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My Watershed

Wastes That Should Not Be Reported

As a general rule, regulated amounts of dangerous wastes that are generated, received or otherwise managed are usually counted and reported on the Annual Dangerous Waste Report. However there are exceptions to this "rule" where some dangerous wastes are not counted or reported.

Exempted and Excluded Wastes

Not all wastes are regulated by the Department of Ecology. Some wastes are exempted from the solid waste regulations (in other words, they are not wastes) and others are excluded from the dangerous waste regulations.

Do not report exempted or excluded wastes on your annual report, even if they have dangerous properties.

Exemptions from the solid waste regulations:

  1. Recycled materials that are:
  • Used or reused as ingredients in an industrial process provided the materials are not being reclaimed.
  • Used or reused as effective substitutes for commercial products.
  • Returned to the original process, without first being reclaimed or land disposed.
  1. Three specific materials under specific conditions:
  • Pulping liquors
  • Spent pickle liquor
  • Spent sulfuric acid
  1. Wastes with a written Variance from Ecology under-WAC 173-303-017 (5). See the Dangerous Waste Regulations Chapter173-303-017 (2) WAC for the full description.

Note: Exclusions from the dangerous waste regulations: Many exclusions require you to fully designate the waste before you can apply the exclusion.

Exclusions have very specific conditions! For example: WAC 173-303-071(3)(gg) Shredded circuit boards being recycled are excluded from dangerous waste regulation as long as they are: (i) Stored in containers sufficient to prevent a release to the environment prior to recovery; and (ii) Free of mercury switches, mercury relays and nickel-cadmium batteries and lithium batteries.

See the Dangerous Waste Regulations Chapter 173-303-071 (3) WAC for the full list of excluded wastes.

Waste recycled without prior storage or accumulation

To qualify for this exclusion from waste counting for generator status and annual reporting, dangerous wastes are recycled immediately after generation. The waste cannot be stored or accumulated before recycling.

Note: Residual wastes from the recycling process are counted for generator status and are reported on the Dangerous Waste Annual Report.

Refer to the Dangerous Waste Regulations WAC 173-303-070(7) (c) (iv) for the exclusion from counting, and WAC 173-303-120(4) (a) for the generator requirements.

Permit-by-Rule (PBR)

Permit-by-Rule (PBR) is a provision of the Dangerous Waste Regulations whereby a facility or activity is considered to have a dangerous waste permit to treat waste if certain requirements are complied with. Dangerous wastes are fully regulated before entering a PBR unit and when removed from the unit.

However, if a waste is managed immediately after it is generated in an on-site PBR unit it is not counted toward generator status, and it is not reported on the Annual Dangerous Waste Report.

PBR Units are limited to wastewater treatment units, elementary neutralization units, and totally enclosed treatment units.

Note: The key term is "immediate"; the waste must directly enter a PBR unit as soon as it is generated. There is no temporary storage or accumulation of waste allowed between the point of generation and the PBR unit.

PBR provisions for wastewater treatment units and elementary neutralization units apply only to the unit(s) involved and do not apply to the specific waste(s) being treated.

The owner or operator of a totally enclosed treatment facility or an elementary neutralization or wastewater treatment unit that treats state-only dangerous wastes generated on or off site, or federally regulated hazardous wastes generated on site will have a PBR, if they have a:

  • National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit
  • State waste discharge permit
  • Pretreatment permit (or written discharge authorization from the local sewerage authority) issued by the department, or
  • Pretreatment permit (or written discharge authorization) from a local sewage utility delegated pretreatment program responsibilities pursuant to RCW 90.48.165.

The owner or operator of a POTW which accepts dangerous waste for treatment will have a PBR if the owner or operator has a NPDES permit.

Underground injection wells will have a PBR if the owner or operator has an underground injection control (UIC) permit issued by the department under a federally approved program for underground injection control.

The owner or operator of a barge or other vessel which accepts dangerous waste for ocean disposal, will have a PBR if the owner or operator has a permit for ocean dumping issued under 40 CFR Part 220 (Ocean Dumping, authorized by the Marine Protection, Research, and Sanctuaries Act, as amended, 33 U.S.C. § 1420 et seq.).

Universal Wastes

Wastes managed under the Universal Waste Rule (WAC 173-303-573) are not counted toward generator status and not reported on your dangerous waste annual reports. These include:

  • Batteries: All batteries that designate as hazardous waste should be managed as universal waste. Spent lead-acid batteries may continue to be managed under the existing lead-acid battery exemption at WAC 173-303-520.
  • Lamps: Also referred to as "universal waste lamps" means any type of high or low pressure bulb or tube portion of an electric lighting device that generates light through the discharge of electricity either directly or indirectly as radiant energy. Universal waste lamps include, but are not limited to, fluorescent, mercury vapor, metal halide, high-pressure sodium and neon. As a reference, it may be assumed that four, 4-foot, 1-inch diameter unbroken fluorescent tubes are equal to 2.2 pounds in weight.
  • Mercury-containing thermostats and equipment: A mercury-containing thermostat is a temperature control device that contains metallic mercury in an ampule attached to a bimetal sensing element (this does not include all mercury switches). Ampules removed from these thermostats should also be managed under the universal waste requirements. Other types of mercury switches, thermometers, manometers and other mercury-containing equipment can also be managed as universal waste.

For more information see:
Or contact Ecology.