The Riverside County Environmental Health Hazardous Materials Branch is the sole overseeing agency for hazardous waste generation throughout the County. The purpose of the California hazardous waste program is to ensure that hazardous wastes will be properly managed and disposed of in order to protect both people and environment.
Wastes can exist as liquids, solids, or gasses and can be generated as byproducts of commercial products or, as undesired materials. Household chemicals may be handled differently and can be disposed of separately through household hazardous waste programs. Although it is the generator’s responsibility to determine which materials are hazardous wastes, our inspectors will be looking for items that are toxic, reactive, ignitable, or corrosive in order to make a determination during a facility inspection. Some wastes may need to be analyzed at a laboratory in order for a true determination to be made.
Some wastes may further be classified as either acutely hazardous or extremely hazardous wastes. These chemicals that make up these categories are contained on lists in Title 22 and are subject to more stringent requirements than other types of wastes.
Facilities regulated under the hazardous waste program will be classified into one of the following categories based on the type and volume of hazardous waste generated onsite. The classification will determine the requirements that the facility shall be expected to adhere to. The classification levels and accumulation time limits are listed below; all other requirements can be found in California Code of Regulations, Title 22.
Small Quantity Generators (SQG)
SQGs are those facilities that generate less than 1,000 Kg in any calendar month. SQGs may generate up to 1 Kg of acutely hazardous waste per month. Facilities that are Small Quantity Generators may store hazardous waste onsite for up to 180 days.
Large Quantity Generators (LQG)
LQGs are those that generate more than 1,000 Kg of hazardous waste, or more than 1 Kg of acutely hazardous waste, within a calendar month. Facilities that are Large Quantity Generators may store waste onsite for up to 90 days.
Very Small Quantity Generators (VSQG)
VSQGs are those that generate less than 100 Kg of hazardous waste, or less than 1 Kg of acutely hazardous waste, within a calendar month. VSQGs can not accumulate more than 1,000 Kg of hazardous waste on-site at any one time. For more info to see if your businesses qualify visit: rcwaste.org.
Hazardous wastes must be stored in a way to prevent accidental discharge. During an inspection you will be evaluated against requirements found in California Code of Regulations and California Health and Safety Code pertaining to the storage of hazardous wastes. Generally speaking, proper storage includes all of the following:
- Waste stored in a way that minimizes its possibility of fire, explosion, or release
- Maximum allowable accumulation time limits have been followed. Storage times vary based upon the quantity of waste generated. See the preceding section regarding facility classification for time limits.
- Incompatible waste streams shall be kept separate
- Containers must be appropriate and compatible with the type of waste being stored in them
- Containers must be properly labeled with the words “Hazardous waste,” the name and address of the generator, the composition and physical state of the waste, hazardous properties of the waste, and the accumulation start date
- Containers must be in good condition (Eg. no cracks, holes, or dents that could potentially decrease structural integrity)
- Containers cannot be leaking
- Containers shall be stored closed, except when adding or removing wastes
- Ignitable or reactive wastes must be stored a minimum of 50 feet from the property line. (Note: this requirement only applies to LQGs.)
Universal Waste is hazardous waste that has been given relaxed standards for generators for the purposes of accumulating and transporting these waste streams until they reach a point where they are properly disposed of or recycled. Following Universal Waste requirements can sometimes benefit a hazardous waste generator as these wastes have a longer accumulation time before proper disposal is required, or can be turned in by an exchange or take-back program, including by self-transporting the waste to a proper Destination Facility. Only the below listed wastes are designated as Universal Waste:
- Electronic devices (e.g. televisions, cell phones, computer CPUs, portable DVD players, computer monitors, etc.)
- Batteries (e.g. most household type batteries, including rechargeable nickel-cadmium, silver button, mercury, and alkaline batteries)
- Electric lamps (e.g. fluorescent tubes and bulbs, high intensity discharge lamps, sodium vapor lamps, etc.)
- Mercury containing equipment (e.g. thermostats, mercury switches, thermometers, pressure or vacuum gauges, dental amalgams, dilators and weighted tubing, mercury rubber flooring, mercury novelties, etc.)
- CRTs (glass picture tubes removed from devices such as televisions and computer monitors)
- CRT glass (a cathode ray tube that has been accidentally broken)
- Non-Empty aerosol cans
- Solar panels (as of 1/1/2021)