Non-Special Waste Certification

This fact sheet is for general information only. It is not intended to replace, interpret or modify the regulations for managing special wastes in Illinois.

Section 22.48 of the [Illinois] Environmental Protection Act (“Act”) excludes certain non-liquid, non-hazardous industrial-process and pollution-control wastes from the definition of special waste, provided that generators certify that these wastes meet all the requirements of Section 3.475(c)(1).

Any business generating non-liquid, non-hazardous industrial-process or pollution-control waste has the potential to certify that these wastes can be disposed of as non-special waste.

What does generator certification require?

Section 22.48 of the Act stipulates certification must include the generator's verification that the waste:

  1. is not hazardous
  2. is not a liquid (as determined by paint-filter test SW-846 Method 9095)
  3. is not regulated asbestos-containing material as defined in 40 Code of Federal Regulations, Section 61.141
  4. does not contain polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) regulated in accordance with 40 Code of Federal Regulations, Part 761
  5. is not formerly hazardous waste rendered non-hazardous
  6. and does not result from shredding recyclable metals (e.g. auto fluff).

Additionally, each certification must have attached:

  1. a statement explaining how the generator determined the waste is neither hazardous nor liquid
  2. a description of the process that generated the waste
  3. any relevant material safety data sheets
  4. and results from analytical testing (signed and dated by the person who completed the analysis), or an explanation why testing was not needed

A template certification is now available. This is a guideline, not an official form. The generator may modify the template as long as it retains the information required in Section 22.48 of the Act.

How long must certification documents be retained? Are special forms required?

Certifications must be signed, dated and retained for three years following termination of the process that generated the waste. Certifications must be provided when requested by the Illinois EPA, the waste hauler or the receiving facility. The Agency may also request analytical testing if questions arise concerning a waste's characteristics. New certifications are required following any change in process or raw materials. No special certification forms are needed; generators may create certifications on ordinary business stationery, or use this template.

Are manifests and special-waste haulers needed when shipping non-special wastes?

Certification allows qualifying non-liquid, non-hazardous industrial-process and pollution-control wastes to be shipped as non-special waste to properly permitted facilities without manifesting or using special-waste haulers. Furthermore, receiving facilities do not need special-waste authorization. However, receiving facilities and waste haulers may impose on generators requirements more stringent than the provisions of Section 22.48.

What are industrial-process and pollution-control wastes?

  • Industrial-process waste is any waste generated directly or indirectly in the manufacture of a product or performance of a service. Examples include chemical catalysts, paint sludge, incinerator ash, metallic dust sweepings and off-specification, contaminated or recalled wholesale or retail products.
  • Pollution-control waste is any waste generated directly or indirectly in the removal of contaminants from air, land, or water. Examples include wastewater treatment plant sludge, baghouse dust, landfill waste, scrubber sludge and chemical spill cleanings.

Industrial-process and pollution-control wastes must be properly certified by their generators to make them eligible for management as non-special waste. Incomplete certification, including insufficient attachments, or false or mistaken certification requires these wastes to be managed as special wastes.

When can containers be shipped as non-special waste?

Section 3.475 of the Act excludes empty portable devices or containers from the definition of special waste. “Empty” means:

  1. the generator has certified the device or container is empty and does not contain a liquid
  2. all contents have been removed by pouring, pumping or aspirating, or by other means appropriate for the material and the container
  3. device or container residue does not exceed one inch in thickness
  4. any container lining has been removed and managed as a special waste

What special wastes cannot be certified as non-special wastes?

  • Hazardous waste as defined in Section 3.220 of the Act cannot be certified as non-special waste. (Section 722.111 of Title 35 of Illinois Administrative Code details procedures to be used in determining if a waste is hazardous.)
  • Potentially infectious medical waste as defined in Section 3.360 of the Act cannot be certified as non-special waste.
  • Liquids (as determined by paint-filter test SW-846 Method 9095)
  • Regulated asbestos-containing material as defined in 40 Code of Federal Regulations, Section 61.141
  • Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) regulated in accordance with 40 Code of Federal Regulations, Part 761
  • Hazardous waste that has been rendered non-hazardous
  • Waste from shredding recyclable metals (e.g. auto fluff)

Special wastes that cannot be certified as non-special wastes must continue to be manifested and to be transported by special-waste haulers to properly permitted facilities.

What are other requirements?

The information presented here does not eliminate any person's responsibility to meet the requirements of the Act or of environmental regulations. For complete requirements, see the Act's Title I: General Provisions; Title V: Land Pollution and Refuse Disposal; and Title XII: Penalties.

What are the penalties for false certification?

Anyone who knowingly and falsely certifies that an industrial-process or pollution-control waste is not a special waste commits a Class 4 felony for the first offense and a Class 3 felony for a subsequent offense as stated in Section 44 of the Act. In addition to other penalties prescribed by law, anyone convicted of a Class 4 felony is subject to a fine not to exceed $50,000 for each day of offense; for a Class 3 felony the maximum is $250,000 for each day of the offense.

For more information: Call the Illinois EPA Bureau of Land's Permit Section at 217-524-3300.