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Hazardous Waste Treatment / Tiered Permitting
California legislation (AB 1772) passed in 1992 established a five-tiered program for authorizing hazardous waste treatment at businesses that are required to have a state permit or authorization to do so. The new tiers were added to make permitting easier for businesses that treat hazardous waste onsite within their normal operations. In this way, the burden of regulation is matched to the amount of risk in the hazardous waste activity.
Large hazardous waste treatment, storage, or disposal facilities which require Full or Standardized permits are regulated by Cal-EPA's Department of Toxic Substances Control. As the local CUPA, our division is charged with enforcing the tiered permitting requirements for the Permit by Rule (PBR), Conditional Authorization (CA) and Conditional Exemption (CE) tiers. Permanent Household Hazardous Waste Collection facilities are also covered under this program. Our staff conducts routine inspections of these facilities in conjunction with our hazardous materials business plan program.
The Five Tiers with linked fact sheets are:
- The Full Permit Tier: allows treatment and storage of RCRA and California only (non-RCRA) hazardous waste pursuant to Title 40, Code of Federal Regulations (C.F.R.), parts 264 and 270, and California Code of Regulations, title 22, section 66264.1 et seq., and section 66270.1 et seq. It includes all facilities requiring a RCRA permit (such as incinerators and land disposal facilities), and selected non-RCRA activities.
- The Standardized Permit Tier: allows offsite treatment and storage of non-RCRA and RCRA-exempt hazardous waste (Health & Safety Code §25201.6). It includes, but is not limited to, recyclers, oil transfer stations, and precious metals recyclers.
- The PBR Tier: allows onsite treatment of non-RCRA and RCRA-exempt hazardous waste (Cal. Code Regs., tit. 22, §67450.11). This tier is for more hazardous and higher volume wastestreams and processes than the other two lower tiers.
- The Conditionally Authorized Tier: allows onsite treatment of non-RCRA and RCRA-exempt hazardous waste (Health & Safety Code §25200.3). This tier is limited to single-hazard wastes and treatment in the unit cannot exceed 5,000 gallons or 45,000 pounds in a calendar month. However, there is no volume limit for treatment of specified dilute aqueous, acidic, alkaline, or oily wastes.
- The Conditionally Exempt Tier: allows onsite treatment of non- RCRA and RCRA-exempt hazardous waste (Health & Safety Code §25201.5(a) and (c), 25201.14, and 25144.6(c)). This tier is for smaller quantities or less risky waste and treatment methods. It includes: Conditionally Exempt-Small Quantity Treatment, Conditionally Exempt-Specified Wastestreams, Conditionally Exempt-Commercial Laundries, and Conditionally Exempt-Limited.