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EPA’s new Hazardous Waste Generator Improvements rule - effective as of May 30, 2017.

Jun 22, 2017

On May 30, 2017, EPA’s new Hazardous Waste Generator Improvements rule went live, impacting nearly all hazardous waste generators.  EPA states that the rule “finalizes a much-needed update to the hazardous waste generator regulations to make the rules easier to understand, facilitate better compliance, provide greater flexibility in how hazardous waste is managed, and close important gaps in the regulations.”  The new rule is expansive and will require attention from all hazardous waste generators.  Has your facility started?

Keep in mind only regulations promulgated by EPA that are more stringent than prior regulations became mandatory on May 30, 2017.  States with delegated authority (all states but for Alaska, Iowa, and the Indian Nations, and the territories Puerto Rico, American Samoa, N. Mariana and US Virgin Islands) still may impose requirements that are more restrictive.  All less or equally stringent requirements do not become effective in an authorized state until the state adopts the provision.  An authorized state will have discretion on whether to adopt less stringent standards (e.g., EPA’s new episodic generation provision).  Facilities should review their state’s regulations before making wholesale changes to internal waste programs.  EPA has provided a list of which provisions they believe are more or less restrictive HERE.

A few highlights:

  • Smaller generators will see changes in titles, rule organization, and some much-needed flexibility.  Conditionally exempt small quantity generators (CESQG’s) are now very small quantity generators (VSQG’s).  Generation threshold quantities remain the same. 
  • The new rule reorganizes existing regulations for easier review.  For example, section 262.13 now explains how to determine the appropriate generator categories, with the specific generator requirements in sections 262.14-.18. 
  • EPA has established an episodic generation allowance, permitting VSQG’s and small quantity generators (SQG’s) to maintain its existing generator category under certain conditions because of an episodic event that results in a temporary change in a generator’s status.  40 C.F.R. Part 262, Subpart L. 
  • In certain circumstances, VSQG’s may be able to ship their hazardous waste to LQGs under the control of the same person.  40 C.F.R. §§ 262.14(a)(5)(viii), 262.17(f).

One of the more visible changes is to labeling.  The generator rule requires containers and tanks in satellite accumulation and central accumulation to be marked with the words “hazardous waste” and information describing the hazards of the waste.  40 C.F.R. §§ 262.16(b)(6), 262.17(a)(5).  This can be accomplished by marking the container or tank with the applicable hazardous waste characteristic(s) (i.e., ignitable, corrosive, reactive, toxic); a hazard communication label or placard consistent with D.O.T. requirements; a hazard statement or pictogram consistent with the OSHA Hazard Communication Standard; or a chemical hazard label consistent with the NFPA code 704. Id.

For more information, check out EPA’s explanation HERE.  If your facility needs further assistance with rule interpretation or program review, please contact us!

The Jorden Bischoff & Hiser, PLC blog is designed to provide companies with news and information on subject matters addressed by our firm. Posts include commentary, links to news, events and other developments. If you have any questions about a blog post and how it may apply to your company, please contact us. All blog posts are the opinion of the authoring attorney and are not legal opinions that should be relied upon unless first discussed with our legal staff.