Did you hear the one about the EPA making life easier for hazardous waste generators?

No! This isn’t a joke.

The EPA is actually making it easier for hazardous waste generators. Well…yes and no. And, it depends on what state(s) you operate in.  In the Hazardous Waste Generator Improvements Rule, final version signed October 2016, the feds made some big changes to the EPA’s hazardous waste generator requirements in Title 40 of the Code of Federal Regulations (40 CFR). For example, the feds will now allow a LQG to accept waste from a VSQG as long as the VSQG is controlled by the same person or company as the LQG. Wait…. What’s a VSQG? It stands for Very Small Quantity Generator. You may not have heard this term because it’s new and it now supersedes the Conditionally Exempt Small Quantity Generator (CESQG) definition in the regulation. The new rules specifying that the LQG can accept the VSQG waste will be at 40 CFR 262.14 and 262.17.

The EPA will also allow VSQGs and SQGs to exceed the generation limits of 1000kg/month of hazardous waste or 1kg/month of acutely hazardous waste without becoming a LQG as long as the excess waste generation is episodic (e.g. due to a cleanout or an act of nature). This will help a facility avoid the full requirements of being a LQG because they did a one-time cleanout that generated more than the allowed 1000kg or 1kg limits under the federal exemptions. There will be some hoops to jump through for this allowance, and the new rule will begin at 40 CFR 262.230.

In other ways, the feds will require more work on the part of the hazardous waste generator. For example, according to the fed rules, generators must now label their hazardous waste containers with the description of the hazards along with the currently required words “Hazardous Waste” and the accumulation start date.  Some states have already required this additional labeling, or more (we’re looking at you Washington and California). And now, as part of the pre-transportation marking of hazardous waste containers, the containers must also be marked with the EPA waste codes for the waste (with some exemptions for lab packs). These rules will be found at 40 CFR 262.32.

Additionally, RCRA Small Quantity Generators and Large Quantity Generators will now be required to re-notify the EPA with of their hazardous waste activity by re-submitting Form 8700.12 every four years. This is not supposed to start until 2021. This rule will be found at 40 CFR 262.18.

Oh yeah, before I forget, the new rules also move around some of the old regulations. For example, Satellite Accumulation Area rules moved from 262.34 to 262.16. So just in case you go looking for that regulation about satellite accumulation and can’t find it in its past location, doesn’t mean that the regulation has been rescinded. The Pre-Publication copy of the final rule (linked below) has a good description of these changes.

Lastly, please remember, your individual state may or may not adopt these rules depending on a variety of factors, so always check with your state to ensure you are operating within your state’s requirements. Typically, if the new federal rules are less stringent than your state’s rules, your state may or may not adopt the new rules. Conversely, if the new federal rules are more stringent than your state’s rules, your state will move to adopt the new rules (see Section XV of the linked rule).

As always, your INGENIUM experts are always available to answer any questions you may have regarding EPA regulations or any other hazardous waste questions or concerns. Please feel free to contact your INGENIUM Representative at 800/805-6236.

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