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561 FW 6

Hazardous Waste Management

Supersedes 561 FW 6, 10/18/2013

Date: September 12, 2021

Series: Pollution Control and Environmental Compliance

Part 561: Compliance Requirements

Originating Office: Infrastructure Management Division

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6.1 What is the purpose of this chapter?

6.2 What is the scope of this chapter?

6.3 What is the Service’s policy on hazardous waste management?

6.4 What are the authorities for this chapter?

6.5 What terms do you need to know to understand this chapter?


6.6 Who is responsible for the Service’s hazardous waste management program?

Identifying and Classifying Hazardous Waste and the Generator Categories

6.7 What do Project Leaders/Facility Managers need to understand about this chapter and the various regulations that authorized states have developed?

6.8 What are the steps and requirements for identifying and classifying waste?

6.9 What are the generator categories for hazardous wastes?


6.10 What are the hazardous waste storage requirements for facilities?

6.11 What are the hazardous waste minimization best practices and requirements for facilities?

6.12 What are the hazardous waste disposal requirements for facilities?

6.13 What are exception reports, and when are they required?

6.14 What are the training requirements for employees who manage hazardous waste?

6.15 What are the recordkeeping requirements for facilities related to hazardous waste?

Other Wastes

6.16 What are universal wastes and how should they be managed?

6.17 How must Service employees manage used oil?

More Information

6.18 Where can employees find additional information about managing hazardous waste?




6.1 What is the purpose of this chapter? This chapter establishes U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) policy for managing hazardous waste at Service facilities.


6.2 What is the scope of this chapter? This chapter applies to:


A. All Service-owned or operated facilities that generate, handle, store, transport, treat, or dispose of hazardous waste; and


B. Any special use permit, lease, or concession agreement that could involve the generation, handling, storage, transportation, treatment, or disposal of hazardous waste.


6.3 What is the Service’s policy on hazardous waste management? Our policy is to:


A. Comply with all applicable Federal, state, tribal, local, and Service-specific hazardous waste regulations;


B. Protect human health and the environment from the potential hazards of waste disposal;


C. Conserve energy and natural resources; and


D. Reduce or eliminate the quantity of toxic and hazardous chemicals and materials we acquire, generate, use, and dispose of.


6.4 What are the authorities for this chapter?


A. Executive Order 12088, Federal Compliance with Pollution Control Standards.


B. Federal Facilities Compliance Act, Public Law 102-386 (106 Stat. 1505).


C. Hazardous Materials Transportation Act (Public Law 93-633).


D. Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) (42 U.S.C. 6901, et seq.) as amended by the Solid Waste Disposal Act (SWDA).


E. U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), Hazardous Materials Regulations (49 CFR Parts 171 – 173).


F.  U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Hazardous Waste Management Regulations (40 CFR Parts 260 – 268, 273, and 279).


6.5 What terms do you need to know to understand this chapter? See Exhibit 1, Glossary, for the definitions of terms we use in this chapter.



6.6 Who is responsible for the Service’s hazardous waste management program? See Table 6-1.


Table 6-1: Responsibilities for the Hazardous Waste Management Program

These employees…

Are responsible for…

A. The Director

Approving or not approving Servicewide policy.

B. The Chief –National Wildlife Refuge System (NWRS)

Overseeing the development and maintenance of Service policy regarding the management of hazardous waste in Service facilities.


C. Regional Directors


(1) Ensuring implementation of hazardous waste management requirements in their respective Regions, and


(2) Ensuring funding is allocated to manage hazardous waste in compliance with Federal, state, tribal, and local laws.

D. The Chief, Infrastructure Management Division in NWRS

(1) Developing policy for the proper management of hazardous waste, and


(2) Providing technical assistance through the Branch of Environmental Compliance and Sustainability regarding hazardous waste management in the Regions.


E. Regional Environmental Compliance Coordinators (RECCs)

(1) Providing technical assistance to Project Leaders/Facility Managers for the management of hazardous waste, and


(2) Confirming that Project Leaders/Facility Managers are performing required hazardous waste management activities during environmental compliance audits.

F. Joint Administrative Operations Safety Managers

Providing technical assistance to the RECCs and assistance and training to Project Leaders/Facility Managers on management of hazardous waste to minimize risk to human health.


G. Project Leaders/ Facility Managers


(1) Ensuring that their facility operates in accordance with all Federal, state, tribal, and local regulations and Service policy that apply to the management of hazardous waste;


(2) Submitting all required reports described in section 6.13 on time;


(3) Notifying the RECC whenever the facility is in violation or non-compliant;


(4) Ensuring facility personnel are trained in the proper handling, storage, labeling, transportation, and disposal of hazardous waste;


(5) Providing appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) to employees; and


(6) Preparing a written hazardous waste contingency plan where applicable (see section 6.10D and Exhibit 2 for an example).


H. Employees

(1) Following applicable regulations and Service policy when handling, labeling, storing, and disposing of hazard waste;


(2) Completing necessary training on hazardous waste relevant to their duties (see section 6.14); and


(3) Wearing appropriate PPE while using or handling hazardous waste (applies only to employees trained in the proper management of hazardous waste).



6.7 What do Project Leaders/Facility Managers need to understand about this chapter and the various regulations that authorized states have developed?


A. EPA established national hazardous waste standards that provide for “cradle-to-grave” management of hazardous wastes. Many states have the authority to manage their own State programs for hazardous wastes. While some of the authorized states have adopted EPA regulations, others have regulations that are more stringent.


B. This chapter is based solely on EPA’s regulations in Title 40 of the CFR. state regulatory programs vary widely, so it is important for Project Leaders/Facility Managers to determine the Federal and state hazardous waste regulations that apply to their facilities.


C. EPA maintains a website with information to determine if a state regulatory program differs from EPA’s requirements. RECCs may provide assistance in determining facility-specific requirements.


6.8 What are the steps and requirements for identifying and classifying waste?


A. First, facility personnel identify a waste stream.


B. Facility personnel then must determine whether the waste meets the definition of a solid waste (see Exhibit 1, Glossary). Some materials are excluded from the definition of solid waste, such as:


(1) Domestic sewage,


(2) Industrial wastewater discharges,


(3) Radioactive waste,


(4) Spent wood preserving solutions that are reclaimed and reused in the wood preserving process,


(5) Processed scrap metal,


(6) Irrigation return flow,


(7) In situ mining waste, and


(8) Secondary materials that are reclaimed and returned to the original process in a way that is totally enclosed.


C. If the stream is a solid waste, personnel must determine if the solid waste is excluded under RCRA regulations. RCRA excludes the following wastes:


(1) Household waste (e.g., pesticides, cleaners),


(2) Some agricultural wastes that are returned to the soil as fertilizers,


(3) Fossil fuel combustion wastes,


(4) Cement kiln dust (unless the facility burns hazardous waste as fuel),


(5) Wood wastes treated with arsenic when someone is using the wood (e.g., building a deck),


(6) Petroleum-contaminated media subject to the underground storage tank corrective action program (see 561 FW 7),


(7) Used oil filters that have been hot drained,


(8) Used chlorofluorocarbon refrigerants that are being reclaimed for further use,


(9) Samples collected for lab analysis until they are ready for disposal,


(10) Used oil that exhibits hazardous characteristics if it will be recycled (see section 6.17),


(11) Some universal wastes (including batteries; mercury-containing thermostats, switches, and thermometers; aerosol cans; and electric lamps) (see section 6.16),


(12) Scrap metal being recycled, and


(13) Reusable solvent wipes sent out for cleaning.


D. If the solid waste is not excluded from RCRA requirements, facility personnel then must determine if the material is a “listed waste” per 40 CFR 261.31 - .33.


E. Solid wastes that are not listed in 40 CFR 261 may still be hazardous waste if they meet one or more characteristics that EPA classifies as hazardous. The characteristics are ignitability, corrosivity, reactivity, and toxicity (see 40 CFR 261.21 - .24 for details).


6.9 What are the generator categories for hazardous wastes? Once facility personnel identify wastes as hazardous, the applicability of Federal regulations is determined by the quantity of hazardous wastes generated each month.


A. EPA established three generator categories, each of which is subject to specific requirements:


(1) Very Small Quantity Generator (VSQG). The majority of Service facilities are in this category.


(a) VSQGs generate no more than 100 kg (approximately 220 pounds) of hazardous waste in a month.


(b) Total onsite accumulation does not exceed more than 1,000 kg (approximately 2,204 pounds) of hazardous waste.


(c) VSQGs generate no more than 1 kg (approximately 2 pounds) of acutely hazardous waste in a month.


(d) VSQGs generate no more than a total of 100 kg of any residue or contaminated soil, waste, or other debris resulting from the cleanup of hazardous waste in a calendar month unless the cleanup is the result of an episodic event (see Exhibit 1, Glossary).


(e) If a facility exceeds any of the listed parameters, it must operate as a small or large quantity generator, depending on the amount generated.


(f) Additional standards for VSQGs are in 40 CFR 262.


(2) Small Quantity Generator (SQG).


(a) SQGs generate more than 100 kg (approximately 220 pounds) but less than 1,000 kg (approximately 2,204 pounds) of hazardous waste in a month.


(b) Onsite accumulation time does not exceed 180 days, or 270 days if the waste will be shipped more than 200 miles.


(c) Total onsite accumulation does not exceed more than 6,000 kg (approximately 13,227 pounds).


(d) SQGs generate no more than a total of 100 kg of any residue or contaminated soil, waste, or other debris resulting from the cleanup of hazardous waste in a calendar month unless the cleanup is the result of an episodic event.


(e) Additional standards for SQGs are in 40 CFR 262.


(3) Large Quantity Generator (LQG). In general, the Service does not have any LQGs, but the threshold for an LQG could be crossed because of an unplanned episodic event. For more information on LGQs, see 40 CFR 262.  

B. SQGs and LQGs may store waste at a Satellite Accumulation Point (SAP), which is subject to less stringent storage and labeling requirements than a central accumulation area. A SAP is at or near the point of generation where wastes initially accumulate and must be under the control of the operator of the waste generating process. The following requirements apply to SAPs:


(1) Containers must be:


(a) In good condition and compatible with the waste stored in them,


            (b) Kept closed except when waste is being added or removed, and


            (c) Marked “Hazardous Waste” and with other words that identify the contents;


(2) There should be no more than 55 gallons of hazardous waste (this is the total of all the hazardous waste stored at the SAP) or 1 quart of acutely hazardous waste in containers; and


(3) When more waste is accumulated than the limitations in (2) above, personnel must mark the excess container with the date the excess amount began accumulating and transfer the excess waste to a 180-day (for SQG) or 90-day (for LQG) permitted storage area within 3 days.


C. Some states do not use the same classification system for generator status, and may have different compliance requirements for the various classifications (e.g., California does not have a VSQG status). Project Leaders/Facility Managers who are generators must be familiar with their states’ requirements. Visit EPA’s website to determine if a state regulatory program is different from the Federal program.




6.10 What are the hazardous waste storage requirements for facilities?


A. Federal waste management regulations require generators to meet specific requirements for containers, storage areas, segregation of incompatible wastes, inspections, and spill control and containment materials. Although EPA does not require it, the Service does require VSQG facilities to label containers with the type of “Hazardous Waste” (i.e., “Hazardous Waste Formalin”) and indicate a start date (meaning, the day the facility starts to accumulate the waste).


B. Facility personnel must manage containers holding hazardous waste as follows:


(1) Label each container with the words “Hazardous Waste,” and with other words that identify the contents, and the date that the waste was generated;


(2) Use a container made of, or lined with, a material that is compatible with the hazardous waste to prevent the waste from reacting with or corroding the container;


(3) Keep all containers holding hazardous waste closed during storage, except when adding or removing waste. Do not open, handle, or store (e.g., stack) containers in a way that might rupture them or cause them to leak or otherwise fail;


(4) Inspect containers at least weekly. Look for leaks and for deterioration;


(5) Maintain the containers in good condition. If a container leaks, put the hazardous waste in another container, or contain it in some other way that complies with EPA regulations; and


(6) Do not mix incompatible wastes or materials.


C. Requirements applicable to the storage location include the following:


(1) Provide sufficient aisle space (36 inches) to allow unobstructed movement of personnel, fire protection equipment, spill control equipment, and decontamination equipment;


(2) Ensure portable fire extinguishers and fire control equipment are present, including any special extinguishing equipment that some stored wastes may require;


(3) Maintain adequate spill control and containment material to contain or clean up spills;


(4) Position the containers so that the hazardous waste label and contents are clearly visible at all times;


(5) Electrically ground containers of highly flammable wastes;


(6) When possible, keep containers of hazardous waste under a roof to prevent over-heating from direct sunlight;


(7) Inspect storage areas and containers weekly using the Hazardous Waste Storage Area Weekly Inspection Form (FWS Form 3-2453). Keep inspection forms in the facility files for at least 3 years;


(8) Store containers in areas with adequate ventilation when recommended in Safety Data Sheets (SDS) or required by regulation; and


(9) Ensure empty hazardous waste containers meet applicable requirements prior to disposal.


D. Any facilities that are designated as SQGs or LQGs must develop and maintain a hazardous waste contingency plan (40 CFR 262.16(b)(9).


(1) The contingency plan should be brief and specific for both the facility and the hazardous waste managed at the facility. Exhibit 2 includes all the elements that should be in a contingency plan and can be used as a template.


(2) Facility personnel should routinely review and update the contingency plan (at least annually), and especially when changes occur in the emergency coordinators, the waste being handled, or the list of emergency equipment.


6.11 What are the hazardous waste minimization best practices and requirements for facilities?


A. All Service facilities should reduce hazardous waste generation and disposal by implementing the following procedures and processes as applicable:


(1) Eliminate or reduce at the source by changing processes that generate hazardous waste;


(2) Use a less hazardous or toxic material in the process, if possible;


(3) Make equipment changes that will eliminate or reduce the generation of hazardous waste;


(4) Recycle, recover, and reuse hazardous materials when possible, especially by making materials available on the Service’s Materials Exchange Tool, as appropriate;


(5) Eliminate or reduce excess hazardous materials and those with a shelf-life that has expired; and


(6) As a last resort, properly dispose of the hazardous waste (see section 6.12).


B. Although no specific RCRA requirements for waste minimization apply to VSQGs, RCRA does require SQGs to make a good faith effort to minimize waste generation and to select the best available waste management method.


C. SQGs and LQGs must prepare a Uniform Hazardous Waste Manifest for shipment of hazardous waste offsite. By signing the manifest, they certify that a program is in place to reduce the volume and toxicity of generated waste. EPA launched the hazardous waste e-Manifest system nationwide on June 30, 2018, which they encourage generators, transporters, and receiving facilities to use to create and submit manifests electronically.


6.12 What are the hazardous waste disposal requirements for facilities?




(1) VSQG facilities must ensure delivery of their hazardous wastes to a:


(a)  RCRA Treatment, Storage, and Disposal Facility (TSDF);


(b)  State-authorized solid waste facility;


(c) LQG (that is under the control of the Service) and consolidated there before sending it on to a TSDF, provided certain conditions are met (see 40 CFR 262);


(d)  Facility that beneficially uses, reuses, or reclaims the waste; or


(e)  Universal waste handler or destination facility.


(2) Although VSQGs are not required by Federal law to obtain an EPA ID number or use a hazardous waste manifest when shipping hazardous wastes, some states and some disposal facilities may require that they comply with those EPA standards. Service employees should check the state requirements for their facility.


B. SQGs and LQGs must send their wastes to either a RCRA TSDF or a recycling facility, and they must:


(1) Ensure that hazardous waste shipments are properly packaged, labeled, marked, and placarded in accordance with DOT regulations;


(2) Prepare hazardous waste manifests;


(3) Ensure the TSDF returns a copy of the original manifest in the timeframe required, or submit an exception report if the original manifest is not returned (see section 6.13);


(4) Maintain copies of the manifests signed by TSDF personnel in perpetuity; and


(5) Ensure that their hazardous waste meets the land disposal restrictions (LDRs) and send the receiving TSDF a completed LDR form (LDR forms are in 40 CFR 268.7).


C. Although hazardous waste transporters usually will help prepare manifests; LDR forms; and labels, markings, and placards for shipments, our personnel must ensure the accuracy of the information before signing the manifest as a representative of the Service. 


6.13 What are exception reports, and when are they required?


A. Exception reports are part of the RCRA tracking system. When a generator sends waste offsite for disposal, the TSDF is required to return to the facility a copy of the original manifest. If the facility does not receive the manifest from the TSDF, they must submit an exception report. 


B. VSQGs and SQGs must file an exception report if they have not received a copy of the signed manifest from the TSDF within 60 days of the date the waste was accepted by the initial transporter. There is no special form for the report. The facility can write directly on a copy of the manifest or attach a separate sheet of paper (handwritten or typed), that includes:


(1) A legible copy of the manifest in question,


(2) A statement explaining what they did to locate the hazardous waste, and


(3) The Project Leader/Facility Manager’s signature.


C. The facility sends the report to their authorized state agency or EPA Regional Office, with a copy to their RECC.


6.14 What are the training requirements for employees who manage hazardous waste?


A. Although SQGs are not subject to the training requirements of 40 CFR 262.17(a)(7) that apply to LQGs, they still must ensure that employees know the proper waste handling and emergency procedures relevant to their responsibilities (40 CFR 262.16(b)(9)(iii)). VSQGs are exempt from the training requirements.


B. The Infrastructure Management Division offers an Environmental Compliance training class in each of the Regions on a 2-year cycle. The 2-day class provides the information necessary for SQGs. See Table 6-2.


Table 6-2: Topics in the Environmental Compliance Course

These topics are covered…

And they include information on …

(1) Hazardous materials management

·        Identifying chemicals,

·        Interpreting Safety Data Sheets (SDS),

·        Storing and shipping materials,

·        Marking containers,

·        Preparing manifests,

·        Recordkeeping, and

·        Handling materials.

(2) Hazardous waste and universal waste identification and management

·        Storing and shipping waste,

·        Preparing hazardous waste manifests,

·        Complying with state and Federal hazardous waste regulations, and

·        Labeling and marking containers.

(3) Used oil

·        Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasures (SPCC) plans, and

·        Managing petroleum products.

(4) Greening and pollution prevention activities

·        Green purchasing,

·        Reducing waste,

·        Reducing toxicity of materials,

·        Recycling, and

·        Determining the best choices of materials and procedures to reduce or eliminate hazardous waste.


6.15 What are the recordkeeping requirements for facilities related to hazardous waste?

A. Facilities must retain the following records permanently:


(1) Manifests;


(2) Notices and documentation associated with LDRs;


(3) Exception reports;


(4) Any test results, waste analysis, or similar information related to waste shipped offsite; and


(5) Inspection schedules and reports.


B. Facilities must keep employees’ hazardous waste training documentation and records until the facility no longer handles hazardous waste, or for 3 years after an employee leaves the Service or the facility.




6.16 What are universal wastes and how should they be managed?


A. Universal wastes are wastes that meet hazardous waste criteria, but, because they are very common and pose a relatively low risk compared to other hazardous wastes, their management requirements are streamlined to ease the regulatory burden. EPA encourages recycling of certain universal wastes, i.e., batteries, lamps, and aerosol cans. Universal wastes include:


(1) Batteries, such as nickel-cadmium (Ni-Cd) and small sealed lead-acid batteries, which are found in many common items, including electronic equipment, cell phones, portable computers, and emergency backup lighting;


(2) Pesticides that are under a recall, suspension, or cancellation or when unused pesticides are collected as part of a state-sponsored waste pesticide collection program (consult your RECC to determine the universal waste designation of pesticides);


(3) Thermostats, which can contain as much as 3 grams of liquid mercury and are located in almost any building, including commercial, industrial, agricultural, community, and household buildings;


(4) Certain lamps that typically contain mercury and sometimes lead, and are found in businesses and households. Examples include fluorescent, high-intensity discharge (HID), neon, mercury vapor, high-pressure sodium, and metal halide lamps; and


(5) Aerosol cans that are to be discarded with some hazardous materials remaining (for example, paint or cleaning products):


            (a)  Universal waste aerosol cans should be processed and recycled by a “Universal Waste Handler;” 

            (b)  Aerosol cans are not hazardous wastes (and so are not universal waste) when they have been emptied of contents. If the can is empty of material and gas pressure, it should be recycled. 


            (c)  If you process aerosol cans with a puncturing device, any contents collected from the cans and the filter used to capture the propellant from the cans must be characterized prior to disposal. In general, the     Service does not recommend using these puncturing devices due to the hazardous waste generated.


B. Facilities that generate universal waste must manage their universal wastes according to the following general requirements:


(1) Manage universal waste in a way that prevents breakage and releases to the environment;


(2) Keep containers of universal waste closed;


(3) Immediately contain and transfer to an appropriate container any universal waste that shows evidence of leakage or damage;


(4) Meet waste-specific container or packaging requirements;


(5) Label or mark the universal waste (or container holding the universal waste) to indicate that it is a waste or universal waste, and indicate the date that storage began. For example, mark universal waste lamps as “Universal Waste Lamps,” “Waste Lamps,” or “Used Lamps;”


(6) Accumulate universal waste for no longer than 1 year (a facility must be able to demonstrate the length of time it has accumulated universal waste from the date it became a waste or it is received);


(7) Ensure that employees handling universal waste are familiar with proper handling and emergency procedures; and


(8) If a release of universal waste occurs, comply with the emergency actions in the hazardous waste contingency plan, if applicable, and determine if any material resulting from the release is hazardous waste.


C. Federal universal waste regulations may be found in 40 CFR 273. State regulations may be more stringent, and may designate additional wastes as universal wastes (e.g., paint and paint-related wastes, electronic devices, fluorescent light ballasts that contain PCBs, and antifreeze). Personnel should refer to their state’s universal waste regulations to determine the applicable requirements for their location.


6.17 How must Service employees manage used oil?


A. Used oil is not regulated as a hazardous waste if it is recycled or burned as a fuel. This means that facilities can manage used oil as described below as long as they do not mix or contaminate it with hazardous waste.


B. EPA developed management standards for generators that handle used oil. The standards are common sense, good management practices designed to ensure the safe handling of used oil, to maximize recycling, and to minimize disposal.


C. Facilities that generate used oil must:


(1) Label storage containers or tanks with the words, “Used Oil;”


(2) Store used oil containers in sufficiently sized secondary containment;


(3) Store used oil in containers or tanks that are in good condition;


(4) Inspect used oil containers on a weekly basis; and


(5) If a leak of used oil occurs, stop the leak, contain it, clean it up, and properly manage the cleanup materials in accordance with applicable regulations (hazardous waste or used oil).


D. Facilities also must maintain records of delivery and acceptance of used oil to recyclers. It is acceptable to use logs, invoices, or other shipping documents as records. Maintain the records permanently.


E. Facilities that store more than 1,320 gallons of used oil in aboveground tanks or containers that hold 55 gallons or more are subject to applicable Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasures (SPCC) requirements (see 561 FW 17 Oil Pollution Prevention and SPCC Plans) in addition to the used oil management standards.


F. States may have additional requirements for used oil. In some states, used oil is considered a hazardous waste. Service employees may ask their RECC for assistance in determining the state requirements for their facility.  




6.18 Where can employees find additional information about managing hazardous waste? Resources for additional information are:


A. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ U.S. TEAM Guide, and the Service’s Supplement to the Guide: These guides provide detailed information about the Federal regulations governing hazardous waste management as they apply to Service facilities. The guides also include state supplements that contain information about state regulations that are more stringent than Federal requirements. The guides are available on the Service intranet.


B. EPA’s hazardous waste website.


C. Your RECC: Contact your RECC for more information specific to your facility and your Region (RECC Contact List).


For more information about this policy, contact the Infrastructure Management Division in the National Wildlife Refuge System program. For more information about this website, contact Krista Bibb in the Policy and Regulations Branch (PRB), Division of Policy, Economics, Risk Management, and Analytics.


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