Frequent Questions

May a conditionally exempt small quantity generator (CESQG) treat hazardous waste on site without a permit?

Yes, conditionally exempt small quantity generators (CESQGs) may treat hazardous waste on site without a permit provided they meet one of the conditions in 40 CFR §261.5(g)(3)(iii) through (vii). 

If a CESQG does not meet one of these conditions, the facility must have a permit under Part 270, or operate under interim status under Parts 270 and 265 before treating or disposing of waste on site (see 40 CFR §261.5(g)(3)(i) and (ii).  (See 61 FR 34252, July 1, 1996).  However, federal regulations allow states to adapt more stringent regulations if they choose, and some states have chosen not to exempt CESQG's from many of the hazardous waste requirements.  these requirements are imposed through states or industrial waste registration programs.  Therefore, CESQG;s should contact there state solid/hazardous waste program officers to determine if they need a permit to treat hazardous waste on site.

Additional guidance regarding CESQG requirements is available in the following documents: 

Monthly Call Center Report Question, January 2003 (RCRA Online #14662)
Memo, Shapiro to Kim; May 1, 1996 (RCRA Online #14030)

These documents are available at the RCRA Online database at the following URL: 
https://yosemite.epa.gov/osw/rcra.nsf/how+to+use?OpenForm.

Note: On November 28, 2016, EPA published the Hazardous Waste Generator Improvements Final Rule, which makes several revisions to the hazardous waste generator regulations including the designation of CESQG changing to very small quantity generator (VSQG). Other revisions may also affect the information provided in this FAQ. The final rule and additional information, including a fact sheet, frequent questions, and a webinar recording and slides, are available at www.epa.gov/hwgenerators/final-rule-hazardous-waste-generator-improvements.

The Hazardous Waste Generator Improvements Final Rule is effective on May 30, 2017; however, implementation in a particular state depends on the state’s authorization status. A discussion of the effect that this final rule will have on state authorization is available on page 85801 of the rule. Information about how the rule will affect the requirements in this FAQ in a particular state is best obtained from the state hazardous waste program. A list of state hazardous waste programs is available at www.epa.gov/hwgenerators/links-hazardous-waste-programs-and-us-state-environmental-agencies.

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