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Hazardous Waste Guidance

DEC has released two new fact sheets to support implementation of the new universal waste regulations for aerosol cans and paint, effective July 8, 2023. You can find the fact sheets below under Current Guidance.

DEC has developed various regulations, policy documents, technical and administrative guidance memorandums (TAGMs), and enforcement discretion letters to help the regulated community understand which regulations are effective in New York State and how to comply with the State statutory and regulatory requirements for hazardous waste management.

Active Enforcement Discretion Letters

Current Guidance

Guidance Topic Topic Description
Airbag Management Management requirements for airbag modules and inflators.
Counting of Container & Packaging Weights (PDF, 52 KB) Describes how hazardous waste generators should deal with the weight of containers and packaging holding hazardous waste when calculating the amount of hazardous waste generated.
Hazardous Waste Counting & Determining Generator Category How to count hazardous waste generation for the purposes of determining generator category including containers and packaging, and counting solvents and residues when recycling on-site.
Hazardous Waste Management Guide for Small Businesses (PDF, 1020 KB) An introductory guide about hazardous waste management designed for small businesses in New York State. Includes information about generator status, on-site hazardous waste management, transportation, and disposal.
Hazardous Waste Pharmaceuticals Management Management of hazardous waste pharmaceuticals and reverse distribution. Specific determinations on epinephrine salts, nicotine, nitroglycerine and phentermine HCl.
Lead Shielding Used for Radioactive Waste Disposal (RCRAOnline # 13468) (link leaves DEC website) Describes the regulatory status of lead liners and containers used to dispose of radioactive waste.
Solvent Contaminated Wipe Management (PDF, 72 KB) Management of wipes and rags contaminated with ignitable-only solvents. The more stringent provisions of the EPA's "Conditional Exclusions for Solvent-Contaminated Wipes Rule" became enforceable in New York on July 1, 2015. Please refer to DEC's Hazardous Waste Rulemaking: Solvent-Contaminated Wipes Rule webpage for more information.
Universal Waste Aerosol Can Management (PDF, 93 KB) Management of universal waste aerosol cans that may be hazardous waste and requirements for puncturing of universal waste aerosol cans.
Universal Waste Lamp Management Management of universal waste lamps that may be hazardous waste including fluorescent, LED, HID, and metal halide lamps.
Universal Waste General Requirements Management of universal wastes including hazardous lamps, batteries, mercury-containing equipment, and certain pesticides.
Universal Waste Paint Management (PDF, 105 KB) Management of universal waste paint (i.e., architectural and structural coatings) that may be hazardous waste.
Used Oil Management Management of used oil including but not limited to motor oil, transmission fluid, hydraulic fluid, cutting oils, refrigerator oils, compressor oils, and electrical oils.

Rescinded & Expired Documents

  • CP-39, "Use of Enforcement Discretion for Discarded Mercury-Containing Equipment," became effective on June 16, 2006. This Commissioner Policy allowed regulated parties to manage mercury-containing equipment as universal waste in New York State in compliance with federal regulations. DEC adopted these requirements into State regulations on April 19, 2020, so this policy is no longer needed. Regulations for mercury-containing equipment can be found in 6 NYCRR 374-3 (link leaves DEC's website).
  • CP-57, "Use of Enforcement Discretion for Cathode Ray Tube (CRT) Glass," became effective on September 20, 2013. This Commissioner Policy allowed regulated parties to store used, broken Cathode Ray Tubes (CRTs) and CRT glass removed from CRTs prior to legitimate recycling in compliance with federal regulations. DEC adopted these requirements into State regulations on April 19, 2020, so this policy is no longer needed. Regulations for CRTs can be found in 6 NYCRR 371.1 and 371.5 (link leaves DEC's website).
  • DSHM-HW-05-15, "Quality Assurance Project Plans," was rescinded on April 4, 2012 because it was outdated. The current Quality Assurance guidance for hazardous waste facilities governed under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act Subtitle C (RCRA-C) can be found in Chapter 2 of DEC's Program Policy, DER-10 Technical Guidance for Site Investigation and Remediation. DEC also revised its Quality Management Plan to address quality assurance issues for facilities regulated under RCRA-C. This revised plan was approved by the United States Environmental Protection Agency on March 12, 2012.
  • Enforcement Discretion - Hazardous Waste Storage Extension: Allowed hazardous waste generators to request an extension to normal hazardous waste accumulation time limits for incinerable wastes that could be shipped off-site due to the nationwide incinerator backlog in 2021 and early 2022.

Additional Assistance

If you require assistance with a particular hazardous waste issue that is not addressed in the guidance above you may contact DEC for technical assistance by phone at (518) 402-8652 or by email at