. However, any SQG who accumulates more than 6,000 kilograms of hazardous waste or 1 kilogram of acutely toxic waste on-site at any one time is subject to the requirements of a Large Quantity Generator, including the annual fee and reporting requirements for that year.
Note: SQGs also have to comply with many regulations not covered in this guide. These regulations include, but are not limited to, container and tank management, accumulation time limits, manifests, emergency response, personnel training, and recordkeeping requirements.
SQGs who store their hazardous waste on-site for more than 180 days (or 270 days if the waste is shipped more than 200 miles) are considered a storage facility, which requires a permit from IDEM.
Large Quantity Generators (LQGs) are those who generate more than 1,000 kilograms (2,200 pounds) of hazardous waste or one (1) kilogram (2.2 pounds) of acutely hazardous waste during any month. From the perspective of fees and reporting, even if those limits are only exceeded for one month of the year, the generator is still considered a LQG for that calendar year. Other requirements are based on status during each calendar month. A LQG is required to notify the IDEM to obtain a RCRA Identification Number, and pay the annual $1,565 generator fee.
Note: LQGs also have to comply with many regulations not covered in this guide. These regulations include, but are not limited to, container and tank management, accumulation time limits, manifests, emergency procedures and preparedness, personnel training, and recordkeeping requirements.
LQGs who store hazardous waste on-site for more than 90 days are considered a storage facility, and must have a permit from IDEM.
A RCRA Identification Number is required for any entity that operates as a Small Quantity Generator, Large Quantity Generator, or transports, treats, stores, recovers, or disposes of hazardous waste. To obtain a U.S. EPA Identification number, complete the U.S. EPA Notification of Regulated Waste Activity (Form 8700-12) [PDF] and submit it to IDEM. The IDEM Land Quality site provides additional information on the How to Obtain a New RCRA ID Number page.
RCRA Identification Numbers are site-specific. If your facility relocates to a new site, you will have to submit the Notification of Regulated Waste Activity Form; do not use the U.S. EPA identification number that was assigned to another location. Similarly, if you relocate to a site where a business had already obtained an RCRA Identification Number, that number will be assigned to your business.
To obtain an RCRA Identification Number, contact the IDEM OLQ Regulatory Reporting Section (317) 233-0066.
Facilities that receive "off-site" hazardous waste for storage, treatment, or disposal are required to have a permit. However, LQGs who store hazardous waste onsite for more than ninety (90) days, or SQGs who store hazardous waste onsite for more than one hundred eighty (180) days also are required to obtain a permit (exception: SQGs may accumulate hazardous waste on site for 270 days if they ship their hazardous waste to a Treatment, Storage, and Disposal (TSD) that is more than 200 miles away). Similarly, any generator of hazardous waste who treats the waste in something other than a tank, container, containment building, drip pads, or disposes of the waste "on-site" must obtain a permit.
It takes up to a year for IDEM to review an application for a hazardous waste permit for storage, treatment or disposal, and application fees for new permits range from $23,800 to $40,600. Most generators may instead want to consider shipping their waste to one of the commercial hazardous waste facilities [XLS] currently permitted in Indiana.
Hazardous waste facility permit application forms are provided on the IDEM Forms page. To speak with staff or request a meeting, contact IDEM’s OLQ Hazardous Waste Permits Section at (800) 451-6027, ext. 3-1052.
Changes of ownership or operational control at RCRA permitted facilities (facilities permitted to treat, store, and/or dispose of hazardous wastes) require that the permit be modified to identify the new owner (transferee). This Class 1 permit modification requires the current owner or operator (permittee) and the new owner or operator (transferee) to submit to IDEM a written agreement specifying the date when the responsibility for compliance with the permit is transferred from the permittee to the transferee. Even after that transfer takes place, the permittee remains financially liable for the facility until the transferee can adequately demonstrate his or her financial responsibility. In addition, the transferee must submit a revised permit application at least 90 days before the date of the transfer in order for IDEM to modify the permit and reissue it to identify the transferee as the new owner/operator. The transferee, or new permittee, also must notify all appropriate units of state and local government and all persons on the IDEM-maintained facility mailing lists within 90 calendar days after the modification is approved. There is no fee for a Class 1 RCRA permit modification.
Questions concerning hazardous waste determinations, generator status, or requests for technical assistance may be directed to IDEM’s OLQ Compliance and Emergency Response Branch at (800) 451-6027 ext. 308-3341 (toll free in Indiana), or (317) 308-3341. Questions relating to permits for hazardous waste treatment, storage, or disposal facilities may be directed to IDEM’s OLQ Hazardous Waste Permits Section at (800) 451-6027, ext. 3-1052.