EPA Fines Focus on Records Accuracy – Small Companies Part of Concentrated Review

Keeping accurate records has always been an important part of a hazardous waste generators’ job. Now, with increasing focus by the EPA on this issue, it appears that small companies may no longer get a pass. According to Suzanne Murray, a partner at the international corporate law firm of Haynes and Boone, the EPA is “looking at data mining, at new monitoring techniques…to help target and enforce,” the rules. “It’s probably going to catch other folks; the net will be wider,” Murray continued.

This initiative by the EPA is a great reminder to ensure you are properly classifying your waste.  Ask yourself these questions:

  • Are all the appropriate RCRA and/or state codes being applied to the waste?
  • Do I know the quantities of waste being generated on a monthly basis?
  • Do I have written documentation that I have performed a hazardous waste determination as required by the EPA?

If you cannot affirmatively answer yes to each of these questions, now is the time to take a closer look at your hazardous waste program – before you are at risk of being penalized.

In an effort to help clarify the rules covering hazardous waste collection, storage and recordkeeping, on August 31, the EPA released a proposed rule to update the hazardous waste generator regulations. This proposal is now in the Federal Register and is under the comment period (https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2015/09/25/2015-23166/hazardous-waste-generator-improvements) which ends November 24th, 2015.

Proposed rule changes include:

  • Allowing a hazardous waste generator to avoid increased burden of a higher generator status when generating episodic waste provided the episodic waste is properly managed
  • Allowing conditionally exempt small quantity generator (CESQG) to send its hazardous waste to a large quantity generator under control of the same person
  • Revision of labeling requirements for containers and tanks of hazardous waste
  • Requiring a generator that becomes a large quantity generator (LQG) after the rule’s effective date to submit an executive summary of its contingency plan in addition to the current requirement that the LQG submit a full length contingency plan to emergency management authorities
  • Re-notification requirements for small quantity generators (SQGs), having first obtained an EPA ID number, to re-notify EPA using the Site ID form prior to February 1 of each even-numbered year

How these rules will play out on the state level remains to be seen, but the initiative by the EPA to more closely examine the records of hazardous waste generators is already under way. If you have any concerns or questions about reporting or how the new rules may affect your situation, contact the Ingenium team today. (link to contact form) As always, we are here to make sure your liability and risk are reduced, while keeping you in full compliance.

 

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