Determining Your Hazardous Waste Generator Category

Determining your hazardous waste generator category is a necessary step towards determining which hazardous waste regulations apply to your facility. Your facility’s generator category is determined by the total weight of hazardous waste that you generate in any calendar month (e.g., January 1 – January 31), as well as the amount of hazardous waste you accumulate on site.

The following table summarizes the three hazardous waste generator categories under Ohio EPA and US EPA’s rules:

Generator requirements become more stringent as the amount of waste you generate and/or accumulate increases. Conditionally Exempt Small Quantity Generators (CESQG) have very few requirements, and are only required to keep records of waste evaluations and comply with DOT pre-transport requirements. Small Quantity Generators (SQG) and Large Quantity Generators (LQG) must both submit initial notifications to US EPA and obtain an EPA RCRA ID Number. Both types of generators must also comply with container management, satellite accumulation, inspection, emergency response, recordkeeping, pre-transport, and manifesting requirements. Both have accumulation time limits – 180 days for a SQG and 90 days for a LQG. In addition, LQGs must conduct annual personnel training, submit biennial reports, and prepare a written contingency plan.

What to Count?

All hazardous waste generated during a calendar month at your facility must be counted toward your generator status. Calculation of the amount of waste for a particular month begins at the moment of generation (i.e., when it is removed from the process that produced it); not after it is determined to be hazardous or after the satellite accumulation drum is full or when it is shipped off-site. Your generator category should not be determined by taking a monthly average of the hazardous waste shipped off-site throughout the year. If the material is an off-specification product, it is considered to be generated when you determine that it is no longer usable. OAC rules 3745-51-04 and 3745-51-05(C) and (D) contain information about which hazardous wastes do and do not count toward your monthly quantity determination.

Satellite Accumulation

Generators may accumulate up to 55 gallons of hazardous waste at or near the point of generation in satellite accumulation areas. Hazardous waste generated and stored in satellite accumulation areas should be counted toward your monthly generation and accumulation numbers. If your facility is a CESQG or SQG, it is important that you conduct monthly inventories and keep monthly records of the amount of hazardous waste generated and stored in your satellite accumulation and 180-day storage areas. Although not specifically required by law for CESQGs and SQGs, satellite accumulation area inspections, inventories, and accurate recordkeeping are highly recommended to demonstrate compliance with your generator category.

Episodic Generation

If your generator category fluctuates from month to month, you are an episodic generator. If the hazardous waste you generate in a month places you in a different category, you must comply with the applicable requirements of that category for all waste generated that month, as long as the waste remains on site. If you change from a CESQG to either a SQG or a LQG, you are required to notify Ohio EPA and obtain a US EPA RCRA ID Number. If you become a LQG in one or more calendar month(s) during an odd-numbered year, you must notify Ohio EPA of your change in status and file a biennial report by March 1st of the following even-numbered year. If your category fluctuates frequently, you may elect to satisfy the more stringent requirements in order to simplify compliance.

In August 2015, US EPA proposed the Hazardous Waste Generator Improvements rule which, if finalized, will provide greater flexibility for episodic generators by allowing facilities to avoid certain requirements of the higher generator category when generating episodic waste, provided the waste is properly managed. US EPA expects this rule to be finalized sometime in 2016. The rule will not become effective in Ohio until Ohio EPA adopts this rule.

For additional information, contact Katie Milk at (330) 689-1106 or

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