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Hazardous Waste Rule Update

EPA has recently finalized an update to the hazardous waste regulations that takes effect on May 30, 2017. This update is only the fourth significant change to these regulations since 1980, the most recent of which was the change to the Uniform Hazardous Waste Manifest in June 2005.

The original EPA proposal was designed to reorganize and streamline the regulations to make them easier for lay people to understand. Of the 60 changes to the program, 23 of them are either updates to references or new CFR citations for existing rules. This does however leave 37 specific changes to current regulations covering a wide variety of differences beginning in May.

Generator Status Changes (40 CFR 262.10)

The first major change is to eliminate the Conditionally Exempt Small Quantity Generator (CESQG) status and replace it with a new Very Small Quantity Generator (VSQG) status. EPA estimates that there are almost 600,000 entities in the U.S. that will qualify for VSQG status. There are no status changes for Small Quantity Generators (SQG) or Large Quantity Generators (LQG) of which EPA estimates that there are approximately 80,000 entities combined operating in the U.S.

Waste Determination Changes (40 CFR 262.11)

The updated regulations specifically indicate that solid and hazardous waste determinations must be accurate and complete. This has been implied in the current rules, however there was no outright statement to that effect. Additionally all waste determinations must be made at the point of generation and not after any mixing or stabilizing occurs. More instructions are included on the appropriate way to conduct a waste determination. All waste codes must be identified prior to the first shipment of an individual waste stream to an off-site facility. An interesting development is that waste codes may now be included in a bar code as opposed to being specifically listed on each container.

Additional Notification Requirements (40 CFR 262.18)

LQG facilities must now notify EPA 30 days prior to closing a facility and again within 90 days of the completion of a closure. All Central Accumulation Areas (CAA) must be clean closed per the regulations, however Satellite Accumulation Areas (SAA) are not required to be clean closed.

SQG facilities will begin to have a notification requirement every four years to submit an updated Form 8700-12 beginning in 2021. The first notification will be due for all SQG facilities on September 1, 2021.

Episodic Events for VSQG & SQG Facilities (40 CFR 262 Subpart L)

Perhaps the most significant changes within the rule update relate to new regulations regarding episodic generation events for VSQG and SQG facilities. All qualifying facilities will be allowed to hold one episodic event per calendar year with the ability to petition EPA for a second under certain circumstances. Episodic generation events are divided into two categories by EPA: planned and emergency. Planned events are anticipated to be warehouse and facility cleanouts. Emergency events are expected to comprise of events including but not limited to product recalls, acts of nature (hurricanes, flooding, tornados, etc.) and similar unplanned events.

For planned events, EPA must be notified a minimum of 30 days prior to the beginning of the event. In the case of an unplanned event, notification must occur no later than 72 hours of the event start. All notifications are to be submitted on an EPA 8700-12 form that will be updated for this purpose. Notification requires the start and end dates of the event along with the identification of the emergency coordinator.

Episodic hazardous waste events can last no longer than 60 days from the start date and all waste generated must be shipped off-site during this time period. VSQG facilities must obtain an EPA ID number prior to shipping episodic waste. All hazardous waste generated as part of the episodic event must be shipped on a Uniform Hazardous Waste Manifest and records must be maintained for a minimum of three years.

During an episodic event, all wastes must be labeled as “Episodic Hazardous Waste” along with an indicator of its contents. SQG facilities must also add a date to the label. Containers must be kept closed and incompatible materials must be stored separately.

Additional record keeping requirements apply to episodic events. Facilities utilizing this option will need to keep the following records for at least three years:

  • Beginning and ending date of event;

  • Description of the episodic event;

  • Description of how the waste was managed during the event;

  • Name of TSDF used;

  • Name of all transporters used; and

  • EPA approval letter is a petition was required.

Emergency Preparedness Requirements (40 CFR 262.17 & 18)

Facilities will no longer be required to list the home address and home telephone number of emergency coordinators. Names and cell phone numbers are now sufficient for the Contingency Plan. If a facility is staffed 24/7/365, job titles and telephone numbers may be used without individuals’ names. EPA has specified that the location of emergency response equipment is up to the facility to determine. It is not required that it be located near the Central Accumulation Area(s) or the generation area(s). SQG facilities must post the emergency coordinator’s name and phone number next to the phone OR in areas involved in generation or accumulation of hazardous wastes. SQG facilities are now authorized to use contractors exclusively for containment and clean up of spills or leaks. For LQG facilities, the emergency preparedness requirements of Subpart M only applies to Central Accumulation Area(s), Satellite Accumulation Area(s), and points of generation. The requirements do not apply to the entire facility. This is a significant change from past practice.

Quick Reference Guides (40 CFR 262 Subpart M)

A Quick Reference Guide now must be provided for each facility’s Contingency Plan for facilities that require one. All new LQG facilities must create one to be submitted with its Contingency Plan to local response agencies. All current LQG facilities must create a Quick Reference Guide when their Contingency Plan requires an update. Quick Reference Guides must include the following information and may be considered to be an executive summary of the plan:

  • Type and name of hazardous wastes in layman’s terms (i.e. toxic paint waste, spent ignitable solvent, etc.);

  • Estimate of the maximum amount of each hazardous waste present;

  • Identification of any hazardous waste that may require special medical treatment;

  • Map of the site showing points of generation, SAA and CAA locations;

  • Street map showing potential citizen evacuation routes;

  • Location of the water supply;

  • Identification of facility alarm systems; and

  • Name and phone number of emergency coordinator(s).

In short, significant changes will be taking place to the hazardous waste generator regulations at the end of May. For additional information on how these rule changes may affect your facility, please contact Suzanne Custons or Maria Maciejewski of Baron Environmental.

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