Guide to Conducting Environmental
Compliance Audits of Hazardous Waste
Generators under RCRA
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This document was developed by the EPA, and modified by EHSO to assist in conducting environmental audits. The use of this document should be restricted to environmental audits only. For example, areas such as safety, transportation, occupational health, and fire protection are mentioned solely for clarification purposes. It is a summary of environmental regulations under RCRA but it is not a substitute for a comprehensive knowledge of the regulations themselves. Any variation between applicable regulations and the summaries contained in this guidance document are unintentional, and, in the case of such variations, the requirements of the regulations govern.

This document is intended solely as guidance to explain performance objectives for environmental auditors. Following the steps set forth in this guidance generally should result in compliance with those aspects of the regulations that it covers. EHSO (Benivia, LLC) does not make any guarantee or assume any liability with respect to the use of any information or recommendations contained in this document. Regulated entities requiring additional information or advice should consult EHSO (Benivia, LLC) to obtain qualified professional paid services.

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Table of Contents
  • Notice......inside cover
  • Section I: Introduction
  • Background......ii
  • EPA's Policy on Environmental Audits......ii
  • Purpose of the Protocols for Conducting Environmental Compliance Audits......iii
  • How to Use This Protocol......iv
  • List of Acronyms and
  • Section II: Audit Protocol
  • Applicability......1
  • Review of Federal Legislation......1
  • State and Local Regulations......2
  • Key Compliance Requirements......2
  • Key Terms and Definitions......6
  • Typical Records to Review......13
  • Typical Physical Features to Inspect......13
  • Index for Checklist Users......14
  • Checklist......15
  • Appendices
  • Appendix A: Identification and Listing of Hazardous Waste......A1
  • Appendix B: Commercial Chemical Products or Manufacturing Chemical Intermediates
  • - Identified as Toxic Wastes......B1
  • Appendix C: Toxicity Characteristics Constituents and Regulatory Levels......C1
  • Appendix D: Identification of Hazardous Waste Hazardous Constituents......D1
  • Appendix E: Commercial Chemical Products or Manufacturing Chemical Intermediates
  • - Identified as Toxic Wastes......E1
  • Appendix F: Potentially Incompatible Hazardous Wastes......F1
  • Appendix G: Land Disposal Restricted Wastes and Their Effective Dates......G1
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    Section I



    The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is responsible for ensuring that businesses and organizations comply with federal laws that protect the public health and the environment. Recently, EPA has begun combining traditional enforcement activities with more innovative compliance approaches. In its Strategic Plan, the Agency recognizes the need to assist the regulated community by providing compliance assistance and guidance that will promote improved compliance and overall environmental performance (see Exhibit 1). EPA encourages regulated entities to recognize compliance as the floor, rather than the ceiling, of environmental performance by internalizing and implementing sound environmental practices. As part of that effort, EPA is encouraging the development of self-assessment programs at individual facilities. Voluntary audit programs play an important role in helping companies meet their obligation to comply with environmental requirements. Such assessments can be a critical link, not only to improved compliance, but also to improvements in other aspects of an organization's performance. For example, environmental audits may identify pollution prevention opportunities that can substantially reduce an organization's operating costs.

    Over the years, EPA has encouraged regulated entities to initiate environmental audit programs that support and document compliance with environmental regulations. EPA has developed this audit protocol to provide regulated entities with specific guidance in periodically evaluating their compliance with federal environmental requirements.

    1 - EPA's Credible Deterrent Goal

    Within its Strategic Plan, EPA has established a goal to ensure full compliance with the laws intended to protect human health and the environment. Within the framework of this goal, EPA's objectives are as follows:

    Identify and reduce significant non-compliance in high priority program areas, while maintaining a strong enforcement presence in all regulatory program areas, Promote the regulated communities' voluntary compliance with environmental requirements through compliance incentives and assistance programs.

    EPA's Policy on Environmental Audits

    In 1986, in an effort to encourage the use of environmental auditing, EPA published its "Environmental Auditing Policy Statement" (see 51 FR 25004). The 1986 audit policy states that "it is EPA policy to encourage the use of environmental auditing by regulated industries to help achieve and maintain compliance with environmental laws and regulation, as well as to help identify and correct unregulated environmental hazards." In addition, EPA defined environmental auditing as a systematic, documented, periodic, and objective review of facility operations and practices related to meeting environmental requirements. The policy also identified several objectives for environmental audits:

    verifying compliance with environmental requirements, evaluating the effectiveness of in-place environmental management systems, and assessing risks from regulated and unregulated materials and practices. Exhibit 2 - EPA's 1995 Audit Policy

    Under the final Audit/Self Policing Policy, EPA will not seek gravity-based penalties and will not recommend criminal prosecutions for companies that meet the requirements of the policy. Gravity-based penalties represent the "seriousness" or punitive portion of penalties over and above the portion representing the economic gain from non-compliance. The policy requires companies:

    promptly disclose and correct violations, prevent recurrence of the violation, and remedy environmental harm.

    The policy excludes:

    violations, that result in serious actual harm, and that may present an imminent and substantial endangerment.

    Corporations remain criminally liable for violations resulting from conscious disregard of their legal duties, and individuals remain liable for criminal wrongdoing. EPA retains discretion to recover the economic benefit gained as a result of noncompliance, so that companies will not be able to obtain an economic advantage over their competitors by delaying investment in compliance. Where violations are discovered by means other than environmental audits or due diligence efforts, but are promptly disclosed and expeditiously corrected, EPA will reduce gravity-based penalties by 75% provided that all of the other conditions of the policy are met.

    As a result of EPA's new audit policy, through March 1998, 247 companies have disclosed environmental violations at more than 760 facilities and EPA has reduced or waived penalties for 89 companies and 433 facilities.

    The final Audit/Self-Policing Policy was published in the Federal Register on December 22, 1995 (60 FR 66706). It took effect on January 22, 1996. For further information, contact the Audit Policy Docket at (202) 260-7548 or call (202) 564-4187.

    In 1995, EPA published "Incentives for Self-Policing: Discovery, Disclosure, Correction and Prevention of Violations" which both reaffirmed and expanded its 1986 audit policy. The 1995 audit policy offers major incentives for entities to discover, disclose and correct environmental violations. Under the 1995 policy, EPA will not seek gravity-based penalties or recommend criminal charges be brought for violations that are discovered through an "environmental audit" (as defined in the 1986 audit policy) or a management system reflecting "due diligence" and that are promptly disclosed and corrected, provided that other important safeguards are met (see Exhibit 2). These safeguards protect health and the environment by precluding policy relief for violations that cause serious environmental harm or may have presented imminent and substantial endangerment, for example.

    Purpose of the Protocols for Conducting Environmental Compliance Audits

    This protocol, which is part of a set containing other area or statutory specific audit protocols, is a tool to assist you in conducting environmental audits, which should inform you whether your facility is in compliance with federal regulations. EPA has developed these audit protocols to assist and encourage businesses and organizations to perform environmental audits and disclose violations in accordance with EPA's audit policy. The audit protocols are intended to promote consistency among regulated entities when conducting environmental audits and to ensure that audits are conducted in a thorough and comprehensive manner.

    Each protocol provides guidance on key requirements, defines regulatory terms, and gives an overview of the federal laws affecting a particular environmental management area. It also includes a checklist containing detailed procedures for conducting a review of facility conditions. In order to use these documents effectively, you should be familiar with basic environmental auditing practices and the relevant environmental regulations under Title 40 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR). The audit protocols are not intended to be exclusive or limiting with respect to procedures that may be followed. EPA recognizes that other audit approaches and techniques may be effective in identifying and evaluating a facility's environmental status and in formulating recommendations to correct observed deficiencies.

    These protocols can be used as a basis to implement, upgrade, or benchmark environmental management activities. The protocols are a management tool for measuring and improving environmental performance by correcting deficiencies uncovered by the audit (see Exhibit 3). This process is perhaps the key element to a high quality environmental management program and will function best when an organization identifies the "root causes" of each audit finding. Root causes are those breakdowns in management oversight, information exchange, and evaluation that allow environmental problems to recur. Thus, while an organization may have developed an excellent record of dealing with a symptom, such as spill response, the underlying problem or "root cause" has not been addressed. Furthermore, identifying the root cause of an audit finding can mean identifying not only the failures that require correction but also the successes. In each case a root cause analysis should uncover the failures while promoting the successes so that an organization can make continual progress toward environmental excellence.

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    Exhibit 3 - Corrective Action Model

    How to Use This Protocol

    To conduct effective compliance audits, the auditor or audit team needs to possess sound working knowledge of the operations and processes to be reviewed, the relevant regulations that apply to a given facility, and of acceptable auditing practices. The audit protocol should be used as a planning tool to assist the auditor in understanding the requirements for conducting a comprehensive audit. This document will provide the user with a generic audit approach to regulatory issues that may require closer examination. Once the general issues are identified through the use of this protocol, the auditor should perform a more detailed investigation to determine the specific area of noncompliance to be corrected. The auditor should review federal, state and local environmental requirements and annotate the protocol, as required, to include other applicable requirements not included in the protocol.

    The auditor also should determine which regulatory agency has authority for implementing an environmental program so that the proper set of regulations is consulted. State programs that implement federally mandated programs may contain more stringent requirements. This protocol should not be used as a substitute for the applicable regulations.

    The collective set of the audit protocols developed by EPA is designed to support a wide range of environmental auditing needs; therefore several of the protocols in this set or sections of an individual protocol may not be applicable to a particular facility. Each protocol is not intended to be an exhaustive set of procedures; rather it is meant to inform the auditor, about the degree and quality of evaluation essential to a thorough environmental audit. EPA is aware that other audit approaches may provide an effective means of identifying and assessing facility environmental status and in developing corrective actions.

    Each protocol contains the following information:

    of acronyms and abbreviations used in the document, - provides guidance on the major activities and operations included in the protocol and a brief description of how the protocol is applied, of federal legislation - identifies key issues associated with the subject protocol area, and local regulations - identifies typical issues normally addressed in state and local regulations but does not present individual state/local requirements, compliance requirements - summarizes the overall thrust of the regulations for that particular protocol, compliance definitions - defines important terms, records to review - highlights documents, permits and other pertinent paperwork that should be reviewed by an auditor and reconciled against regulatory requirements, physical features to inspect - highlights pollution control equipment, manufacturing and process equipment and other areas that should be visited and evaluated during an audit, for checklist users - outlines different areas of the checklist that may pertain to the facility being audited, - matches the regulatory requirements with the tasks that should be accomplished by the auditor, and - supporting information for the checklist (e.g., regulatory deadlines, lists of contaminants, wastes, and required testing procedures). Note: information contained in the appendices is dated and should be verified with a current version of the applicable federal regulations.

    The checklist delineates what should be evaluated during an audit. The left column states either a requirement mandated by regulation or a good management practice that exceeds the requirements of the federal regulations. Good management practices are distinguished from regulatory requirements in the checklist by the acronym (MP) and are printed in italics. The regulatory citation is given in parentheses after the requirement. The right column gives instructions to help conduct the evaluation. These instructions are performance objectives that should be accomplished by the auditor. Some of the performance objectives may be simple documentation checks that take only a few minutes; others may require a time-intensive physical inspection of a facility.

    EPA is presently is the process of developing a series of audit protocol application guides to serve as companion documents to the set of protocols. The application guides will provide the auditor with a matrix that identifies and cross-references certain site-specific activities or unit operations with particular environmental aspects of that activity. For example, managing hazardous waste containers is a site-specific activity with environmental concerns, such as possible releases to air, and water, that may require additional review through auditing. By using the application guide the user can identify facility specific practices that require more in-depth review. In addition, the application guides will also direct the user to specific protocols and sections (e.g., checklist items) of the protocol to determine areas that are regulated and require auditing.

    List of Acronyms and Abbreviations

    AST Aboveground storage tank
    BTU - British thermal unit
    CAA - Clean Air Act
    CAMU - Corrective action management unit
    CERCLA - Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (or Superfund)
    CESQG - Conditionally exempt small quantity generator
    CFC - Chlorofluorocarbon
    CFR - Code of Federal Regulations
    CSD - Contaminated soil and debris
    CWA - Clean Water Act
    DOT - Department of Transportation
    EPA - Environmental Protection Agency
    FR - Federal Register
    ft. - Feet
    gal. - Gallon
    h - Hour
    HOC - Halogenated organic compound
    hp - Horsepower
    HSWA - Hazardous and Solid Waste Amendments
    HWM - Hazardous waste management
    ID - Identification
    kg - Kilogram
    km - Kilometer
    L - Liter
    lb. - Pound
    LDR - Land disposal restriction
    LQG - Large quantity generator
    OECD - Organization for Economic Coordination and Development
    m - Meter
    Mg - Megagram
    MJ - Megajoule
    mm - Millimeter
    mo - Month
    MP - Management practice
    MSDS - Material Data Safety Sheet
    MW - Megawatt
    NOV - Notice of violation
    NRC - National Response Center
    PCB - Polychlorinated biphenyl
    PL - Public Law
    POTW - Publicly owned treatment works
    ppm - Part per million
    qt. - Quart
    RCRA - Resource Conservation and Recovery Act
    scf - Standard cubic foot
    scm - Standard cubic meter
    SDWA - Safe Drinking Water Act
    SPCC - Spill prevention, control, and countermeasure
    SQG - Small quantity generator
    TSCA - Toxic Substances Control Act
    TSDF - Treatment, storage, and disposal facility
    UIC - Underground injection control
    U.S. - United States
    USC - United States Code
    UST - Underground storage tank
    VO - Volatile organic
    VOC - Volatile organic compound
    yr - Year

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    Section II

    Audit Protocol


    This booklet is intended to help inform facilities that generate hazardous waste, and it includes requirements for waste minimization and export of hazardous waste. There is a separate booklet that applies to treatment, storage, and disposal facilities (TSDFs).

    Not all checklist items will be applicable to a particular facility. Guidance is provided on the checklists to direct the auditor to the regulations typically applicable to the type of hazardous waste activities/facilities on the site.

    There are numerous environmental regulatory requirements administered by federal, state, and local governments. Each level of government may have a major impact on areas at the facility that are subject to the audit. Therefore, auditors are advised to review federal, state, and location regulations in order to perform a comprehensive audit.

    Review of Federal Legislation

    The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, Subtitle C (1976)

    The Resource, Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) of 1976, which amended the Solid Waste Disposal Act of 1965, addresses hazardous (Subtitle C) and solid (Subtitle D) waste management activities. Subtitle C of RCRA, 42 U.S. Code (USC) sections 6921-6939b, establishes standards and procedures for the handling, storage, treatment, and disposal of hazardous waste. For example, RCRA prohibits the placement of bulk or noncontainerized liquid hazardous waste or free liquids containing hazardous waste into a landfill. It also prohibits the "land disposal" of specified wastes and disposal of hazardous waste through underground injection within 1/4 mile (0.40 km) of an underground source of drinking water. Pursuant to Subtitle C of RCRA, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) promulgated regulations at 40 CFR Parts 260-299, establishing a "cradle-to-grave" system that governs hazardous waste from the point of generation to its treatment or disposal.

    The 1984 Hazardous and Solid Wastes Amendments (HSWA) greatly expanded the requirements and coverage of RCRA. Perhaps the most significant provision of HSWA is the prohibition on the land disposal of hazardous waste. The land disposal restrictions (LDRs) promulgated by EPA essentially ban the disposal of untreated liquid hazardous waste or hazardous waste containing free liquids in landfills and establish treatment standards for these wastes. In addition to the new statutory and regulatory requirements imposed by HSWA, a new subtitle to the act was created to govern underground storage tanks (USTs). This document does not provide audit guidance for underground or above ground storage tanks regulated under RCRA. Audit guidance and technical information on above and underground storage tanks is provided by EPA in a separate protocol titled Protocol for Conducting Environmental Compliance Audits of Underground and Above Ground Storage Tanks and is expected to be available in 1999.

    After assessing air emissions at TSDFs, the EPA ascertained that volatile organic chemicals (VOCs) adversely affect human health and welfare. In response, EPA promulgated three subparts of RCRA rules designed to control VOCs. In 1990, EPA issued Subparts AA and BB, which amended 40 CFR Parts 264 and 265. Subpart AA governs organic chemical emissions from certain hazardous waste treatment processes, while Subpart BB governs equipment that contains or contacts hazardous waste with at least 10% organic chemicals by weight. Subpart CC includes requirements for controlling VOC emissions from tanks, surface impoundments, containers, and certain miscellaneous "Subpart X" units. The Subpart CC Final Rule was signed on December 6, 1994, and the Final Rule Amendments were signed on October 4, 1996.

    State and Local Regulations

    RCRA encourages states to develop their own parallel regulatory programs for hazardous waste management. This includes enacting statutory authority and operating hazardous waste regulatory programs. Many states have met the requirements established by EPA in 40 CFR 271 (Requirements for Authorization of state Hazardous Waste Programs) and have been approved to manage their own state programs. Many states have adopted the EPA regulations by reference or have promulgated regulations that are identical to the EPA regulations, while other states have promulgated regulations stricter than the federal RCRA. These differences between individual state regulations and the federal program require that auditors check the status of their state's authorization and then determine which regulations apply. For example, some states have listed additional waste as hazardous waste (used oil, PCBs, asbestos). Since the section checklists are based exclusively on the requirements of the federal RCRA program, the auditor should determine in what ways the applicable state program differs from the federal program.

    Key Compliance Requirements

    Identification of Hazardous Waste

    Proper identification of hazardous wastes is a complex task that is fundamental to determining which materials at a facility are subject to RCRA Subtitle C requirements. To determine whether or not a material is a hazardous waste, a facility must answer four questions about each waste stream. First, is the material a "solid waste," as defined by the RCRA regulations? The regulatory framework for distinguishing solid and hazardous wastes can be found at 40 CFR 261.2 and 261.3. Second, does it fit one of the exclusions from the definition of solid or hazardous waste? Materials that have been excluded are listed in 40 CFR 261.4. Third, is it a listed or characteristic hazardous waste? Listed and characteristic wastes are defined in 40 CFR 261, Subparts B, C, and D. And finally, has the waste been delisted?

    Waste Analysis

    A solid waste is a hazardous waste if it is a listed hazardous waste (defined at 40 CFR 261, Subpart D) or if it exhibits any of the characteristics defined in 40 CFR 261, Subpart C. In order to determine whether the waste exhibits any of the characteristics, the generator generally must use analytical methods capable of quantitatively identifying the contaminants in question. Unlike characteristic wastes, listed wastes are generally determined based on the generator's knowledge of its manufacturing process or the chemicals used.

    A generator can meet waste analysis requirements using several methods or combinations of methods. Wherever feasible, the preferred method is to conduct sampling and laboratory analysis because it is more accurate than other options. However, generators can also apply "acceptable knowledge," which includes (1) process knowledge; (2) waste analysis data obtained from facilities that send their waste off-site for treatment, storage, or disposal; or (3) records of analysis performed before the effective date of RCRA regulations, assuming the information is current and accurate.

    Process knowledge involves obtaining detailed information on a waste from existing published or documented waste analysis data or studies conducted on hazardous waste generated by processes similar to that which generated the waste.

    When using process descriptions and existing data, a facility must carefully scrutinize whether (1) there are any differences between the processes documented and the actual processes and (2) the data used are accurate and current, including (a) whether any wastes are newly regulated as hazardous wastes, (b) whether existing data are sufficient to identify any new constituent concentration limits, and (c) the information is based on currently valid analytical techniques.

    Generator Requirements

    The responsibilities of any particular facility are based on the amount of hazardous waste being generated in one calendar month. Typical hazardous wastes include solvents, paint, contaminated antifreeze or oil, and sludges. In some states, waste oil and other substances have been classified as a hazardous waste and therefore need to be included in the total amount of waste generated. Under federal regulations there are three classifications of generators:

    1. A Conditionally Exempt Small Quantity Generator (CESQG) generates no more than 100 kg (220.46 lb.) of hazardous waste or 1 kg (2.20 lb.) of acutely hazardous waste in a calendar month. A CESQG also may not accumulate on-site more than 1,000 kg (2,204.62 lb.) of hazardous waste at any one time. When either the volume of hazardous waste produced in one calendar month exceeds 100 kg (220.46 lb.) or more than 1,000 kg (2,204.62 lb.) of hazardous waste have accumulated on-site, the facility is required to comply with the more stringent standards applicable to a Small Quantity Generator (SQG). When the volume of acutely hazardous waste exceeds 1 kg of spill residue, contaminated soil, waste or other debris exceeds 100 kg, then the waste is subject to standards applicable to large quantity generators (LQGs);
    2. An SQG (Small Quantity Generator) generates between 100 kg (220.46 lb.) and 1,000 kg (2,204.62 lb.) of hazardous waste in a calendar month. The hazardous waste cannot accumulate on-site for more than 180 days unless the waste is transported more than 200 miles (321.87 km) to a treatment, storage and disposal facility (TSDF). If the hazardous waste must be transported more than 200 miles, it can accumulate for up to 270 days. At no time is there to be more than 6,000 kg (13,227.73 lb.) of hazardous waste accumulated at the facility. When the volume of hazardous waste generated in one month exceeds 1,000 kg (2,204.62 lb.) of nonacutely hazardous waste or 1 kg (2.20 lb.) of acutely hazardous waste or the accumulation time limit is exceeded, the facility is required to comply with the standards for an LQG. When more than 6,000 kg (13,227.73 lb.) of hazardous waste is stored on-site, the SQG is required to obtain a storage permit and comply with the requirements of 40 CFR 264 and 40 CFR 265;
    3. An Large Quantity Generator (LQG) generates more than 1,000 kg (2,204.62 lb.) of hazardous waste in a calendar month. (NOTE: Using water, which weighs approximately 8.34 lbs./gal (3.78 kg/gal or 1 kg/L) as a basis of measurement, 100 kg (220.46 lb.) would equal about 26.4 gallons (100 L) (almost one-half of a 55-gal. (208.2 L) drum); 1,000 kg (2,204.62 lb.) would equal about 264 gallons (1000 L) (almost five 55-gal. drums)).

    Whether the facility is a CESQG, SQG, or a LQG determines whether and how the RCRA regulations apply to that facility. Storage areas connected with generation points are often referred to as 90 day storage areas. Regardless of the amount of hazardous waste generated, the regulations require every facility to test or use knowledge of materials or processes used to determine if its waste is a listed hazardous waste or exhibits one of four hazardous characteristics (ignitability, corrosivity, toxicity, reactivity).

    Comparison of RCRA Generator Requirements

    Requirement CESQG SQG LQG
    Whether Solid Waste is Hazardous
    Limits 100 kg/mo (220.46 lb./mo) kg/mo (220.46 lb.) to 1,000 kg/mo (2,204.62 lb.) 1,000 kg/mo (2,204.62 lb./mo)
    Waste Limits 1 kg/mo (2.20 lb./mo) 1 kg/mo (2.20 lb./mo)
    Receiving Waste approved, RCRA permitted, interim status, or exempt recycling facility permitted, interim status, or exempt recycling facility permitted, interim status, or exempt recycling facility
    ID Number required
    Personnel Training required training required
    Report required within 60 days of hazardous waste being accepted by initial transporter within 45 days of hazardous waste being accepted by initial transporter
    Report required required
    Accumulation Limits (without permit) kg (2,204.62 lb.) kg (13,227.73 lb.) quantity
    Time Limits (without permit) days [or 270 days if transported more than 200 mi. (321.87 km)] EPA may grant 30 days for unforeseen, temporary, and uncontrollable circumstances. days +

    EPA may grant 30 days for unforeseen, temporary, and uncontrollable circumstances.

    Requirements for Accumulated Hazardous Waste requirements with technical standards for containers or tanks compliance with management of containers or tanks
    Manifests unless the waste is reclaimed under contractual agreement in accordance with the requirements of 40 CFR 262.20 (e). unless the waste is reclaimed under contractual agreement in accordance with the requirements of 40 CFR 262.20 (e).

    Pre-Transport Requirements

    Hazardous waste shipped off-site must be packaged, labeled and marked. The vehicles used to transport the waste must be placarded in accordance with DOT regulations.

    90 Day Storage

    90 day storage is an area in or near the place where hazardous waste is accumulated or stored before being sent off-site for disposal. Storage in these areas is temporary, and the permissible length of time for accumulation depends on whether the facility is classified as an LQG, SQG, or CESQG.

    Satellite Accumulation Point Management

    A satellite accumulation point is an area at or near the point of generation where no more than 55 gal. (208.20 L) of a hazardous waste or one qt. (0.95 L) of acutely hazardous waste is accumulated. The satellite accumulation point is to remain under the control of a single operator. When the 55 gal. (208.20 L) limit is reached, the operator has three days to move the waste to a 90 day storage area or a permitted TSDF. These standards apply to SQGs and LQGs only.

    Waste Minimization/Pollution Prevention

    Waste minimization and pollution prevention programs are being increasingly discussed and implemented by both environmental managers and environmental policy makers. Usually defined as a reduction in the volume and toxicity of waste, waste minimization often pays for itself through reduced disposal costs, operating costs, and liability. While these cost savings are often enough to justify a program, there are an increasing number of voluntary and mandatory programs that drive waste minimization/pollution prevention.

    Under RCRA, LQGs are required to sign a certification on each manifest stating that they have a program in place to reduce waste to the degree that is economically feasible and to select a disposal method that minimizes threats to human health and the environment. SQGs must show a "good faith effort" to minimize waste and to select the best waste management method available.

    EPA has also developed guidelines on a waste minimization program for generators. Issued in 58 Federal Register (FR) 31114 on May 28, 1993, the Interim Final Guidance to Hazardous Waste Generators on the Elements of a Waste Minimization Program is intended to provide guidance to generators of regulated hazardous wastes. The program includes:

    for top management assurance that waste minimization is a company-wide effort; of waste generation and waste management costs; waste minimization assessments; cost allocation system; of technology transfer; and implementation and evaluation.

    further information regarding the RCRA regulations, contact U.S. EPA's RCRA/UST, Superfund and EPCRA Hotline at 800-424-9346 (or 703-412-9810 in the D.C. area) from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday.

    This EPA hotline provides up-to-date information on regulations developed under RCRA, CERCLA (Superfund), and the Oil Pollution Act. The hotline can assist with Section 112(r) of the Clean Air Act (CAA) and Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasures (SPCC) regulations. The hotline also responds to requests for relevant documents and can direct the caller to additional tools that provide a more detailed discussion of specific regulatory requirements.

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    Key Terms and Definitions

    Acknowledgement of Consent

    The cable sent to the EPA from the U.S. Embassy in a receiving country that acknowledges the written consent of the receiving country to accept the hazardous waste and describes the terms and conditions of the receiving country's consent to the shipment (40 CFR 262.51).

    Acute Hazardous Waste

    Any waste listed under 40 CFR 261.31 through 261.33(c) with a hazard code of H. These also include EPA hazardous waste numbers F020, F021, F022, F023, F026, and F027 (40 CFR 261.31) and the P listed wastes in 40 CFR 261.33(e).

    Approved State Program

    A RCRA program administered by a state that has been approved by EPA according to 40 CFR 271.

    Average Volatile Organic (VO) Concentration

    The mass-weighted average VO concentration of a hazardous waste (40 CFR 265.1081).


    An enclosed device using controlled flame combustion and having the following characteristics:

    unit has physical provisions for recovering and exporting thermal energy in the form of steam, heated fluids, or heated gases; and unit's combustion chamber and primary energy recovery section(s) must be of integral design; and in operation the unit maintains a thermal energy recovery efficiency of at least 60 percent; and unit has been approved by the Administrator of EPA; and unit must export and utilize at least 75% of the recovered energy (40 CFR 260.10).

    EPA may also decide on a case-by-case basis that certain enclosed devices using controlled flame combustion are boilers even though they may not otherwise meet the definition of boiler.


    A statement of professional opinion based upon knowledge and belief (40 CFR 260.10).

    Characteristics of Hazardous Waste

    The characteristics of ignitibility, corrosivity, reactivity, and toxicity that identify hazardous waste (40 CFR 261.20 through 261.24).

    Competent Authorities

    The regulatory authorities of concerned countries having jurisdiction over transfrontier movements of wastes destined for recovery operations (40 CFR 262.81).


    The regulatory authorities of concerned countries having jurisdiction over transfrontier movements of wastes destined for recovery operations (40 CFR 262.81).


    The ultimate treatment, storage, or disposal facility in a receiving country to which the hazardous waste will be sent (40 CFR 262.51).

    The regulatory authorities of concerned countries having jurisdiction over transfrontier movements of wastes destined for recovery operations (40 CFR 262.81).


    The ultimate treatment, storage, or disposal facility in a receiving country to which the hazardous waste will be sent (40 CFR 262.51).


    Any portable device in which a material is stored, transported, treated, disposed of, or otherwise handled (40 CFR 260.10).

    Containment Building

    A hazardous waste management unit that is used to store or treat hazardous waste under 40 CFR 264.1100 through 264.1102 and 40 CFR 265.1100 through 265.1102 (40 CFR 260.10).

    Contingency Plan

    A document setting out an organized, planned, and coordinated course of action to be followed in case of a fire, explosion, or release of hazardous waste or hazardous waste constituents which could threaten human health or the environment (40 CFR 260.10).


    Solid material exceeding a 60 mm particle size that is intended for disposal and that is a manufactured object, plant or animal matter, or natural geologic material. The following materials are not debris: any material for which a specific treatment standard is provided; process residuals such as smelter slag and residues from the treatment of waste, wastewater, sludges, or air emissions residues; and intact containers of hazardous waste that are not ruptured and retain at least 75 percent of their original volume (40 CFR 268.2).

    Discharge or Hazardous Waste Discharge

    The accidental or intentional spilling, leaking, pumping, pouring, emitting, emptying, or dumping of hazardous waste into or on any land or water (40 CFR 260.10).

    Elementary Neutralization Unit

    A device which is used for neutralizing hazardous wastes that are hazardous only because they exhibit corrosivity (as defined in 40 CFR 261.22) or are listed in Subpart D of 40 CFR 261 and that meet the definition of tank, tank system container, transport vehicle, or vessel (40 CFR 260.10).


    A structure that surrounds a tank or container, captures organic vapors emitted from the tank or container, and vents the captured vapors through a closed-vent system to a control device (40 CFR 265.1081).

    EPA Hazardous Waste Number

    The number assigned by EPA to each hazardous waste listed in Part 261, Subpart D and to each characteristic identified in Part 261, Subpart C (40 CFR 260.10).

    EPA Identification Number

    The number assigned by EPA to each generator, transporter, and treatment, storage, or disposal facility (40 CFR 260.10).

    Existing Hazardous Waste Management Facility or Existing Facility

    A facility which was in operation or for which construction commenced on or before November 19, 1980 (40 CFR 260.10).


    All contiguous land and structures, other appurtenances, and improvements on the land, used for treating, storing, or disposing of hazardous waste. A facility may consist of several treatment, storage or disposal operational units (e.g., one or more landfills, surface impoundments, or combination of them) (40 CFR 260.10).

    Fixed Roof

    A cover that is mounted on a unit in a stationary position and does not move with fluctuations in the level of the material managed in the unit (40 CFR 265.1081).

    Food-Chain Crops

    Tobacco, crops grown for human consumption, and crops grown for feed for animals whose products are consumed by humans (40 CFR 260.10).

    Free Liquids

    Liquids which readily separate from the solid portion of a waste under ambient temperature and pressure (40 CFR 260.10).


    Any person, by site, whose act or process produces hazardous waste identified or listed in 40 CFR Part 261, or whose act first causes a hazardous waste to become subject to regulation (40 CFR 260.10).


    Water below the land surface in a zone of saturation (40 CFR 260.10).

    Halogenated Organic Compounds (HOC)

    Those compounds having a carbon-halogen bond which are listed in Appendix III (40 CFR 268.2).

    Hazardous Debris

    Debris that contains a hazardous waste or that exhibits a characteristic of hazardous waste (40 CFR 268.2).

    Hazardous Waste

    A solid waste identified as a characteristic or listed hazardous waste in 40 CFR 261.3 (40 CFR 260.10).

    Hazardous Waste Constituent

    A constituent that caused the hazardous waste to be listed in 40 CFR Part 261, Subpart D (lists of hazardous wastes from non-specific and specific sources, and listed hazardous wastes), or a constituent listed in the table of maximum concentrations of contaminants for the toxicity characteristic) (40 CFR 260.10).

    Hazardous Waste Management Unit

    A contiguous area of land on or in which hazardous waste is placed, or the largest area in which there is significant likelihood of mixing hazardous waste constituents in the same area. Examples are a surface impoundment, a waste pile, a treatment area, a landfill cell, an incinerator, a tank and its associated piping and underlying containment system, and a container storage area. A container alone does not constitute a unit; the unit includes containers and the land or pad upon which they are placed (40 CFR 260.10).

    In Light Liquid Service

    The piece of equipment contains or contacts a waste stream where the vapor pressure of one or more of the organic components in the stream is greater than 0.3 kPa at 20 degrees Celsius, the total concentration of the pure organic components having a vapor pressure greater than 0.3 kPa at 20 degrees Celsius is equal to or greater than 20 percent by weight, and the fluid is a liquid at operating conditions (40 CFR 264.1031).

    In Light Material Service

    The container is used to manage material for which both of the following conditions apply:

    vapor pressure of one or more of the organic constituents in the material is greater than 0.3 kPa at 20 degrees Celsius, and total concentration of the pure organic constituents having a vapor pressure greater than 0.3 kPa at 20 degrees Celsius is equal to or greater than 20 percent by weight (40 CFR 265.1081).

    Incompatible Waste

    A hazardous waste that is unsuitable for:

    in a particular device or facility because it may cause corrosion or decay of containment materials (e.g., container liners or tank walls); or with another waste or material under uncontrolled conditions because the commingling conditions produce heat or pressure, fire or explosion, violent reaction, toxic dusts, mist, fumes, or gases, or flammable fumes or gases (40 CFR 260.10).

    Individual Generation Site

    The contiguous site at or on which one or more hazardous wastes are generated. An individual generation site, such as a large manufacturing plant, may have one or more sources of hazardous waste, but is considered a single or individual generation site if the site or property is contiguous (40 CFR 260.10).

    Industrial Furnace

    Any of the following enclosed devices that are integral components of manufacturing processes and that use controlled flame devices to accomplish recovery of materials or energy: cement kilns; lime kilns; aggregate kilns; phosphate kilns; coke ovens; blast furnaces; smelting, melting and refining furnaces; titanium dioxide chloride process oxidation reactors; methane reforming furnaces; pulping liquor recovery furnaces; combustion devices used in the recovery of sulfur values from spent sulfuric acid; certain halogen acid furnaces; and other devices designated by the Administrator of EPA (40 CFR 260.10).

    Inner Liner

    A continuous layer of material placed inside a tank or container which protects the construction materials of the tank or container from the contained waste or reagents used to treat the waste (40 CFR 260.10).

    International Shipment

    The transportation of hazardous waste into or out of the jurisdiction of the United States (40 CFR 260.10).

    Land Disposal

    Placement of hazardous waste in a landfill, surface impoundment, waste pile, injection well, land treatment facility, salt dome formation, salt bed formation, underground mine or cave, or placement in a concrete vault or bunker intended for disposal purposes (40 CFR 268.2).

    Large Quantity Generator

    A facility generating hazardous waste in quantities greater than 1000 kg (2,204.62 lbs.) per calendar month or greater than 1 kg of acutely hazardous waste per calendar month (40 CFR 260.10).


    Any liquid, including any suspended components in the liquid, that has percolated through or drained from hazardous waste (40 CFR 260.10).

    Leak Detection System

    A system capable of detecting the failure of either the primary or secondary containment structure or the presence of a release of hazardous waste or accumulated liquid in the secondary structure. Such a system must employ operational controls (e.g., daily visible containment for releases into the secondary containment system of aboveground tanks) or consist of an interstitial monitoring device designed to detect continuously and automatically the failure of the primary or secondary containment structure or the presence of a release of hazardous waste into the secondary containment structure (40 CFR 260.10).


    Any sudden, infrequent, and not reasonably preventable failure of air pollution control equipment, process equipment, or a process to operate in a normal or usual manner. Failures that are caused in part by poor maintenance or careless operations are not malfunctions (40 CFR 265.1081).

    Management or Hazardous Waste Management

    The systematic control of the collection, source separation, storage, transportation, processing, treatment, recovery, and disposal of hazardous waste (40 CFR 260.10).

    Management Practice (MP)

    Practices which, although not mandated by law, are encouraged to promote safe operating procedures.


    The shipping document originated and signed by the generator containing the information required by 40 CFR 262, Subpart B (40 CFR 260.10).

    Manifest Document Number

    The EPA 12-digit identification number assigned to the generator plus a unique 5-digit number assigned to the manifest by the generator for recording and reporting purposes (40 CFR 260.10).


    That hazardous waste transported to a facility in an individual vehicle (40 CFR 260.10).

    No Detectable Organic Emissions

    No escape of organics to the atmosphere as determined by using the procedures specified in 40 CFR 265.1084(d) (40 CFR 265.1081).


    Wastes that do not meet the criteria for wastewaters (40 CFR 268.2). (See definition of wastewater.)


    The person under jurisdiction of the exporting country who has, or will have at the time the planned transfrontier movement commences, possession or other forms of legal control of the wastes and who proposes their transfrontier movement for the ultimate purpose of submitting them to recovery operations. When the United States (U.S.) is the exporting country, notifier is interpreted to mean a person domiciled in the United States (40 CFR 262.81).

    OECD Country

    Designated member countries of the Organization for Economic Coordination and Development (OECD) consisting of Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom, and the United States. Canada and Mexico are considered OECD member countries under the RCRA regulations only for the purpose of transit (40 CFR 262.58).

    Open Burning

    The combustion of any material without the following characteristics:

    of combustion air to maintain adequate temperature for efficient combustion, of the combustion-reaction in an enclosed device to provide sufficient residence time and mixing for complete combustion, of emission of the gaseous combustion products (40 CFR 260.10).


    Any non-containerized accumulation of solid, nonflowing hazardous waste that is used for treatment or storage that is not a containment building (40 CFR 260.10).

    Point Source

    Any discernible, confined, and discrete conveyance, including but not limited to any pipe, ditch, channel, tunnel, conduit, well, discrete fissure, container, rolling stock, concentrated animal feeding operation, vessel or floating craft, from which pollutants are or may be discharged. This term does not include return flows from irrigated agriculture (40 CFR 260.10).

    Point of Waste Treatment

    The point where a hazardous waste exits a waste management unit used to destroy, degrade, or remove organics in the hazardous waste (40 CFR 265.1081).

    Pollution Prevention

    The use of materials, processes or practices that reduce or eliminate the creation of pollutants or waste at the source. It includes practices that reduce the use of hazardous materials energy, water or other resources, and practices that protect natural resources through conservation or more efficient use.

    Primary Exporter

    Any person who is required to originate the manifest for a shipment of hazardous waste in accordance with 40 CFR 262, Subpart B or an equivalent state provision, that specifies a treatment, storage, or disposal facility in a receiving country as the facility to which the hazardous waste will be sent and any intermediate arranging for the export (40 CFR 262.51).

    Prohibited Wastes

    A subset of restricted wastes (under the land disposal restriction (LDR) regulations) that have established treatment standards, are not subject to variances or waiver, and do not meet the respective treatment standard.

    Publicly Owned Treatment Works (POTW)

    Any device or system used in the treatment (including recycling and reclamation) of municipal sewage or industrial wastes of a liquid nature which is owned by a state or municipality (as defined by section 502(4) of the CWA). This definition includes sewers, pipes, or other conveyances only if they convey wastewater to a POTW providing treatment (40 CFR 260.10).

    Receiving Country

    A foreign country to which a hazardous waste is sent for the purpose of treatment, storage, or disposal (except short-term storage incidental to transportation) (40 CFR 262.51).

    Representative Sample

    A sample of a universe or whole (e.g., waste pile, lagoon, groundwater) which can be expected to exhibit the average properties of the universe or whole (40 CFR 260.10).

    Restricted Wastes

    The RCRA hazardous wastes that are subject to the LDR program. A waste is restricted if EPA has established a treatment standard for it, or if it has been specifically designated by Congress as ineligible for land disposal.


    Any rainwater, leachate, or other liquid that drains over land from any part of a facility (40 CFR 260.10).


    Any rainwater, leachate, or other liquid that drains over land onto any part of a facility (40 CFR 260.10).


    Any solid, semi-solid, or liquid waste generated from a municipal, commercial, or industrial wastewater treatment plant, water supply treatment plant, or air pollution control facility exclusive of the treated effluent from a wastewater treatment plant (40 CFR 260.10).

    Small Quantity Generator

    A generator who generates less than 1,000 kg (2,204.62 lb.) of hazardous waste but more than 100 kg (220.46 lb.) in a calendar month (40 CFR 260.10).


    The holding of hazardous wastes for a temporary period, at the end of which the hazardous wastes are treated, disposed of, or stored elsewhere (40 CFR 260.10).


    Any pit or reservoir that meets the definition of tank and those troughs/trenches connected to it that serve to collect hazardous waste for transport to hazardous waste TSDF except that as used in the landfill, surface impoundment, and waste pile rules, sump means any lined pit or reservoir that serves to collect liquids drained from a leachate collection and removal system or leak detection system for subsequent removal from the system (40 CFR 260.10).

    Transfer Facility

    Any transportation-related facility including loading docks, parking areas, storage areas and other similar areas where shipments of hazardous wastes are kept during the normal course of transportation (40 CFR 260.10). (NOTE: Transfer facilities are regulated under 40 CFR 263.12.)

    Transfrontier Movement

    Any shipment of hazardous wastes destined for recovery operations from an area under the national jurisdiction of one OECD member country to an area under the national jurisdiction of another OECD country (40 CFR 262.81).

    Transit Country

    Any foreign country, other than a receiving country, through which a hazardous waste is transported (40 CFR 260.10).

    Transport Vehicle

    A motor vehicle or rail car used for the transportation of cargo by any mode. Each cargo-carrying body (trailer, railroad freight car, etc.) is a separate transport vehicle (40 CFR 260.10).


    A person engaged in the off-site transportation of hazardous wastes by air, rail, highway, or water (40 CFR 260.10).

    Treatability Study

    A study in which a hazardous waste is subjected to a treatment process to determine:

    the waste is amenable to the treatment process, pretreatment (if any) is required, optimal process conditions needed to achieve the desired treatment, efficiency of a treatment process for a specific waste or wastes, or characteristics and volumes of residuals from a particular treatment process (40 CFR 260.10).

    Also included in this definition for the purpose of the 40 CFR 261.4(e) and (f) exemptions are liner compatibility, corrosion, and other material compatibility studies and toxicological and health effects studies. A treatability study is not a means to commercially treat or dispose of hazardous waste.

    Unsaturated Zone or Zone of Aeration

    The zone between the land surface and the water table (40 CFR 260.10).

    United States

    The 50 states, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (40 CFR 260.10).

    Uppermost Aquifer

    The geologic formation nearest the natural ground surface that is an aquifer, as well as lower aquifers that are hydraulically interconnected with this aquifer within the facility's property boundary (40 CFR 260.10).

    Volatile Organic (VO) Concentration

    The fraction by weight of the volatile organic compounds in a hazardous waste expressed in terms of ppmw as determined by direct measurement or by knowledge of the waste (40 CFR 265.1081)

    Waste Stabilization Process

    Any physical or chemical process used to either reduce the mobility of hazardous constituents in a hazardous waste or eliminate free liquids (40 CFR 265.1081).

    Wastewater Treatment Unit

    A device that (1) is part of a wastewater treatment facility subject to regulation under section 402 or 307 of the CWA; and (2) receives and treats or stores an influent wastewater that is a hazardous waste (as defined in 40 CFR 261.3), or that generates and accumulates a wastewater treatment sludge that is a hazardous waste, or treats or stores a wastewater treatment sludge; and (3) meets the definition of tank or tank system (40 CFR 260.10).


    Wastes that contain less than one percent by weight total organic compounds and one percent by weight total suspended solids (40 CFR 268.2).

    Zone of Engineering Control

    An area under the control of the owner/operator that upon detection of a hazardous waste release, can be readily cleaned up before the release of hazardous waste or hazardous constituents to groundwater or surface water (40 CFR 260.10).

    Typical Records to Review

    Notification of Hazardous Waste Activity (EPA ID No.); waste manifests; exception reports; reports; logs; accumulation records; disposal restriction certifications; training documentation; substance spill control and contingency plan; of hazardous waste oil fuel marketing or blending activity; Safety Data Sheets (MSDSs); records; papers; Communication Plan; Hygiene Plan (labs); and records.

    Typical Physical Features to Inspect

    waste generations sites (e.g., production and manufacturing areas); storage areas; accumulation points; used for transport; storage areas; points; and receiving areas; and activities.

    Index for Checklist Users

    Refer To

    Checklist Items

    Page Numbers

    Facilities HW.1 through HW.4 15
    Sizes of Generators HW.5 through HW.8 16-17
    Exempt Small Quantity Generators (CESQG) HW.9 through HW.14 18-20
    Quantity Generators (SQG)
    Accumulation Points
    Storage Areas
    of Restricted Wastes
    HW.15 through HW.20

    HW.21 through HW.22

    HW.23 through HW.28


    HW.30 through HW.32

    HW.33 through HW.37 20-22





    25-27 Quantity Generators (LQG) Training Plans and Emergency Coordinators from Process Vents Emissions Standards for Equipment Leaks Accumulation Points Storage Areas Buildings of Restricted Waste HW.38 through HW.44

    HW.45 through HW.46

    HW.47 through HW.50

    HW.51 through HW.62

    HW.63 through HW.68

    HW.69 through HW.78


    HW.80 through HW.82

    HW.83 through HW.89

    HW.90 through HW.95 28-29









    59-62 of Hazardous Waste HW.96 through HW.100 62-63 of Hazardous Waste of Hazardous Waste for Recovery Within the OECD Member Countries of Hazardous Waste (Except to the OECD Member Countries) for Recovery of Hazardous Waste for Recovery Within the OECD Member Countries of Hazardous Waste (Except from the OECD Member Countries) for Recovery HW.101 through HW.107

    HW.108 through HW.115

    HW.116 through HW.121

    HW.122 through HW.123 64-67



    71 Minimization/Pollution Prevention HW.124 72

    Click Here for the Checklist

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