The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued proposed updates to the hazardous waste regulations (40 CFR 260-265, 268, 270, and 279) on September 25, 2015, and the comment period ended on December 24, 2015.
There are several major updates being proposed for the regulations, which include:
- Allowing hazardous waste generators to avoid changing generator status (Conditionally Exempt Small Quantity Generator (CESQG) to a Small Quantity Generator (SQG) or to a Large Quantity Generator (LQG), or a SQG to a LQG) when generating episodic hazardous waste. The EPA sees these episodic events as being things like acts of god, unexpected cleanouts of lab chemicals or products, etc. In order to qualify for the episodic event, the generator would need to notify the EPA and applicable state agency at least 30 calendar days prior to the event, and within one day or as soon as possible for unplanned events. Additionally, the event can only last for 45 days and all waste accumulated must be disposed by the 45th day. Generators will be able to petition the EPA for one additional episodic event or to extend an event.
- Allowing CESQG to ship hazardous waste to a LQG that is within the same company. There would be specific labeling requirements to ensure all entities understand the contents and source of the waste. The EPA believes this will help companies aggregate hazardous waste from smaller business groups or facilities within companies to larger ones that are more experienced with handling waste. It would also consolidate the cost of hauling hazardous waste for the company.
- Requiring facilities to document all waste determinations (whether they are determined to be hazardous or not), and they must be maintained for at least three years. Previously, facilities were only required to make a determination, so no documentation was required. This presented problems for EPA inspectors, in that no proof was required on whether a waste determination was made or how it was made.
Please note that these are proposed updates to the regulations and have the potential to change due to comments made by companies and industry groups, several of which Conversion Technology, Inc. (CTI) is a part of. As the regulations are finalized, CTI will keep you apprised of these updates.