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Plan for Dangerous Waste Emergencies

Emergency Plan Requirement Depends on Generator Status

EmergenciesFacilities that generate 220 pounds of dangerous waste or more (medium- or large-quantity generators) are required to follow emergency-planning procedures. Small-quantity generators are not required to follow these procedures, but it is a good idea.

Recordkeeping and Reporting for Small-quantity Generators discusses what small-quantity generators should keep on hand. At a minimum, post emergency numbers and have procedures and equipment available to deal with spills.

Emergency Coordinators

Medium- and large-quantity generators must appoint an emergency coordinator. There must be at least one employee on the premises or on call who is responsible for coordinating all emergency-response measures. It’s also important to have at least one back-up emergency coordinator.

Emergency coordinators should be familiar with:

  • Operations and activities at your site.
  • Location and hazardous properties of all the wastes and products you handle.
  • Location of all records.
  • Layout of your facility (inside and outside).
  • Agreements you have made with state or local authorities.
  • Outside emergency response contractors who can assist.

You must train your employees in proper waste handling and emergency procedures relevant to their job responsibilities.

Large-quantity Generators and Waste-management Facilities Write Contingency Plans

Plan for Emergencies—Written Contingency Plans describes how to write an appropriate contingency plan. Large-quantity generators and hazardous-waste-management facilities must write emergency contingency plans addressing sudden or non-sudden releases that might threaten human health and the environment. A contingency plan is designed to lessen the impact on public health and the environment if there is an emergency such as a fire or explosion.

Medium Quantity Generators Plan for Contingencies

Medium-quantity generators don't need a full written contingency plan, but they must meet the following requirements.

Special accumulation standards contains medium-quantity-generator planning requirements at WAC 173-303-201(2)(c) of the Dangerous Waste Regulations. 

  • Designate someone as the Emergency Coordinator. That person must be on-site or on-call, and is responsible for responding to emergencies and coordinating emergency response measures.
  • Ensure that all employees are thoroughly familiar with waste-handling and emergency procedures during both normal operating hours and after hours.
  • Post information next to all phones, two-way radios, etc., including:
  • The name and telephone number (office and home) of the emergency coordinator and his or her backups.
  • A description and location of emergency equipment, such as fire extinguishers, spill control materials and alarm systems.
  • The telephone number of the fire department, unless there is a direct alarm.

Dangerous Waste Emergency Information Poster can be printed off, filled in and used to meet posting requirements.

Small-quantity generators are not required to prepare contingency plans, but Ecology recommends planning for emergencies. Planning can help prevent a small spill from turning into a dangerous and expensive contamination problem.

Related information

Contingency plan and emergency procedures are at WAC 173-303-350 of the Dangerous Waste Regulations.

Step 6 of 10 - Plan for Emergencies is a Department of Ecology publication from the Step-by-step Fact Sheet for Hazardous Waste Generators that explains how and why to plan for emergencies as they relate to hazardous waste.

Written Contingency Plan