2017 – The Good and the Bad!

The end of the year is always a good time to take a moment (if you can find one in your busy schedule) to reflect on the past and what might be heading your way in the future. Some interesting developments have taken place in the world of hazardous waste…most notably, the EPA’s Generator Improvement Rules. We mentioned this in 2016 in our Blog. (Read here.) Depending on what state your business is in, these improvements can be good or bad. For the majority of Ingenium clients in the states of Washington and California, we are still waiting on official adoption of some or all of the improvement rules.

HAZARDOUS WASTE GENERATOR IMPROVEMENT RULE

The Washington Department of Ecology (DOE) intends to process their proposed adoptions of the EPA’s Generator Improvement Rules by January of 2019. Some of the proposed adoptions will be episodic generation and the allowance for Washington SQGs (aka EPA VSQG) to send their hazardous waste to an LQG under the same control as the Washington SQG. Episodic generation will allow Washington SQGs and Washington MQGs to exceed the generation limits of 1000kg/month of hazardous waste or 1kg/month of acutely hazardous waste without becoming an LQG, as long as the excess waste generation is episodic (e.g. due to a cleanout or an act of nature.) The episodic generation will be limited to one a year without approval from the DOE. For more information on what the DOE is proposing to adopt and when, please visit the DOE website for more information, and keep an eye on this Blog.

DOE Website

California’s Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) is reviewing EPA’s new Generator Improvement Rule and determining which of the new rules must be adopted (they must be adopted if they are more stringent than current California rules,) and which of the new rules will be optionally adopted (because they are less stringent than current California rules.) At this point in time, the DTSC has not adopted any of the new EPA Generator Improvement Rules. To keep an eye on the process of adoption by the DTSC, visit their website and keep an eye on this Blog.

DTSC Website

CHEMICAL INVENTORY REPORTING

Another change to be aware of in 2018 is the EPA’s adoption of OSHA’s GHS hazard categories in place of the previous five federal hazard categories used for the chemical inventory report. This is to take effect January 1, 2018, and will affect facilities that are subject to EPCRA Reporting. The chemical inventory submitted by the facility is supposed to reflect the new GHS hazard categories. This is likely to affect any hazardous materials inventories that your company may have developed to comply with contingency plan requirements.

California has stated that these new hazard categories will be used in the inventory reporting on CERS (California Environmental Reporting System) beginning in 2018, and that facilities will need to ensure they update their inventories. For more information from California, please check the link below.

Read more here…

In a phone call with a representative from the State of Washington, I was told that these new changes have not yet been adopted for the annual reports due in 2018. So, if you are in the State of Washington, I would recommend contacting your inspector to personally verify any changes to chemical inventory reporting requirements.

For more background information on this change at the federal level, please check out the EPA link below.

EPA Information

BIENNIAL REPORTS

2018 will be your biennial report year if you are a large quantity generator of hazardous waste. The biennial report is due every even year for activities in the previous odd year. The due date is always March 1st. Those of you that are large quantity generators (LQGs) are probably aware of this, and those of you in the State of Washington already are required to file annual reports as part of DOE requirements. Of concern for some of you smaller generators in California is whether or not you generated more waste in 2017, and potentially triggered the requirement to file the biennial report.  A typical scenario we see is a company that opens its doors and obtains a California EPA ID Number. They start generating hazardous waste as a CESQG or SQG, and then business starts to take off. The next thing you know, that business is generating waste at the LQG level and all of a sudden additional requirements kick in. For example, you might need to modify your EPA ID number, and you might have to file a biennial report.  As a reminder, a large quantity generator is one that:

  1. Generated 1,000 kilograms (kg; 2,200 pounds {lbs.}) or more of non-acute RCRA hazardous waste (including quantities imported by importer site) in a single month; or
  2. Generated in a single month or accumulated at any time 1kg (2.2 lbs.) or more of any RCRA acute hazardous wastes listed in 40 CFR sections 261.31 or 261.33; or
  3. Generated or accumulated at any time more than 100kg (220 lbs.) of any residue or contaminated soil, waste, or other debris resulting from the cleanup of a spill, into or on any land or water, of any RCRA acute hazardous wastes listed in  40 CFR sections 261.31 or 261.33(e).

So, the take away here is to periodically review your waste generator status to determine if it changes, and then make any appropriate changes based on your determination.

OSHA ELECTRONIC REPORTING

Another change to keep an eye out for is OSHA’s electronic reporting requirement.  The final rule went into effect on Dec. 15, 2017.  Currently, the rule only applies to certain employers who fall under federal jurisdiction:  those with 250 or more employees; and establishments who fall under certain industries with 20-249 employees.  The following OSHA-approved state plans have not yet adopted the requirement to submit injury and illness reports electronically:  California, Maryland, Minnesota, South Carolina, Utah, Washington and Wyoming;  therefore, establishments in these states are not required to submit their injury/illness data at this time.

As always, if you have any questions, please contact your Ingenium representative for clarification.

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