Hazardous wastes management is a cost that can best be contained through pollution prevention, segregation, sound waste management and housekeeping. When it comes to disposing of hazardous waste, identifying alternatives can be more difficult for generators of smaller amounts of waste. The Household Hazardous Waste Division offers a hazardous waste disposal service for small businesses that qualify as "Very Small Quantity Generator" (VSQG). Generators are encouraged to carefully evaluate the qualifications and performance as well as the cost of disposal before selecting any hazardous waste disposal service.
What is a VSQG?
Businesses that generate no more than 27 gallons or 220 pounds of hazardous waste, or 2.2 pounds of extremely hazardous waste per month are "Very Small Quantity Generators" or VSQGs.
What is the VSQG Program?
The VSQG Program is a mobile hazardous waste pick-up disposal service for eligible businesses in San Bernardino County. Trained San Bernardino County Fire Department staff will come to your business, assist you in properly labeling and marking your hazardous wastes, and remove it for disposal. All legal documentation is provided as part of the service.
How do I get service?
VSQGs are encouraged to transport their waste by appointment to the San Bernardino County collection facility, provided it can be done safely and in compliance with all regulatory requirements. To arrange an appointment for the VSQG Program, call 1.800.645.9228 or 909.382.5401. The VSQG Program coordinator will schedule your appointment. Be ready to describe the type and amount of hazardous waste your business is ready to dispose of, and the types and size(s) of waste containers. Only the San Bernardino collection facility is permitted to accept VSQG waste.
Who can use this service?
The most common VSQGs in San Bernardino County are painters, print shops, auto shops, builders, and property managers, but there are many others. When you call, be ready to describe the types and amounts of waste your business generates in a typical month. If you generate hazardous waste on a regular basis, you must:
- Secure operating permits from the San Bernardino County CUPA as a hazardous waste generator. Call 909.386.8401.
- Obtain an EPA Identification Number from the State by calling 800.618.6942.
- Manage hazardous waste in accordance with all local, state, and federal laws and regulations.
What happens to your hazardous waste?
Hazardous waste collected by the VSQG Program is transported to a state-permitted processing facility located in San Bernardino. The waste is further processed at this point and packaged for off-site recycling (oil filters, oil, latex paint, antifreeze, and batteries) or destructive incineration (pesticides, corrosives, flammables, oil based paints).
What if my business does not qualify?
Call the San Bernardino County CUPA for assistance with hazardous waste management at 909.386.8401. If you reduce the amount of hazardous waste that you generate each month to 27 gallons or less, you may qualify in the future.
For disposal of waste, here is a list of Commercial Hazardous Waste Haulers and Environmental Consultants.
Why is the Fire Department collecting hazardous waste?
Small generators often have difficulty disposing of small quantities of hazardous waste. Hazardous waste companies usually have a minimum amount of waste that they will pick up, or charge a minimum fee for service. Typically, the minimum fee exceeds the cost of disposal for the hazardous waste. This leaves the small quantity generator in a difficult situation. Some respond by storing hazardous waste until it becomes economical for the hazardous waste transporter to pick it up, putting the business out of compliance by exceeding regulatory accumulation time limits. Yet other businesses attempt to illegally dispose of their waste at household hazardous waste collection facilities. These facilities are not legally permitted to accept commercial wastes, nor are prepared to provide legal documentation for commercial hazardous waste disposal. In answer to the problems identified above, the San Bernardino County Fire Department Household Hazardous Waste Division instituted the Very Small Quantity Generator Program.
Payment for Services
The VSQG Program will prepare an invoice for your business at the time of service. The driver will ask you to sign and date the invoice. You can pay at the time of service with credit card, check, or you can mail your payment to the Fire Department within 30 days. Additional charges may apply for accounts not paid within 30 days.
Waste Types and Cost
There is a small handling fee involved in the collection of hazardous waste from your business. Disposal costs depend on the type of wastes. Prices are included in the VSQG Brochure (pdf). Call to verify current disposal costs.
Are there any other ways to save money on hazardous waste disposal?
Yes! First, start by reducing the amount of waste that you can produce by changing processes or process chemicals at your business. Next, examine if there is a way that you can recycle your waste back into your processes. Network with similar businesses and trade associations for waste minimization and pollution prevention solutions.
Are there any particular types of hazardous wastes that the VSQG Program will not accept?
The VSQG Program is permitted and registered with the State of California to accept limited types and quantities of hazardous wastes. We cannot accept radioactive wastes, water reactive wastes, explosives, pyrotechnics or fire arms, compressed gas cylinders, asbestos, medical wastes or hazardous waste site remediation waste.
If you need a temporary EPA ID number, you can obtain one here.