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Is your waste hazardous

Step 1.  Identify your hazardous wastes.

Hazardous wastes are identified in two ways, via characteristics or listing.  Listed hazardous wastes are simply those found on any of the four specific lists issued by the EPA. If these wastes are extremely dangerous, they are referred to as acute hazardous wastes.  A waste can also be identified by certain dangerous characteristics:

  1. Flammable/explosive.
  2. These wastes easily catch fire or explode when exposed to heat or sudden shock. If the waste has a flash point below 140°F, it must be managed as a hazardous waste. This information is available on Material Safety Data Sheets and from product suppliers.

  3. Corrosive/caustic. 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, entitled Test Methods for Evaluating Solid Waste, Physical/Chemical Methods.
  4. Toxic/poisonous. 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.
  5. Reactive. Reactive wastes are wastes that are unstable, react violently or explode, and/or give off toxic gases.

Regulation of Hazardous Waste

Hazardous waste is regulated under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) Subtitle C. Businesses and other facilities in Idaho are required to comply with hazardous waste regulations prescribed in the state’s Rules and Standards for Hazardous Waste. First and foremost, a business must determine if any of the wastes it generates are hazardous.

If a business determines that it generates hazardous waste, the business must:

  • identify the types of hazardous waste it generates
  • comply with storage quantity and time limit requirements
  • determine its generator status based on amount of waste generated in a given month (this can change monthly)
  • appropriately treat or dispose of the waste (options are based on generator status)

DEQ ensures compliance by inspecting businesses that generate hazardous waste and, if necessary, taking enforcement action if a business fails to comply with regulations. DEQ also assists businesses in complying with regulations through education and outreach.

Certain businesses and facilities that treat, store, or dispose of hazardous waste, especially waste generated by others, are required to hold permits to do so. DEQ issues and oversees these permits and ensures the facilities meet all applicable laws and that the facilities comply with permit conditions.