The vast majority (96%) of hazardous wastes are not sent to commercial waste handlers, but are processed on-site by the generators of the wastes. In this case "processed" generally means dumped into an unlined lagoon (nothing more than a pit in the ground) so that volatile organics can evaporate into the local air; it can also mean "burns in an incinerator" or "pumps into the deep earth." To do these things legally, the generator must have a RCRA (Resource Conservation and Recovery Act) permit. We recently asked the federal EPA to send us a listing of all RCRA on-site waste-processing permit holders. They obligingly sent us a list of the names and addresses (and permit number) of 1470 permit holders.
The states with the largest number of on-site waste processors are Texas with 156, followed by Ohio (100); California (84); Pennsylvania (82); Connecticut (77); Indiana (69); Illinois (54); Louisiana (52); Michigan (51); Florida (47); Alabama (40); Georgia (39); New Jersey (38); New York (37); North Carolina (34); South Carolina (33); Kentucky (31); Missouri (30); Oklahoma (29); West Virginia (27); Iowa (27); Washington (26); Virginia (24); Mississippi (23); Massachusetts (21); Colorado (20); Utah (20); Tennessee (19); Kansas (18); New Mexico (18); Puerto Rico (15); Arkansas (15); Oregon (13); Wyoming (12); Maryland (11); Montana (9); Wisconsin (9); Idaho (9); Arizona (6); Nevada (6); Nebraska (6); Maine (5); Minnesota (5); Delaware (5); Hawaii (5); New Hampshire (4); North Dakota (4); Alaska (2); Guam (2); Virgin Islands (1); Rhode Island (0); South Dakota (0); Vermont(0).
We got this 114-page list of all noncommercial on-site waste treatment permitees by sending a Freedom of Information Act request to: U.S. EPA Office of Solid Waste, WH-562A, 401 M Street, SW, Washington, DC 20460; you could ask for a list covering just your state. Who's managing hazardous wastes on-site in your state? This list will tell you.
To find out who's processing wastes COMMERCIALLY in your state, see Appendix A (incinerators),
Appendix B (land disposal units), and Appendix C (deep well injectors) in the indispensable EPA
publication THE HAZARDOUS WASTE SYSTEM (Washington, DC: U.S. EPA Office of Solid Waste and
Emergency Response, June, 1987); get your free copy by phoning the EPA's RCRA Hotline: (800) 424-9346;
in DC, phone (202) 382-3000.
--Peter Montague, Ph.D.
Descriptor terms: hazardous waste; on-site disposal; landfilling; pits; ponds; lagoons; incineration; deep well injection; pa; ct; tx; ca; oh; in; il; la; mi; fl; al; nj; ga; ny; nc; sc; ky; mo; ok; wv; io; wa; va; mi; ma; co; ut; tn; ks; nm; pr; ar; or; wy; md; mt; wi; id; az; nv; nb; me; mn; de; hi; nh; nd; ak; ri; sd; vt;