EPA Issues Changes to RCRA Hazardous Waste Generator Rule

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued a final rule to revise the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act’s (RCRA) hazardous waste generator regulatory program. The update contains over 60 revisions and will be effective May 30, 2017. One of the EPA’s objectives of the revisions is to reorganize the regulations to make them more user-friendly and easier to understand for generators. The revisions also include changes that address gaps in existing regulations, provide more flexibility for generators to mange hazardous waste, and make technical corrections. 

Below is a list of some the program changes:

  • The term for facilities that generate less than 220 pounds of hazardous waste in a month was changed from Conditionally Exempt Small Quantity Generators (CESQG) to Very Small Quantity Generators (VSQG). 
  • Hazardous waste generated from an episodic event does not count towards determining generator status. An episodic event is an activity that does not occur as part of normal operations. Examples of episodic events include tank cleanouts, removal of excess chemical inventory, and clean up in response to spills. Under the previous rule, an episodic event could cause a VSQG or SQG to be bumped up to LQG status if the event caused over 2,200 pounds of hazardous waste to be generated. There are notification and recordkeeping requirements that must be met by VSGQs and SQGs managing hazardous waste from an episodic event.
  • SQGs must submit a notification of their generator status once every four years. This replaces the previous requirement of a one-time notification.
  • Some marking and labeling requirements for hazardous waste containers have been updated.
  • Some of the emergency response provisions for LQGs have been updated.
  • VSQGs can send hazardous waste to LQGs that are under control of the same entity if certain conditions are met.
  • Records of hazardous waste determinations must be kept for at least three years. Records of non-hazardous waste determinations are not required to be kept, but EPA does recommend that generators keep these records as a best management practice. It should be noted that some states have adopted more stringent regulations that do require records of non-hazardous waste determinations to be kept.

CTI has experience assisting facilities to identify and properly manage hazardous waste. Please contact CTI if you need assistance to determine how the updated hazardous waste rules might impact your hazardous waste management program.

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