Final Rule: Hazardous Waste Generator Improvements


EPA Hazardous Waste Generator Improvements Rule; Final Rule Effective May 30, 2017
On November 28, 2016, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published a final rule (81 FR 85732-85829) revising the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) hazardous waste generator regulations.
Intent of the Final Rule
This final rule includes over 60 revisions and new provisions to the hazardous waste generator regulatoryprogram.  EPA’s primary intent is to improve compliance of hazardous waste generators in the identification and management of the hazardous wastes they generate and thereby improving protection of human health and the environment.  EPA believes this will be accomplished by reorganizing the hazardous waste generator regulations to make them more “user-friendly,” provide a better understanding of how the hazardous waste generator regulatory program works, address gaps in the existing regulations, and provide flexibility in the management of hazardous wastes.
Following is a summary of the revisions that have the greatest impact on Veolia and/or customers.
1.         Reorganization of Generator Regulations
The generator regulations have all been moved to 40 CFR Part 262. 

  1. Generator Category Determinations – 40 CFR 262.13
  2. VSQG Regulations – 40 CFR 262.14
  3. Satellite Accumulation Regulations – 40 CFR 262.15
  4. SQG Regulations – 40 CFR 262.16
  5. LQG Regulations – 40 CFR 262.17

2.         Very Small Quantity Generator (VSQG)
The name for Conditionally Exempt Small Quantity Generator has been changed to Very Small Quantity Generator.  NO change has been made to the quantity of hazardous waste that can be generated and stored to meet the VSQG Requirements.  A VSQG generates less than 100 kilograms of hazardous waste in a month and may not accumulate more than 1,000 kilograms of hazardous waste.
3.         VSQG Waste Consolidation
A VSQG may ship wastes to a LQG facility for consolidation, provided the facilities are under the control of the same person.  The VSQG must mark and label waste containers with “VSQG Hazardous Waste”.  The LQG must notify the state on their Site ID Form that it is participating in this activity and identifies what VSQGs are also participating.  Recordkeeping, reporting, and certain management standards are applicable.
4.         Clarification on a Generator’s Hazardous Waste Determination
EPA has provided clarification that the waste determination must be accurate and made at the point of generation of the waste before any dilution, mixing or alteration, and at any time during the course of management for wastes potentially exhibiting a hazardous characteristic.  EPA has further clarified how generators can use generator knowledge and tests in making hazardous waste determinations and how a generator should evaluate its waste for hazardous characteristics.
5.         Episodic Generation of Wastes
Current RCRA rules lack flexibility to address an “episodic” change in a generator’s regulatory category due to both planned events (i.e., periodic maintenance such as tank cleanouts) and unplanned events (i.e., production upset conditions, spill, acts of nature). This rule provides generators with an alternative set of standards for managing episodic events.
Generators must comply with these more comprehensive set of regulations for the short period of time when they are generating waste at higher levels.

  •  Allows generators to maintain their existing category provided they comply with streamlined set of requirements.
  • One event per calendar year with ability to petition for second event.  If first event is planned, the petition for a 2nd event must be for an unplanned event or vice versa.
  • Notify EPA or state at least 30 days prior to initiating a planned episodic event or notify EPA or state within 72 hours after an unplanned event.
  • Conclude the episodic event within 60 days, including transporting the episodic waste off-site (40 CFR 262 Subpart L).
  • Streamlined Requirements for VSQGs:
            ▫ Obtain RCRA identification number
            ▫ Use hazardous waste manifest and transport waste to a RCRA TSDF or recycler
            ▫ Manage the episodic hazardous waste in a manner that minimizes risk of an accident or release
            ▫ Label episodic waste containers
            ▫ Identify an emergency coordinator
            ▫ Maintain records associated with episodic event
  • SQGs need only comply with existing SQG regulations and maintain records associated with the episodic event.

6.         Enhanced Labeling of Containers and Tanks – Hazard Identification and RCRA Waste Codes
Labels for tanks and containers must now also indicate the hazards of the contents. There is    flexibility in how to comply with this new provision as the generator can indicate the hazards of the contents of the container using any of several established methods (e.g., DOT hazard communication, OSHA hazard statement or pictogram, NFPA chemical hazard label, or RCRA characteristic).  For drip pads and containment buildings, the generator can keep this information in logs or records near the accumulation unit. 
In addition, the marking of containers with RCRA codes is required for SQGs and LQGs prior to sending hazardous waste off-site per 40 CFR 262.32.  Alternatively the generator may or use a nationally recognized electronic system, such as a barcoding system, that performs the same function of representing the waste codes to the TSDF receiving the waste containers.
7.         Notification Requirements for SQGs
SQGs must provide additional generator notifications to the EPA every 4 years unless states have more frequent re-notification requirements.  Electronic reporting will be an option.  This compliance date is delayed until 2021 to give states time to update their reporting forms and process.

8.         Emergency Preparedness
Previous regulations required generators to attempt to make arrangements with local emergency responders regarding wastes handled to prepare for a potential emergency, however, there was no requirement to document that arrangements had been made. Now, as revised, a generator must document that they have attempted to make arrangements with local emergency responders (or that arrangements were sought but not obtained) and keep the documentation in the facility’s operating record.  (40 CFR 262.16(b)(8)(vi) and 262.256)
9.         Preparation of Contingency Plans and Quick Reference Guides
In addition to the existing requirement for a LQG to prepare and submit a contingency plan this rule requires a LQG to prepare a Quick Reference Guide (e.g., an Executive Summary) that contains information most critical for immediate response to an event.
The Quick Reference Guide (40 CFR 262.262) must contain eight required elements:
            ▫     Types/names of hazardous waste and associated hazards
            ▫     Estimated maximum amounts of hazardous wastes on-site
            ▫     Hazardous wastes requiring unique/special treatment
            ▫     Map showing where hazardous wastes are generated, accumulated and/or treated
            ▫     Map of facility and surroundings to identify routes of access and evacuation
            ▫     Location of water supply
            ▫     Identification of on-site notification systems
            ▫      Name of emergency coordinator(s) or listed staffed position(s) and 24-hour emergency telephone number(s)
10.        Waiver of the 50-foot Setback Requirements
The current generator regulations require that containers holding ignitable or reactive waste must be located at least 15 m (50 feet) from the facility’s property line.  Due to known difficulties in meeting this requirement, especially for generators in urban areas where properties are less than 100 feet wide, EPA is including an option for a generator to obtain a variance or waiver of the requirement. LQGs may approach the authority having jurisdiction (AHJ) over the fire code within the facility’s state or locality (e.g., fire marshal) to apply for a waiver from the requirement if the AHJ believes that the precautions taken by the facility make the waiver appropriate and safe.
11.        Enhanced Closure Requirements for LQGs
Under the new rules should LQGs accumulating hazardous wastes in containers fail to complete a clean closure of the facility they will be required to complete closure as a landfill.  In addition LQGs are required to provide the agency notification of closure of a waste accumulation area by placing a notice in their operating record within 30 days after closure identifying the location of the unit within the facility. 
For closure of a facility, the LQG must notify EPA or the authorized state no later than 30 days prior to closing the facility, and notify EPA or authorized state within 90 days after closing the facility.  The notice shall state that it has complied with closure performance standards, or notify if it can’t complete a clean closure of the facility.  The LQG can request an extension but must notify EPA or the authorized state within 75 days after closing the facility.
12.        Biennial Reporting Clarifications
EPA is making several clarifications to the biennial reporting requirements to ensure reporting consistency.  LQGs must report all hazardous waste generated and managed on-site in the reporting year, not simply those wastes shipped off-site in the calendar year.  Furthermore, LQGs must report hazardous wastes generated throughout the calendar year, even for months when they may have been a SQG.  And recycling facilities that do not have a RCRA permit because they are not storing waste prior to recycling must also report the wastes being recycled.
13.        Clarification of the Satellite Accumulation Requirements
EPA is providing clarification in this final rule of the requirements for satellite accumulation. Some of the clarifications include:

  • Require that hazardous wastes not be mixed or placed in a container with other hazardous wastes that are incompatible
  • Allow containers to remain open temporarily under limited circumstances when necessary for safe operations
  • Provides maximum weight in addition to the existing volume limitations for acute hazardous wastes
  • Clarifies that “three days” means three consecutive calendar days
  • Rescinds the agency memo allowing reactive hazardous waste to be stored away from the point of generation
  • Makes marking and labeling requirements consistent with the new standards for central accumulation areas

Effective Date
This final rule will become effective on May 30, 2017.
State Adoption
Authorized States will be required to adopt the more stringent portions of this final rule by July 1, 2018 (or July 1, 2019 if a State law must be changed for adoption).  Authorized States may choose to adopt the less stringent portions of the final rule.
The More Stringent Requirements are:

  1. Small Quantity Generator Re-Notification Requirements
  2. Labeling and Identification of Hazardous Wastes in Accumulation
  3. Notification of Facility Closure
  4. Biennial Reporting for an Entire Year, not just the months the generator was a LQG
  5. Biennial Reporting for Recyclers that don’t store hazardous wastes prior to recycling
  6. Quick Reference Guide for Contingency Plans
  7. Closure as a Landfill for LQGs accumulation hazardous waste in containers that cannot meet closure performance standards

The entire rule will become effective in Alaska, Iowa, territories, and tribal lands on the effective date, May 30, 2017.
The Less Stringent Requirements are:

  1. VSQG Consolidation/Shipment to a LQG
  2. Episodic Generation
  3. Waiver of 50-Foot Setback Requirement 

The link below will allow you to view/print the final rule.