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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 (e.g., waste chemicals, fuels, 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 as 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.

It is important to prevent even small spills, as even small amounts of oil can pollute soil and water, and harm plants, animals and humans.

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 should be stored in clean plastic containers with a tight, screw-top cover. For larger amounts, used oil should be store in drums, totes, or aboveground tanks that are in good condition, free of leaks, and clearly labeled "Used Oil." Do not use containers without secure lids (e.g., buckets) to store used oil. Used oil generators are allowed to self-transport up to 55 gallons of used oil to a used oil collection facility. A permitted waste oil hauler is required for removing and recycling larger amounts of used oil (i.e., greater than 2,000 lbs. of used oil in a single shipment; about four 55-gallon drums).

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 to 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 and Subpart 374-2 of the New York Codes, Rules and Regulations, 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, used oil burning, or acting as a transfer facility.

A farm cannot accept off-specification used oil from other regulated sources of used oil, like businesses, for any purpose (e.g., to supply fuel for a space heater) without obtaining a permit.

Used oil permit requirements are found in the following regulations:

Part 360: Solid Waste Management Facilities General Requirements

Subpart 374-2: Standards for the Management of Used Oil

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. Wastes can be considered hazardous either because they exhibit a characteristic (ignitability, corrosivity, reactivity or toxicity) or because they meet a listing in the regulations (e.g., certain pesticides, spent solvents, etc.).

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-based paints, stains and varnishes;
  • 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:

  1. Check New York 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.
  2. If the waste is not listed, either:

Note: If you still can't determine whether your waste is hazardous, call DEC at (518) 402-8652 or email for assistance.

If my farm generates hazardous waste, am I subject to any regulations?

Yes. All entities that generate hazardous waste (aka "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).

The requirements for each of these categories is listed below.

RCRA Generator Requirements
Requirement *LQG **SQG ***CESQG
Waste Determination Yes Yes Yes
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
Manifest Required Required Not Required
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.

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