- Skip Navigation

Note: This message is displayed if (1) your browser is not standards-compliant or (2) you have you disabled CSS. Read our Policies for more information.

Amber Alert
Amber Alert - TEST
  • widget1
  • widget2

Indiana Department of Environmental Management


Chapter 6: Table of Contents

Return to the Index

Chapter 6 - Section VI: Permitting Areas - Hazardous Waste Permits

Does everyone generating or handling hazardous waste need a permit?

Generators of hazardous waste do not need a permit unless they also are treating, storing or disposing of waste on-site. IDEM continues to protect public health and the environment by regulating those who generate hazardous waste.

Types of Hazardous Waste Generators

Who is a Generator?

Many commercial and industrial activities generate hazardous waste. All facilities or people that produce hazardous waste are considered generators. All hazardous waste generators are regulated, although they are not required to obtain a permit unless they also intend to treat, store, or dispose of their hazardous waste on-site.

All generators of hazardous waste are responsible for identifying hazardous wastes, ensuring that it is properly handled on-site, and that materials shipped off-site are only sent to properly permitted facilities. Generators shipping hazardous waste off-site to a licensed hazardous waste treatment, storage or disposal facility also are required to use a qualified shipper and to meet all waste container labeling requirements. The facility must also maintain accurate records of who had custody of the hazardous wastes and where it was taken.

Interested parties with questions about registered generators in their neighborhood or concerns about whether such wastes are being properly managed may call IDEM at (317) 232-8925. For more information about local hazardous waste generators, visit these Internet resources:

How are permits issued to facilities for the treatment, storage or disposal of hazardous wastes and how can you participate in the permitting process?

  • What:
    • Permits regulate the handling, storage and disposal of hazardous wastes.
  • Applicant Responsibilities:
    • Provide “Good Character Disclosure” statement.
  • IDEM Responsibilities:
    • Provide public notice of draft permit.
    • Distribute a notice of decision to the entity, local officials, and interested parties.
  • Public Notice:
    • Provide public notice 30 days prior to “pre-application” public meeting.
    • Hold a pre-application meeting regarding the potential application to answer questions.
    • Public notice of draft permit.
  • Public Comment Period:
    • 45 days for draft permit.
  • Public Meeting:
    • Held at least 30 days into the 45 day public comment period for draft permit.
  • Other Important Considerations:
    • IDEM has 365 days to issue a decision.
  • Class 3 Modifications:
    • Substantially alter the facility or its operations.
      • Permittee must:
        • Notify state governments, local governments and interested parties of application.
        • Provide a 60 day public comment period and hold a public meeting.
      • IDEM must:
        • Notify state governments, local governments and interested parties within 10 days of a decision.
        • IDEM must issue a decision within 270 days.
  • Class 2 Modifications:
    • Allows changes to variations in waste managed.
      • Permittee must:
        • Notify state governments, local governments and interested parties of application.
        • Provide a 60 day public comment period and hold a public meeting.
      • IDEM must:
        • IDEM must issue a decision within 120 days.
  • Class 1 Modifications:
    • Apply to minor changes made in the facility.
      • Permittee must: Notify IDEM within 7 days of the modification going into effect.
Hazardous Waste Permits; General Public Notice Information

Issuing, renewing or significantly modifying any permit for a facility that stores, treats, or disposes of hazardous waste includes substantial public notice requirements and opportunity for public input. Some public notice requirements must be filled by IDEM, while others are the responsibility of the applicant.

IDEM maintains mailing lists used to notify interested parties regarding changes to the permit status of various Indiana permitted hazardous waste management facilities. The Individual facility mailing list includes city and local officials, state legislators, members of congress and all private citizens who have requested to be notified of changes to a specific facility’s permit conditions. IDEM also maintains a list of all people who wish to be notified of changes to permit conditions at any permitted hazardous waste facility in the state.

Each year a public notice is placed in newspapers around the state advising people of what to do to be added to one of these lists. If you wish to have your name added to one of the public notification lists for hazardous waste facilities please contact the IDEM Office of Land Quality Permit Branch at (800) 451-6027 or (317) 233-1052.

Prior to Submitting an Application

Applicants seeking an initial permit for a "new" hazardous waste facility, or seeking a permit renewal that also includes significant changes to the existing permitted facility are required to hold at least one public meeting prior to submitting their applications.

At least 30 days before the "pre-application meeting," the applicant must place a public notice in the primary local newspaper. The applicant must provide additional public notice by posting a readable sign about the meeting at or near the facility property and by announcing the meeting on at least one local radio or television station. Each of these public notice formats should list the date, time and location of the meeting, describe the proposed facility and the purpose of the meeting, and provide a contact person for the applicant.

At the pre-application meeting, the applicant should solicit questions and comments, inform the community and interested parties of proposed hazardous waste management activities, and provide a sign-up sheet for attendees who wish to provide their names and addresses. After the meeting the applicant must submit to IDEM a summary of the meeting, a copy of the attendee sign-up sheet, and copies of any written comments or materials submitted at the meeting.


Hazardous waste applicants must notify adjoining property owners within ten days of the submission of an application. The applicant must also provide the addresses of county and local elected officials as part of the application. This information will help IDEM notify those officials about the application and the final permitting decision.

Once a draft permit has been prepared by IDEM, a public notice is placed in the largest and most local newspapers, on a local radio station, and on the IDEM Web site. The public notice announces the availability of a draft permit for public review. It also declares a 45 day public comment period. The notice describes that the application, good character disclosure statement and draft permit may be viewed at the local library and the IDEM Virtual File Cabinet.

The Good Character Disclosure Statement - 50400 (now available on the IDEM Forms page) is required of all applicants and any change of ownership for commercial hazardous waste treatment, storage or disposal facilities. It describes any prior legal proceedings, judgments or convictions. The applicant's experience managing similar wastes, any prior complaints that resulted in fines and any record of violating state or federal law or endangering public health is also made known. IDEM may deny a permit to any applicant with a substantial record of convictions, repeated violations or intentional misrepresentation.

If the application request is for a new facility, a public hearing will automatically be scheduled by IDEM. The date, time and location of the hearing will be included in the public notice. If a public meeting or public hearing is not automatically scheduled and announced in the initial public notice IDEM may grant a request for such a meeting or hearing.

IDEM has 365 days to issue permitting decisions for new hazardous waste landfills, incinerators, treatment facilities or storage facilities. There is no time limit to issue decisions to renew hazardous waste permits.

After the public comment period has expired IDEM will prepare and issue a final permitting decision. A copy of the permit is sent to the applicant and a notice of decision is sent to local officials and interested parties. The notice of decision states whether the permit was issued or denied and responds to all relevant comments submitted during the public comment period. The notice of decision also includes information on how to appeal a permit decision.

What are the opportunities for public participation associated with modifications to existing hazardous waste permits?

When a permit is modified only the conditions subject to modification are reopened. IDEM must maintain a list of all approved permit modifications and publish a notice once a year in a statewide newspaper. Modifications can be requested by the permit holder. IDEM can also modify the permit at any time if acceptable cause exists and modifications would ensure that the permit continues to match current standards. Members of the public also may make a case that a permit should be modified.

Class 3 Modifications substantially alter the facility or its operations. The permittee must identify its request to IDEM as a Class 3 modification, describe the exact changes to permit conditions and supporting documents referenced by the permit and explain why the modification is needed.

The permittee must notify all appropriate units of state and local government and all previously identified interested parties. The permittee must also publish a notice in a major local newspaper within seven days of the request’s submission and provide a 60 day public comment period and a public meeting.

IDEM must notify all appropriate units of state and local government and all those on the facility mailing list within 10 days of any decision to grant or deny a Class 3 modification. At that time, it also must respond to all significant written comments received during the public comment period.

IDEM must approve or deny the modification request within 270 days of receipt. IDEM also has the option to grant a temporary 180 day authorization to change the conditions of the permit. For more information, see "Temporary Modification Authorizations.”

Class 2 Modifications allow the changes necessary for a permittee to respond in a timely manner to variations in the type and quantity of waste managed by the facility. Class 2 modifications are also required before a facility can adopt technological advancements or make changes necessary to comply with new regulations.

The permittee must submit a request to IDEM that identifies the requested permit change or changes as a Class 2 modification request. The request must describe the exact changes to permit conditions and explain why they are needed. The permittee is responsible for notifying all appropriate units of state and local government and all interested parties on the facility mailing lists maintained by IDEM. The permittee must also publish a public notice, providing a 60 day comment period and a public meeting. IDEM must approve or deny the request within 120 days of receiving it. If the level of public interest high or the changes requested are complex, IDEM may instead determine that the permittee must follow the procedure for a Class 3 modification. IDEM also has the option to grant a temporary 180 day authorization to change the conditions of the permit. For more information see "Temporary Modification Authorizations."

IDEM must notify all appropriate units of state and local government and all parties on the facility mailing list within 10 days of the decision to grant or deny a Class 2 modification.

Class 1 Modifications apply to minor changes that keep the permit current with routine changes to the facility or its operation. They do not substantially alter the permit conditions or reduce the ability of the facility to protect human health or the environment.

The permit holder must notify IDEM within 7 calendar days of the modification. The notification states the changes being made and why they are necessary. Some Class 1 modification requests do require IDEM's prior approval. In those instances the permit holder must notify all appropriate units of state and local government and all interested parties on the facility mailing lists maintained by IDEM within 90 calendar days after the modifications are approved.

Temporary Modification Authorizations

IDEM may grant a temporary authorization of a Class 2 or Class 3 modification without prior public notice upon the request of the permittee. However, that authorization must be in compliance with established national standards for the acceptable management of hazardous waste.

Temporary authorizations are used when it is necessary to allow treatment or storage in accordance with established national standards for a variety of time-sensitive reasons. A temporary authorization may be reissued for an additional 180 day period if the permittee has applied for a Class 2 or 3 modification.

Like all IDEM permitting decisions, modifications to hazardous waste permits may be appealed.

What is hazardous waste, also known as RCRA waste?

There are two main types of Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) hazardous waste. The first is "characteristic" wastes which exhibit hazardous characteristics. Additionally there are "listed" wastes, which are certain types of wastes that have been identified by the U.S. EPA as hazardous.

"Characteristic" hazardous wastes are defined in the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations (40 CFR 261, Subpart C) as exhibiting one of four hazardous characteristics; ignitable, corrosive, reactive/explosive or toxic, but are not listed or otherwise excluded from Subtitle C regulation. It is the responsibility of the generator to determine whether their wastes exhibit one or more of these characteristics.

  • Ignitable characteristic hazardous wastes include:
    • liquids other than water- based mixtures containing less than 24 percent alcohol which can be ignited at temperatures of 140°Fahrenheit or less;
    • solids which can ignite through friction, exposure to moisture or spontaneous chemical changes under normal conditions.
    • Ignitable compressed gas and oxidizer as defined under 49 CFR 173.151 are also considered ignitable wastes.
  • Corrosive characteristic hazardous wastes are those with a pH equal to or less than two, or equal to or greater than 12.5. Liquids which can corrode steel at a rate of greater than one-quarter inch per year are also characterized as corrosive.
  • Reactive characteristic hazardous wastes are substances unstable enough to undergo violent change without detonation, are capable of exploding under normal conditions or when heated under confinement. Substances which react violently with water, or which form potentially explosive mixtures or generate dangerous types or amounts of toxic gases when mixed with water are also characterized as reactive. Reactive wastes also include those cyanide or sulfide bearing substances capable of generating dangerous or environmentally threatening quantities of toxic gases when exposed to pH levels between two and 12.5. Explosives as defined under 49 CFR 173 (51, 53, or 88) are also characterized as reactive wastes.
  • Toxic characteristic hazardous wastes are those solid wastes determined to contain levels of certain toxic metals, pesticides, or other toxic organic chemicals at. The test used is a Toxicity Characteristic Leaching Procedure test, and must record levels at or above specific federally regulated thresholds. Currently, 39 toxic contaminants are listed in Table I of 40 CFR 261.24 including arsenic, benzene, cadmium, chlordane, creosol, lead, mercury, selenium and vinyl chloride. If extracts removed from waste using the TCLP test contains one or more of those contaminants at levels which exceed the maximum unregulated concentrations the waste must be characterized as a toxic hazardous waste.

"Listed" hazardous wastes defined in the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations (40 CFR 261, Subpart D) include approximately 900 different hazardous or acutely hazardous wastes specifically listed in RCRA. Listed wastes include:

  • The F List is comprised of 28 different waste streams from non-specific sources. Included are some types of spent solvents, industrial wastewater treatment sludge, quench water sludge, and petroleum-processing sludge. Liquids which have percolated through land disposed hazardous wastes, called leachate, are also included.
  • The K List includes 116 hazardous wastes including residues from specific types of processes associated with producing wood preservatives, organic and inorganic chemicals, pesticides, explosives, inks, veterinary pharmaceuticals, petroleum refining, metal refining, coke production and coal tar. Residues from chemical reactions, distillation or purification processes are included.
  • The P List includes 239 chemical substances which have been identified as acutely hazardous. These substances may also be reactive or exhibit other characteristics. The P List is comprised of commercial chemicals which may not be compliant with appropriate specifications, such as containing impurities. Additional items on the list include substances that might have been spilled or are a residue found in containers. P List substances must be disposed of as listed hazardous wastes but may still be used in other commercial or industrial processes in lieu of disposal. They are not considered hazardous wastes until they require disposal.
  • The U List includes 521 substances identified as toxic wastes. They may have additional hazardous properties such as being ignitable, reactive, or corrosive. U List substances are commercial chemicals in need of disposal as a result of being spilled, being off-specifications, or because they are container residue. These substances may be suitable for less stringent commercial or industrial processes in lieu of disposal and are not regulated as waste while being used in an appropriate process.