Environmental Health
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Hazardous Waste - Pollution Prevention
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  Small Quantity Generators  l  Technical Assistance  l More SQG Info  

This County program provides technical assistance and regulates small quantity generators (SQGs). The goal of this program is to educate businesses about hazardous material regulations and to enforce the County's Nonpoint Source Pollution Ordinance (Article VI [PDF] of the Sanitary Code). County specialists work with businesses to ensure proper storage, handling, and disposal of hazardous materials while promoting hazardous waste reduction, reuse, and recycling.

Small Quantity Generators (SQGs)

Businesses that generate hazardous wastes are classified by size according to specific requirements administered by the Washington State Department of Ecology. Most small businesses that generate hazardous wastes are small quantity generators. SQGs can generate up to 220 pounds of hazardous waste or 2.2 pounds of certain pesticides/poisons per month. For more information on how to tell if your business is an SQG, see Does Your Business Generate Hazardous Waste? [PDF] (Thurston County Fact Sheet) or What is a Small Quantity Generator? (WA State Dept. of Ecology).

Small quantity generators are regulated by local health jurisdictions, while staff in one of Ecology’s four regional offices provide oversight for businesses that are medium and large quantity generators.

Technical Assistance

Providing assistance to businesses that are classified as “small quantity generators” is a cornerstone activity for the Thurston County Business Pollution Prevention Program. Examples of businesses we visit include different types of automotive shops, commercial printers, dental offices, dry cleaners, auto recyclers, and paint contractors.

The following will lead you through the main steps of a technical assistance visit:

Future campaigns include HVAC contractors, powder and specialty coating, janitorial/cleaning services (such as carpet cleaners and auto detailers), and taxidermists. To read reports on previous campaigns, see Technical Assistance Campaigns.

More SQG Information

Fluorescent Lamp Recycling

Several types of service providers will pick up or take used lamps. The preferred management option is that lamps ultimately go to a qualified recycler that separates the glass, mercury, and metal end caps, and sends the mercury for reclamation.

Crushing lamps on-site is not allowed under the universal waste regulations. When lamps are crushed, they release a mercury vapor that is difficult to contain, and can be a hazard to human health and the environment. The cost to recycle light tubes ranges from $0.09 to $0.12 per foot (plus transportation costs). Some vendors have a maximum or minimum amount of tubes they will accept at one time. For vendor listings, visit the following links:

Other Informational Links

  • Small Business Hazardous Waste Disposal Program[PDF] ― Fact sheet with information on disposal of hazardous wastes county businesses generate that they may not be aware of, such as solvents, oil-based paints, photographic fixers, or flammable wastes.
  • Compliance with the Nonpoint Source Pollution Ordinance [PDF] ― Fact sheet with information on the County's approach to implementing the handling of hazardous waste by businesses. Also covered is the process involved when a business is given a Notice of Violation.

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This page last updated: 08/12/22