OSEA Safety Blog

What is Satellite Accumulation of Hazardous Waste?

Wednesday, November 17, 2021 Brenda Griffin

What is Satellite Accumulation of Hazardous Waste?

Generating hazardous waste can be made easier to manage when you set up what is known as a satellite accumulation area (SAA). A satellite accumulation area is a storage location at or near the point of generation where hazardous wastes initially accumulate and is under the control of the operator of the process generating the waste.

Environmental regulations allow for up to a 55-gallon drum of hazardous waste to be accumulated in the area or 1 quart of acute liquid hazardous waste or 1 kg solid acute hazardous waste for large and small quantity hazardous waste generators. While a 55-gallon drum is the maximum container size, you may use a satellite container of a different size. So, if a 5-gallon pail is more convenient, that’s fine.

Also, you can have satellite drums for additional wastes generated in an area – therefore you may have more than one satellite container in an area provided the wastes are different. (One satellite accumulation container per waste stream.)

There is no limit to the number of satellite accumulation areas a generator of hazardous waste can utilize around their facility, and these containers may stay in place until they are full.

Keep in mind that these satellite containers must be compatible with the waste being placed into them and the container must be closed when not in use. They must also be labeled with the words “Hazardous Waste” as well as have a description of the type of waste within it. Labels can be preprinted or hand-written, as long as they are legible.

You would also want to inspect these containers as part of your regular weekly waste inspection, although inspections are not a requirement for satellite accumulation containers at the federal level. Check with your state regulations to see if weekly inspections are required in your state as requirements vary.

Once full, you have 3 days to move the containers to the facility centralized accumulation area (CAA). At this time, the date is placed on the label which starts the clock on the required timeframes for removing wastes off site. For example, large quantity generators would need to make sure the dated full containers are shipped to a treatment, storage or disposal facility within 90 days. Please note that placing the date on the label while in use as a satellite container could put you out of timing compliance so leave the date blank until the containers are moved to your centralized accumulation area.

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