The hazardous waste program in the State of Illinois is a state implementation of portions of the Federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). This act was signed into law in 1976, and consisted of amendments to the Solid Waste Disposal Act of 1956. Regulations implementing RCRA became effective on November 8, 1980. Revisions to RCRA, referred to as the Hazardous and Solid Waste Amendments (HSWA) were made in 1984 as more information has become available about the amount and types of waste we generate.
The intent of the hazardous waste program is to provide a cradle-to-grave management scheme for hazardous wastes to ensure that these wastes are not mismanaged in a manner that will impact human health or the environment. At Illinois EPA, the Bureau of Land Permit Section is responsible for implementing the hazardous waste program. If you have any questions not answered here, contact the Permit Section at (217) 524-3300.
The regulations pertaining to the proper management of hazardous waste are found in Title 35 Ill. Adm. Code, Parts 700-739. These can be viewed at the Pollution Control Board's Environmental Regulations page. You'll need to navigate through this site to find the sections you are interested in.
The information below will give you guidance related to these regulations.
Definition of Solid Waste
In order for a waste to be considered a hazardous waste, it must first meet the definition of solid waste. For the most part, this includes any material that you are discarding, but there are many exceptions. Solid waste is defined in the regulations at Part 721 in Section 721.102.
Hazardous Waste Determination
It is the responsibility of all solid waste generators to determine whether their waste is hazardous. The procedure for this is called a "hazardous waste determination" and is outlined in Part 722 of the regulations at Section 722.111.
If you generate a hazardous waste, there are certain standards that apply to how you manage the waste. In general, generators must comply with the management requirements found in the regulations at Part 722. Also, there are quantity-specific standards that apply to on-site management. These standards will depend on how much hazardous waste you generate in a calendar month as indicated below:
- If you generate more than 1,000 kilograms (2,200 pounds) (or 1 kilogram of acutely hazardous waste) in a calendar month, the regulations that apply to you can be found in Part 722 at Section 722.134(a) through (c).
- If you generate more than 100 kilograms (220 pounds), but less than 1,000 kilograms (2,200 pounds) of hazardous waste in a calendar month, the regulations that apply to you can be found in Part 722 at Section 722.134.
- If you generate less than 100 kilograms (220 pounds) in a calendar month, the regulations that apply to you can be found in Part 721 at Section 721.105.
Small Quantity Generator (SQG) Re-Notification
In 2016, U.S. EPA adopted the Hazardous Waste Generator Improvements Rule, which includes a requirement for all Small Quantity Generators (SQGs) of hazardous waste to re-notify U.S. EPA of their hazardous waste activities every four years. In 2019, Illinois adopted this rule. The purpose of the re-notification requirement is to ensure each state has an accurate capture of the SQG universe within its jurisdiction. These data are used for outreach, compliance assistance, and oversight activities. As a result of this change, Illinois EPA is able to provide more appropriately targeted information to regulated entities.
Who are SQGs?
SQGs are those facilities that generate more than 100 kilograms, but less than 1,000 kilograms, of hazardous waste per month. Click here for more information about hazardous waste generator categories.
What do SQGs need to do and when?
SQGs are now required to re-notify Illinois EPA of their generator status every four years by completing and submitting the Notification of Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) Subtitle C Activities (Site Identification Form) in full, also known as EPA Form 8700-12. The paper form is available here.
The first re-notification is due by September 1, 2021, and every four years thereafter. SQGs that notify between September 1, 2017 and September 1, 2021 will not have to re-notify prior to that date.
The rules for transporters of Hazardous Waste can be found under 723, which requires transporters of hazardous waste to obtain a USEPA identification number (Form 8700-12), and under part 809.910, State Hazardous Waste Transportation and Permit Program. Although it is not a federal requirement, Illinois requires transporters of hazardous waste to have an Illinois Special Waste Hauling Permit.
Manifest Rules for Hazardous Waste
The rules for manifesting special waste can be found under Part 809.501, as well as 22.8 of the Environmental Protection Act. Wastes generated and/or destined for Illinois must be accompanied by the Uniform Hazardous Waste Manifest.
Unless exempted, a person engaged in the treatment, storage and/or disposal of hazardous waste, as defined in the regulations in Part 720 at Section 720.110, is required to obtain a hazardous waste management permit. For facilities receiving waste from off-site and on-site facilities managing non-remediation waste, a RCRA Part B Permit is necessary. Regulations for treatment, storage and disposal facilities that are subject to a RCRA Part B Permit include all of Parts 700 to 739 as they apply to the specific activities conducted at the site.
For facilities managing on-site remediation waste, the RCRA Remedial Action Plan Permit (RAPP) is a more streamlined option that is available as an alternative to the RCRA Part B Permit. Regulations pertaining to RAPPs are located in Part 703, Subpart H and Part 724, Subpart B. You can find more information on RAPPs in the RAPP Fact Sheet and in the RAPP Application Instructions.
Persons seeking to engage in any activity that will require a RCRA permit in the state of Illinois should contact the Bureau of Land Permit Section at (217) 524-3300 to discuss the permitting process.
Both generators and facilities have certain requirements to report their waste activity. Each year, Illinois hazardous waste generators tell the Illinois EPA the amounts and kinds of hazardous waste they produced during the previous year. If in any month they generate 1,000 kilograms (2,200 pounds) or more of hazardous waste (or 1 kilogram of acutely hazardous waste) they must report where they have shipped the waste; generators of this quantity of waste are considered Large Quantity Generators (LQG). Generators indicate by code the types of wastes produced and the steps they took to manage these wastes. On-site generators who manage their own waste must also report. The forms and instructions are now available.
If some or all of these wastes were sent to commercial treatment, storage, and disposal facilities (TSDFs), that information and the identity of each receiving facility also is submitted. Illinois TSDFs report the types and quantities of wastes received from in-state and out-of-state generators; they also report the procedures they used to manage these wastes. Facilities who manage the waste from other companies must report all waste received. All large quantity generators must submit a $500 annual fee with their Annual Report, due March 1. Both fee and report are due from every site that meets the large quantity generator threshold in ANY one or more months.
The specific companies that must report change yearly, as some businesses close or discontinue certain practices and other businesses open or add certain practices. Companies that were previously regulated report as nonregulated generators, and then do not continue to report. The number of regulated companies is on a downward trend. This is believed to be at least partially the result of successful waste minimization efforts.
Waste generator and management data reported by Illinois generators and TSDFs for the years 1987-2013 has been compiled and summarized. The data reveals that most Illinois generated hazardous waste is managed at the site of generation.
Hazardous Waste Cleanup Projects
Hazardous waste (RCRA) remediation (cleanup) projects are discussed on the Hazardous Waste Remediation Projects page.
Other Hazardous Waste Related Programs and Information
- Permitted Facilities (for storage, treatment, recycling, and incinerating)
- Hazardous Waste Permit and Inspection Fees
- Universal Waste
- Managing Your Hazardous Waste: A Guide for Small Business (U.S.EPA)
Hazardous Waste Pharmaceuticals
In September 2020, the Illinois Pollution Control Board adopted U.S. EPA’s RCRA Subpart P amendments, which changed the standards applicable to healthcare facilities and reverse distributors that generate or handle hazardous waste pharmaceuticals. Transporters that handle hazardous waste pharmaceuticals are subject to the existing standards applicable to transporting hazardous waste. The amendments only govern hazardous waste pharmaceuticals; entities that generate or handle non-hazardous pharmaceuticals are not impacted by this rule. Below is a summary of the impact of these amendments. Additional resources for entities that generate or manage hazardous waste pharmaceuticals are available from U.S. EPA
- Pharmaceuticals covered by the rule. Subpart P covers all non-creditable hazardous waste pharmaceuticals. This includes drugs and dietary supplements that meet the definition of “hazardous waste.” Sharps, medical waste, amalgams, non-hazardous materials, and pharmaceuticals that are legitimately reused or have a reasonable expectation of reuse are not governed by this rule. Pharmaceuticals that would otherwise meet the definition of hazardous waste are not subject to the handling requirements of this rule if they are “creditable” or “potentially creditable,” meaning they have a reasonable expectation of reuse. Examples of creditable or potentially creditable pharmaceuticals include materials that are unused, in their original packaging, and unexpired pharmaceuticals.
- Healthcare Facilities. A healthcare facility is an entity that is lawfully authorized to provide preventative, diagnostic, or rehabilitative care of humans or animals or is authorized to distribute, sell, or dispense pharmaceuticals. Common examples of healthcare facilities are hospitals, doctor’s offices, and pharmacies. Under Subpart P, healthcare facilities that generate hazardous waste pharmaceuticals are the generators of record for the purpose of hazardous waste handling, reporting, and manifesting. Healthcare facilities are subject to a uniform set of operational standards, irrespective of the volume of hazardous waste pharmaceuticals generated. These standards include a one-year limitation on storing hazardous waste pharmaceuticals onsite, properly labeling and identifying hazardous materials, and properly training employees who are responsible for handling hazardous waste.
- Reverse Distributors. A reverse distributor is an entity that receives and accumulates hazardous waste pharmaceuticals that are potentially creditable for the purpose of facilitating and verifying manufacturer credit. In order to avoid being subject to RCRA permitting, reverse distributors must comply with handling and storage requirements that are comparable to the standards the govern LQG operations. In addition, reverse distributors must inventory all hazardous waste pharmaceuticals within 30 calendar days of receipt and may not store accumulated hazardous waste pharmaceuticals for more than 210 calendar days. These limitations do not apply to entities that only accept non-hazardous pharmaceuticals.