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Hazardous Waste

This website provides information on how to manage waste chemicals in your school labs.

Science class is one of the first places kids formally learn about our natural world. Who could forget that satisfactory 'pop' in the test tube when hydrogen molecules meet oxygen! The best learning happens in a safe and secure environment; one that includes safety gloves, safety glasses, and a tidy chemical storage cabinet.

Unfortunately, mismanagement and improper storage of hazardous chemicals in school labs has become a nationwide safety issue and is one that effects Montana public schools. They typical middle or high school science lab stocks a variety of old and outdated chemicals that may become unstable and chemical containers may deteriorate. Chemicals get shoved to the back of the storage cabinet and forgotten. Even under the best storage conditions, accidents and spills can happen, exposing school personnel and students to these potentially hazardous substances.

To ensure the safety of students and school personnel alike, it's important that Montana schools evaluate the chemicals in their science labs and remove outdated, extremely hazardous, and/or unusable compounds. By being proactive and informed, schools can plan for the costs of removal and disposal before accidents happen.

Unfortunately, the pictures in this presentation are not isolated incidents. If your stockroom or laboratory bears any resemblance to the conditions pictured in the presentation, you may have an extremely unsafe situation. You can prevent injury or death by the proactive approach of properly managing the usable chemicals, and disposing of the excess or outdated ones.

Budgeting for Disposal (the hard facts)

There's no question, removal and disposal of science lab chemicals can be expensive. King County in Washington State cleaned out over a hundred school labs, for an average cost of about $500 and as high as $80,000. Costs are variable and depend on the types and condition of the chemicals to be disposed.

Unfortunately, DEQ does not have funding at this time to help schools pay for disposal. What we can provide is information on potential hazards of chemicals in your school lab storage rooms, safety awareness, and technical assistance. We'll also link you up with people who can help with inventorying and disposal.

Conducting a thorough lab chemical inventory at your school will give you an idea of the types and condition of chemicals in storage. A good inventory will help schools plan for the cost of removing unwanted chemicals. Schools may be able to lower disposal costs by joining with other schools in their areas for group removals. In addition, conducting an inventory will provide information on whether adequate storage, handling, and purchasing procedures are in place. Please see the tab Evaluating Chemicals for recommended procedures for evaluating science lab chemicals.

Anaconda, Shelby, Kalispell, Missoula County, and Conrad have removed excess and unwanted science lab chemicals from their middle and high schools. The University of Montana (Missoula), Montana State University (Bozeman), and Montana Tech (Butte) have also done lab clean-outs. You may want to contact these schools for information on their experiences.

Evaluating Chemicals

To maintain your school lab, you need to evaluate chemicals on hand, inventory them using safety procedures, and dispose of unwanted chemicals.

Before making decisions on management of science lab chemicals, it is important for school personnel to understand what they have in stock. Conducting an inventory to determine types and quantities of lab chemicals is a good first step. Please remember, old chemicals may be unstable and some chemicals may form explosive compounds as they age. Caution must be used at all times in handling bottles and containers.

After completing an inventory, decisions can then be made on what chemicals are needed and what chemicals should be discarded. All unwanted chemicals must be disposed of properly and in accordance with Montana solid and hazardous waste regulations. For regulatory assistance, please see the Resources tab .

Once lab chemical storage areas have been inventoried and cleaned out, the areas should be properly maintained to avoid future accumulations of hazardous and unwanted chemicals. Guidelines should be developed for chemical storage, purchases, and disposal. Limiting chemical quantities and hazard levels will minimize waste, as well as providing a safe and healthy environment for students and school personnel.

Below are links to information on safely inventorying lab chemicals, a suggested inventory list of lab chemicals, and a link for detailed information about the various chemicals. For your convenience, we’ve provided the chemical list in two formats, Word document or Excel spreadsheet.

Science Lab Chemical List

Chemical Information - Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, Toxic Substances Portal 


Steps for Completing an Inventory

Chemical Inventory Sheet - Excel

Several precautions should be taken prior to starting the inventory:

  • 1. Decide who will complete the survey.
    • The inventory should be completed by personnel knowledgeable about school laboratory chemicals, i.e. the science teacher.
    • School personnel who are not knowledgeable about school laboratory chemicals may, under the direct supervision of a knowledgeable person, assist with the inventory.
    • Students should not be allowed to perform or help with the physical inventory.
    • Designate other personnel to periodically check on the safety of the inventory staff.
  • 2. Designate a well-defined time to complete the inventory.
    • Schedule ample time to complete the inventory.
    • For safety, the inventory should not be conducted when students are in the area.
  • 3. Have spill cleanup materials immediately available.
    • Provide access to a telephone, eyewash, and a safety shower.
    • Have spill cleanup materials immediately available. Spill cleanup material should be compatible with the chemical spilled.
    • Emergency telephone numbers should be clearly posted near available telephones.
    • The inventory team should review the school’s Chemical Safety or Hygiene Plan, if one is available.
    • Review published safety guidelines for working around lab chemicals.  Here are some examples:

      Flinn Scientific, Inc.

      Montana Department of Labor's School Science Lab Safety Guidelines

      NIOSH (National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health)

    • Have a plan to deal with potential explosives. Will the local or state bomb squad remove potential explosives? Will a private hazardous waste removal company be hired to remove potential explosives? What agencies need to be alerted? What is the procedure for removal of potential explosives? Will the school have to close until the chemical is removed? Notify your local authority (i.e. Fire Department) that you will be doing an inventory, especially if this is the first inventory in several years.

Safety Precautions to Take During the Inventory

Safety precautions to take during the inventory:

  • 1. Work in pairs and never work alone. It is best if one team does the entire inventory. Notify other school personnel that you are conducting the inventory and have them periodically check on you to make sure everything is going well.
  • 2. Wear chemical resistant gloves, chemical splash goggles, a lab apron, and closed toed shoes.
  • 3. Enter the storage area and develop a general feel for the area. Are there obvious vapors; are broken containers present? Are the shelving units secured to the walls? How is the lighting? If the chemicals are stored above eye level, use a safety step stool or a small stepladder. Do not reach into a storage area that is above your head or one that you cannot clearly see into.
  • 4. Make sure the area is well ventilated while you are performing the inventory.
  • 5. Determine the presence of spills, defects in the shelving or its supports, corroded wires or gas lines or any other indicator of a hazard present.
  • 6. Evaluate the condition of the chemical containers. Use extreme caution when moving any container. Do not open any containers. Use extreme caution when dealing with containers with rust, cracks, degraded tops, bulges, liquid above a solid, or crystals in a liquid. Do not move containers, if you have any doubts about the condition of the chemical or container.

    Do not touch or move chemicals if they are listed as potential explosives or the container appears distorted in any manner. For example, merely touching the top of a container of picric acid or old ethers may cause serious injury.
  • 7. It is recommended that you avoid handling any unlabeled or unknown chemicals.
  • 8. Remember to look everywhere. Containers of chemicals may be behind glassware, in refrigerators, or in other cabinets in the lab. Don’t forget the bottom drawer of your desk or file cabinet.

Procedures Following the Inventory

A. Determine if any immediate cleanup response is required.

  • Are any containers open or leaking? If the chemical is not explosive, it may be transferred to another compatible container and the spill cleaned up. The cleanup materials should be disposed properly. Be sure to properly mark the contents on the new, compatible, container.
  • Does any chemical pose a significant, immediate risk? This is a difficult question to answer, particularly if potentially explosive chemicals are present. The situation should be discussed with the principal and the local fire chief. If your school has a chemical health and safety committee or a chemical hygiene/safety officer, they should be included in these discussions.

B. Determine what (if any) chemicals need to be removed and disposed. All unwanted chemicals must be disposed of properly and in accordance with Montana solid and hazardous waste regulations. DEQ or a hazardous waste disposal company can give assistance with disposal options.

  • Determine what waste chemicals must be managed and disposed as hazardous waste.
  • Consult with managers of municipal landfills and city sewers prior to disposing any unwanted chemicals via those utilities. (NOTE:  Septic systems are not city sewers, and chemical disposal via a septic system is inappropriate.)
  • Develop a detailed inventory of all unwanted chemicals that are not suitable or allowable for disposal via the municipal landfill or city sewer.
  • Using the detailed inventory, obtain cost estimates from several reputable waste disposal firms.
  • Hire an experienced waste disposal company to remove remaining unwanted chemicals.

C. Once a school lab chemical storage area has been cleaned out and inventoried, maintain the storage area to avoid future accumulations of hazardous and unwanted chemicals.

  • Develop chemical purchase guidelines that limit chemical quantities and hazard-levels.
  • Develop and maintain a chemical storage system that ensures chemicals are stored and managed properly, in well-ventilated areas.
    • Flinn Scientific, Inc. is one resource for school lab chemicals. Flinn’s catalog includes information on currently acceptable storage and management practices.


Montana Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) encourages schools to dispose of unwanted lab chemicals.  All unwanted chemicals must be disposed of properly and in accordance with Montana solid and hazardous waste regulations.  DEQ, hazardous waste disposal companies, or consultant/remediation companies can give assistance with disposal options.

Steps to follow:

  • Determine what lab chemicals need to be removed.  This may entail conducting another inventory to determine volume, quantity, condition, age, and hazardous or solid waste status.
    • Remember - Old chemicals may be unstable and some chemicals may form explosive compounds as they age.  Caution and appropriate personal protective equipment should be used at all times when handling all lab chemicals.
  • Consult with managers of municipal landfills and city sewers prior to disposing any unwanted chemicals via those utilities. (NOTE:  septic systems are not city sewers, and chemical disposal via a septic system is inappropriate.)
  • Obtain cost estimates for disposal from a reputable waste disposal firm.
  • Hire an experienced waste disposal company to remove unwanted chemicals. See DEQ Hazardous Waste Program’s website for a list of companies.
  • If the amount of hazardous chemicals to be disposed of is equal to or greater than 220 pounds for non-acute hazardous waste or more than 2.2 pounds for acute hazardous waste then:
    • The school must obtain an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) identification number
    • Register with DEQ by submitting a completed Notification of RCRA Subtitle C Activity Form (EPA Form 8700-12) and registration fee, if applicable 
    • Contact the DEQ Hazardous Waste Section at (406) 444-5300 or visit their website at Forms to obtain the registration fee amount.


Montana Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ)
Hazardous Waste Program

(406) 444-5300

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA)
Tookkit for Safe Chemical Management K-12 Schools

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA)
Chemical Management Resource Guide for School Administrators

EPA Resource Guide

Montana Office of Public Instruction
(406) 444-3095

2004 Results

On August 20, 2004, the Montana Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) sent a survey to over four hundred schools in Montana, requesting information on chemicals in storage for use in science lab courses. Because mismanagement and improper storage of hazardous chemicals in school labs has become a nationwide safety issue, we wanted to learn whether there is a problem in Montana schools. Our purpose was to determine the types of chemicals present in our school science labs and whether chemicals with potential hazardous characteristics were present.

DEQ thanks all the schools participating in the survey. Your response was tremendous.  Over 37% of the 406 middle and high schools we surveyed responded, reporting a total of 570 different chemicals. Our findings are summarized in a compilation report at the following link.  

Compilation report and Chemical Count

A   B   C   D   E   F   G   H   I        L   M   N
O   P      R   S   T   U   V      X  


Active: A site is designated as active when the person or business located at the site is generating and/or handling regulated waste subject to hazardous waste, universal waste, or used oil management regulations under the Montana Hazardous Waste Act.

Acute hazardous waste-Extremely dangerous hazardous waste:  Typically these have a "P" waste code and are listed in 40 CFR 261.33. Generators who generate or accumulate more than 2.2 pounds of acute hazardous waste are subject to increased regulation.

Aerate:  Adding air or oxygen.

Air Sparge:  Injecting air or oxygen into groundwater to strip or flush volatile contaminants up through the groundwater as air bubbles and capture them with a vapor extraction system.

Alternate Concentration Limit (ACL):  see PDF

Aquifer:  An underground geological formation, or group of formations, containing water. Are sources of groundwater for wells and springs.

Area of Concern (AOC):  A term used in conjunction with facility-wide corrective action at hazardous waste management facilities. Any area at a facility having a probable release of a hazardous waste or hazardous constituent which may or may not be from a solid waste management unit (SWMU) and is determined by the Department of Environmental Quality to pose a current or potential threat to human health or the environment. AOCs include areas that have been contaminated by routine and systematic releases of hazardous waste or hazardous constituents, excluding one-time accidental spills that are immediately remediated and cannot be linked to solid waste management activities. AOCs are considered equivalent to SWMUs for the purposes of facility-wide corrective action.

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Bioremediation:  Any process that uses microorganisms, fungi, green plants or their enzymes to return the natural environment altered by contaminants to its original condition.

BTEX:  Acronym for Benzene, Toluene, Ethylbenzene, and Xylene.

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Carcinogen:  A cancer-causing agent.

Cathode Ray Tube (CRT):  A vacuum tube, composed primarily of glass, which is the visual or video display component of an electronic device. A used, intact CRT means a CRT whose vacuum has not been released. A used, broken CRT means glass removed from its housing or casing whose vacuum has been released.

Chlorinated Hydrocarbons:  Chemical compounds containing hydrogen, carbon, oxygen, and chlorine.

Closed:  A site is designated as closed when the business located at the site is out of operation and regulated wastes subject to hazardous waste, universal waste, or used oil management regulations under the Montana Hazardous Waste Act are no longer generated and/or handled.  This is a Montana-specific classification.

Commercial Hazardous Waste Transfer Facility:  A transfer facility owned or operated by a commercial for-hire transporter and in which the major purpose of the commercial transfer facility is the collection, storage, and transfer of hazardous waste; that is, over 50% of the materials moved through the commercial transfer facility are hazardous wastes, or greater than 100 tons of material moved through the commercial transfer facility are hazardous waste.

Conditionally Exempt Small Quantity Generator:  A hazardous waste generator who never generates more than 220 pounds of non-acute hazardous waste or 2.2 pounds of acute hazardous waste in any month. They may not accumulate more than 2.2 pounds of acute hazardous waste at any time.

Controlled Groundwater Use Area:  An area that has additional management controls applied to groundwater. The new controls may prohibit further well drilling or groundwater use. The controlled groundwater area is pursuant to regulations in Montana Code Annotated, 85-2-506 through 85-2-508.

Corrective Action Management Unit (CAMU):  Physically distinct geographic areas within a facility designated for managing remediation wastes generated by corrective action or cleanup at the facility. CAMU rules are set forth in 40 CFR 264.552, as incorporated by reference in the Administrative Rules of Montana (ARM) 17.53.801.

Corrective Action Process:  The corrective action process generally comprises six activities. These activities are not always undertaken as a linear progression towards final facility cleanup, but can be implemented flexibly to most effectively meet site-specific corrective action needs.

Corrective Measures Implementation (CMI):  Once a remedy has been selected, the facility enters the CMI phase of corrective action. During the CMI, the owner/operator of the facility implements the chosen remedy.

Corrective Measures Study (CMS):  The purpose of the CMS is to identify and evaluate cleanup alternatives, called corrective measures, for releases at the facility. The recommended measures are reviewed by the regulatory agency.

Corrosive Waste:  see 40 CFR 261.22

Cross Gradient:  Perpendicular to the direction that groundwater flows; similar to "cross stream" for surface water.

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Dense Non-Aqueous Phase Liquid (DNAPL):  Non-aqueous phase liquids such as chlorinated hydrocarbon solvents or petroleum fractions with a specific gravity greater than 1.0 that sink through the water column until they reach a confining layer.  Because they are at the bottom of aquifers instead of floating on the water table, typical monitoring wells do not indicate their presence.

Dichlorophenoxyacetic Acid (2,4-D):  see PDF

Down Gradient:  The direction that groundwater flows; similar to "downstream" for surface water.

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Ecological Risk Assessment:  The application of a formal framework, analytical process, or model to estimate the effects of human actions(s) on a natural resource and to interpret the significance of those effects in light of the uncertainties identified in each component of the assessment process. Such analysis includes initial hazard identification, exposure and dose-response assessments, and risk characterization.

Electronic Waste (E-waste):  E-waste includes a wide variety of items such as: cell phones, computers, keyboards, and printers. Many of these items include small bits and pieces of heavy metals. Those metals may cause the e-waste to be regulated as hazardous waste if the items are disposed.

Environmental Indicator:  A measurement, statistic or value that provides an approximate gauge or evidence of the effects of environmental management programs or of the state or condition of the environment.

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Flocculation:  Process by which clumps of solids in water or sewage aggregate through biological or chemical action so they can be separated from water or sewage.

Fly Ash:  Non-combustible residual particles expelled by flue gas.

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Groundwater:  The supply of fresh water found beneath the Earth's surface, usually in aquifers, which supply wells and springs. Because ground water is a major source of drinking water, there is growing concern over contamination from leaching agricultural or industrial pollutants or leaking underground storage tanks.

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Halogenated Solvent:  Often referred to a chlorinated solvent. All these solvents contain chlorine as part of the solvent make-up (not as part of the propellant). Examples are: Methylene Chloride, Trichloroethylene, Perchloroethylene.

Halogenated Solvent User:  Anyone who sells, buys, or uses more than 20 gallons of halogenated solvent in any year must register as a Halogenated Solvent User.  A registration form must be completed and submitted to the Montana Department of Environmental Quality.  There is no registration fee.  For more information about halogenated solvents, click on Halogenated Solvents Users Registration Act.

Hazardous and Solid Waste Amendments of 1984 (HSWA):  Amendments to RCRA, enacted in 1984. The HSWA amendments include the requirement that all facilities permitted under RCRA must address releases of hazardous constituents on a facility-wide basis.

Hazardous Waste Generator:  Any person, by site, whose act or process produces hazardous waste identified or listed in 40 CFR 261.

Hazardous Waste Management Facility (HWMF):  HWMF means all contiguous land and structures, other appurtenances, and improvements on the land used for treating, storing, or disposing of hazardous waste. A facility may consist of several treatment, storage, or disposal operational units.

Hazardous Waste Permit:  A negotiated document which allows for the treatment, storage, and/or disposal of hazardous waste under very strict conditions.

Hazardous Waste Transfer Facility:  Any transportation-related facility, including loading docks, parking areas, storage areas, and other similar areas where shipments of hazardous waste are held during the normal course of business. The waste may not be held for more than 10 days at a transfer facility.

Hazardous Waste Transporter:  A person engaged in the off-site transportation of hazardous waste by air, rail, highway, or water.

Herbicide:  A chemical pesticide designed to control or destroy plants, weeds, or grasses.

Human Health Risk:  The likelihood that a given exposure or series of exposures may have damaged or will damage the health of individuals.

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Ignitable Waste:  see 40 CFR 261.21

In-situ:  In place.

Inactive:  A site is designated as inactive when the business located at the site is not generating and/or handling regulated waste subject to hazardous waste, universal waste, or used oil management regulations under the Montana Hazardous Waste Act.  This is a Montana-specific classification.

Inorganics:  Chemical compounds that do not contain Hydrogen, Oxygen and Carbon.

Institutional Controls:  Non-engineered instruments, such as administrative and legal controls, that help minimize the potential for human exposure to contamination and/or protect the integrity of the remedy.

Interim Measures (IM):  Short-term actions taken to mitigate the actual release or the threat of a potential release of hazardous waste or hazardous waste constituents from a facility. Generally, interim measures are conducted while developing a long-term comprehensive corrective action strategy.

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Land Treatment Unit (LTU):  A disposal area in which hazardous waste deposited on or in the soil is degraded naturally by microbes.

Large Quantity Generator:  Person or facility generating more than 2200 pounds of non-acute hazardous waste or 2.2 pounds of acute hazardous waste in any month, or who accumulate more than 2.2 pounds of acute hazardous waste.

Large Quantity Handler of Universal Waste (LQHUW):  Receives UW from other handlers and sends it to other UW facilities, and accumulates more than 5,000 kilograms of UW at any time.

Light Non-Aqueous Phase Liquid (LNAPL):  A non-aqueous phase liquid with a specific gravity less than 1.0.  Because the specific gravity of water is 1.0, most LNAPLs float on top of the water table. Most common petroleum hydrocarbon fuels and lubricating oils are LNAPLs.

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2-Methyl-4-Chlorophenoxyacetic Acid (MCPA):  see PDF

2-(2-Methyl-4-Chlorophenoxy)Propionic Acid (MCPP):  see PDF

Monitored Natural Attenuation:  Reliance on natural attenuation processes (within the context of a carefully controlled and monitored site cleanup approach) to achieve site-specific remediation objectives within a time frame that is reasonable compared to that offered by other more active methods. The 'natural attenuation processes' that are at work in such a remediation approach include a variety of physical, chemical, or biological processes that, under favorable conditions, act without human intervention to reduce the mass, toxicity, mobility, volume, or concentration of contaminants in soil or groundwater.

Montana Hazardous Waste Act (MHWA):  Montana statute that allows MT DEQ to adopt, administer, and enforce the state’s hazardous waste program pursuant to federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act.

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Organic:  1. Referring to or derived from living organisms.  2. In chemistry, any compound containing carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen.

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Phenols:  see PDF

Phytoremediation:  The treatment of environmental problems through the use of plants which mitigate the environmental problem.

Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs):  Chemical compounds that are formed by incomplete combustion of carbon-containing fuels such as wood, coal, diesel, fat, or tobacco. Many of them are known or suspected carcinogens. see PDF

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Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA):  A federal law intended to protect human health and the environment from the potential hazards of waste disposal, conserve energy and natural resources, reduce the amount of waste generated, and ensure that wastes are managed in an environmentally sound manner.

RCRA Facility Assessment (RFA):  The objective of the RFA is to identify potential and actual releases from SWMUs/AOCs and make preliminary determinations about releases, the need for corrective action, and interim measures.

RCRA Facility Investigation (RFI):  The RFI takes place when releases, or potential releases, have been identified and further investigation is necessary. The purpose of the RFI is to gather enough data to fully characterize the nature, extent, and rate of migration of contaminants to determine the appropriate response action.

Reactive Waste:  see 40 CFR 261.23

Risk Assessment:  Qualitative and quantitative evaluation of the risk posed to human health and/or the environment by the actual or potential presence and/or use of specific pollutants

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Saline Seep:  An expanse of salt crystals forming when underground salty water reaches the soil surface and evaporates.

Sedimentation:  The action or process of depositing sedimentation that is suspended in a liquid.

Semi-volatiles:  Any organic compounds which have a boiling point higher than water and which may vaporize when exposed to temperatures above room temperature. Semi-volatile organic compounds include phenols and polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH).

Small Quantity Generator:  Persons or enterprises that produce 220-2200 pounds per month of non-acute hazardous waste.

Small Quantity Handler of Universal Waste (SQHUW):  Receives UW from other handlers and sends it to other UW facilities, and never accumulates more than 5,000 kilograms of UW at any time.

Solid Waste Management Unit (SWMU):  A term used in conjunction with facility-wide corrective action at hazardous waste management facilities. Any discernible unit at which solid waste has been placed at any time, irrespective of whether the unit was intended for the management of solid or hazardous waste. Such units include any area at a facility at which solid wastes have been routinely and systematically released.

Specification Used Oil:  Used oil that has been proven to meet the specifications set forth in 40 CFR 279.11.

Stoddard Solvent:  see PDF

Surface Impoundment:  Treatment, storage, or disposal of liquid hazardous wastes in ponds.

Surface Water:  All water naturally open to the atmosphere (rivers, lakes, reservoirs, ponds, streams, impoundments, seas, estuaries, etc.)

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Toxicity Waste:  see 40 CFR 261.24

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Uniform Hazardous Waste Manifest:  A shipping document designed to track the movement of hazardous waste from its generator to its final resting place (cradle-to-grave).

Universal Waste:  A subset of hazardous wastes which are subject to reduced regulations if they are recycled. This includes: batteries, pesticides, lamps, and mercury-containing devices.

Up Gradient:  Opposite of the direction that groundwater flows; similar to “upstream” for surface water.

Used Oil:  Any oil that has been refined from crude oil, or any synthetic oil, which has been used and as a result of such use is contaminated by physical or chemical impurities.

Used Oil Aggregation Point:  Any site or facility that accepts, aggregates, and/or stores used oil collected only from other used oil generation sites owned or operated by the owner or operator of the aggregation point, from which used oil is transported to the aggregation point in shipments of no more that 55 gallons.

Used Oil Collection Center:  Any site or facility that accepts/aggregates and stores used oil collected only from household do-it-yourselfers.

Used Oil Generator:  Any business, by site, whose act or process produces used oil or whose act first causes used oil to become subject to regulation.

Used Oil Marketer:  Any person who directs a shipment of off-specification used oil from their facility to a used oil burner, or who first claims that the used oil that is to be burned for energy recovery meets the used oil fuel specifications in 40 CFR 279.11.

Used Oil Processor/Re-Refiner:  Any chemical or physical operation designed to produce: fuel oils, lubricants or other used oil derived products, from used oil.

Used Oil Transporter:  Persons who transport used oil, persons who collect used oil from more than one generator and transport the collected used oil, and owners and operators of used oil transfer facilities.

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Vadose Zone:  Also termed the unsaturated zone, is the portion of Earth between the land surface or zone of saturation. It extends from the top of the ground surface to the water table.

Volatiles:  Liquids which easily vaporize or evaporate at room temperature.

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DEQ has developed interactive data search and web mapping applications that allow users to explore data collected and managed by DEQ in support of its mission..."to protect, sustain, and improve a clean and healthful environment to benefit present and future generations." 

DEQ Data Search Tools allow you to search for information about registered hazardous waste handlers in Montana whom have submitted an annual hazardous waste generator report.  These online search applications provide information about facility location, owners and/or operators, business or industry type, types of hazardous wastes generated, and volumes of hazardous waste generated annually. 

DEQ Data Search Tools: Use this search application to look through and download DEQ’s database for information on facilities or locations of registered hazardous waste handlers who have submitted an annual hazardous waste generator report  


To search for information about any, past or present, hazardous waste handlers in Montana, whether they have submitted an annual hazardous waste generator report or not, go to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Envirofacts website.

Please click here to download the free Acrobat Reader to view PDF documents.

Companies That Provide Hazardous Waste Services
Companies That Provide Hazardous Waste Services
Analytical Laboratories Hazardous Waste Consultants and Remediation Firms List PDF document
Consultants and Remediation Firms Hazardous Waste Consultants and Remediation Firms List PDF document
Transporter Service List Hazardous Waste Transporter Service List PDF document
Universal Waste Lamp Recyclers Universal Waste Lamp Recyclers List PDF document
Used Oil Collectors Hazardous Waste Used Oil Collectors List PDF document


All of these publications are available electronically on the DEQ website. The brochures have been printed and are available for free upon request.

Brochures Available

2018 IWMP

2018 Integrated Waste Management Plan 

 2013 IWMP

2013 Integrated Waste Management Plan


Why Is There A Plan? And What Is It?

The Business and Community Assistance Section of the Waste & Underground Tank Management Bureau, works to conserve resources and reduce the toxicity and amount of materials that go into Montana landfills. The Montana Integrated Waste Management Act (75-10-803 MCA), directs Montana to reduce the volume of solid waste that is either disposed of in landfills or incinerated. The Act also requires a written plan for managing wastes in accordance with the Act.

The Act describes a strategy for integrated solid waste management and sets the following targets for increasing rates of recycling and composting in Montana:

  1. 17% of the state's solid waste by 2008;
  2. 19% of the state's solid waste by 2011; and
  3. 22% of the state's solid waste by 2015.

The integrated solid waste management strategy is based on a hierarchy of prioritized approaches to managing waste. These approaches, in order of priority, are source reduction, reuse, recycling, and composting.

The Recycling and Marketing Specialists of DEQ promote achievement of the above targets through providing information to the public, business and industry on source reduction, reuse, recycling, and composting of wastes. The Specialists also work to expand the markets within Montana which can use recyclables and other wastes productively, thereby eliminating or delaying disposal in landfills. Acting as a central waste management contact, the Section tracks waste reduction and recycling activities across the state and provides technical assistance to businesses, industry, communities, and individuals.

Hierarchy of Integrated Waste Management

  1. Source Reduction Waste Avoidance - Reduce costs of handling and disposal, conserve resources, reduce pollution
  2. Reuse
  3. Recycling
  4. Composting Waste Diversion - Return materials to valued use: conservation of resources, economic development, community participation, avoided costs of disposal
  5. Landfill & Incineration Disposal - Manage materials that can not otherwise be avoided or diverted

 2006 IWMP

2006 Integrated Waste Management Plan (available from the Program).

2020 Spring & Summer E-Waste Collection Events

We will update the list below as we become aware of additional collection events for electronic waste.

  • 11th Annual E-Rase Your E-Waste Event, Saturday, June 27, Lake County Transfer Station, 36117 N. Reservoir Rd., Polson, 9:00 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. More info.

Watch for our 2020 Webinars and Trainings, Coming Soon

The 2020 webinar and training schedule will be updated soon and will be posted at the link below.

Webinar and Training Schedule (many are FREE!)



EPA - To obtain any of the following EPA documents, call the EPA RCRA, Superfund, and EPCRA Hotline at 800 424-9346; TDD 800 553-7672 (hearing impaired); in the Washington, DC, metropolitan area, 703 412-9810, TDD 703 412-3323.

  • Evaluating Exposures to Toxic Air Pollutants:
    A Citizen's Guide, EPA 450/3-90-023; March 1991
  • This is an older publication but it does a nice job of explaining the process that regulators go through when evaluating public exposure to air pollutants.
  • Air Emissions from Scrap Tire Combustion. EPA600-R-97-115. (pdf document)
  • Project Summary: Characterization of Emissions from the Simulated Open Burning of Scrap Tires. EPA600-S2-89-054. 1990.

    Project Summary: Pilot-Scale Evaluation of the Potential for Emissions of Hazardous Air Pollutants from Combustion of Tire-Derived Fuels. EPA600-SR-94-070. 1994.

California Integrated Waste Management Board (CIWMB)

To obtain any of the following documents, call the CIWMB at (916) 341-6000 or write to CIWMB, 1001 I Street, PO Box 4025, Sacramento, CA 95812-4025

  • For a full list of CIWMB's publications regarding tires, visit their publication website:
    CIWMB's publications and choose Tires from the subject list on the left.
  • Two publications you may want to look at include:
  1. Tires as a Fuel Supplement: Feasibility Study, 401-93-001; (Available free of charge in hard copy only.)

  2. Effects of Waste Tires, Waste Tire Facilities, and Waste Tire Projects on the Environment, 432-96-029; April 1996. (Downloadable version available.)
  1. Source Reduction (also Waste Reduction): Means preventing waste in the first place. Source reduction is:
    • The first alternative to consider for waste management, "living lightly"  (having minimal impact on our environmental resources), and reducing pollution.
    • The most effective way to reduce waste going into landfills or being incinerated.
    • The best way to recognize financial benefits or reduce waste management costs

      You can:
      • Participate in activities that reduce the amount of materials   used.
      • Choose materials with minimal toxic components and/or consider alternatives to traditional materials.
  2. Reuse: Giving a second life to a used product or material
    • The second alternative to consider for waste management and reducing pollution.
    • Extends the benefits of these investments and contributes to 'source reduction' by reducing the effects of our "throw-away society."  A lot of energy and resources are used each time a product or material is used.
    • Different from recycling because it does not require expending additional energy to convert materials into a new form

      You can:
      • Give a second life by either reusing the material in the same way or for a different purpose.
      • Reuse can include circulating publications throughout offices or among friends.
      • Donate used equipment to charity.
      • Repair items.
      • Use "remanufactured" products and equipment.
      • Use the Montana Materials Exchange to list unwanted materials  or look for materials that you do need. The Montana State University Extension Service Pollution Prevention (P2) Program Montana Material Exchange site encourages recovery and reuse of diverse materials that would otherwise be discarded.
  3. Recycling: Introducing used materials or products into manufacturing processes to produce a new product.
    • The third alternative to consider for waste management and reducing pollution.
    • Requires collecting materials, processing them to form appropriate raw materials, and manufacturing a new product.
    • Involves the purchase of Recycled-Content Products.

      You can:
      • Collect and properly sort materials to return to recycling center.
      • Purchase recycled-content materials. We must purchase recycled-content materials to maintain the demand for recovered materials, sustain our collection programs, and fully participate in Integrated Waste Management.
  4. Composting: The controlled decomposition of organic materials by microorganisms.
    • The fourth alternative to consider for waste management and reducing pollution.
    • Involves collecting, processing and producing a new product.
    • Whether sold, given away, or re-applied on-site, there must be a demand for this material in order to continue the process. This option should be considered for all waste materials that are biodegradable and that can not be reused or reduced.

      You can:
      • Learn about and participate in large-scale composting to reduce waste management costs for governments, businesses, and sewage treatment programs.
      • Start a back-yard-composting project in your home.
  5. Landfill and incineration: The final destinations for most waste in United States
    • The fifth and final alternatives to consider for waste management in Montana.
    • Due to low landfill fees, the alternatives listed above are not always financially cheaper than landfilling or incineration. However, the long-term benefits of energy, pollution, and materials savings are significant, and if communities do full-cost accounting, will likely prove beneficial enough to overcome the differences in costs.

      Sometimes, due to local circumstances, it is cheaper to landfill than recycle, compost and maybe even reuse, but DEQ is working to change this by improving local markets and uses for waste materials.

      You can avoid these last-resort options by:
      • Starting up a business that utilizes a local waste material.
      • Working with another business to establish a use for your own waste material/byproduct.
      • Actively participating in Source Reduction activities to lessen the amount of waste your community may have to landfill.
      • Actively participating in Reuse, Recycling, and Composting activities to promote and strengthen these alternatives in Montana.
      • Requesting and purchasing recycled-content materials.

Solid Waste

Solid Waste Program Laws and Rules

Listed below are the statutes and rules dealing with the waste management programs.

Administrative Rules of Montana

  • Subchapter 1
    Grants & Loans to Local Governments
    ARM Title 17, Chapter 50, subchapter 1
  • Subchapter 4
    Licensing and Operation Fees
    ARM Title 17, Chapter 50, subchapter 4
  • Subchapter 5
    Refuse Disposal [Municipal, Industrial & Construction Wastes]
    ARM Title 17, Chapter 50, subchapter 5
  • Subchapter 6 
    Procedure for Variances
    ARM Title 17, Chapter 50, subchapter 6
  • Subchapter 7
    Ground Water Monitoring
    ARM Title 17, Chapter 50, subchapter 7
  • Subchapter 8
    Cesspool, Septic Tank and Privy Cleaners
    ARM Title 17, Chapter 50, subchapter 8
  • Subchapter 10
    Landfill Location
    ARM Title 17, Chapter 50, subchapter 10
  • Subchapter 11
    Landfill Operating Criteria
    ARM Title 17, Chapter 50, subchapter 11
  • Subchapter 12
    Landfill Design Criteria
    ARM Title 17, Chapter 50, subchapter 12
  • Subchapter 13
    Ground Water Monitoring and Corrective Action
    ARM Title 17, Chapter 50, subchapter 13
  • Subchapter 14
    Closure and Post-Closure Care
    ARM Title 17, Chapter 50, subchapter 14
  • Subchapter 15
    Infectious Waste
    ARM Title 17, Chapter 50, subchapter 15
  • Subchapter 16
    Landfarm License and Operation Standards
    ARM Title 17, Chapter 50, subchapter 16
  • Subchapter 17
    Compost License and Operation Standards
    ARM Title 17, Chapter 50, subchapter 17
  • Subchapter 18
    ARM Title 17, Chapter 50, subchapter 17
  • Subchapter 6
    Air Quality Open Burning
    ARM Title 17, Chapter 8, subchapter 6

Montana Code Annotated

  1. Pre-closure discussions begin.
  2. Landfill Closure Plan received by the Solid Waste Section (SWS).
  3. Landfill Closure Plan reviewed by the SWS. During this step, more information may be requested in order to complete review process.
  4. The SWS notifies owner/operator in writing that Closure Plan has been approved or disapproved.
  5. Landfill owner/operator notifies the SWS of intent to close.
  6. Upon completion of closure work, owner/operator notifies SWS in writing that landfill unit has been closed.
  7. The SWS places landfill in interim closure status and holds in abeyance any fees due until closure compliance is verified by SWS and/or a Professional Engineer has inspected and signed-off on closure work.
  8. Site required to be revegetated within one year of closure.
  9. Owner/operator surrenders solid waste management license to SWS.
  10. Owner/operator records a notation on deed to landfill property and notifies SWS.
  11. Landfill now closed, post-closure care begins
  12. Landfill file moved to "closed" section of files.

Solid Waste Training Information:

2022 Training Schedule

Solid Waste Training

Fire Prevention and Response and Waste Facilities
Wednesday, July 27, 2022 @ 9:00 am
Tune in here:

Maximize Airspace with Efficient Short-Term Fill Sequence Planning
Wednesday, August 24, 2022 @ 9:00 am
Tune in here:

Succession Planning for the Solid Waste Industry
Wednesday, September 21, 2022 @ 9:00 am
Tune in here:

Asbestos Training

Summer 2022
Coming soon!

Composting Training

Summer 2022
Coming soon!

For questions or comments about trainings, please contact Fred Collins at
Motor Vehicle Wrecking Facilities:
Coming soon!
Junk Vehicle Program:
Coming soon!
Coming soon!
Coming soon!

Additional Training Resources:


Association of State and Territorial Solid Waste Management Officials (ASTSWMO):

Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA): 

Cornell Waste Management Institute: 

Solid Waste DVD Lending Library
You can find a list of our available training DVDs here. Contact the Solid Waste Program at or 406-444-5300 to borrow DVDs. The loan period is 14 days.

ARM 17.50.1113 requires the facility landowner record a notation to the land deed of the subject facility prior to the placement of waste in a solid waste landfill facility.  The deed notation must be submitted to the Department for review and approval prior to the recording.  In addition, the verification that the notation has been recorded must be submitted to the Department.

Click on a link below to open the deed notation form.  The form may then be completed online, printed, and mailed with all required attachments to the address below.

Waste Management and Remediation
Waste and Underground Tank Management Bureau
Waste Management Section
PO Box 200901
Helena, MT 59620-0901

No Fee Required

Underground Storage Tanks

Owner and Operator Forms and Information  
Guidance Documents
Preventing Leaks
Inspection Forms

MT RP1200 forms
Underground Storage Tank List and Permit Status
DEQ - Interactive GIS Maps

DEQ's Geographic Information System (GIS) is a geographically based system of people, technology, and data providing spatial awareness and decision making to support DEQ's mission to protect, sustain, and improve a clean and healthful environment. DEQ's GIS supports internal and external business processes for data collection, management, analysis, and public interaction through web based services and mobile apps.

  • DEQ's GIS Portal
  • Montana Regulated Storage TanksThis dataset contains point locations for underground storage tanks that contain petroleum or other hazardous materials and that are regulated by the Montana Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) Underground Storage Tank (UST) Program. Point locations of UST locations are entered and maintained in the business database of record (TREADS) and are then pushed to a GIS feature class through systems integration workflows, where the locations are verified to the best of staff's ability.
EPA - UST Finder Application

EPA developed UST Finder, a web map application containing a comprehensive, state-sourced national map of underground storage tank (UST) and leaking UST (LUST) data. It provides the attributes and locations of active and closed USTs, UST facilities, and LUST sites from states.

UST Finder contains information about proximity of UST facilities and LUST sites to: surface and groundwater public drinking water protection areas; estimated number of private domestic wells and number of people living nearby; and flooding and wildfires. UST Finder can import additional data layers and export UST facility and LUST site information for use by other software programs. For more information, visit EPA's UST Finder informational page.