Waste and Air Quality Management


Hazardous Waste

Wastes are considered hazardous when the material (solid, liquid, or gaseous) poses a threat to public health and environmental safety. There are over 400 wastes listed on EPA's Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), including solvents, petroleum, some pharmaceutical products, and some pesticides. DEQ HazMat officers inspect waste generators on the islands of Saipan, Tinian, and Rota, including:

  • Heavy Equipment Operators
  • Auto Shops
  • Photo Shops
  • Printing Shops
  • Garment Factories
  • Golf Resorts
  • Government Facilities
  • Hotels & Apartment
  • Quarries
  • Medical Clinics
  • Dry Cleaners

All Hazardous Waste generators should have an inventory of all hazardous wastes at their facility. The inventory list (Tier II) should be turned into EMO by March 1st of every year. This is part of the regulation under the EPA Emergency Planning Community Right-to-know Act (EPCRA). There are two ways waste may be brought into the hazardous waste regulatory system:

  • Listing
  • Identification through characteristics

Listed Wastes

Your waste is considered hazardous if it appears on any one of the four lists of hazardous wastes contained in the RCRA regulations. These wastes have been listed because they either exhibit one of the characteristics described below or contain any number of toxic constituents that have been shown to be harmful to health and the environment.

Waste Characteristics

Even if a waste does not appear on one of the EPA lists, it is considered hazardous if it has one or more of the following characteristics:

  • Ignitable waste- easily combustible or flammable. Examples are paint wastes, certain degreasers, or other solvents.
  • Corrosive waste- dissolves metals, other materials, or burns the skin. Examples are waste rust removers, waste acid or alkaline cleaning fluids, and waste battery acid.
  • Reactive waste- unstable or undergoes rapid or violent chemical reaction with water or other materials. Examples are cyanide plating wastes, waste bleaches, and other waste oxidizers.
  • Toxic waste- harmful or fatal when ingested or absorbed (e.g., containing mercury, lead, etc.). When toxic wastes are disposed on land, contaminated liquid may leach from the waste and pollute ground water.

Managing (Storing) Hazardous Wastes

Hazardous wastes may be stored at your site in containers (55-gallon drum, tanks or others) for up to 180 days, following the certain criteria:

  • the words, "Hazardous Waste," is clearly marked on the container with the date waste was first collected.
  • keep containers in good condition, replacing them when there are leaks.
  • inspect containers for leaks or corrosion weekly.
  • never store wastes in the same container that could react together to cause fires, leaks or other releases.

Handling Hazardous Wastes

  • Reduce by purchasing only the amount you need.
  • Reuse the products by donating unused portions to friends or organizations.
  • Recycle by taking products such as used motor oil, batteries, and latex paint to a recycling facility.

If any products cannot be reused, recycled, or properly disposed of in your trash, store them safely in their original containers away from food, pets, and children, then take them to the refuse transfer station in Lower Base.

Disposing Hazardous Waste:

  • When disposing of Hazardous Waste, an EPA certified hazardous waste contractor should be contracted to conduct the collection, storage, packaging and shipping of the waste for proper disposal at an EPA approved Hazardous Waste Disposal Facility.
  • Improper disposal of these wastes can also be subject to fines under the CNMI Solid Waste Management Act, the CNMI Well Drilling and Well Operations Regulations, and the CNMI Hazardous Waste Management Regulations.

Reporting Hazardous Wastes

Reporting Hazardous Wastes can be done by contacting:

  • DEQ on weekdays at 664-8500/8501
  • EMO on nights and weekends at 322-8002

When reporting a release or spill of Hazardous Wastes, please give the following information:

  • Time
  • Location
  • Amount of spill
  • Name (optional)
  • Name of responsible party (if any)
  • Type of hazardous waste (if possible)

Links related to this topic: