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Chapter 173-303 WAC
Dangerous Waste Regulations



The Department of Ecology (Ecology) proposes to amend Chapter 173-303 Washington Administrative Code (WAC), Dangerous Waste Regulations. These regulations set standards for the safe management of dangerous wastes. Ecology plans to amend specific sections of the dangerous waste regulations to incorporate new federal hazardous waste rules. The proposed changes in the dangerous waste regulations will have a wide-sweeping impact on most dangerous waste generators. These changes will generally affect how generators manage their dangerous waste, adding regulations for pharmaceutical waste, solvent-contaminated wipes, recycling dangerous waste, and dangerous waste import and export.

Scope of rule development

WAC 173-303 implements Chapter 70.105 Revised Code of Washington (RCW) and Subtitle C of the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). RCW 70.105 gives Ecology’s hazardous waste program authority to adopt regulations for dangerous waste management. Ecology plans to amend specific sections of the dangerous waste regulations to incorporate new federal hazardous waste rules, including but not limited to:

  • Management Standards for Hazardous Waste Pharmaceuticals
  • Conditional Exclusions for Solvent-Contaminated Wipes
  • Definition of Solid Waste: Revisions to Solid Waste Variances and to the Definition of Legitimacy
  • Revisions to the Export Provisions of the Cathode Ray Tube (CRT) Rule
  • Hazardous Waste Generator Improvements Rule
  • Hazardous Waste Export-Import Revisions
  • Hazardous Waste Electronic Manifest Rule

Amendments will also include several minor technical and editorial corrections and clarifications.

Why it matters

Ecology is required to adopt certain federal hazardous waste rules to maintain its authorization by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and remain consistent with EPA regulations. Rules Ecology must adopt include the electronic manifest rule, revisions to import-export rules, and revisions to the export provisions of the cathode ray tube rule. These rules will improve the transport and tracking of dangerous waste.

The definition of solid waste rule will help ensure the legitimacy of dangerous waste recycling. Adopting pharmaceutical waste rules for healthcare facilities and waste management vendors will help these facilities properly manage this waste stream, reducing confusion and the regulatory burden associated with waste management. Additionally, this rule prohibits disposal of drugs to the sewer, resulting in fewer toxic chemicals in our waterways. Parts of the generator improvement rule will fix regulatory gaps and make corrections to federal hazardous waste regulations.

Ecology is also considering adopting two optional federal rules:

  1. Parts of the generator improvement rule would benefit generators by making the regulations more user-friendly and providing flexibility in managing waste.
  2. The solvent wipes rule would allow more flexibility in managing manage dangerous waste solvent wipes safely while reducing regulatory requirements.

Process of development

Stakeholders and governmental entities, including local, state, and tribal governments, will be notified of various Ecology actions as the rulemaking progresses and have opportunities to participate at various stages. Interested parties can join the Dangerous Waste Rules listserv to receive rulemaking updates. Other ways Ecology notifies stakeholders is through the TurboWaste.Net annual report email contacts, Shoptalk, and these dangerous waste rulemaking web pages.

Ecology expects to hold at least one informal public meeting about the planned rule changes. The purpose of the meeting will be informational as well as to seek input from affected regulatory sectors and interested governmental entities. Additional meetings may be held as needed.

To learn more about the rulemaking, see:


View informational webinar held
November 2, 2016


Rob Rieck


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