Waste Generation, Determination, and Management

This page is designed to provide hazardous waste generators a general understanding of the regulatory requirements governing the management of hazardous waste and is not intended to replace, limit or expand upon the complete regulatory requirements. To navigate through the generalized generator requirements, please use the hyperlinks provided throughout the narrative that will provide more detail of the topic or provide the regulatory citation. The sections below follow the life-cycle of waste from generation, hazardous determination, and management for all generators. Other DEQ generator web pages are designed to provide more detail for the selected generator status as well as other areas regulatory requirements for specific generators.

EPA has established a national system for tracking hazardous waste shipments electronically. This system, known as (e-Manifest), will modernize the nation's cradle-to-grave hazardous waste tracking process while saving valuable time, resources, and dollars for industry and states. EPA launched e-Manifest on June 30, 2018. Learn more about Hazardous Waste Electronic Manifest System (e-Manifest) on EPA's website, https://www.epa.gov/e-manifest or DEQ's e-Manifest page.

What is Hazardous Waste?

Hazardous waste has properties that make it dangerous or potentially harmful to human health or the environment. Hazardous wastes can be liquid, solid, contained gas, or sludge. They can be the by-products of manufacturing processes or simply discarded commercial products, such as cleaning fluids or pesticides. By law, facilities that generate waste must determine if any of their wastes are hazardous.

Identify the types and quantities of solid and hazardous waste generated by your business. The revised regulations at 40 CFR § 262.11, provide important information about when a waste determination must be made, what types of hazardous waste may have been generated; i.e., listed and/or characteristically hazardous, and how to determine if a hazardous waste has been generated; i.e., what types of information (generator knowledge or testing) may be used in making a hazardous waste determination. A hazardous waste determination only needs to be made for materials that have been determined to be a solid waste. It is the responsibility of all business owners and other regulated entities to identify the types and quantities of hazardous waste potentially generated by their operations. Trade associations, product suppliers, or product manufacturers may provide information to the generator that assists in identifying hazardous wastes generated by them. Safety Data Sheets (SDSs) are also available for most commercial chemical products and may be useful to determine if product wastes may be hazardous.

Hazardous Types for Determination

Characteristic: Hazardous wastes that exhibit one or more of the following characteristics as described in 40 CFR § 261 Subpart C.

Ignitability: These wastes easily catch fire when exposed to heat. If the waste has a flash point below 140°F, it must be managed as a hazardous waste. If it is an ignitable compressed gas, it must be managed as hazardous waste. If it is an oxidizer, it must be managed as hazardous waste (40 CFR § 261.21).
Corrosivity: These waste products can burn or damage living tissue on contact. Corrosivity is determined by properties outlined in 40 CFR § 261.22. Testing methods are explained in EPA publication SW-846, Test Methods for Evaluating Solid Waste, Physical/Chemical Methods.
Reactivity: Reactive wastes are unstable, react violently or explode, and/or give off toxic gases as described fully in 40 CFR § 261.23.
Toxicity: Such wastes can cause injury or death if swallowed, inhaled, or absorbed through the skin or eyes. If the material contains any organic or inorganic chemicals in excess of the concentrations listed under 40 CFR § 261.24, it must be managed as a hazardous waste.

Listed: Hazardous wastes that appear on any of four specific lists in 40 CFR 261 Subpart D.

Generator Categories

Counting: Count the amount of waste generated to determine the generator category for each calendar month and determine what regulations with which to comply. Once a hazardous waste has been determined to be generated, a generator must determine whether or not such waste must be counted towards its generator category. 40 CFR § 262.13 (c) and (d) identifies those wastes.

How to Determine Your Generator Status: Hazardous waste generators are regulated according to the amount of waste they generate in a calendar month. The classification of a generator's status is based on the volume of hazardous waste generated. Below are the three classifications and the volume of hazardous waste associated with each type. Select the hyperlink to find out more information about the regulations for the corresponding generator status.

Table: Generator Accumulation Classification

Generator Status Accumulation per calendar month On-site Accumulation at any time
VSQG
(CESQG)
1 kg acute (2.2 lbs)
100 kg acute spill (220 lbs)
1 kg acute (2.2 lbs)
SQG (220 lbs , 2,200 lbs)  
LQG 1,000 kg (2,200 lbs)
1 kg acute (2.2 lbs)
100 kg acute spill (220 lbs)
No Limit

Notes: Very Small Quantity Generator (VSQG) - formally called conditionally exempt small quantity generator (CESQG), Small Quantity Generator (SQG), Large Quantity Generator (LQG), Acute Hazardous Waste - listed waste as defined in 40 CFR § 260.10

Notification of Change in Generator Status: Anyone who becomes a LQG or ceases to be a LQG shall notify the DEQ in writing immediately of this change in status and document the change in the operating record. No specific form is required, but the EPA Form 8700-12 may be used.

Annual Fee: Operators of treatment, storage, and disposal facilities (TSDFs) and LQGs are assessed an annual fee by DEQ. No matter how short a time a facility operates or how briefly a generator is a LQG during the previous calendar year, the full annual fee amount is assessed for that year. The annual fee for TSDFs is $2800, while the annual fee for LQGs is $1000. The DEQ will send billing invoices to affected facilities and generators usually by September 1 (for previous calendar year) and payment is due by October 1.

Manage, Shipping and Delivering

Management: Manage hazardous waste generated in containers or tanks in good condition to prevent spills and releases to the environment that endangers human health. The accumulation tanks or containers are required to be marked with the words "Hazardous Waste" and dated for SQG and LQG Generator categories. However, identifying the contents of the container and also identifying the risks posed by the hazardous wastes in a container or tank using a DOT or OSHA label is strongly recommended as a good management practice. SQGs and LQGs can also manage hazardous waste in containment buildings or on drip pads.

Shipping and Delivering: Hazardous wastes may only be disposed in certain types of approved facilities.

e-Manifest: EPA has established a national system for tracking hazardous waste shipments electronically. This system, known as “e-Manifest,” will modernize the nation’s cradle-to-grave hazardous waste tracking process while saving valuable time, resources, and dollars for industry and states. EPA launched e-Manifest on June 30, 2018. Learn more about Hazardous Waste Electronic Manifest System (e-Manifest) on EPA's website, https://www.epa.gov/e-manifest or DEQ's e-Manifest page.

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Virginia Department of
Environmental Quality
P.O. Box 1105
Richmond, VA 23218
(804) 698-4000


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