June 12, 2017

New VSQG Provisions Replace Old CESQG Regs

One of the provisions of the November 28, 2016 Generator Improvements Rule [81 FR 85732] is the replacement of the term “conditionally exempt small quantity generator” (CESQG) with the term “very small quantity generator” (VSQG). The same monthly hazardous waste generation rates that previously defined a CESQG continue to apply to the new generator category of VSQG. The VSQG requirements are set forth in §§262.10(a)(1)(i) and 262.14. VSQGs are exempt from most hazardous waste management regulations if they:

  1. Identify and count all hazardous waste that they generate;
  2. Accumulate less than 1,000 kg of nonacute hazardous waste, no more than 100 kg of acute spill cleanup residue, and no more than 1 kg of other acute hazardous waste onsite at any time; and
  3. Ensure that the hazardous waste they produce is sent to an appropriate offsite treatment, storage, recycling, or disposal facility.

However, some interesting rules apply to the management of VSQG waste, as summarized in the following table. The issues addressed in this table and other key VSQG topics are discussed in McCoy’s new white paper, entitled “RCRA Compliance for Very Small Quantity Generators.”

RCRA Requirements for Hazardous Waste Generated by VSQGs


RCRA requirements for VSQGs

Hazardous waste identification

Required for every solid waste generated at the site [§262.14(a)(2), RO 11958, 14030]

Hazardous waste mixture rule

A mixture of VSQG hazardous waste with nonhazardous waste remains exempt from RCRA if the resulting mixture does not exhibit a characteristic, even though the quantity of the resultant mixture exceeds 100 kg/mo [§262.13(f)(1)(i)]

Used oil mixture rule

A mixture of VSQG hazardous waste with used oil may be managed as used oil under Part 279 [§§262.13(f)(1)(iii), 279.10(b)(3)]1

Container standards, labeling, and inspection

Exempt per §262.14(a)2


Exempt per §262.14(a) [RO 14687]

Recordkeeping and biennial report

Exempt per §262.14(a)3

Onsite hazardous waste treatment

VSQGs may treat hazardous waste onsite without a permit if the facility meets one of the conditions listed in §262.14(a)(5)(iii–vii). If a VSQG does not meet one of these conditions, it 1) may choose to operate as an SQG and meet the standards that apply to that generator category [81 FR 85785]; or 2) must have a permit under Part 270, or operate under interim status per Parts 265 and 270, before treating hazardous waste onsite. [RO 11688, 14662]4

Universal waste management

VSQGs have the option of handling their hazardous batteries, lamps, etc. as hazardous waste under §262.14 or as universal waste under Part 273. [§273.8(a)(2)]

Obtaining an EPA ID number

Exempt per §262.14(a)

Use of the manifest

Exempt per §262.14(a) [RO 11589, 11772]

Compliance with land disposal restrictions (LDR) program

Exempt per §§262.14(a), 268.1(e)(1)

Offsite transportation

A VSQG must ensure delivery of its hazardous waste to one of the facilities noted in §262.14(a)(5). A facility that serves as a central collection point to consolidate hazardous waste shipped without a manifest from VSQGs would have to qualify as one of the facilities specified in §262.14(a)(5) [the easiest approach would be for the centralized facility to be an LQG under the control of the same person as the VSQG per §262.14(a)(5)(viii)].

Radioactive mixed waste management

Low-level mixed waste generated by VSQGs can be disposed as low-level radioactive waste if the materials meet the disposal site’s waste acceptance criteria. [August 7, 1995; 60 FR 40207]

VSQG = very small quantity generator.

1 Although this is a regulatory possibility, VSQGs should check to see if the resulting mixture will still meet their used oil recycler’s acceptance criteria.

2 Although exempt from the RCRA hazardous waste management requirements, VSQGs should consider implementing best management practices (BMPs) for accumulating hazardous waste. These BMPs include placing hazardous waste in containers that are closed, in good condition, compatible with the waste, and labeled with the words “Hazardous Waste.”

3 VSQGs should keep documentation, such as manifests, shipping papers, or other information, in their files to prove that they legitimately can claim VSQG status.

4 However, a VSQG may treat hazardous waste in an onsite elementary neutralization unit without meeting the requirements in §262.14(a)(5). [81 FR 85784, RO 13778]

Source: McCoy and Associates, Inc.


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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.