Changes to Hazardous Waste Generator Regulations

In November of 2016, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published its final rule on hazardous waste generator requirements. This rule provides guidance and best management practices (BMPs) for all levels of hazardous waste generators. This article will explore some of the changes in requirements for hazardous waste generators with the passage of the new rule.

Very Small Quantity Generators

One of the changes being made is the replacement of the Conditionally Exempt Small Quantity Generator (CESQG) category with Very Small Quantity Generator (VSQG). The monthly generation rates and accumulation limits previously applied to CESQG will now apply to VSQGs. The new rule, however, does allow VSQGs to ship hazardous waste to Large Quantity Generators (LQG) without a waste manifest if both facilities are under the “control” of the same “person” (i.e. owned or operated by the same entity).

While there is no limit placed on the amount of waste the LQG can receive from the VSQG, the following items are required by the LQG:

  • Notify the EPA at least 30 days prior to receiving the first shipment from the VSQG
  • Maintain records of waste shipments for at least 3 years
  • Record the amount of waste accumulated, with the dates the hazardous waste was received
  • Manage the waste under LQG requirements, including submitting biennial reports to the EPA

One thing to note is that these provisions for shipping hazardous waste without a manifest DO NOT eliminate one’s requirements to comply with Department of Transportation (DOT) regulations for the transportation of hazardous waste. In the case that the waste crosses state lines, the VSQG must ensure that all the states that the waste is transported through have adopted the updated provisions.


The primary conditions for exemptions of the rule include, but are not limited to, the regulations and requirements associated with satellite accumulation areas and waste storage areas for 90/180/270 – day accumulation that outline the storage and recordkeeping conditions to obtain a hazardous waste storage permit. Some of the storage conditions that must be met, even with the exemptions, include the hazardous waste container labeling standards, emergency preparedness requirements, and the requirements for employee training.

Some parts of the rule will continue to be mandated, and therefore are still enforceable, despite a facility obtaining an exemption. These include the requirements to determine a facility’s generator category, utilizing manifests to ship waste offsite (except for what was described for VSQGs above), and a majority of the recordkeeping requirements.

A facility’s generator category is based on the quantity of hazardous waste that is generated each month. Some factors to keep in mind for a facility to keep its current generator category are that a VSQG can lose that category designation if too much waste is generated (over 100 kgs) for at least one month. However, a VSQG can remain in that category and maintain its exemptions from permitting requirements if the waste itself is being managed according to the conditions required by a larger generator category (e.g. SQG or LQG).

Biennial Reports for LQG & Recycling Facilities

A facility that is a LQG for at least one month (i.e. meets the storage or handling limits under the LQG requirements), during a reporting year, must submit a biennial report to the EPA and identify all the hazardous waste generated by the facility for that entire year, not just the month(s) that the facility was considered a LQG.

Along with the addition of new requirements in the updated rules, some practices that are becoming more stringent, include:

  • SQG must submit renotification to the EPA every 4 years, and LQG facilities must notify the EPA using form 8700-12 by March 1st of each even-numbered year (biennially);
  • LQG facilities must submit a Contingency Plan Summary to local emergency agencies;
  • If a facility is conducting testing or analysis to make a hazardous waste determination, the waste must be considered hazardous, and handled accordingly, until the test results are received;
  • For facilities that currently utilize labeled containers for waste storage, these containers can be grandfathered into the new rule.

According the EPA, training and formal job descriptions are recommended and are a clear benefit for all employees who:

  • Handle hazardous waste manifests;
  • Manage waste accumulation areas;
  • Manage waste inventories;
  • Conduct inspections of waste accumulation areas; or
  • Are part of a facility’s emergency response team

For more information on this updated rule, or if you would like to discuss how CTI can help your facility maintain compliance with hazardous waste regulations, please contact us at


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