When did dangerous waste become a significant part of waste for industries?

    At the beginning of the industrial age in the early 20th Century, dangerous waste became a significant part of waste.  Dangerous waste has always been a significant part of waste for industries, but until 1976 there were no rules regulating the management of these wastes. For more information on the history of RCRA visit EPA History: Resource Conservation and Recovery Act.

    What dangerous wastes are produced at your business?

    Typical dangerous waste produced at any business include batteries, mercury containing fluorescent light bulbs or switches, chemicals used for grounds and facilities like pesticides, herbicides and detergents.  Depending on the type of business some types of dangerous waste are generated.  For example, a place that services vehicles will have waste oil or solvents.  Information on dangerous waste generated at your type of business can be found at Department of Ecology Common Dangerous Waste.

    How much dangerous waste do you produce?

    The amount of dangerous waste produced at a business makes it a small, medium or large quantity generator.  Most businesses are small quantity generators.  With some exceptions for special, common (called 'universal waste') or recycled waste (oil for example), you can figure out how much dangerous waster your business generates.  Depending on quantity of various waste, record keeping or permits are required for storage and disposal.

    What is the best way to store dangerous waste until it is disposed of?

    Good housekeeping of dangerous waste is important. Knowing the types of waste you have and what to do with them is important.  Keep incompatible wastes separate.  Label waste containers as dangerous or hazardous and include the name and harmful characteristic of the chemical on the label.  Don't mix wastes.  Keep secondary containment under containers with liquids.  Cover and keep bung holes closed on drums and containers stored outside.  Keep dangerous waste away from storm drains.  Special permits may be required for some mixed waste or waste that goes in the sewer.  

    How do you prepare for dangerous waste?

    There are ways you can prepare to handle dangerous waste.  Put together a spill plan.  Post the plan and go through it with employees that might deal with a spill.  Safety Data Sheets or SDS come with all chemical hazardous products.  SDS have helpful information on what harm or risk a waste from that product may have.    

    How do you reduce dangerous waste by recycling or reducing?

    Common dangerous waste that can be recycled are used motor oil, solvents, some batteries and some other wastes.  Recycling these wastes is only possible if they are not mixed with other dangerous waste or even rainwater.  There are recycling programs for these wastes.  You can change to less toxic products and change processes to reduce waste.  It reduces costs when recycling or reducing dangerous waste.

    Where is dangerous waste supposed to go?

    If your business generates 220 lbs or more (about half of a 50 gallon drum) of dangerous waste per month, with some exceptions, it must be moved by qualified haulers to special facilities call Treatment, Storage and Disposal Facilities (TSD’s). If your business generates 2.2 lbs or more of highly toxic waste (see WAC 173-303 for designation procedures) your waste must be handled by a qualified hauler. All dangerous waste must be disposed of at a facility designated to take that waste.

    If your business generates less than 220 lbs. per month of dangerous waste AND less than 2.2 lbs. of highly toxic waste you may transport the waste yourself to an authorized facility. All dangerous waste must be disposed of at a facility authorized to take that waste, and you must keep the disposal records on-site for five years after you have disposed of the waste. Requirements for Small Quantity Generators (SQG’s) in Washington State can be found on the Washington State Department of Ecology Website – Small Quantity Generators


    What are the advantages of managing dangerous waste?

    Managing dangerous waste properly reduces cost and liability, improves efficiency, protects workers and the environment.  Review your processes to find where less quantity or less-toxic material can be used.  Get information on how to comply with regulations to avoid spills and liability.

    Where can I get assistance to plan and manage dangerous waste?

    In partnership with Department of Ecology, City of Sumner offers pollution prevention assistance (PPA) at no cost.  PPA includes working with you to review dangerous materials or polluting sources at your business site.  PPA also helps you with planning storage, handling, disposal and reduction of dangerous material.  PPA provides resources and guides you where to find more information.  Contact PPA at annb@sumnerwa.gov