U.S. EPA Issues Revisions to Hazardous Waste Generator Rule, To Be Finalized in October 2016

13 October 2016 Dashboard Insights Blog

The following post is provided by our guest author, Karen Lutz from TRC Environmental Corporation. Karen can be reached at klutz@trcsolutions.com

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency published proposed revisions to Hazardous Waste Generator regulations in September 2015. The public comment for the proposed revisions closed at the end of December 2015 and the revisions are currently planned to be published as final in October 2016.  Revisions to definitions, hazardous waste identification requirements, and hazardous waste generator standards could impact any facility that generates hazardous waste.

The intent of the proposed rule revisions are to address gaps in the regulations, provide greater flexibility managing hazardous waste in a cost-effective manner, and making general language updates (e.g. technical corrections, removal of obsolete references, improved readability, and clarification of ambiguities). While some items like hazardous waste determinations, labeling, closure requirements, and contingency planning have become more stringent, items like waste consolidation at CESQGs, episodic waste generation, and the waiver from the 50-foot rule have become less stringent.

What are the main revisions to the rules?

The updated regulations have several items that will affect hazardous waste generating facilities. Highlights include:

  • Changing conditionally exempt small quantity generators (CESQGs) to very small quantity generators (VSQG).
  • Adding definitions for large quantity generator (LQG) and VSQG; and revising the small quantity generator (SQG) definition.
  • Defining “central accumulation area” as any on-site hazardous waste accumulation area that is subject to additional generator standards.
  • Addition of a provision to explain what generator category applies to an entity that generates both acute and non-acute HW in the same calendar month.
  • Revisions to the regulations that address the mixing of a non-hazardous waste with a hazardous waste.
  • Amendment to allow CESQGs to send their hazardous waste to LQGs that are operated under control of the same person.
  • Revisions to the regulations for making hazardous waste determinations.
  • Revising labeling requirements, including notations that indicate that hazardous waste is present, identifying chemical names, and listing potential hazards.
  • Revisions to the closure provisions and biennial reporting requirements for LQGs.
  • Updates to the preparedness, prevention, planning, and emergency procedures and satellite accumulation area provisions for SQGs and LQGs.
  • Revisions to the SQG regulations for accumulating hazardous waste on drip pads.
  • Addition of a provision that hazardous waste generators are prohibited from disposing liquid hazardous waste in landfills; and
  • Revisions applicable to hazardous waste transporters and treatment, storage, and disposal facilities (TSDFs).

Rule Adoption and Implementation

  • The rule is not automatically effective in RCRA authorized states, although many states incorporate the federal regulations by reference.
  • RCRA authorized states that do not adopt the new federal requirement, need to adopt rules that are at least if not more stringent.
  • Although a compliance date has yet to be established, U.S. EPA typically provides a 6 month effective date window from final rule publication date.

How to Prepare for the Final Revisions

  • Review/update waste characterization documentation for HWs and solid wastes.
  • Review waste generation status.
  • Evaluate labeling and marking procedures at your facility.
  • Check Hazardous Waste training program(s) and records.
  • Review/update contingency plans and agreements with local emergency responders.
  • Assess compliance with the RCRA air emission standards for process vents, equipment leaks, and tanks, containers, or surface impoundments.

Additional information regarding the Hazardous Waste Generator Rule revisions can be found here. The Federal Register Publication of the final rule is available here.

This blog is made available by Foley & Lardner LLP (“Foley” or “the Firm”) for informational purposes only. It is not meant to convey the Firm’s legal position on behalf of any client, nor is it intended to convey specific legal advice. Any opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of Foley & Lardner LLP, its partners, or its clients. Accordingly, do not act upon this information without seeking counsel from a licensed attorney. This blog is not intended to create, and receipt of it does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship. Communicating with Foley through this website by email, blog post, or otherwise, does not create an attorney-client relationship for any legal matter. Therefore, any communication or material you transmit to Foley through this blog, whether by email, blog post or any other manner, will not be treated as confidential or proprietary. The information on this blog is published “AS IS” and is not guaranteed to be complete, accurate, and or up-to-date. Foley makes no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, as to the operation or content of the site. Foley expressly disclaims all other guarantees, warranties, conditions and representations of any kind, either express or implied, whether arising under any statute, law, commercial use or otherwise, including implied warranties of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Foley or any of its partners, officers, employees, agents or affiliates be liable, directly or indirectly, under any theory of law (contract, tort, negligence or otherwise), to you or anyone else, for any claims, losses or damages, direct, indirect special, incidental, punitive or consequential, resulting from or occasioned by the creation, use of or reliance on this site (including information and other content) or any third party websites or the information, resources or material accessed through any such websites. In some jurisdictions, the contents of this blog may be considered Attorney Advertising. If applicable, please note that prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. Photographs are for dramatization purposes only and may include models. Likenesses do not necessarily imply current client, partnership or employee status.

Related Services