Waste Management for Agriculture
Organic Waste, Used Oil and Hazardous Waste
Farms, orchards and other agricultural facilities are businesses that produce significant amounts of organic waste (manure), waste motor oil, and hazardous wastes (herbicides and pesticides). This page gives an overview of DEC's regulations governing proper management of these wastes in order to protect both human health and the environment.
All regulation links leave DEC website.
Composting Organic Waste
Many kinds of organic waste are either generated by or available to your farm for use in creating compost to enrich soil and provide vital nutrients to crops. In addition to benefiting your farm, composting diverts organic waste from sewage treatment plants, incinerators and landfills. DEC's Composting of Organic Waste page provides information on the composting of manure, food waste, yard waste, sewage sludge and other solid wastes that may be subject to regulation.
Managing Used Oil
Farms that generate an average of more than 25 gallons of used oil per month must comply with 6 NYCRR §374-2.3 - Standards for Used Oil Generators.
DEC classifies farms that generate 25 gallons or less of used oil per month as household, do-it-yourself (DIY) oil changers, and such farms are not regulated by the Standards for Used Oil Generators.
No matter how much waste oil a farm generates, it is against the law to dump it:
- on the ground;
- on the road;
- down a drain;
- in a stream; or
- in the trash.
Oil, whether dumped accidentally or deliberately, can kill plants and animals, and pollute soil and water. It is important to prevent even small spills. Just one quart of oil from one oil change can ruin the taste of a million quarts of drinking water!
Store Used Oil Separately
When storing used oil, keep it separate and don't mix it with anything else. Take it to a service or retail establishment for recycling. Small amounts of used oil can be stored in clean plastic containers with a tight, screw-top cover. For larger amounts, DEC recommends storing used oil in drums or aboveground tanks that are in good condition, free of leaks, and clearly labeled "Used Oil." DEC also recommends hiring a permitted waste-oil hauler for removing and recycling larger amounts of used oil.
Dispose of Small Quantities of Used Oil Properly
Bring used oil from vehicles, snowblowers, farm equipment, lawnmowers, snowmobiles and motorcycles for recycling. Used oil can be reprocessed into lubricating or heating oil. Environmental Conservation Law requires service stations that annually sell 500 gallons of oil, and retailers that annually sell 1,000 gallons of oil, to accept up to five gallons of used oil per person per day at no charge. The only reason service stations and retailers may temporarily refuse to accept used oil for recycling is if their used-oil storage tanks or drums are full.
Retailers that are unable to collect and store used oil may contract with another establishment to provide these services. Such retailers must post a sign indicating where the contracted service's establishment is located.
Note: If a service station or retailer won't take your used oil-even when their tanks or drums are not full-or if they won't tell you where their contracted service provider's establishment is located, notify the DEC regional office nearest you. Used oil and petroleum products stored in underground or aboveground tanks may be subject to petroleum bulk storage regulations. See DEC's Chemical and Petroleum Storage page for more information.
Used Oil Permit Requirements
Under Part 360 of Environmental Conservation Law, farms that generate used oil do not need to obtain a Solid Waste Management Facility Permit unless they are engaged in another activity with used oil, such as processing, refining, or acting as a transfer facility.
A farm that accepts used oil from other regulated sources of used oil for any purpose (to supply fuel for a space heater, for example) must obtain a permit as a used-oil collection center under the following subparts of Environmental Conservation Law:
More information about used oil is available on DEC's Used Oil page.
Managing Hazardous Waste
Among the many kinds of waste that farms generate are those classified as hazardous. Review the answers to the following questions to help you determine which wastes generated on your farm are hazardous.
Which farm wastes are likely to be hazardous?
Some pesticides are listed as hazardous wastes. In other cases, even though the pesticide's active ingredient may not be listed as a hazardous waste, it may contain a toxic or flammable solvent which makes it a hazardous waste.
Other Hazardous Wastes
Other potentially hazardous wastes commonly found on a farm include:
- Some fertilizers,
- Contaminated rinse water,
- Contaminated soil from spills,
- Oil paints,
- Old gasoline,
- Paint thinners,
- Kerosene, and
- Machinery parts-cleaning solvents.
If I am uncertain, how can I determine whether a particular waste is hazardous?
If you are uncertain whether a particular waste is hazardous, take the following steps to find out:
- Check NY Codes, Rules and Regulations, 6 NYCRR Part 371: Identification and Listing of Hazardous Wastes to see if the waste in question is listed as hazardous.
- If the waste is not listed, either:
- Have it tested using the methods described in NY Codes, Rules and Regulations 6 NYCRR Part 371 and Part 372; or
- Apply your knowledge of the waste to determine if it exhibits a hazardous characteristic.
Note: If you still can't determine whether your waste is hazardous, call DEC at 518-402-9553 for assistance.
If my farm generates hazardous waste, am I subject to any regulations?
Yes. All hazardous waste generators are responsible for properly managing and disposing of their waste. Depending on the type and volume of waste your farm generates and stores, it will fall into one of the three following categories:
- Conditionally Exempt Small Quantity Generator (CESQG);
- Small Quantity Generator (SQG); and
- Large Quantity Generator (LQG).
|EPA ID Number||Required||Required||Not Required|
|Non-acute Waste Limits||Greater or equal to 1000 kg/mo (2200 lb/mo).||Between 100-1000 kg/mo (220-2200 lb/mo).||Less than or equal to100 kg/mo (220 lb/mo).|
|Acute Waste Limits||More than 1 kg/mo (2.2 lb/mo) and more than100kg/mo. Of contaminated spill cleanup materials||Less than or equal to1 kg/mo (2.2 lb/mo)||Less than or equal to 1 kg/mo (2.2 lb/mo)|
|On-site Accumulation Limits||No Limit.||6000 kg. (13,200 lbs) Or less.||1000 kg. (2200 lbs) or less.|
|Accumulation Time Limits||90 days or less.||180 days or less. 270 days or less (if transported more than 200 miles).||None|
|Satellite Accumulation Area||55 gallons non-acute or 1 quart acute HW at or near the point of generation.||55 gallons non-acute or 1 quart acute HW at or near the point of generation.||Same as on-site accumulation.|
|Hazardous Waste Storage Area||Full requirements for management of tanks and containers.||Basic requirements with technical standards for tanks and containers.||None|
|Annual Hazardous Waste Report||Required||Not Required||Not Required|
|Secondary Containment||Storage of greater than 185 gallons of liquid over sole source aquifers.||Storage of greater than 185 gallons of liquid over sole source aquifers.||None|
|Closure Plan||Storage of greater than 185 gallons of liquid over sole source aquifers.||Not Required||Not Required|
|Personnel Training||Written Training Program Required||Basic Training Required||Not Required|
|Contingency Plan||Required||Not Required||Not Required|
|Preparedness and Prevention||Required||Required||Not Required|
|Land Disposal Restriction||Required||Required||Not Required|
* LQG: Large Quantity Generator *SQG: Small Quantity Generator *CESQG: Conditionally Exempt Small Quantity Generator.