Hazardous Waste

If your facility generates any quantity of hazardous waste in a calendar year you must follow certain Federal and State hazardous waste laws and Union City Municipal Code requirements, and obtain a permit from the Environmental Programs Division. The intent of these mandates is to ensure that hazardous waste will be properly managed to protect public health and the environment. The requirements described below are designed to minimize the seriousness of a hazardous materials/hazardous waste incident, should one occur on your premises.

The Environmental Programs Division has been certified by the California Environmental Protection Agency as the Certified Unified Program Agency (CUPA) for Union City, responsible for implementing various state hazardous materials and emergency reporting requirements.

Hazardous waste management involves many different areas of regulation. The general information below will help explain some of the basic responsibilities for hazardous waste generators. It is the generator’s responsibility to determine if wastes generated are hazardous, and to ensure that hazardous waste is properly stored, handled and managed.

Generator Category
Different regulations apply to hazardous waste generators depending on the monthly volume of hazardous waste produced. The three categories of generators are partially described below. It is critical for facility operators to know their hazardous waste generator category in order to be in compliance with all requirements.

Conditionally Exempt Small Quantity Generator (CESQG)- generate less than 100 kilograms/220 pounds per month of hazardous waste. Accumulation start date is when the first 100 kg/220 lbs of waste has been accumulated. Waste may be stored on site up to 180 days, or up 270 days if the distance to the treatment or disposal facility is more than 200 miles.

Small Quantity Generator (SQG)- those who produce more than 100 kilograms/220 pounds of hazardous waste per month but less than 1000 kg/2,200 lbs of waste or less than 1 kg/2.2 lbs of acutely hazardous waste per month. Accumulation start date is the day 100 kg/220 lbs of waste has been accumulated. Waste may be stored on site up to 180 days or up 270 days if the distance to the treatment or disposal facility is more than 200 miles.

Large Quantity Generator (LQG)- generators who produce more than 1000 kg/2,200 lbs per month of all hazardous waste generated on site. Accumulation start date is when the first waste is accumulated. There is a 90-day maximum storage time limit.

RCRA Large Quantity Generator (RCRA LQG)- generators who produce more than 1000 kg/2,200 lbs per month of RCRA hazardous waste generated on site. Accumulation start date is when the first waste is accumulated. There is a 90-day maximum storage time limit. Other requirements apply.

Each hazardous waste generator category is subject to different regulations including employee training, training documentation, written contingency plans. For definitive requirements about hazardous waste please refer to the California Department of Toxics Substances Control (DTSC) website at www.dtsc.ca.gov.

Hazardous Waste Determination
It is the generator’s responsibility to determine whether or not a waste must be stored, transported and disposed of as a hazardous waste. Often this determination can be made by generator knowledge of the process and materials used that generated the waste. However, some waste streams may need to be chemically or physically analyzed. All analyses done by the generator must be completed by California certified laboratory using specified EPA procedures. A generator may, upon payment of a fee (CA HSC §25205.8), apply to the California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) and obtain concurrence as to whether a particular waste stream is hazardous or non-hazardous.

Universal Waste
In California, common or ‘universal’ wastes are a subset of hazardous wastes that under state law may be managed with specific, reduced-handling requirements. These materials, such as batteries, televisions and computer monitors, fluorescent bulbs and mercury-containing materials, electronic devices like cell phones, microwave ovens, are so common that simplified management requirements are available.

NOTE: All universal waste is hazardous waste
Unless Universal Waste management requirements are satisfied, generators must meet all storage, handling and record-keeping requirements required as required for all hazardous waste.

"Universal wastes,” which include batteries, mercury-containing equipment and lamps, are a subset of California hazardous waste. Regulations govern the collection and management of these widely generated wastes, thus facilitating environmentally sound collection and proper recycling or treatment. These regulations ease the regulatory burden on retail stores and others that wish to collect universal wastes and encourage the development of municipal and commercial programs to reduce the quantity of these wastes going to municipal solid waste landfills or incinerators. In addition, the regulations also ensure that the wastes subject to this system will go to appropriate treatment or recycling facilities that comply with complete hazardous waste regulatory controls. The California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) universal waste web site has additional information. DTSCalso has a hazardous waste management web page.

You may review California hazardous waste laws, regulations and guidance documents by visiting the Department of Toxic Substances Control web site at www.dtsc.ca.gov.

How to Obtain an EPA Identification Number
Most hazardous waste generators must obtain an EPA ID number. Facilities that handle at any one time 5,000 kg/10.400 lbs or more of universal waste require an EPA ID number and must meet additional requirements.

Regardless of size, an EPA ID number is necessary for all generators using consolidated manifesting, except for generators of less than 100 kg/220 lbs per month of “silver-only” hazardous wastes.

California Permanent ID Numbers - Businesses that generate hazardous waste on an ongoing basis must have a permanent EPA ID number. There is no fee to obtain a permanent ID number. To obtain a permanent ID number, you need to complete the required application, DTSC Form 1348, available at www.DTSC.ca.gov.

California Temporary ID Numbers - Temporary EPA ID numbers (‘90-day numbers’) are issued to people or businesses that do not routinely generate hazardous waste. Call (800) 618-6942 to get a temporary ID number. To get a temporary ID number, for a spill after hours, call 1.800.852.7550. There is no fee to obtain a temporary ID number.

Storage of Hazardous Wastes

At a minimum
, hazardous waste facilities must ensure that hazardous wastes are:

  • Stored in non-leaking tank or containers, in good condition, with tight-fitting lids
  • Kept closed when wastes are not being added or removed
  • Accurately labeled with waterproof labels. Labels must specify the words "Hazardous Waste"; the composition and physical state of the waste; the hazardous properties of the waste (e.g., flammable, reactive, etc.); and the name and address of the generator
  • Labeled with the date that the waste accumulation began on each tank or container. This date is the date waste is first placed into the container or tank.
  • Handled in tanks or containers in good repair. These tanks and containers must be regularly inspected for deterioration, damage or leaks.
  • Managed in a way that minimizes the possibility of spills and escape of waste into the environment.
  • Incompatible waste: not stored in a common storage area without proper separation. Used oil may not be mixed with any other hazardous waste (e.g., solvents).
  • Ignitable or reactive waste: Stored at least 15 meters (50 ft.) from property lines (this only applies to large quantity generators of hazardous waste). Ignitable waste must be grounded when material is being added or removed. Contact the Alameda County Fire Department to learn about their requirements regarding handling of flammable wastes.
  • Stored onsite according to storage time limits prescribed in the regulations. Storage times vary depending on the monthly generation rate of hazardous waste throughout the entire facility. Generators may store hazardous wastes onsite for 90 or 180 days depending on the volume of waste produced. In some cases the wastes may be stored for up to 270 days if the offsite treatment, disposal, or storage facility is more than 200 miles away.
  • Contact Environmental Programs for additional guidance on hazardous waste storage.
  • Generators of hazardous waste who exceed 90-day storage limits may be required to obtain a state permit as a formal Transfer Storage and Disposal Facility (TSDF). the storage maximum must apply for and obtain a treatment, storage and disposal permit from the Department of Toxic Substances Control 510.540.2122. Additional conditions and requirements apply to those facilities.

Hazardous Waste Labeling
Generators that accumulate and store hazardous waste on-site must comply with the following labeling requirements. The containers, including tanks, must be properly labeled with the information listed below:

  • The waste accumulation start date and the words "HAZARDOUS WASTE"
  • The physical state and composition of the waste
  • Warning words indicating the particular hazards of the waste, such as: toxic, flammable, corrosive, or reactive
  • The establishment/business name and address of the facility which generated the waste

Transportation of Hazardous Wastes

  1. Use of a Registered Hazardous Waste Transporter
    Hazardous wastes must be transported only by State registered hazardous waste haulers to a state-permitted Treatment, Storage, or Disposal Facility (TSDF). These haulers are registered by the State Department of Toxic Substances Control and California Highway Patrol. Visit the California Department of Toxic Substances Control website for more information and a partial listing of registered haulers serving the Bay Area. Hazardous waste must be packaged and labeled for transport in accordance with applicable Department of Transportation regulations.
  2. Federal Uniform Hazardous Waste Manifest
    Federal and State hazardous waste manifest regulations changed on September 5, 2006. All hazardous waste handlers are required to use a Federal hazardous waste manifest. All unused California Uniform Hazardous Waste Manifests must be discarded (recycled).
    • The federal uniform hazardous waste manifest consists of 6 white pages.
    • The federal manifest does not include a generator copy for submission to the Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC). A generator must make a legible photocopy of the manifest and mail it to DTSC within 30 days of shipping the waste. (The top page will make a clearer copy than the bottom page, so consider making a copy before the transporter leaves with the manifest.)
    • Generators must purchase manifests from a U.S. EPA approved printer. A list of approved printers may be found on the DTSC web site under Manifest Registry.
    • Fields were added to the federal manifest that were not on the California manifest: Generator site address, 24-hour emergency phone number, space for 6 waste codes per line, import/export, discrepancy categories, rejected loads, and alternate facility.
    • The federal manifest has space for load rejection information (cause, destination, and reference to a new manifest if one is used). If this occurs, the TSDF creates a new manifest and returns the load to the generator.
  3. In order to complete a hazardous waste manifest, the facility generating the hazardous waste must have a valid EPA Identification number.
  4. Summary of Changes from old California Uniform Hazardous Waste Manifest [PDF]:
    • Only one version of the uniform manifest is allowed. States are prohibited from creating their own versions. There are no more shaded areas.
    • New manifest has space for load rejection information (reason, destination, receipt date, alternative facility, and reference to a new manifest). TSDF creates a new manifest and returns rejected load to generator.
    • TSDFs in other states are required to submit copies to the DTSC when they receive hazardous waste that was generated in California.
    • California has Supplemental California Instructions to cover additional California requirements.

What are Hazardous Waste Report Management Method Codes? 
Previously, California’s waste manifest instructions required the Destination Facilities to use one of 10 handling codes to report how the waste was handled at that facility. The new manifest uses 28 Management Method Codes. These are the same codes used in Biennial Reports. Only Destination Facilities are allowed to add the HWRMM codes to the manifest. Generators and transporters do not add these codes.

In most cases, hazardous waste transported for disposal or treatment must be accompanied by a Uniform Hazardous Waste Manifest form. As a generator of hazardous waste, you are responsible and liable for the wastes you generate. Accurately completing a manifest form ensures that you will receive notice after the wastes have been delivered to the licensed hazardous waste facility. Use of the proper shipping papers is a requirement for every facility to meet its responsibility as a hazardous waste generator. A receipt, instead of a manifest, is acceptable for the transportation of hazardous wastes eligible for Consolidated manifesting. Refer to the DTSC website for more information.

All records of hazardous waste transported offsite must be kept at the location where the waste was generated for at least 3 years. This includes manifest copies and/or receipts from used oil or solvent transporters.

Where do Generators send manifests copies?
Generators must make a readable and legible copy of the manifest and mail it to:

DTSC Generator Manifests
P.O. Box 400
Sacramento, CA 95812-0400

All of the following steps must be taken to complete a manifest:

  1. a. Fill in the top part of the manifest form completely and accurately. Directions for filling out the manifest form are listed on the back of the manifest form. Be sure to use the new Federal EPA Manifest form OMB no. 2050-0039. It is recommended that generators access the DTSC website at www.dtsc.ca.gov (Manifests) for complete instructions for completing the new Federal Hazardous Waste Manifest form.
  2. b. Generator and transporter must sign and date the manifest.
  3. c. The generator must keep the generator’s initial manifest (page 6), make a copy of it, and mail it to the State Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC). The remaining five copies of the manifest are to be given to the transporter.
  4. d. The licensed Treatment, Storage or Disposal Facility (TSDF) will mail one signed copy back to the generator when they receive the waste from the transporter. This copy must also be kept for at least three years. If the copy from the TSDF is not received within 35 days, you must contact the transporter and/or operator of the TSDF to determine the status of the hazardous waste. It is the generator’s responsibility to track all loads of hazardous waste and to ensure that the manifests have been returned by the required date.
  5. e. All hazardous wastes are subject to Land Disposal Restrictions (LDR). The LDR notification must be sent with the manifest and a copy kept on-site by the waste generator.

Personnel Training
A personnel training program, appropriate to the size of the business and the specific job duties of the employee, shall be designed to ensure that employees are able to respond effectively to emergencies. This is to be accomplished by familiarizing the employees with emergency procedures, emergency equipment, and emergency systems, including where applicable:

  • emergency notification procedures
  • procedures for using, inspecting, repairing and replacing facility emergency and monitoring equipment
  • communications and alarm systems
  • response to spills, fires, or explosions
  • response to groundwater contamination incidents
  • how to shut down operations
  • operation of automatic waste feed cutoff systems (if applicable)

Additional training and recordkeeping is required for Large Quantity Generators (LQGs). The following records must be maintained at the facility by the owner/operator where the business is an LQG:

  • job title and job description for each position related to hazardous waste management and the name of the employee filling each job. The job description should include the required skills, education, or other qualifications and duties of employees assigned to each position;
  • a written description of the type and amount of training (introductory and continuing) that will be given to each person filling the positions listed above; and
  • documentation that the training required has been completed by each employee identified.

The above records must be maintained for current employees, and for former employees for at least three years after the employee leaves the business.

Treatment and Disposal
Hazardous wastes must be disposed of only at a state-permitted Treatment, Storage or Disposal facility. Hazardous wastes may not be disposed of in the regular trash or onto the surface of the ground or into the storm drain. In addition, they may not be dumped in the sewer system (i.e., a floor drain, sink or toilet) unless you have an industrial waste discharge pretreatment permit from Union Sanitary District for that specific waste.

If you wish to dispose of, treat, or recycle your hazardous waste to render it less toxic or non-hazardous at your business location, you must obtain prior authorization from the state Department of Toxic Substance Control (DTSC) at 510.540.2122.
Businesses that generate less than 27 gallons or 220 pounds of hazardous waste per month and less than one quart or 2.2 pounds of acutely hazardous waste (referred to as Conditionally Exempt Small Quantity Generators or CESQGs) may use the Alameda County Household Hazardous Waste Disposal Program for small businesses. For more information call 1.800.606.6606, or visit the Alameda County’s Household Hazardous Waste website at www.stopwaste.org.

Biennial Report
Large Quantity Generators (>1000 kg/2,200 lbs per month) of RCRA hazardous waste are required to submit a Biennial Report to the DTSC by March 1 of each even-numbered year. The report must be submitted on forms provided by DTSC. Generators of only Non-RCRA hazardous waste and very small quantity generators of RCRA waste may not have to prepare a Biennial Report. Questions regarding the biennial report should be directed to DTSC.

Hazardous waste regulations are intended to prevent the mismanagement of hazardous waste which could cause harm to human health or the environment. Since hazardous substances can cause serious or fatal injuries, penalties have been established for willful or negligent violation of the hazardous waste laws. Violations may result in civil penalties of up to $25,000 per day of violation or criminal penalties of up to $250,000 per day of violation and/or up to three years in a state prison. Environmental Programs also has enforcement authority under the Union City Municipal Code to issue on-the-spot administrative citations up to $500.

Emergency Preparedness and Prevention
Your business must be maintained and operated to minimize the possibility of a release of hazardous waste to the air, soil, or streets or surface water which could threaten human health or the environment.
Employees handling hazardous waste must have access to either an alarm system, a communications system, or be in voice contact with another employee. If one employee is working alone, he/she shall have access to a telephone or two-way radio to summon external assistance.
The owner/operator must maintain adequate aisle space to allow the unobstructed movement of personnel, fire protection equipment, spill control equipment and decontamination equipment in case of emergency.
The following emergency equipment should be provided and maintained at your job site.

  • portable fire extinguishers
  • fire control equipment
  • spill control equipment
  • decontamination equipment

For additional emergency preparedness and spill reporting information please refer to the California Emergency Management Agency (formerly the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services) website at www.caloes.ca.gov.

Emergency Procedures
If your business has a hazardous waste spill, release, fire or explosion, you must report this release as follows:

  • Notify the Alameda County Fire Department (9-1-1) and the Environmental Programs Division at 510.675.5360.
  • Additionally, in every situation which threatens human health or the environment a notification must be made to the California Emergency Management Agency 1.800.852.7550, providing the following information:
    • Name and telephone number of person reporting;
    • Name and address of facility;
    • Time and type of incident;
    • Name and quantity of hazardous material(s) involved;
    • Extent of injuries;
    • Possible hazard to human health and the environment outside the facility.

During the emergency, you must take all reasonable measures to ensure that fires, explosions, and chemical releases do not spread. These measures may include:

  • Stopping operations
  • Collecting and containing released waste
  • Removing or isolating chemical containers

Emergency Response Plans
Every hazardous waste generator is required to have an emergency response contingency plan) designed to minimize hazards to human health and the environment from fires, explosions, or an unplanned release of hazardous waste to air, soil, or surface water. The plan shall be implemented immediately whenever a fire, explosion or unplanned chemical release occurs. Some generators may meet this requirement by providing and Emergency Response Posting with contact names and phone numbers near a facility telephone where emergency reporting would occur.