Compliance Corner.


In the United States, hazardous wastes are subject to regulations mandated by the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). Every month, we provide clear, in-depth guidance on a different aspect of the RCRA regulations. The information presented here is an excerpt from McCoy’s RCRA Unraveled, 2017 Edition.

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©2017 McCoy and Associates, Inc. All rights reserved.

Biennial Reports

Large quantity generators (LQGs) that ship hazardous waste to an offsite TSD facility located in the United States are required to submit a biennial report to their state and/or regional EPA office by March 1 of each even-numbered year, covering their hazardous waste management activities for the previous odd-numbered calendar year. For example, the biennial report submitted by March 1, 2014 covered each LQG’s hazardous waste management activities during the 2013 calendar year. The information that LQGs must report biennially is given in §262.41.

Although EPA requires the biennial report to be submitted on EPA Form 8700-13A/B, available at, some states require use of a modified version of the EPA report and others (e.g., Arkansas, Indiana, Ohio) have their own instructions and forms for fulfilling the reporting requirements.

Per §262.41(b), any generator that also is a TSD facility that treats, stores, or disposes hazardous waste onsite must submit a biennial report covering those waste management activities. The TSD facility biennial reporting requirements are in §§264.75, 265.75, 267.75, and 270.30(l)(9).

Episodic generators are required to complete and submit a biennial report if they are a LQG in any single calendar month of the odd-numbered calendar year. In terms of what wastes are to be reported, the instructions for the biennial report state that “all hazardous waste that was used to determine the site’s generator status” must be reported. Although that language is not completely clear, EPA seems pretty clear in RO 14842 when it notes that facilities need to “determine if, in any single calendar month, the site is an LQG, and if so, report all RCRA hazardous waste that is generated onsite…for the entire calendar year.”

Wastes to be included

A site required to file the biennial report must submit Form GM (Waste Generation and Management) if the site generated RCRA hazardous waste that was accumulated onsite; managed onsite in a treatment, storage, or disposal unit; and/or shipped offsite for management, consistent with the applicability requirements noted in the instructions. The instructions for Form GM are generally very clear as to which wastes should and should not be reported.

Typical questions about which hazardous wastes must be included on Form GM of biennial reports are addressed in the following EPA guidance:

  • Some hazardous wastes are not counted when determining a facility’s generator status. For example, hazardous wastes that are generated and then managed in RCRA-exempt units (e.g., wastewater treatment units, elementary neutralization units, totally enclosed treatment facilities) without prior storage or accumulation are not included in generator-status calculations. EPA has decided that it does not want generators to report these hazardous wastes on the biennial report either. The latest biennial report form instructions that we have (from 2015) note that the following wastes are not to be reported on Form GM: “Wastes managed immediately upon generation only in onsite elementary neutralization units, wastewater treatment units, or totally enclosed treatment facilities as defined in 40 CFR 260.10. (40 CFR 261.5(c)(2)) Any hazardous waste residues generated from these units, however, must be reported on the GM Form.” [Emphasis in original.] See also RO 14487.
  • When entering hazardous waste codes on the biennial report, one question that often crops up is “Do I list the same codes on the biennial report as I did on the manifest?” EPA has noted the following in response: “the federal biennial reporting requirement is not contingent upon which waste codes happen to appear on the hazardous waste manifest, but on which hazardous wastes are generated by the reporter during the reporting period.” [RO 11741] The agency noted in RO 13455 that, for the purposes of biennial reporting, a generator is not required to determine if listed wastes also exhibit characteristics (although they do need to do this for purposes of completing LDR notifications). In other words, a LQG must put all applicable listed waste codes on biennial reports but not necessarily any characteristic codes associated with those listed wastes. For example, if unused chloroform was disposed, the U044 code is required on the biennial report, but not the D022 code.
  • Radioactive mixed wastes generated at a site must be included in biennial reports. [RO 13535]
  • Material shipped to a laboratory or testing facility as part of a treatability study must be included in a generator’s biennial report [§261.4(e)(2)(vi)], even though these treatability samples are not included (counted) when making generator-status determinations. [§261.5(c)(1)] Note that the instructions to Form GM state that such wastes should not be reported.
  • EPA was asked, “[d]oes a large quantity generator who generates a hazardous waste in December of a non-reporting year but ships it in January of the reporting year need to include that waste in their hazardous waste report?” The agency’s answer was: “Yes. The LQG who generates a hazardous waste in December of a non-reporting year but ships it in January of the reporting year needs to include that waste in their hazardous waste report.” []

Weight designation

When entering waste quantities on the biennial report, the agency has clarified that the weight of the container does not have to be included (i.e., the container itself is not considered a hazardous waste—only the waste within it). However, it is customary to include the total weight (weight plus container) on manifests, since transporters often charge on the basis of total weight shipped. [RO 12151]

The biennial report instructions say that, when reporting quantities for lab packs, 1) include the weight of the containers if they are disposed (e.g., landfilled) or treated (e.g., incinerated) with the waste; but 2) exclude the weight of the containers if the waste is removed from the containers before treatment or disposal.

Waste minimization efforts must be included

Sections §262.41(a)(6) and (7) require biennial reports completed by LQGs to include waste minimization information. LQGs must describe their efforts undertaken to achieve waste minimization and the actual changes in the volume and toxicity achieved relative to other years. [RO 13747] This came out of a HSWA requirement promoting a national policy of reducing or eliminating the generation of hazardous waste as expeditiously as possible. [RO 12932]

Generator certification

Section 262.41(a)(8) requires the generator or its authorized representative to sign a certification associated with the biennial report. “Authorized representative” is defined in §260.10 as “the person responsible for the overall operation of a facility or an operational unit (i.e., part of a facility), e.g., the plant manager, superintendent or person of equivalent responsibility.”

In EPA Form 8700-13A/B, the certification statement says:

“I certify under penalty of law that this document and all attachments were prepared under my direction or supervision in accordance with a system designed to assure that qualified personnel properly gather and evaluate the information submitted. Based on my inquiry of the person or persons who manage the system, or those persons directly responsible for gathering the information, the information submitted is, to the best of my knowledge and belief, true, accurate, and complete. I am aware that there are significant penalties for submitting false information, including the possibility of fine and imprisonment for knowing violations.”

Thus, the language allows the generator or its authorized representative to certify to the truth, accuracy, or completeness of the report based on the signer’s personal familiarity with the information and upon his or her personal inquiry of those responsible for obtaining the information. [RO 11199]

State-specific requirements

States may impose biennial reporting requirements above and beyond the federal provisions. In those states, additional information will generally be required on the federal form. Alternatively, some states (e.g., Arkansas, Indiana, Ohio) require use of their own instructions and forms for fulfilling the reporting requirements.

Some states may require an annual, as opposed to biennial, report to be submitted. Additionally, small quantity generators may be required to submit an annual or biennial report per more-stringent state regulations.


Topic: Household Hazardous Waste Exclusion

©2017 McCoy and Associates, Inc. All rights reserved.


Considerable care has been exercised in preparing this document; however, McCoy and Associates, Inc. makes no representation, warranty, or guarantee in connection with the publication of this information. McCoy and Associates, Inc. expressly disclaims any liability or responsibility for loss or damage resulting from its use or for the violation of any federal, state, or municipal law or regulation with which this information may conflict. McCoy and Associates, Inc. does not undertake any duty to ensure the continued accuracy of this information.

This document addresses issues of a general nature related to the federal RCRA regulations. Persons evaluating specific circumstances dealing with the RCRA regulations should review state and local laws and regulations, which may be more stringent than federal requirements. In addition, the assistance of a qualified professional should be enlisted to address any site-specific circumstances.