Quick Quiz: EPA's 2015 Biennial Report Data

Posted on 3/21/2017 by Roger Marks

US EPA recently released data from hazardous waste generators nationwide that provides insight into the vast amounts of hazardous waste managed in the US every day.  

If you love facts and figures, EPA’s Biennial Report summary is a terrific resource, allowing you to sort the data in a number of different ways to suit your needs or your curiosity. EPA now makes available tables of RCRA Biennial Report data collected from 2001 through the present.  

Before we get to the quick quiz, we’ll answer one burning question—which states generated the most hazardous waste last year?

Answer: Texas

EPA hazardous waste shipmentThe Lone Star State outranked the other 49 in tons of hazardous waste generated for the 2015 reporting year. The 1,686 Texas hazardous waste generators reporting to EPA in 2015 generated more than 16 million tons of hazardous waste. The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) requires annual hazardous waste reports from generators in the state, a requirement that goes above and beyond the RCRA biennial reporting rules. Learn more about the unique state rules for managing hazardous and industrial waste in Texas here.

Texas’ total is three times larger hazardous waste as the #2 state on the list, Louisiana, where facilities generated about 5 million tons.

Rounding out the top five states for tons of hazradous waste generated are Mississippi (1.9 million tons), Ohio (1.7 million tons), and Kansas (1.2 million tons). 

On to the quiz!

Now, let’s find out how much you know about the other information EPA collects from generators every 2 years.  Have questions about who must submit RCRA biennial reports, what to report, or how to submit? Check out this quick guide: The Biennial Report for RCRA Hazardous Waste Generators.

All content of this quick quiz is sourced from EPA’s Biennial Report summaries, available here.

Q1. How many tons of hazardous waste did US facilities generate in 2015?
A. Less than 10 million tons
B. Between 10 and 20 million tons
C. More than 20 million tons
D. More than 40 million tons

Q2. Which three US states were home to the most hazardous waste generators in 2015?
A. Massachusetts, California, Texas
B. Illinois, Ohio, and Michigan
C. New York, California, and Texas
D. Indiana, Louisiana, and Minnesota

Q3. Which of these states or territories was home to the fewest hazardous waste generators in 2015?
A. Montana
B. New Mexico
C. Puerto Rico
D. Wyoming

Q4. Which US State reported the biggest drop in hazardous waste volume from 2013 to 2015?
A. New Mexico
B. New York
C. California
D. Vermont

Q5. Which state received the most hazardous waste in 2015?
A. Texas
B. Pennsylvania
C. New Jersey
D. Michigan


A1. (C) More than 20 million tons.  According to EPA’s biennial report data, US facilities subject to biennial reporting generated 33,642,411 tons of hazardous waste in 2015.

RCRA hazardous waste reportingA2. (C) New York, California, and Texas. Together, these three states are home to 8,214 hazardous waste generators. That’s about as many as the next 10 states on the list combined! Other states with more than 1,000 hazardous waste generators include Pennsylvania (1,422), Ohio (1,294), and Illinois (1,083) Surprisingly, of the Top 5 states in number of generators, only 2—Texas and Ohio—are among the Top 5  in tons of waste generated.

A3. (D) Wyoming. With only 34 hazardous waste generators reporting to EPA in 2015, Wyoming is home to the fewest generators, according to EPA’s data.

A4.  (A) New Mexico.  According to previous Biennial Report data, New Mexico generated 887,703 tons of hazardous waste in 2013. In 2015, that number was down to 5,631 tons. That’s a 99% drop! EPA’s data shows that a possible release or one-time event at a petroleum refinery in the state accounted for the uncharacteristic spike in hazardous waste generated in 2013.

A5. (D) Michigan. Michigan beat out all other states in 2015, receiving 709,056 tons of hazardous waste into the state.

Want more data? Check out the full Biennial Report Summary from EPA here.

RCRA Training for Managers in Grand Rapids, Chicago, St. Louis, Pittsburgh, and more

Meet EPA’s annual RCRA training requirement and find out how big changes in the historic “Hazardous Waste Generator Improvements Rule” will impact your facility. Trusted since 1978, the RCRA Hazardous Waste Management Workshop will be in your area in April and May.
Join us for RCRA training in Grand Rapids, Chicago, St. Louis, Pittsburgh, and more to collaborate, network, and learn alongside other managers in your field. You will meet EPA’s annual training requirement and get the latest on the EPA’s Generator Improvements Rule. When the workshop ends, you will return to work ready to answers questions from leadership about what you need to do to stay in compliance.     

Short on time or training budget?

Find convenient, cost-effective online training options at—including initial and refresher RCRA training; the live, expert led Generator Improvements Rule WebinarLDRs OnlineHazardous Waste Recycling Reliefs Online, and more.   

Tags: hazardous, RCRA, reporting and recordkeeping, waste

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