Language Translation
  Close Menu

Hazardous Waste

State (IC 13-11-2-99) and federal laws define, “hazardous waste” is a solid waste that may:

  • Cause or contribute to an increase in mortality (death)
  • Cause or contribute to serious, irreversible, or incapacitating reversible illness
  • Pose a substantial hazard to human health or the environment either presently or in the future

These hazards vary in severity depending upon:

  • Quantity of the waste
  • Concentration of the waste
  • Characteristics of the waste (physical, chemical, infectious, etc.)

These dangers can happen when wastes are improperly treated, stored, transported, disposed of, or otherwise managed.

Waste Determination

Hazardous wastes come in many forms.  All waste generators, except households, must properly identify all wastes they generate, treat, store, or send off-site for recycling, energy recovery, or disposal to determine whether the wastes are defined as hazardous waste under RCRA. Waste analysis involves identifying or verifying the chemical and physical characteristics of a waste by performing a detailed chemical and physical analysis of a representative sample of the waste or, in certain cases, by applying acceptable knowledge of the waste. There is a determination process [PDF] to help with classifications as well as an audit businesses can conduct on themselves [DOC]. These wastes can be liquid, solid, semisolid, or contained gases.


Hazardous wastes are categorized by either being on a known list, or by exhibiting certain characteristics even though there are some exceptions. Listed Hazardous Waste consists of source-specific, non-specific source, and commercial chemical products. These are from common manufacturing and industrial processes, specific industries, and discarded commercial products. Whereas Characteristic Hazardous Wastes are classified based on what qualities they have. This could be ignitability [PDF], corrosivity, reactivity, and toxicity.


Hazardous waste management must comply with the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), passed by congress in 1976. IDEM has been authorized by the U.S. EPA to implement the majority of the federal RCRA Subtitle C hazardous waste management program in Indiana.


Hazardous wastes are regulated during their entire lifespan (cradle-to-grave); generation, storage, transportation, processing, disposal. Indiana's hazardous waste management rules are codified at 329 IAC 3.1. Indiana has adopted most of the federal hazardous waste management standards codified federally at 40 CFR Parts 260-270, and 273. Exceptions and additions to the federal rules are specifically noted in the state's hazardous waste management rules. Residents who generate hazardous waste in their households and communities with collection programs can find disposal guidance on IDEM’s Household Hazardous Wastes (HHW) page.

Hazardous Waste Generator Categories

Hazardous waste regulations vary according to the amount of hazardous waste generated in a month or accumulated on-site. Generator status is determined by the total amount of hazardous waste generated in a month, not an average, not per waste stream, and not the quantity shipped.  There are three hazardous waste generator categories (40 CFR 262.13): Very Small Quantity Generator (VSQG), Small Quantity Generator (SQG), and Large Quantity Generator (LQG).

Hazardous Waste Program

Facilities that generate certain quantities of hazardous waste must register with U.S. EPA/IDEM, and are subject to inspections. Manufacturing or industrial facilities that store and/or treat the wastes they generate are responsible for managing their hazardous waste according to hazardous waste generator regulations. Facilities that wish to accept off-site hazardous waste for treatment, storage or disposal must be properly permitted. Facilities managing hazardous waste are required to clean up (“close”) units utilized to treat or store hazardous waste when the facility ceases operation of the unit. Hazardous waste disposal facilities are required to close disposal unit(s) by properly preparing the unit for post-closure maintenance and monitoring. Post-closure maintenance and monitoring is managed pursuant to a post-closure plan, typically contained within an operating permit or a post-closure permit.


The Uniform Hazardous Waste Manifest tracks hazardous waste from its point of generation, through the transportation process, to its final destination. It was created to ensure that the waste is not tampered with, dumped, or otherwise illegally disposed along the way. A manifest must accompany every shipment of regulated hazardous waste starting or ending in Indiana unless exempted by 329 IAC 3.1. The manifest is standardized and used by all states, and requires information about the quantities and characteristics of the waste.

Indiana does not require copies of the manifest to be sent to IDEM. Please note that signatures on manifests may be electronic or hand-written, as noted in the U.S. EPA’s Hazardous Waste Electronic Manifest (e-Manifest) System.

The U.S. EPA has established a national system for tracking hazardous waste shipments electronically. This system, known as “e-Manifest,” will modernize the nation’s cradle-to-grave hazardous waste tracking process while saving valuable time, resources, and dollars for industry and states.

Hazardous Waste Facilities and Activities

Hazardous waste activities include generation, satellite accumulation, transportation, transfer activities, storage, treatment, and disposal. There are notification and reporting requirements, as well as fees depending on the activity. Certain activities require a permit from IDEM. Also, there are requirements for investigating potential releases and performing cleanups at on-site areas other than the permitted hazardous waste units (e.g., spills from process operations). This is known as RCRA Corrective Action.

Hazardous Waste Topics