Hazardous Waste Management

Hazardous Waste Compliance in Construction, Demolition, and Renovation

Hazardous Waste FAQs for Construction, Demolition, and Renovation Projects by CESQGs

Q: Do CESQGs have to comply with any recordkeeping and reporting requirements related to hazardous waste in C&D debris?

A: As long as a generator remains a CESQG and is in compliance with the CESQG hazardous waste requirements of 40 CFR 261.5, it is not subject to recordkeeping requirements for notification, biennial reporting, and manifests. However, states that are authorized to conduct their own hazardous waste programs under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) may collect data and have reporting/recordkeeping requirements for CESQGs that are more stringent than the federal requirements. State agencies should be consulted before generating any hazardous waste.

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Q: If a CESQG stores hazardous waste on-site, what are the requirements for inspecting the storage containers?

A: The federal regulations do not require hazardous waste container inspections by CESQGs. However, if the amount of hazardous waste generated fluctuates from month to month and exceeds the CESQG limit, both small quantity generators (SQGs) and large quantity generators (LQGs) are required to perform weekly inspections in areas where hazardous waste containers are stored in accordance with 40 CFR 262.34(a)(1)(i) and 40 CFR 262.34.(d)(2). Some states also require that all generators inspect hazardous waste storage containers according to specific schedules set by the state.

Q: When lead-based paint is found to be in C&D wastes from a residential site, should the waste be counted in determining generator status?

A:  Lead-based paint debris is regulated according to where it came from, and such waste (including paint chips, dust, and sludges) that originated in a home is excluded from hazardous waste regulation per the “household waste” exemption under 40 CFR 261.4.(b)(1). As a result, no hazardous waste determination for toxicity is required and the waste is not counted in determining generator status. However, the same type of lead-based paint debris from commercial or industrial properties that meets the toxicity characteristic must be managed as hazardous waste and counted in the total hazardous waste generated. Additional Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) requirements must be met for projects in publicly funded housing, and states may also have additional requirements for debris containing lead-based paint from homes and other buildings.

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Q: Are CESQGs required to obtain a permit to treat hazardous waste on-site?

A: Yes, in most situations. Under RCRA, CESQG companies may either treat or dispose of hazardous waste in an on-site facility or ensure delivery of hazardous waste generated to an off-site treatment or disposal facility. The on-site or off-site facility must be:

  • A state or federally permitted (or interim status) hazardous waste treatment, storage, or disposal facility,
  • A facility permitted, licensed, or registered by a state to manage municipal or nonmunicipal (industrial) solid waste,
  • A facility that beneficially uses, reuses, or legitimately recycles the waste (or treats the waste before such use, reuse, or recycling), or
  • For universal waste, a “universal waste” handler or destination facility subject to the universal waste requirements of 40 CFR 273. (Universal wastes include certain batteries, recalled and collected pesticides, mercury-containing thermostats, and lamps (e.g., mercury-containing fluorescent bulbs)).

LQGs and SQGs, however, can treat hazardous waste in tanks, containers, or containment buildings without obtaining a permit or interim status provided they comply with 40 CFR 262.34, which includes references to unit-specific requirements in 40 CFR 265. Under this provision, LQGs and SQGs can treat only the hazardous waste generated on-site so a permit would be required to treat hazardous waste consolidated from off-site locations. In addition, generators may not treat hazardous waste by thermal treatment or incineration without a permit, and generators that treat hazardous waste to meet land disposal restriction treatment standards must comply with the notification requirements in 40 CFR 268.7(a)(5) and must have a waste analysis plan on-site.

Again, remember that states may have regulations that are more stringent than the federal regulations. State RCRA solid and hazardous waste programs can be accessed through the EPA at http://www.epa.gov/epawaste/wyl/stateprograms.htm.