Main Content


Frequently Asked Questions

 

Surcharge Questions
 
1. What is the Hazardous Waste Surcharge fee?
Florida Statute 403 authorizes Local/County governments to impose a surcharge fee up to $50.00 on Occupational Licenses. The County has imposed a hazardous waste surcharge fee of $20.00 to fund the State of Florida mandated Small Quantity Generator (SQG) Assessment and Verification/Notification Program. This surcharge is assessed on businesses with occupational licenses.    

2. Why is the county conducting these assessments?
Florida Statute 403.7225 & 403.7234 requires Local/County governments to conduct SQG Assessments and Verification/Notification visits at each SQG site a minimum of once every five years, for a total of 20% of the SQG classified sites in the County each year. Currently, there are approximately 43,000 sites in Lee County that are potential hazardous waste generators.     

3. What is the purpose of these assessments and verification/notification visits?
The purpose of these visits is to determine if a business has hazardous waste, how their waste is managed and disposed of, and most importantly, to inform businesses of current Florida Rules and Regulations regarding hazardous waste generators. The Division of Natural Resources Management will assist businesses in complying with State/Federal laws to protect the surface and ground waters of Lee County.

4. How is my $ 20.00 going to be used? 
This money will be used to conduct SQG Assessment and Verification/Notification visits at each facility assessed the annual $20.00 surcharge. It will fund costs associated with this program including county staff to assist business with compliance issues, educational seminars for business, and newsletters relaying information such as changes in regulations, announcements of vital concerns, training, and equipment. 

5. Why is my business being surcharged?
The Legislature recognized the expense that is incurred by County governments in the proper identification and notification of small quality generators of hazardous waste within their jurisdictions. Florida Statute 403.7225 (12) allows the County to impose a surcharge of up to $50.00 per year on the occupational license renewal of any firm that is a potential small quantity generator of hazardous waste.       

6. What at my business is considered "Hazardous Waste"? 
Products containing hazardous materials that have been damaged during shipment, discontinued supplies, products having an expired shelf life, discarded paints, spent solvents, waste degreasers, cleaning compounds, or by products of chemical processes can be considered "hazardous waste". Your business also may have a waste that is listed in the Code of Federal Regulations as being hazardous waste or it may possess one of the following characteristics: Ignitability, Corrosivity, Reactivity, or Toxicity.

7. Do I have to pay this every year?     
Yes, you will have to pay the surcharge every year. 

8. Is this a one time assessment?
No, the State mandates Lee County to provide information every year. Therefore, the Division of Natural Resources Management will conduct this assessment of your business once every five years.

Field Related Questions 
 
1. Can I throw my used oil filters into my regular garbage?
You can no longer dispose of used oil filters into your regular garbage. To properly dispose of these filters, they should be completely drained of any free flowing oil (crushed preferably). Place them into a weather tight container marked "Used Oil Filters". You can then dispose of these filters in two ways:

They can be hauled to the Waste to Energy facility(WTE) and disposed of there. Make sure you get a receipt of the disposal and maintain the receipt at your facility.

You can contract with a specialty hauler to have them haul the filters to the WTE or any appropriate facility. Make sure you receive a receipt documenting the procedure and maintain the receipt at your facility.

The recommended BMP for draining and crushing filters is to "hot drain" the filter for 24 hours. Hot draining filters will minimize the volume of used oil inside the filter, and crushing them will reduce the amount of space used in the container. This can save you quite a bit of money if you are having a private hauler take them. (Check with your filter hauler before crushing). Do not crush filters by driving a vehicle over them! Filter crushers are available through private companies that sell this type of equipment. Label all drums "Used Oil Filters" and keep all receipts from the hauler a minimum of three years to show proof of proper disposal. Store the drum with lid closed inside a containment area to eliminate contamination from rain.

2. I have 2 locations for my businesses; can I keep all my records together in 1 location?
No, each location must maintain their own records documenting disposal/recycling process. If you have a different billing location that needs the receipts make a copy for yourself. Keep all records on site for three years.
 
3. I use green tip "environmentally friendly" fluorescent bulbs, can they be put in the regular trash?
All fluorescent bulbs/devices are considered potential hazardous waste because they contain the heavy metal Mercury. Green tipped light bulbs may have a smaller amount, but they still contain mercury. Lamps or devices with any mercury must be recycled under the Universal Waste Rule or be counted as a hazardous waste by the generating facility.

4. I put my used antifreeze directly in with my used oil, is this correct?
No, all waste should be stored separately. Never mix any potentially hazardous waste with another waste. If the antifreeze happens to be hazardous it would contaminate the entire container of used oil leaving the responsible party with a larger container of hazardous waste to get rid of, which is much more expensive. Keep all wastes separate with the correct labels.
 
5. I use acetone (or any solvent) on disposable rags and throw them out when they are dry, is this proper disposal method?
Even though the rags are dry they still contain hazardous waste.

Do not use disposable shop rags in certain processes at your facility. If you do use disposable rags and they are contaminated, they must be stored and disposed of as hazardous waste. To avoid this problem contracting with a uniform/shop towel service may be a better option, for limiting your liability. Contracting with a company that will supply you with clean rags on a regular basis may be expensive, but it will save you money in potential fines for improper disposal of hazardous waste. These contractors are permitted by state and local agencies to process/wash the rags, which are considered a recyclable item. Used rags should be placed into a closed-lid container, which is properly labeled for the rag service. They will then pick up and launder the rags. Make sure that you receive receipts, which will serve as your documentation. Keep all receipts for a minimum of three years. Do not mix rags together with different wastes in the same storage container, they may be reactive to one another and become a fire hazard.

6. What containers need to have labels?
All containers that hold waste must have the proper label. USED OIL, USED OIL FILTERS, USED ANTIFREEZE, HAZARDOUS WASTE. Also, any products used in any process must be labeled properly per OSHA requirements.
 
7. If I take my used oil to an auto parts store for community collection how can I prove it?
Keep a logbook at your business that records the date, amount taken and what location the oil was taken to. Used oil is not a hazardous waste as long as it never hits the ground and is properly recycled through a documented process.