Frequent Questions

A generator finds a container of hazardous waste with a label that is no longer legible. The generator moves the container to the 90/180-day accumulation area. Can the generator label the container as unknown hazardous waste and then re-label the containe

No, a generator cannot label the container as an unknown hazardous waste and then label over the container once the test results are confirmed.  Instead, large quantity generators must clearly label or mark each hazardous waste container and tank with the date on which each period of hazardous waste accumulation begins and the words “Hazardous Waste” (40 CFR §262.34(a)(2) and (3)). Small quantity generators also are subject to these requirements (262.34(d)(4)). 

The container must be labeled or marked when the waste is generated, that is either when it is produced or when it is first caused to be subject to regulation, not when a generator first analyzes the waste (Memo, Lowrance to Axtell; April 21, 1989, RCRA Online #11424). 

Additional guidance on the labeling or marking of hazardous waste tanks and containers is available in the following documents: 

Monthly Call Center Report Question; June 2003 (RCRA Online #14683
Memo, Williams to Smith; November 17, 1987 (RCRA Online #11303
Memo, Weddle to Staab; January 10, 1984 (RCRA Online #11031)

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