Hazardous Waste Manifest Frequently Asked Questions

In our Ebook “The Top 10 Hazardous Waste Violations and How to Avoid Them,” we discuss the major reasons why companies run afoul of the California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) and end up with regulatory fines.

hazardous waste manifestThe “low hanging fruit” for DTSC regulators is often improperly completed paperwork. The uniform hazardous waste manifest is a document that must accompany most hazardous waste that is shipped from your facility to an offsite disposal facility. Each party that handles the waste must sign the document and submit those copies to DTSC. This chain of custody reporting establishes the cradle-to-grave tracking required under hazardous waste legislation.

The hazardous waste manifest is a shipping document that travels with hazardous waste from the point of generation, through transportation, to the final treatment, storage, and disposal facility (TSDF), and many times it is the source of confusion and headaches for hazardous waste generators. 

The aim of this post is to clear up common points of confusion and help you maintain better regulatory compliance.  Here are some frequently asked questions and their answers.


Filling Out the Manifest

Q. Transporters only should sign once per manifest. How does that apply to a national company with multiple subdivisions? How many identification (ID) numbers and signatures should be put on the manifest? (Box 6/7)

Only one signature per transporter company is required, not one signature per driver. In California, if each subdivision is a different corporate entity, then they are not allowed on one registration and would be separate registered transporters needing to sign for each different ID number. No change to the regulation is required.

Q. Can other information be added to Box 9b, other than DOT required information?

No, with one exception: when the material being shipped is a non-Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) (California only) hazardous waste that is not DOT regulated, the words “Non-RCRA Hazardous Waste, liquid” or “Non-RCRA Hazardous Waste, solid” may be used.

Box 9b should not be used for adding density of waste, specific gravity, profile information, Emergency Response Guide (ERG) numbers, or any other information.

Box 14 can be used for any additional information that is required for the proper management or tracking of the materials/wastes being shipped.

Q. If there are more than five applicable RCRA waste codes, where do you put the others?

A generator is not required by regulation to list ALL RCRA waste codes. Manifests should include up to the five most applicable RCRA waste codes in box 13. No waste codes, RCRA or state, should be entered in box 14.

Q. What is an offeror for Hazardous Waste Management manifesting purposes?

An “offeror” is a DOT term for the person who initiates a shipment. With respect to the manifest, “offeror” is not defined in California’s regulations, but is recognized as having the same meaning as used by DOT. A business would be the offeror of a shipment in those instances where waste is rejected by a TSDF and will be forwarded to an alternate facility.


Out of State Shipping 

Q. My business generates hazardous waste in California and I ship my waste out of state. Is my manifest considered a California manifest?

A hazardous waste manifest MUST ALWAYS BE submitted to DTSC if the waste is generated in California, handled by a permitted facility in California or is imported or exported from California. Therefore, manifests meeting these criteria are counted as California manifest for the Manifest Fee Assessment.

Q. I am a generator. If I ship my waste out-of-state, do I need to send a copy to DTSC, even though the new manifest form does not have enough copies?

Yes. All states now use the same national manifest (after September 5, 2006), which does not have a page for the generator to tear out and submit to DTSC. Most generators will have to make legible photocopies and submit them to DTSC at P.O. Box 400, Sacramento, CA 95812-0400.


Manifest Submission to DTSC 

Q. Does an out-of-state TSDF have to return the disposal copy of the manifest to DTSC?

Per Federal hazardous waste law, for RCRA wastes, the TSDF must send a copy to DTSC since California requires it. This requirement must be fulfilled in the State of California.
For non-RCRA wastes, the new state regulations require them to do so but not all other states enforce that requirement. Therefore, state law still requires the generator and the transporter who transports the waste out of state to also submit copies signed by the TSDF to DTSC.
The reason for this requirement is the "cradle to grave" tracking system required for hazardous wastes. Information from the generator copy and the TSDF copy is entered into DTSC’s Hazardous Waste Tracking System. 

This is a situation that you do not want to occur.

Some out-of-state facilities may notify the generator and transporter that the facility does not send signed copies to DTSC because there is no functional need for multiple submissions.

In this case the TSDF is incorrect.  Ensure that you are working with a hazardous waste disposal company that understands these requirements to keep you out of hot water.


Manifest Correction Letters 

Q. What Are the Fines for Hazardous Waste Violations?

DTSC has become increasingly vigilant in assessing fines for incorrect hazardous waste manifests in the form of a manifest correction letter.

A Manifest Correction Letter must be sent to DTSC whenever hazardous waste manifests are submitted containing incorrect or incomplete information. 

Per California Health and Safety Code, Section 25160.5, DTSC is authorized to charge a $20 manifest correction fee when DTSC discovers the errors and requests a manifest correction letter.  DTSC does not charge the fee if the company submits the manifest correction letter before being notified by DTSC of the error.


Common Manifest Errors 

Q. What are the most common manifest errors?

The following is a list of the most common manifest errors:

  • Incorrect, invalid, or inactive generator ID number.
  • Incorrect, invalid or inactive transporter ID number.
  • Failure to verify ALL information on a pre-printed manifest at shipment.
  • Failure to delete entire pre-printed information for waste not shipped.
  • Incorrect or incomplete container, total quantity and/or unit weight information.
  • Waste codes incorrect or incomplete.
  • Failure to sign and/or date the manifest.
  • Incorrect or incomplete dates; past dates or future dates.
  • Transporter 1 signs in transporter 2 signature line.
  • Failure to submit a legible copy.
  • Generator fails to submit an exception report to DTSC when a signed facility copy is not received by the generator within 45 days.


If you are a new hazardous waste generator, or are unsure of how to fill out a manifest properly, READ HERE


While $20 per correction does not seem like a lot of money for a mistake, if you are a large quantity generator, or make the same mistake on every manifest, the $20 can add up quickly and become an unwelcome surprise, or worse lead to an unwanted DTSC investigation.

A properly licensed and experienced hazardous waste company can be a life saver, not only can they make sure that your paperwork is properly filled out, the best will handle it for you and relieve you of the headache.


Hazardous Waste Disposal Service