2018-2019 SHWC Annual Report: History

In 1992, §25-15-302, C.R.S. established the Hazardous Waste Commission. In 2006, as a result of Senate Bill 06-171, the Hazardous Waste Commission was renamed the Solid and Hazardous Waste Commission and assumed rulemaking responsibilities over solid waste from the state Board of Health. The commission, a type-1 agency located within the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment but with authority independent of the executive director, has three primary duties: 
  • Promulgates and adopts rules pertaining to solid and hazardous waste.
  • Sets fees and issues interpretive rules for solid and hazardous waste.
  • Hears appeals of administrative law judges’ determinations regarding the amounts of administrative penalties for hazardous waste matters. 
The Solid and Hazardous Waste Commission comprises nine gubernatorial appointees: three members from industry, three members from the public at large and three members from government or academia. While commissioners are selected from these sectors, members take into account the interests of all Colorado citizens.
The federal government authorizes Colorado to implement a state hazardous waste program in lieu of a federal program as long as the state program meets certain criteria. One of the major tasks of the commission is to ensure the state hazardous waste rules are consistent with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s requirements. This allows Colorado to retain its authorization and federal funding. The commission has the authority to adopt rules that are more stringent than the federal requirements and to list or define as a hazardous waste a waste not regulated by the federal rules. The commission must make a written finding, after public hearing and substantial evidence in the record, that the action is necessary to protect public health and environment.

Additionally, six commissioners must vote for the action, and the commission is required to issue an opinion referring to and evaluating public health and environmental information and studies that form the basis of the rules. The rules regarding mining and mineral-processing waste, including exploration, mining, milling and smelting, and refining wastes, must be identical to the federal hazardous waste rules.