Secondary Containment for Hazardous Waste Generators

I was reading the June 2011 issue of Pollution Engineering magazine and noticed that there was an article in it that talked about secondary containment for hazardous waste container storage areas. It cited 40 CFR 264.175. The article was written by someone who makes and sells secondary containment units.

It is important to understand that there is NO federal requirement for secondary containment at hazardous waste storage area IF you are a generator. 40 CFR 264.175 pertains only to TSDF – these are the commercial facilities that treat store and dispose of other people’s hazardous wastes and they have a RCRA Part B permit.

Waste generators are exempt from this requirement because they store their wastes for no longer than 90/180/270 days. As long as they stay within their appropriate time limits, they are not required to have a RCRA permit and 40 CFR 264.175 does not apply.

It is good management practice to have secondary containment but it is NOT required by federal law. Some states do have state laws that require secondary containment for anyone who stores wastes on site. Pennsylvania is one of them.


9 responses to “Secondary Containment for Hazardous Waste Generators

  1. Good point Norman, the lack of a secondary containment requirement for generators under the federal regulation is often misunderstood. This is in contrast to the SPCC regulations, which generally do require secondary containment…and would apply to any hazardous waste that meets the definition of an oil.

  2. Thanks Geoff…..that’s why I posted this blog because it is often misunderstood. You are 100% correct re SPCC. People mix SPCC and haz wastes regulations together and think they need secondary containment in both cases.

  3. Hi Norman,
    Thanks for this wisdom.
    Isn’t 264.175 referred to by another applicable section to a generator?
    Can you enlighten us on a possible equivalent in CA regs?

  4. Rosalie,
    40 CFR 264.175 is applicable to a waste generator if the generator exceeds its storage time limit. Once the time limit is exceeded, the exemption no longer holds and the generator becomes a TSDF without a permit. 40CFR 262.34(b) states that if a generator exceeds its storage time limit, 40 CFR 264.175 would hold.
    The California equivalent is 22 CCR 66254.175 which refers to containment requirements for TSDF. The California equivalent for 40 CFR 262.34(b) is 22 CCR 66262.34(c). Go there and you will see language similar to the federal regulation.
    In most cases, to go from federal to California, you go from 40 CFR to 22 CCR and add 66 in front. In this case, it slips by one section and goes to (c) instead of (b).

    • Hi Norman,

      According to the SPCC or one of the County in California, is the secondary containment required for the storage of hazardous materials? In our facility, all of the haz mat have secondary containments, however, we have a gap for the stored materials. How about the materials that are stored in the flammable cabinet? Would the cabinet itself considered as the secondary containment or from what I believe, it needs to have the secondary containment trays in the cabinet.


      • Kevin, you are mixing SPCC with hazardous material storage. The two are totally separate requirements. SPCC is a Federal requirement that governs storage of petroleum-based products. If you have more than 1320 gallons of shell capacity for oil AND you have the potential to impact navigable waters of the United States, you have to have a SPCC plan. States and counties have no jurisdiction over it. Some states may have their own version of SPCC. As for secondary containment for hazardous materials in your counties, you need to check with your CUPA. Many CUPAs have different requirements. But it is always a best management practice to provide secondary containment regardless of the legal requirement.

  5. It is probably just a matter of time before all states will require secondary containment for hazardous material storage.

  6. the question I have is for protable utility generators as the have Hazardous Material are they required to have secondary containment as well

  7. There is no FEDERAL secondary containment requirement for hazardous WASTES. Hazardous material is a different matter. Check with your individual state for secondary containment for hazardous material. Hazardous material and hazardous waste are not the same thing.

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