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Frequently Asked Questions

A material must be a solid waste before it can be considered a hazardous waste.  A solid waste is a solid, a liquid, or a contained gaseous material that is no longer used or that no longer serves the purpose for which it was produced. Solid waste does not include domestic sewage or agricultural wastes, but does include materials that are abandoned or recycled, materials that are inherently waste-like and waste military munitions.  A hazardous waste is a solid waste that could pose significant danger to human health and the environment if it is treated, stored, transported, or disposed of improperly.

 

There are basically two ways to be a hazardous waste: the waste is specifically listed as hazardous in one of the four lists contained in the Colorado hazardous waste regulations and/or the waste possess one or more hazardous characteristics of ignitability, corrosivity, reactivity or toxicity.  In addition, most materials that are mixed with or derived from hazardous waste are also hazardous waste.

 

Persons that generate any wastes are required by the Colorado hazardous waste regulations to determine if their wastes are hazardous wastes. The first step in determining if you are generating a hazardous waste is to characterize your waste stream. Once you know what wastes you are generating, you need to evaluate each waste to:  

 

 

There are two types of hazardous waste: "listed" and "characteristic." To determine if your waste is a listed hazardous waste, you need to compare your waste stream to the lists of hazardous wastes contained in Section 261 of the Colorado Hazardous Waste Regulations to see if your waste is included. Chemicals are often identified with many names, so you are encouraged to use the Chemical Abstract Number to determine if your waste is on one of the lists.

 

Section 261 also defines "characteristic" hazardous wastes as wastes that are easily combustible or flammable (ignitable), if it dissolves metals or other materials or burns the skin (corrosive), if it is unstable or undergoes rapid or violent chemical reaction or produces toxic gases when mixed with water or other materials (reactive) or if it is a metal, pesticide, herbicide, or organic chemical at high enough concentrations that could be harmful or toxic if released into ground water (toxic). 

 

You may apply knowledge of your process and use the Safety Data Sheets (SDS) for information regarding the products you use to help determine if hazardous waste is generated at your facility. Be aware that the Data Safety Sheet may not provide all of the information you need to make this determination. You may also need to send samples to a laboratory that is familiar with the methods of analysis for hazardous waste or talk to your trade organization.

 

Even if your waste is not regulated as a hazardous waste, it is likely covered by other regulatory programs.  For example, many chemicals are regulated under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), pesticides  are regulated under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) and asbestos is regulated not only as solid waste for disposal, but is also regulated under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), the Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act (AHERA), and the National Emissions Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP) under the Clean Air Act (CAA).

   

There are three generator categories. These categories are based on the cumulative amount of hazardous waste generated in a calendar month.  

 

Conditionally Exempt Small Quantity Generators:

 

  • Generate no more than 100 kilograms (about 220 pounds or 25 gallons) of hazardous waste, AND no more than 1 kilogram (about 2.2 pounds) of acutely hazardous waste in any calendar month AND never accumulate more than 1000 kilograms of hazardous waste on their property at one time.

 

Small Quantity Generators:

 

  • Generate more than 100 and less than 1000 kilograms (between 220 and 2200 pounds or about 25 to under 300 gallons) of hazardous waste and no more than 1 kilogram of acutely hazardous waste in any month AND never accumulate more than 6000 kilograms of non-acutely hazardous waste on site at any one time. 

 

Large Quantity Generators:

 

  • Generate 1000 kilograms or more of hazardous waste or more than 1 kilogram of acutely hazardous waste in any calendar month. 

 

You may find the  Generator Requirements of the Colorado Hazardous Waste Regulations pdf file helpful in determining the requirements for each generator category.

 

The following types of facilities must notify the Division of their hazardous waste activities and obtain an EPA Identification number:

  

  • Small and large quantity generators of hazardous waste
  • Conditionally exempt small quantity generators that generate three or more gallons per calendar year of hazardous waste with codes F001, F002, F004 and/or F005
  • Hazardous waste transporters with a transfer facility or other place(s) of business in Colorado
  • The owner/operator of a hazardous waste treatment, storage or disposal facility (TSDF)
  • Persons that transport, process, re-refine or market used oil
  • Persons that burn off-specification used oil
  • Large quantity handlers of universal waste
  • Hazardous waste importers
  • Generators and transporters of hazardous and radioactive mixed waste
  • Persons that burn hazardous waste
  • Persons that recycle hazardous waste (other than waste generators under limited conditions)
  • Persons that generate, treat, store or dispose of hazardous waste at a facility where there is an underground injection well.

 

Some of these activites also require a permit or license from one or more regulatory programs. An EPA Identification number is NOT a permit.  It is a number used to identify a facility for hazardous waste recordkeeping purposes.

 

EPA Identification Number Compliance Bulletin pdf file

Notification of Regulated Waste Activity Form and Information 

 

The Division is part of a state regulatory agency and does not accept hazardous wastes for disposal.  You must contact a commercial hazardous waste disposal company for this service.  Hazardous waste transporters and treatment, storage and disposal facilities (TSDFs) must notify the Division of their hazardous waste activities and obtain an EPA Identification number.  This information is stored in U.S. EPA's databases.  While the Division does not maintain specific lists of hazardous waste transporters or disposal companies, you can find them on EPA's Envirofacts website by performing a search of the RCRAInfo database using NAICS code "beginning with" 562.  The Division does post consolidated lists of all sites and facilities that have notified of their hazardous waste activities, including generators, transporters and treatment, storage and disposal facilities.

 

Conditionally exempt small quantity generators are exempt from some requirements, but not all.  Even conditionally exempt generators must dispose of their hazardous wastes at a permitted hazardous waste treatment, storage and disposal facility, regardless of quantity.  Some counties operate a conditionally exempt small quantity generator waste consolidation program that offers services for a fee, generally based on the actual quantity of waste to be disposed.  These programs are limited to businesses that are located within the county that sponsors the consolidation program.

 

Conditionally Exempt Small Quantity Generator Waste Consolidation Programs  

 

If a consolidation program is not available in your area, you can find hazardous waste disposal companies online using U.S. EPA's Envirofacts website. Hazardous waste transporters and treatment, storage and disposal facilities (TSDFs) must notify the Division of their hazardous waste activities and obtain an EPA Identification number.  This information is stored in U.S. EPA's databases.  While the Division does not maintain specific lists of hazardous waste transporters or disposal companies, you can find them on EPA's Envirofacts website by performing a search of the RCRAInfo database using NAICS code "beginning with" 562.  The Division does post consolidated lists of all sites and facilities that have notified of their hazardous waste activities, including generators, transporters and treatment, storage and disposal facilities.

 

The Division offers several resources to help you understand the regulations and how they apply to you.  We have a wide array of guidance and policy documents available online 24 hours a day, including summaries of notifications, certifications, registrations and permits as they apply to our various programs.  Our Customer Technical Assistance line is available 8 am - noon, Monday through Friday to answer questions about the regulations and to provide general regulatory interpretations. In addition, our technical staff are available to provide site-specific answers and interpretations.  If you generate smaller quantities of hazardous waste, you may want to take advantage of our onsite Generator Assistance Program where one of our hazardous waste inspectors provides guidance and tips for you to get into and stay in compliance with the regulations during a non-enforcement site visit.  Finally, the Division offers workshops and other trainings throughout the year designed to clarify the regulations and provide an open forum for questions.

 

Guidance and Policy Documents

 

Customer Technical Assistance Program

 

Contact our Technical Staff

 

Generator Assistance Program

 

Learning Opportunities and Assistance

 

The Division maintains summaries of permits, notifications, registrations and certifications required by our regulations.  These summaries include information on who needs one, the process to get one and associated fees, among other things.

 

Permits, Notifications, Registrations and Certifications

 

Part 6 of the Colorado Hazardous Waste Regulations (6 CCR 1007-3) authorizes the Solid and Hazardous Waste Commission to impose annual fees on certain categories of hazardous waste generators, transporters and treatment, storage and disposal facilaities.  Therefore, the fees are based on the information that you provided to us regarding your notification status.  These fees are assessed annually and are in addition to notification and other fees that may apply.

 

Generator Fees and Notification Requirements pdf file  

 

Spills and releases to the environment should be reported to the statewide toll-free Colorado Environmental Release and Incident Reporting line at 1-877-518-5608.  Information on other reporting requirements can also be obtained.

 

Environmental Spill Reporting Guidance Document pdf file

Environmental Spill Reporting Brochure pdf file

 

Cleanup levels are determined based on site-specific risk conditions that are protective of human health and the environment. The Division has developed guidance to assist in determining site-specific soil cleanup levels.

 

Hazardous Waste Cleanup / Remediation Guidance

 

The Division also serves as an implementing agency for the Colorado water quality standards developed by the Water Quality Control Commission. Contaminated groundwater and surface water must be remediated to meet appropriate water quality standards. At contaminated sites over seen by the Division, the Division determines how and when these standards are achieved.

 

Water Quality Control Commission Regulations   

  

To determine if a particular property has or had environmental contamination that the Division has been made aware of, or to review inspection and enforcement reports, you can make a Colorado Open Records Act (CORA) request to review public files associated with the property's address.  The Division will review your request to determine if we have any files on that address and if so, set up an appointment with you to review the files.  If you wish to review files for another division (Air, Water, etc.), you must contact each division individually.

 

Records Review

 

Hazardous Waste

 

The Division posts quarterly inspection and enforcement reports online listing hazardous waste facilities that have been inspected in the past year.  For more complete information regarding the compliance history of a hazardous waste site or facility, visit U.S. EPA's Enforcement and Compliance History Online (ECHO) website at www.epa.gov/echo/ .  This site contains information on hazardous waste facilities in Colorado and other states.