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Generators of Hazardous Waste: Preparing for an Investigation

If your facility generates hazardous waste, you must comply with federal and state regulations based on how much hazardous waste your facility generates per month. Your monthly waste generation will determine if your facility is a Large Quantity Generator (LQG), Small Quantity Generator (SQG), or Conditionally Exempt Small Quantity Generator (CESQG).

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requires the TCEQ to investigate a certain number of hazardous waste generators every year. During the investigation, the investigator will review site conditions, waste management, and documentation to determine compliance with federal and state industrial and hazardous waste rules.

Use the resources below to help prepare for an investigation and to gain a better understanding of the rules. Also on this page are resources explaining what regulations apply to your facility based on your generator status.

New Regulations

During 2015 and 2016, you should be aware that the TCEQ adopted new regulations promulgated by the EPA. These regulations include:

  • Excluded Solvent-Contaminated Wipes
    • New regulations allow certain solvent-contaminated wipes to be excluded from the definition of a solid waste if laundered and reused. In addition, certain solvent-contaminated wipes may be excluded from the definition of a hazardous waste if properly disposed of. However, to meet the exclusions, you must comply with certain management practices and documentation requirements. To claim these exemptions, please refer to Title 40 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) 261.4(a)(26) Exit the TCEQ and 261.4(b)(18) Exit the TCEQ to ensure you meet the requirements.
  • Speculative Accumulation
    • The definition of speculative accumulation, found in 40 CFR 261.1(c)(8) Exit the TCEQ, has been updated to require the accumulation start date be placed on the storage unit accumulating the material where practicable, or documented through another appropriate method where not practicable.
  • Legitimate Recycling of Hazardous Secondary Materials
    • If your facility recycles or reclaims materials (or sends materials offsite for recycling or reclamation), some new regulations could apply to your facility. Recycling of hazardous secondary materials for the purpose of exclusions or exemptions from regulation must meet the newly codified “legitimacy criteria.” You must also maintain documentation demonstrating your facility meets these criteria, or the material will be considered a solid waste. The criteria and regulation are found in 40 CFR 260.43 Exit the TCEQ.
    • Furthermore, facilities managing hazardous secondary materials as excluded under 40 CFR 260.30, 261.4(a)(23), 261.4(a)(24), or 261.4(a)(27) Exit the TCEQ must provide notification pursuant to 40 CFR 260.42 Exit the TCEQ.
  • Hazardous Secondary Materials Undergoing Reclamation or Remanufacturing
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Generator Status: How to Determine

If your facility generates a waste stream, you must conduct a waste determination to establish if the waste is hazardous or nonhazardous. If your facility’s waste is nonhazardous and your facility is industrial, you will also have to further classify your nonhazardous waste as either Class 1, 2, or 3. (See how to classify nonhazardous waste.)

Once you have a waste determination for each waste stream, calculate the amount of hazardous waste generated and stored on-site per month. This will determine your facility’s generator status.

There are three categories of generators. The following categories are listed in ascending order of hazardous waste generation amounts:

After you determine your facility’s generator status, use the resources on this page to determine what requirements apply to your facility.

If your facility generates enough waste in one month to put it in a different generator status than the month before (such as moving from an SQG to an LQG), then you must comply with all applicable requirements of that new status category (LQG) during that month. Fluctuating between generator status categories is referred to as “episodic generation.” If episodic generation is frequent for your facility, you may choose to maintain compliance with the higher generator status every month (LQG in this case).

Hazardous Waste Determinations and Waste Classifications: How to Conduct

According to both federal and state regulations, facilities that generate waste must conduct a hazardous waste determination at the point of generation to establish whether a waste is hazardous or nonhazardous. State regulations additionally require all industrial waste to be classified according to Title 30 Texas Administrative Code (TAC) 335.503 Exit the TCEQ. You may conduct a hazardous waste determination and classification using either waste analysis (sampling) or process knowledge Exit the TCEQ. Regardless of which method is used, you must keep documentation on-site to demonstrate how you determined the waste was either hazardous or nonhazardous (30 TAC 335.513 Exit the TCEQ).

If you need more information on the regulations for hazardous waste determinations and further resources, see Hazardous Waste Determinations and Waste Classifications.

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Sampling: How to Conduct

When you conduct waste sampling, you must conduct it in accordance with EPA-approved methods, such as SW-846 Exit the TCEQ. Your samples should be representative, which means “a sample of a universe or whole which can be expected to exhibit the average properties of the universe or whole.”

In order to ensure the sample is “representative,” you must demonstrate an 80 percent confidence interval. A confidence interval is a measure of the reliability of a result. A confidence interval of 80 percent means that there is a probability of at least 80 percent that the result is reliable. To demonstrate this, usually you will need to take more than one sample of the waste stream.

Remember, 30 TAC 335.510 requires you to keep the records on-site documenting your sampling procedures including:

  • dates and locations,
  • descriptions of the sampling events,
  • sampling methods and handling techniques, and
  • sampling equipment used.

When a release to the environment occurs at your facility, you must determine the extent of the release. You must collect samples vertically and horizontally, in the release area, in order to determine the extent of the release and the area that will need to be remediated.

After the removal of the contamination, you must conduct confirmation sampling to ensure all of the contamination was removed. In certain instances, you also must report releases to the TCEQ, as required by 30 TAC Chapter 327 Exit the TCEQ. Find more information on reporting releases on the Spills webpage.

Finally, you must analyze your samples using approved test methods found in EPA SW-846 Exit the TCEQ, EPA-600/4-79/020 Exit the TCEQ, or ASTM Standard Methods for the Examination of Water and Wastewater Exit the TCEQ. The TCEQ requirements for waste analysis can be found in 30 TAC 335.509 Exit the TCEQ.

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Which Generator are You?

Conditionally Exempt Small Quantity Generators (CESQG)

Your facility is a CESQG if it generates the following amounts and types of waste:

  • less than 220 pounds of hazardous waste per month,
  • no more than 2.2 pounds of acutely hazardous waste per month, or
  • more than 220 pounds of Class 1 nonhazardous waste per month.

Due to the minimal amount of hazardous waste CESQGs generate, there are fewer regulations to comply with compared to SQGs or LQGs. Below are the five main requirements your facility needs to meet as a CESQG. This list is only intended as a guide; additional requirements may apply.

  • Conduct hazardous waste determinations and waste classifications on all waste streams.
  • Do not accumulate more than 2,200 pounds (1,000 kilograms) of hazardous waste on your property at one time.
  • Dispose of your waste at an authorized disposal facility.
  • If your facility is a CESQG that generates more than 220 pounds (100 kilograms) of industrial Class 1 nonhazardous waste, obtain a Solid Waste Registration number from the TCEQ. You must also maintain a Notice of Registration to reflect current waste streams and waste management units. You also must report Class 1 nonhazardous waste generated on an Annual Waste Summary form.
  • Maintain the following documentation:
    • Monthly waste generation records demonstrating you are a CESQG;
    • Bills of lading or documentation showing your facility disposed of waste at an authorized facility; and
    • Waste determinations showing the facility classified its waste.

The following two forms are necessary for facilities that generate more than 220 pounds of industrial Class 1 nonhazardous waste per month:

Obtain a Solid Waste Registration Number by submitting the Notification for Hazardous or Industrial Waste Management Form (TCEQ Form 00002).

Submit an Annual Waste Summary with the Annual Waste Summary Form (TCEQ Form 00436).

Small Quantity Generators (SQG)

SQGs generate more than 220 pounds, but less than 2,200 pounds, of hazardous waste or up to 2.2 pounds of acutely hazardous waste per month. SQGs must complete all the requirements listed above for CESQGs and the requirements listed below. The list below is only intended as a guide; additional requirements may apply.

  • Use Uniform Hazardous Waste Manifests for shipments of hazardous and Class 1 nonhazardous waste streams;
  • Submit waste generation activities to the TCEQ through an Annual Waste Summary for hazardous and Class 1 wastes;
  • Maintain and update your Notice of Registration to reflect active waste streams and waste management units;
  • Maintain Land Disposal Restriction records (demonstrating hazardous waste is properly treated by a Treatment, Storage, and Disposal Facility prior to disposal);
  • Enact and maintain preparedness and prevention measures;
  • Designate an emergency coordinator who is on-call and enact other emergency procedures;
  • Train employees on proper waste handling and emergency procedures relevant to their job responsibilities;
  • Mark the accumulation start date on all hazardous waste containers and tanks. Ensure waste is shipped off-site within 180 days of accumulation or if the final destination facility is located greater than 200 miles ensure waste is shipped off-site within 270 days;
  • Label hazardous waste containers and tanks with the words “Hazardous Waste”;
  • Ensure all containers accumulating hazardous waste remain closed except when adding or removing waste;
  • Conduct weekly inspections of container storage areas for spills and deteriorating containers;
  • If you manage hazardous waste in satellite accumulation areas, manage them pursuant to 30 TAC 335.69(d)(1) Exit the TCEQ and 40 CFR 262.34(c)(1)(i) Exit the TCEQ, 265.171 Exit the TCEQ, 265.172 Exit the TCEQ, and 265.173(a) Exit the TCEQ;
  • If you manage hazardous waste in tanks, manage them pursuant to 40 CFR 265.201 Exit the TCEQ; and
  • Perform closure activities when your facility is permanently taking an industrial or hazardous waste management unit out of service. Closure activities include ensuring waste managed in the unit is properly disposed of and identifying whether there has been a release from the unit.

Large Quantity Generators (LQG)

Any facility that generates more than 2,200 pounds of hazardous waste or more than 2.2 pounds of acutely hazardous waste in a month is considered a large quantity generator. LQGs are required to complete the applicable requirements listed above for CESQGs and SQGs. In addition, LQGs are required to complete the following preparedness and prevention requirements listed below. This list is only intended as a guide; additional requirements may apply.

  • Make arrangements with the following local authorities:
    • Police, fire departments, and emergency response teams, to familiarize them with facility layout and operation;
    • State emergency response teams, emergency response contractors, and equipment suppliers; and
    • Local hospitals, to familiarize them with the properties of hazardous wastes handled on-site.
  • Develop a written contingency plan.
  • Maintain a personnel training record of the following:
    • Name, job title, and job description of each employee in a position related to hazardous waste management;
    • Written description of type and amount of training required of each position; and
    • Documentation and record of training given to each employee.
  • Mark the accumulation start date on all hazardous waste containers and tanks and ensure waste is shipped off-site within 90 days of accumulation.
  • If the facility manages hazardous waste in tanks, operate the tanks in compliance with 40 CFR Part 265 Subpart J Exit the TCEQ and potentially 40 CFR Part 265 Subparts AA, BB, and CC Exit the TCEQ (air regulations for equipment leaks and organic air emissions).

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Generator-Status Regulation Chart

For a summary of the information above, this chart outlines the different regulations that apply to facilities based on their generator status. The chart is only intended as a guide; additional requirements may apply.

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Universal Waste

Universal wastes are certain types of hazardous wastes that are widely generated, such as batteries, certain pesticides, mercury-containing equipment, mercury lamps, and, in Texas only, paint and paint-related waste. When managed as universal waste, these waste streams:

  • will not count toward your generator status,
  • will not be included on the Notice of Registration or Annual Waste Summary, and
  • will have longer accumulation time limits.

You can find the rules on universal waste in 30 TAC 335.261 Exit the TCEQ, 30 TAC 335.262 Exit the TCEQ, and 40 CFR Part 273 Exit the TCEQ. Visit the Managing Universal Waste webpage to learn more.

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Checklists Used by Investigators

TCEQ investigators will use checklists during the investigation as a guide to evaluate the regulations in a consistent manner. These checklists are available to the public—see the links below.

Not all of these checklists may apply to your facility. The checklists are only intended as a guide; additional regulations may be reviewed by the investigator.

Compliance Evaluation Investigation Checklists:

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Common Violations

TCEQ regional investigators compiled a list of the most common violations (and the associated regulations) noted during SQG and LQG investigations. In addition, McCoy and Associates developed a list of the top ten violations in six states, including Texas.

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Notification Forms

Below are forms that your facility may need to use to notify the TCEQ of hazardous or industrial waste activities.

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Guidance Documents

The TCEQ has developed regulatory guidance documents on regulations that apply to generators. Read over the documents below to better understand recordkeeping and waste management requirements.

Record Keeping

Waste Management

Hazardous Waste Determinations and Classifications

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Wastewater Treatment Unit Exemption

TCEQ regional investigators developed tools to help facilities understand the wastewater treatment unit exemption in the hazardous waste regulations.

The first document is a flow chart to help determine if your wastewater treatment unit(s) meet(s) the exemption. The flow chart is a guide and not a final determination tool. The second document is designed to help facilities determine if treated wastes should be included on the Notice of Registration and/or Annual Waste Summary.

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Who to Contact

During an investigation, the TCEQ investigator will be your main point of contact. However, there could be other departments within the TCEQ that you will need to contact or the state or national response lines. Use the list below to find the appropriate department and phone number.

You may also wish to contact one of the TCEQ’s 16 regional offices.

IHW Registration and Reporting Section

512-239-6413

STEERS Helpline

512-239-6925

IHW Permits Division

512-239-2335

Pollution and Prevention Plans and Reports

512-239-3143

Remediation Division

512-239-2201

Central Registry

512-239-5175

Central Records

512-239-2900

Small Business and Local Government Assistance Compliance Assistance Hotline

1-800-447-2827

State of Texas Spill-Reporting Hotline

1-800-832-8224

National Response Center

1-800-424-8802

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Where can I find more information and assistance?

The TCEQ's Small Business and Local Government Assistance Section offers free, confidential help to small businesses and local governments working to comply with state environmental regulations. Call us at 1-800-447-2827 or visit our webpage at TexasEnviroHelp.org.