Skip to Main Content

Hazardous Waste Management

The Hazardous Waste Management Program regulates hazardous waste generation, transportation, storage, treatment, and disposal.  It has authority over facilities subject to EPA RCRA Subtitle C.  Such activities are overseen by EPA Region 4.  The Hazardous Waste Management Program operates under the authority of the Hazardous Waste Management Act of 1977 (T.C.A. §68-212-101 et seq.) and various Hazardous Waste Management rules.

Implementation of Tennessee's hazardous waste program began in October 1980. Regulation of hazardous waste is also a federal responsibility under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). Tennessee has been authorized by EPA to administer the majority of the federal program and receives a grant in support of this effort. Other funding for this program is obtained through a fee collection system.

The coordinated state and federal program regulates activities such as:

  • the permitting and inspection of hazardous waste storage, recycling, treatment, and disposal facilities
  • the management of hazardous waste from generators (primarily manufacturing industry) through the required Waste Stream Notifications, Annual Reports, and Waste Reduction Reports
  • the annual registration of hazardous waste transporters
  • the regulation of used oil

Revised Definition of Solid Waste (DSW) - 2015

  • In 2015, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized new safeguards that promote responsible recycling of hazardous secondary materials and demonstrate a significant step forward in promoting recycling innovation, resulting in both resource conservation and economic benefits, while strengthening protections for environmental justice communities. More Information on the New Rule is available on the EPA's website.
  • The DSWM proposed changes to Tennessee's Hazardous Waste Management rules, 0400-12-01, to incorporate (among other things) the federal changes to the definition of solid waste. A marked up (multi-color) version of the rules showing the proposed changes was made available for review. 
  • Revised Definition of Solid Waste - Rule Packages 2015b and 2015c Adopted —  Effective January 4, 2018
    These rule packages​ have been adopted by the State.  A 75 Day Stay of Effective Date of Rules was filed on July 20, 2017, and the Board subsequently stayed the effective date until January 4, 2018.  Generators are responsible for being in compliance with the rules on the effective date. Copies of these rules, and regulatory status, can also be obtained from the Secretary of State's webpage. The 2015c rule package contains the new Definitions of Solid Waste and Hazardous Secondary Materials.  Please contact the Division of Solid Waste Management  for discussion and guidance.
  • Rule 0400-12-01 (effective 01/04/2018) was  amended  to reflect the changes required by the U. S. Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit. The Court ruled that 40 CFR § 260.43(a)(4) (commonly referred to as Factor 4 of the “legitimacy test”) was unreasonable insofar as it applies to all hazardous secondary materials via § 261.2(g) (sham recycling definition) and rejected parts of the Verified Recycler Exclusion. The amendments took effect on June 19, 2018.  
  • Frequently Asked Questions on the 2018 Definition of Solid Waste, courtesy of U.S. EPA