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You keep using the word generator. I do not think it means what you think it means.

Whenever someone tells me they are a hazardous waste generator, I think of the movie, The Princess Bride. The villain, Vizzini (Wallace Shawn) constantly bested, repeatedly retorts with the word “ inconceivable‘. Finally, Lingo Montoya,(Mandy Patinkin), says to him, “You keep using that word, I do not think it means what you think it means”.

That is because, the word Hazardous waste “generator” really means a hazardous waste “ treatment storage disposal facility operator” who is under “conditions for exemption” from having a Treatment Storage Disposal Facility, (TSDF) permit under the Environmental Protection Agency in 40 CFR Part 262.1.

However, the worst part is most don’t realize when they do not mark their hazardous waste containers with the words “hazardous waste”, “an indication of the hazard”, (ie: “ignitable”) and the dates of accumulation, in their storage areas, they have failed to meet three of the exceptions in 40 CFR Sections 262.16 and 262.17, which exempts them from maintaining a TSDF permit.

Then the real trouble begins, because while the California Department of Toxic Substances Control,(DTSC),  might not issue you a fine for those three transgressions, they could claim that you have failed to meet one or more of the exceptions that all generators must meet if they do not want to maintain a TSDF permit.

Which would mean, if you have not figured it out yet, or have not read the November 8, 2016 federal register final rule preamble,, you could be cited for operating a “non permitted” treatment storage disposal facility.

Any day now, hazardous waste generators could find themselves under new California Department of Toxic Substance Control, hazardous waste management requirements and interpretations when these amendments are approved in the state’s program.

The most important thing to remember about these new requirements is that the “conditions for exemption” are requirements only for hazardous waste generators who do not want to apply for a TSDF permit and, that the “independent requirements” are for all hazardous waste generators whether they apply for a TSDF permit or not.

I have no doubt, you are meeting the current DTSC requirements for hazardous waste determination and recordkeeping, satellite and central accumulation areas and facility and waste storage unit closures. But, soon, California will be adopting changes to these under the federal Hazardous Waste Generator Improvements Rule.

DTSC Small quantity generators will be required to re-notify EPA of their hazardous waste activities. Currently, only large quantity generators are required to notify every two years. Under the new rule, California will require all small quantity generators to notify every four years starting September 2021.

Both large and small quantity generators are required to mark their containers in the central and satellite accumulation areas with the words “hazardous waste”,  in addition to the date accumulation begins, in both the satellite and central storage areas on each container.

But then, under the new rule generators will also have to add an “indication of the hazards” of the contents. For example, the name of the waste (ie: ignitable), a Department of Transportation hazard class label or placard, or a hazard warning or pictogram from the OSHA GHS Hazard Communication Requirements.

The new rules should also clarify the additional pre-transportation marking requirements for containers to include their waste codes before they are allowed to be shipped off site.

You should also be prepared to meet proposed DTSC large quantity generator facility and hazardous waste storage unit clean closure requirements. To certify that each facility, once closed, and each on-site storage unit, when closed, is “clean-closed” properly. Failure to do so may trigger them to be managed as landfills, which, among other nightmares, might entail groundwater monitoring requirements.

Then, not least and not last, the state will beef up the Preparedness, Prevention and Emergency Procedure Plans, by adding new requirements for documenting what arrangements were made  to authorities (local hospitals, rescue units, police and fire departments) or at the very least, documentation of the attempts, that were made by the generator.

Also, the next time a DTSC large quantity generator writes a new or updates their required Contingency Plan, they must also prepare and make available, a quick reference guide that summarizes the contingency plan, including: the types and amounts of hazardous waste on their property at any one time, any special medical treatments or facilities that might be required, a map of the facility, the surrounding area and nearby fire hydrants.

This quick reference guide would also be required to include the name and contact information for your site’s emergency coordinator.   

And don’t worry just remember, it is not a “faux pas” to use the word “generator”, only not to understand it’s true meaning.

Hope to see you in my upcoming seminars in California. In the meantime, check out the California Department of Toxic Substances Control Hazardous generator improvements rule web page,   also see below for a CA state information sheet, and if you still have any questions or concerns call me at (610)683-6721 or email me at

Thank you for your readership and support.

Robert J Keegan
Publisher and President
Hazardous Materials Publishing Company

California Information Sheet

CA Mission:

The mission of DTSC is to protect California’s people and environment from harmful effects of toxic substances by restoring contaminated properties, enforcing hazardous waste law, reducing hazardous waste generation, and encouraging the manufacture of chemically safer products.

- Comment from DTSC:

“Operators who violate the state’s hazardous waste laws will be held accountable for their actions and brought into compliance,” said DTSC Acting Director Meredith Williams. “Enforcing hazardous waste laws through actions like this is fundamental to protecting the public and the environment.”

Link to Adopting the Generator Improvement Rule in California:


- Site speaks of -

DTSC Enforcement Action Results in $495,000 in Penalties for Illegal Storage and Treatment of Hazardous Waste

- Regulatory assistance link -

- link to hazardous waste definition and also site where definition and breakdown given for Generators, transporters, TSDF’s, CUPA’s can be found.

-          CUPA site in which one can find:

- Frequently asked questions and answers

        -  Common failures in inspections and how to avoid

        -  Various permits, inspection and check lists Example:

        - Hazardous Waste Generator CUPA Inspection Report, (Small Quantity  

              Generator, SQG Sample) rev. 03/2010

           - Hazardous Waste Generator CUPA Inspection Report, (Large Quantity    

      Generator, LQG Sample)

CA Hazardous Waste 2018:

CA Hazardous Waste 2019 so far as of April 3, 2019:

DO you need a CA State Hazardous Waste ID number? DO you need a Federal ID number? Check the guidelines at this link:

Temporary ID Number:

Permanent ID Number:

Forms and Publications:

CA Standards for Universal Waste Handlers:

Marking and Labeling:

Personnel Training Requirements:

CA Code of Regulations – Title 22, Division 4.5