Hazardous Waste – Regulatory Oversight

Note: Responsibilities for implementing Maryland’s program for the regulatory oversight of hazardous waste are distributed among several units within MDE’s Land Management Administration.  The Resource Management Program is responsible for hazardous waste regulatory development, regulatory interpretation, and permitting for facilities that treat, store or dispose of hazardous waste.  The Technical Services and Operations Program is responsible for managing various tracking and certification programs, including the issuance of site identification numbers (EPA ID numbers), the hazardous waste manifest system, the biennial reporting system, and the certification of transporters of hazardous waste.  The Solid Waste Program’s Compliance Division is responsible for checking compliance with hazardous waste regulatory requirements.

Hazardous Waste may be produced as a by-product of certain manufacturing operations. In addition, many commercial chemical products are regulated as hazardous waste once they are discarded or intended to be discarded.


Major revisions to Maryland’s hazardous waste generator regulations became effective on May 3, 2021. These revisions incorporate provisions of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s hazardous waste generator improvements rule. More details are found in the document that is linked to “Revisions to Maryland’s Hazardous Waste Generator Regulations” in the above list. 

What is hazardous waste?

To be regulated as a hazardous waste, a substance must either have the potential to cause or contribute to an increase in mortality or serious illness, or, threaten human health or the environment if mismanaged. As a practical matter, a substance is regulated as a hazardous waste if it is specifically listed as such in State regulations, is mixed with or derived from one of those "listed" wastes, or exhibits certain characteristics defined in the regulations.

The characteristics of hazardous waste include ignitability, corrosivity (strong acids or caustics), reactivity (explosives or items which can release toxic gases when mixed with water), and toxicity (substances which will release certain levels of toxics when subjected to a test simulating conditions in a landfill).

What can be done with hazardous waste?

Some hazardous waste is recycled into usable products.  Hazardous waste is also treated through chemical, biological or physical treatment to render it non-hazardous. It may also be incinerated or disposed of in a specially designed landfill.

What requirements apply to persons who generate hazardous waste?

Hazardous waste generators must arrange for shipment of their hazardous waste to a facility permitted to accept it or, with the appropriate permits, treat it themselves. A person who ships hazardous waste off-site must use a hauler certified by MDE and the waste must be accompanied by a document that tracks it from generation to disposal (the hazardous waste manifest). A person must comply with regulations on the storage of the waste, and must follow specified procedures to prevent the occurrence of circumstances which would threaten human health or the environment. These requirements are spelled out in Title 26, Subtitle 13 of the Code of Maryland Regulations (COMAR 26.13).

How does MDE check on compliance?

MDE inspectors make routine, unannounced inspections of hazardous waste generators and permitted hazardous waste facilities. Generator facilities found in violation of hazardous waste rules may be penalized under administrative or civil actions. Violations of hazardous waste laws in Maryland may be considered a felony and subject the violator to criminal sanctions, including imprisonment.

How do I report illegal activity concerning hazardous waste?

Email or call the Solid Waste Program's Compliance Division at 410-537-3315. 

What is MDE doing to reduce the generation of hazardous waste?

Persons who generate hazardous waste are required by law to have a program in place to reduce the volume and toxicity of the hazardous waste they produce. The Hazardous Waste Program has a pollution prevention/waste minimization group which assists generators who are attempting to reduce the amount of waste they create. They provide technical assistance and serve as a clearing house for information.

What about hazardous household products?

Persons should strive to minimize the amount of hazardous household waste they generate. Consideration should be given to purchasing less hazardous products. If a hazardous product must be used, only the amount needed for the job should be purchased.

Household waste is exempted from being regulated as hazardous waste. Nevertheless, it should not be disposed of indiscriminately. If you no longer have use for a hazardous product, try to find someone who can use it. Failing that, contact your county government​ to determine if they have a household hazardous waste collection day scheduled.

Are there any proposed actions currently open for public comment?

A draft permit to renew a Controlled Hazardous Substance (CHS) post-closure permit currently held by General Electric Company (GE) is open for public comment. The comment deadline is November 15, 2021.  The permit would renew CHS permit A-011 previously issued to GE to govern long-term monitoring and maintenance of two post-closure units located at the site of the former GE Appliance Park East facility in Columbia, Howard County, Maryland.  One of the post-closure units includes a single closed disposal area and associated buffer zone.  The other post-closure unit encompasses two separate, closed disposal units, adjacent grounds, and an associated buffer zone.  The units are located in the vicinity of the eastern terminus of Elias Howe Drive. Documents associated with the proposed action to renew the permit, including a public notice, a fact sheet, and a copy of the draft permit, are available.  

A draft permit to renew a Controlled Hazardous Substance (CHS) storage facility permit currently held by Safety-Kleen Systems, Inc. is open for public comment. The comment deadline is October 11, 2021.  The permit would authorize Safety-Kleen Systems, Inc. to continue to operate a CHS storage facility for the temporary storage of hazardous waste from off-site prior to shipment elsewhere for treatment, disposal, or recycling.  The facility is located at 1448 DeSoto Road, Baltimore, Maryland 21230.  Documents associated with the proposed action to renew the permit, including a public notice, a fact sheet, and a copy of the draft permit, are available. 

A draft permit to renew a Controlled Hazardous Substance (CHS) permit currently held by U.S. Army Garrison Adelphi Laboratory Center (ALC) is open for public comment. The comment deadline is November 15, 2021.  The permit would renew CHS permit A-269, allowing ALC to continue to operate a hazardous waste storage facility.  The function of the facility is to provide temporary centralized storage of containers of hazardous waste that are generated at ALC in conducting diverse research activities.  Documents associated with the proposed action to renew the permit, including a public notice, a fact sheet, and a copy of the draft permit, are available.  

How can I get more information?

For additional information on hazardous waste reduction email or call the Resource Management Program at 410-537-3314.

For information on regulatory requirements associated with hazardous waste, email or call the Resource Management Program at 410-537-3314. 

For information on hazardous waste generator identification numbers (EPA ID Numbers) or hazardous waste hauler certification, email or call the Technical Services and Operations Program at 410-537-3400.