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Hazardous Waste

Issue Summary

Issue SummaryHazardous Waste

Many local governments must deal with hazardous wastes at two different levels: (1) as a hazardous generator and (2) as the responsible entity for protecting landfills and other municipal solid waste collection/disposal operations from hazardous waste disposal.

Hazardous waste is defined by federal (Resource Conservation and Recovery Act or RCRA) and state regulations. In general, hazardous waste is either a specifically listed material (e.g., spent cleaning solvent) or is hazardous due to its characteristics (i.e., ignitable, corrosive, reactive or toxic). Hazardous waste generated by local governments can include waste paint, spent solvents, pesticides, discarded cleaning products, excess/discarded/spilled chemicals, and many other substances. All hazardous wastes must be managed according to state and federal laws and the persons responsible for handling the wastes must be trained.

Landfills and other solid waste facilities operated by local governments are generally not designed for handling large volumes of hazards waste. To minimize the introduction of hazardous waste to these facilities, many communities have established household hazardous waste collections. This is typically accomplished by designating permanent collection/exchange areas at landfills or by establishing special collection days at a central location. These types of operations require permitting by Regional EPA or state environmental agencies.


Hazardous Waste. Learn more about hazardous waste and the regulations that govern it.

Household Hazardous Waste. The options of reduction, reuse, recycling, and disposal-listed in order of EPA's preferred waste management hierarchy-are all important tools to safely manage HHW.

Hazardous Waste Regulations. EPA regulations, or rulemakings, translate the general mandate of RCRA into a set of requirements for the Agency and the regulated community. The RCRA hazardous waste program regulates commercial businesses as well as federal, State, and local government facilities that generate, transport, treat, store, or dispose of hazardous waste.

Regulations.gov. Allows you to comment on proposed regulations and related documents published by the U.S. Federal government. You can also use this site to search and review original regulatory documents as well as comments submitted by others.


Hazardous Waste State Locator. Use this locator to find hazardous waste and RCRA compliance resources on state websites. You will find general information, fact sheets, permit forms and guidance, contact information and other helpful resources and tools.