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Review Articles
 
 

EPA’s FY 2023 enforcement review

Climate change, environmental justice, and PFAS contamination are hot-button issues in environmental policy. To improve in these areas, EPA established goals and objectives in its strategic plan and national enforcement compliance initiatives. EPA recently published and summarized its fiscal year 2023 results and provided plenty of resources and data documenting how it accomplished some goals ahead of schedule while progressing toward others. READ MORE

Mandating e-manifest for agency-led cleanups

Though EPA launched the e-manifest system on June 30, 2018, adoption by the regulated community has been lackluster, as indicated in the agency’s webinars. The agency believes one way to boost adoption numbers is to lead by example. To achieve this goal, EPA’s Office of Land and Emergency Management recently published RO 14961, which requires the agency to use the e-manifest system during EPA-led emergency response and removal actions starting in FY 2025. This internal memorandum requires EPA regions and partner offices to determine the necessary elements to transition existing and future cleanups to using e-manifests. EPA personnel can register for e-manifest access via RCRAInfo, and agency e-manifest contacts are available to help fulfill this new requirement.

Multi-point PCB plans

In August 2023, EPA finalized PCB cleanup and disposal regulations under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). [88 FR 59662] The rule expanded the options for extraction and determinative methods used for characterizing PCB waste. The agency expects this change to reduce the amount of solvent used in these processes. Additional resources and links to a webinar on this rule are on EPA’s website. Following this rule in December 2023, EPA issued a draft memorandum on its approach to incorporate climate change resilience measures into PCB approvals. This approach encourages project managers overseeing PCB approvals to assess how cleanup, storage, and disposal will affect climate change. The requirement for unreasonable risk determinations will now include an assessment of future conditions. Facilities undergoing self-implementing cleanups in areas EPA believes are vulnerable to adverse climate impacts will have to provide additional documentation to the agency beyond what is required in the TSCA PCB regulations.

ISA leads charge on lead

On February 7, 2024, EPA announced the availability of its “Integrated Science Assessment for Lead,” or ISA. [89 FR 8425] As a CAA criteria pollutant, lead has primary and secondary national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS) to protect public health and welfare. The ISA is an evaluation of the most policy-relevant science that forms the scientific foundation for reviewing NAAQS. As the toxic effects of lead have been known for millennia, the ISA is not overturning our knowledge of lead’s deleterious impacts. Instead, the document provides further quantitative data that can be used to support future reductions to emission limits.

Emission tamp down for taconite

Taconite, a low-grade iron ore, was once considered a waste rock; however, the mineral is now considered a valuable resource in the steel manufacturing industry. Taconite iron ore processing is regulated under Part 63, Subpart RRRRR, which EPA amended under a final rule on March 6, 2024. [89 FR 16408] The rule does not change the applicability of this NESHAP but does set an implementation deadline associated with the tighter mercury and acid gas emission limits. While not a broadly applicable rule with only eight affected sources, the agency still expects mercury emissions to be reduced by 33% and hydrochloric acid and hydrofluoric acid emissions by 72% and 29%, respectively. Particulate matter emissions are also expected to decrease by 35% relative to baseline. More information is available via Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2017-0664.

PM NAAQS mostly unchanged

Based on its 2022 policy assessment and 2019 integrated science assessment for particulate matter (PM) discussed in a previous article, EPA finalized the primary and secondary PM national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS) on March 6, 2024. [89 FR 16202] The agency retained the primary and secondary 24-hour PM2.5 standards, the secondary annual PM2.5 standards, and the primary and secondary PM10 standards. Only the primary annual PM2.5 standard has changed, reduced from 12.0 µg/m3 to 9.0 µg/m3. EPA also updated the PM air quality index and monitored network design criteria. More information, including factsheets, presentations, and maps, is available on the agency’s final reconsideration of the PM NAAQS website.

It’s here! CA Title 22-RCRA .V seminar  

Hey Californians! Have you heard the news? McCoy’s new .VIRTUAL seminar on the California hazardous waste regulations is happening this fall! If you’ve attended our seminars before and hoped to clarify California’s state-specific regulations, this is the class for you. We’ll help bridge the gap between federal RCRA, the California hazardous waste regulations, and California Health and Safety Code (HSC). Register for our CA Title 22-RCRA .VIRTUAL seminar, to be held October 7-10, 2024

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Plenty of seats and at 5280!

Taking place at the Denver Sheraton West—June 24-28, 2024—is McCoy's 5-Day “in-person” RCRA seminar. Whether you're new to RCRA or want to brush up on your existing knowledge, this seminar will benefit waste professionals at all levels. Don't miss the opportunity to connect with experts, network with peers, and take your environmental compliance knowledge to a higher level. 

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See a hawk fly at McCoy's office

Save the date! You’ve asked for networking opportunities, so at our Denver 5-Day RCRA seminar, please join us for McCoy’s “Foods and Feathers” open house. We’ll have a shuttle from the hotel to and from our office, provide light appetizers, and best of all, see the beautiful birds of prey from HawkQuest. Mr. Kin Quitugua, a master falconer and longtime environmental educator, will bring (and fly) one of his hawks. Event starts immediately following the Wednesday, June 26, 2024, class.

...about McCoy's .V seminars

Signed up for a McCoy .VIRTUAL RCRA seminar and aren’t sure what to expect? Here’s a few important tidbits:

The training is presented via Zoom and is a live broadcast of the “in-person” seminar (it’s not dull). Course materials are shipped prior to the seminar and include the RCRA Reference and RCRA Unraveled books, plus a binder with the latest course notes.

The class provides a logical understanding of RCRA, shows you how to stay up to date with the most recent changes to the regs, and we discuss “best practices” for maintaining compliance. Sign up for the May 6-10, 2024, 5-Day, or the June 11-12, 2024, 2-Day Refresher seminar. 

5-Day agenda
2-Day Refresher agenda
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McCoy’s e-product

What’s a "McCoy Sherpa"? Our office sits at the base of the 14,436-feet-high Rocky mountains and we have enduring respect for our local alpine guides and rescuers. Furthermore, we have unending respect for the Tibetan ethnic groups, native to the mountains of Nepal and Tibet. Sherpas and Sherpani (women who are Sherpas)—are the greatest and most influential mountain climbers and guides in the world.

Thus, when you wade through the voluminous data known as the RCRA federal regulations (to protect human health and the environment), our electronic product will assist as your guide. It includes 50,000+ hyperlinks, 679 Federal Register notices (going back to 1978), and 1,531 RCRA Online documents in a searchable PDF format. And yep, it also includes McCoy's RCRA Reference and RCRA Unraveledget one today!

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Major PFAS provisions proposed

RCRA-permitted treatment, storage, and disposal facilities are required to clean up releases of hazardous waste and hazardous constituents from solid waste management units under corrective action. A new proposed rule from EPA seeks to amend the definition of hazardous waste as it applies to the corrective action program. This proposal goes hand-in-hand with another, designating nine unique PFAS as RCRA hazardous constituents… a full-court press on regulating PFAS. READ MORE

Eureka!

As the most populous U.S. state and the largest sub-national economy in the world, California is uniquely situated to pave the country’s way into the future—as per the maxim, “As goes California, so goes the nation.” And an essential part of that leadership is environmental stewardship. That’s why we wanted to update our white paper on the California hazardous waste program… to help you be a leader in your environmental program. Now you can sleep easy knowing you’re well prepared to tackle both the federal RCRA regs and the California ones. Talk about a eureka moment.

Interminable incinerator issues

For the past few years, the waste industry has been working around an incinerator backlog. Whether due to labor shortages, cement kiln shutdowns, or simply more waste being generated, reduced incinerator capacity doesn’t allow generators to skirt accumulation time limits. EPA addressed this issue in August 2021 with a memorandum that outlined several existing regulatory options to alleviate compliance challenges. However, the backlog of containerized hazardous waste needing incineration has persisted longer than the agency initially expected. In early 2024, EPA released a set of frequently asked questions regarding these issues. READ MORE

PFAS progress report

PFAS contamination has been at the forefront of EPA’s regulatory agenda over the last three years. On October 18, 2021, EPA announced its PFAS Strategic Roadmap, a plan to address PFAS contamination in the United States. In December 2023, EPA published a progress report reviewing the roadmap’s second year of implementation. The report summarizes the progress EPA has made in tackling PFAS contamination, including improvements in chemical safety, drinking water, water contamination, cleanups, data collection, and industry accountability. The agency also provides a summary of partnerships and community engagement.

Taking down waste combustion emissions

On January 23, 2024, EPA proposed amendments to the new source performance standards and emission guidelines for large municipal waste combustion units. [89 FR 4243] The proposal would reduce the emission limits of nine regulated pollutants for all new and existing sources except for two subcategories of combustors. Also on the table are the removal of the startup, shutdown, and malfunction exemption, electronic reporting, and revised recordkeeping requirements. These updates to Part 60, Subparts Cb and Eb are expected to reduce emissions by 14,000 tons per year. A unique aspect of these Part 60 standards is that because they are derived from CAA Section 129, the emission limits reflect the maximum achievable control technology normally associated with Part 63 air toxic standards. Comments may be submitted through March 25, 2024 via Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2017-0183.

CERCLA/corrective action collaboration

Hazardous waste-contaminated sites may be cleaned up under CERCLA or RCRA, the latter conducted through corrective action. Because of overlapping authority, sometimes cleanup activities are inappropriately deferred to one program or the other. Citing the importance of communication and collaboration, EPA’s Office of Inspector General released a report in 1999 making recommendations to help prevent remediation projects from falling through the cracks. EPA recently rereleased a December 1999 memorandum emphasizing how deferring a cleanup to RCRA requires a written notification to the receiving corrective action program, which then confirms the deferral is appropriate and all necessary information is obtained. [RO 14960] The CERCLA and corrective action programs should assign a site deferral coordinator and establish a timeline for the approval process while documenting all aspects of the deferral.

Updated CAA proposal for lime manufacturing

In early 2023, as discussed in a previous article, EPA proposed revisions to the lime manufacturing plant NESHAP in Part 63, Subpart AAAAA. Based on information gathered during the comment period, the agency proposed additional revisions to those emission limits on February 9, 2024. [89 FR 9088] Mercury and dioxin/furan emission limits for all kilns would be increased while no revisions would be made to the total hydrocarbon limits. Depending on lime kiln design, the hydrogen chloride emission limits are revised upwards, downwards, or, in some instances, are unchanged. A new emissions averaging compliance alternative is also proposed for hydrogen chloride and mercury emissions at existing sources. More information is available at Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2017-0015.

Universal waste additions

Solar panels are ordinarily nonhazardous when disposed of; however, some solar panels contain enough toxic metals to meet the definition of hazardous waste. Lithium batteries, when mismanaged, pose unique hazards when sent for disposal. Despite these materials being a vital part of weening the country off of fossil fuels, the push for sustainability continues to impact environmental regulations. EPA recently announced plans to propose adding solar panels and lithium batteries to the Part 273 universal waste regulations. The goal is to promote solar panel recycling and improve safety standards for lithium batteries by creating new distinct universal waste requirements for these materials.

Small bump to 2024 penalties

EPA is required by law to annually adjust the maximum civil penalties allowed under environmental law to account for inflation. Because the adjustments are tied to the consumer price index, the 2024 increases are slightly above 3 percent—further demonstrating the cost of noncompliance. READ MORE

NSR Title V tie-in

On January 9, 2024, EPA proposed an update to the CAA Title V operating permit program to codify existing guidance on how “applicable requirements” under the new source review (NSR) preconstruction permitting program should be reviewed and implemented through the Title V program. [89 FR 1150] In essence, EPA’s position is that if a source obtains an NSR permit under EPA-approved CAA Title I rules (including public notice, an opportunity for comment, and judicial review), such a permit establishes NSR-related “applicable requirements” for purposes of incorporation into the source’s Title V permit. EPA would not revisit those NSR permitting decisions through the Title V process. The proposal also clarifies that a facility’s general duty to prevent accidental releases of hazardous substances [CAA Section 112(r)(1)] is not a Title V “applicable requirement.” Comments may be submitted through April 10, 2024 via Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2023-0401. [89 FR 14015]

WARM up this winter

Estimating the economic impacts of climate change can be challenging—multiple variables need to be considered while incorporating future projections. On December 26, 2023, EPA released the waste reduction model (WARM) tool version 16. By reviewing municipal solid waste streams and construction/demolition materials, WARM estimates and compares potential greenhouse gas emissions, energy savings, and economic impacts of materials management practices. READ MORE

Climate change impacts RCRA permits

Curbing climate change is at the forefront of EPA’s national enforcement and compliance initiatives. This includes EPA’s drive to incorporate climate change initiatives into the RCRA permitting process. On December 12, 2023, EPA published a draft memorandum providing guidance on how to consider potential adverse climate change impacts during the hazardous waste permitting process. READ MORE

Explosive OB/OD alternatives

Open burning (OB) involves destroying materials through self-sustained combustion. Open detonation (OD) is detonating explosives or munitions with added explosive charges. In December 2023, EPA published a Compendium of Alternative Technologies to Open Burning and Open Detonation of Energetic Hazardous Wastes. The alternative technologies are waste and site-specific, and the agency emphasizes that a technology used at one site may not work for another. As such, the compendium allows users to compare waste streams that have been treated or destined for treatment by different alternative technologies. EPA plans on updating the compendium as new information becomes available, and feedback on the compendium can be submitted to the agency via email to RCRApost@epa.gov.

RCRA revisions rescinded

On August 9, 2023, EPA promulgated a direct final rule addressing numerous technical corrections to the RCRA regulations. The corrections, impacting the generator improvements rule, hazardous waste pharmaceuticals rule, and definition of solid waste rule, were set to become effective on December 7, 2023. In light of negative comments submitted to EPA, the agency has partially withdrawn the direct final rule, allowing only a few minor, non-substantive verbiage changes to take effect. READ MORE

Autumnal air agenda

EPA’s Fall 2023 regulatory agenda is now available. The agency is planning reviews, revisions, and amendments to scores of stationary source regulations. A critical aspect of the CAA is the periodic review of source category standards. While much of what is on the agenda is the typical review, some items result from lawsuits and court orders. READ MORE

RCRA regulatory agenda sees few changes

The Fall 2023 regulatory agenda is now available. EPA is keeping per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances in its sights for regulation as RCRA hazardous constituents and CERCLA hazardous substances. The agency has also begun reviewing potential universal waste regulation for lithium batteries and solar panels. READ MORE

Another affirmative defense removal

On December 1, 2023, EPA proposed a rule removing the affirmative defense provisions from the oil and natural gas production NESHAP and the natural gas transmission and storage NESHAP. [88 FR 83889] An affirmative defense is a mechanism that allows a source to avoid civil penalties during judicial or administrative proceedings. Recently, the agency removed the “emergency” affirmative defense provisions from the Part 70 and Part 71 operating permit programs (see previous article). EPA points to the same opinion, NRDC vs. EPA (U.S. Court of Appeals, D.C. Circuit; Docket No. 10-1371; April 18, 2014), for removing affirmative defense from Part 63, Subparts HH and HHH. More information is available via Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2023-0406.

No second thoughts on smelting

Malleable and abundant, lead may be toxic, but it is still a critical component of batteries, electronics, radiation shielding, and more. Most lead in the modern era comes not from lead ore like galena or anglesite but from secondary sources like lead-acid batteries, piping, solder, and lead sheathing. Smelting this secondary lead can be highly polluting, and EPA recently updated the secondary lead smelters NSPS with more stringent emission limits and periodic performance testing. New sources must now contend with tighter controls, approval of written SOPs, and no startup, shutdown, and malfunction exemption. READ MORE

Processing rubber tire proposal

In the rubber tire manufacturing NESHAP, four subcategories are identified—rubber processing, tire production, tire cord production, and puncture sealant application. Rubber processing is the only subcategory without emission limits, and on November 16, 2023, EPA proposed updates to Part 63, Subpart XXXX, to fill this gap. [88 FR 78692] The agency has proposed emission limits for total hydrocarbons (THC), acting as a surrogate for polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and all organic HAPs, and filterable particulate matter (fPM), acting as a surrogate for metal HAPs. Continuous emission monitoring for THC and baghouse system parameter monitoring associated with fPM would be required. Since the proposal is not a “major rule,” new and reconstructed sources must achieve compliance with the updated provisions by the final rule’s effective date, while existing sources have three years from that date. More information is available via Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2019-0392.

Eliminating lead service lines

An estimated 9.2 million lead service lines (LSL) provide water to communities across the United States. LSLs and brass faucets are the most common sources of lead contamination in drinking water. On December 6, 2023, EPA proposed revisions to the National Primary Drinking Water Regulation for lead and copper under the SDWA. [88 FR 84878] The proposed rule aims to eliminate all LSLs in water systems within 10 years. It will also lower the lead action level to 0.010 mg/L and eliminate the lead trigger level. Ultimately, the agency wants to improve public health protection, better inform the public of lead contamination, and reduce the complexity of its 2021 Lead and Copper Rule Revisions. Comments may be submitted through February 5, 2024 via Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OW-2022-0801.

LDR guide for CERCLA sites

In general, the land disposal restrictions (LDR) program requires hazardous waste destined for land disposal to be treated to reduce the toxicity and mobility of its hazardous constituents. Depending on a facility’s operations, it may not always be clear if LDR applies to a hazardous waste, particularly when one of those operations is a CERCLA cleanup response. CERCLA states onsite remediation can attain other federal standards, such as the LDR requirements, determined to be legally applicable or relevant and appropriate. EPA recently resurrected old guidance explaining LDR applicability to CERCLA response actions. READ MORE

Complete TCE ban proposed

Trichloroethylene (TCE) is used as a solvent in many industrial, commercial, and consumer applications, even though chronic exposure is linked to numerous life-threatening effects. Since hundreds of millions of pounds of TCE are produced in the United States annually, EPA published a TSCA risk evaluation on this chemical in 2020 and 2023. The agency found TCE presents an unreasonable risk of injury to health, and on October 31, 2023, it proposed a rule prohibiting the manufacturing, processing, and distribution of TCE. [88 FR 74712] The proposal also includes a prohibition on TCE disposal to industrial pre-treatment, industrial treatment, and publicly owned treatment works. EPA then followed up with a webinar explaining the proposed rule in detail. Additional information is available on EPA’s risk evaluation for TCE and risk management for TCE websites and via Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OPPT-2020-0642-0026.

Knocking out leaded aviation fuel

According to the World Health Organization, zero is the only safe blood lead concentration. Yet in 2020, piston-engine aircraft in the United States emitted 427 tons of lead into the atmosphere. Lead toxicity has been known for millennia, and EPA is now ready to take the next step to reduce lead exposure. The agency has issued a double finding on lead emissions that paves the way for future regulation under the CAA’s mobile source program. Such regulation will also require DOT to promulgate associated standards for aircraft fuel and additives. READ MORE

Finalizing HFC phasedown

On October 24, 2023, EPA finalized hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) phasedown provisions in a new Part 84, Subpart B. [88 FR 73098] The rule is part of the agency’s efforts implementing the 2020 American Innovation and Manufacturing Act, passed to phase down the United States’ production and consumption of HFCs. Reducing HFC use to 15% of baseline by 2036 will allow the U.S. to meet its commitments under the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol. Part 84, Subpart B restricts the use of HFCs based on global warming potential in specific industry subsectors, creates a process for submitting technology transition petitions, sets reporting and recordkeeping requirements, and provides some exemptions to those provisions. Effective December 26, 2023, the rule sets compliance dates between January 1, 2025, and January 1, 2028, depending on the subsector. EPA also provides additional information on its HFC phasedown efforts and answers to frequently asked questions.

NHSM’s defining change

While hazardous waste is typically the focus of RCRA, knowing how nonhazardous wastes are regulated is just as important. The Part 241 nonhazardous secondary materials (NHSM) regulations are not only part of RCRA, they also interface with the CAA. Back in 2018, a petition requested amendments to these NHSM provisions, and while EPA recently denied most of the requested changes, one definition did receive a performance-based update. READ MORE

New CCR data prompts proposal reevaluation

On November 14, 2023, EPA published a notice of data availability regarding its May 18, 2023 proposed rule (88 FR 31983) on the disposal of coal combustion residuals (CCR) from electric utilities. [88 FR 77941] New data and analysis were submitted during the comment period for the May 2023 proposal but have not been made available until now. The agency believes the new information, coupled with its own research, is significant enough to reevaluate the initial proposal and obtain new comments on the data. EPA developed a risk assessment to support the 2023 proposed rule and has made public information available via Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OLEM-2020-0107.

New model streamlines RCRA permits

Hazardous waste permitting can be time-consuming, costly, and fraught with idiosyncratic complications—after all, no two facilities are the same. EPA’s new RCRA Model Permit is a guide to assist permit writers in drafting and reviewing RCRA permits. This resource includes a series of modules allowing permit writers to input facility-unique data into templates of stock regulatory language. Ideally, the result is a smoother, less complicated permitting process. The agency intends to update the model permit periodically to incorporate new rules, policies, and guidance to ensure accuracy for permit writers. READ MORE

Bye bye exemptions, hello Subpart Kc

Thousands of facilities throughout the United States operate tanks storing volatile organic liquids. These tanks often need to comply with various CAA standards, one of the most common being Subpart Kb under the NSPS program. EPA has reviewed Subpart Kb, a standard nearly four decades old, and believes it is time for an overhaul. As such, the agency is proposing a new Subpart Kc to reflect the best system of emissions reductions for volatile organic liquid storage vessels. With broader applicability and more stringent operating standards, Subpart Kc looks to be a big leap forward in controlling VOC emissions compared to its predecessor. READ MORE

HFC proposal phasedown, exemption

When the United States ratified the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol, it committed to reducing hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) use. Used for metered dose inhalers, refrigeration, and semiconductor etching, HFCs are potent greenhouse gases that can have as much as 10,000 times the global warming potential as carbon dioxide. To create an emissions reduction and reclamation program for certain HFCs, EPA proposed an HFC phasedown rule on October 19, 2023. [88 FR 72216] Under a new Part 84, Subpart C, the rule would establish a leak detection and repair program, set reclamation standards, and mandate technician training. The rule would also create RCRA alternative recycling criteria for ignitable used refrigerants under a new Part 266, Subpart Q. Subpart Q would exempt “lower flammability spent refrigerants” from Parts 260 through 270 when recycled for reuse. More information on the proposal is available, and comments may be submitted through December 18, 2023 via Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2022-0606.

Climate change impacts RCRA corrective action

On October 18, 2023, EPA issued a draft memorandum on incorporating climate change adaptations into the RCRA corrective action process. The draft provides the agency’s recommendations on how EPA regions and authorized states should work with RCRA-permitted facilities to achieve this goal. The applicable stages of corrective action are discussed to highlight where the climate change considerations can be applied to this process. READ MORE

TSCA’s new PFAS reporting regs

An ever-growing part of the public consciousness, per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are well known for their environmental persistence, bioaccumulation, and potential carcinogenicity. One way to prevent PFAS contamination is to control their manufacture from the start, as mentioned in EPA’s 2021 PFAS roadmap. The agency has recently finalized a new set of TSCA reporting and recordkeeping requirements to better characterize the sources and quantities of PFAS manufactured in the United States. This rule affects facilities that have manufactured or imported PFAS since January 1, 2011, and took effect November 13, 2023. READ MORE

Monitoring ODS process agents

Designed to meet the United States’ commitments to the Montreal Protocol, Title VI of the CAA created the basis of the stratospheric ozone protection program. Amongst other requirements, the implementing regulations in 40 CFR Part 82 set chlorofluorocarbon and hydrochlorofluorocarbon production and consumption controls, recycling and equipment servicing procedures, and various administrative provisions. On October 19, 2023, EPA proposed additional recordkeeping and reporting requirements for ozone-depleting substances (ODSs) used as process agents. [88 FR 72027] Process agents are those ODSs aiding or inhibiting chemical reactions but are not themselves consumed in the reaction. The rule would benefit both EPA and industry by improving the understanding of ODS process agent uses, monitoring use changes over time, and providing clarity on treatment and reporting. Comments may be submitted through December 4, 2023 via Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2022-0707.

New FY2024-2027 NECIs

With a focus on environmental justice, EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance has chosen six national enforcement and compliance initiatives (NECIs) for FY2024-2027. NECIs address what the agency feels are the most significant public health and environmental challenges. While some NECIs have been retained from FY2020-2023, the previous focus on reducing hazardous air emissions from hazardous waste facilities is noticeably absent. READ MORE

From OIAI to MM2A

A unique aspect of the CAA air toxics program is the idea of a major versus an area source and how associated emission standards can be drastically different. For most of the program’s history, once a source was considered “major” for a specific MACT standard it was always major for that standard. That policy was withdrawn in 2018, but EPA wants to tighten things back up. The agency is proposing to allow permittees to go from major source to area source status. To prevent backsliding, however, it will also require sources to follow safeguards ensuring their actual emissions do not increase. READ MORE

RCRA authorization in the last frontier

In the U.S., only two states are not authorized to administer their own RCRA program—that’s about to change. Alaska is pursuing RCRA authorization, meaning The Last Frontier will have its own RCRA program and will administer it in lieu of EPA. Over the next two years, Alaska’s Department of Environmental Conservation will be working on RCRA program development to gain EPA approval for an Alaskan hazardous waste program. READ MORE

Round two HAZMAT FAQ

On August 18, 2023, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHSMA) published its second set of frequently asked questions on hazardous materials regulations. [88 FR 56702] These FAQs, focusing on incident reporting, are part of PHSMA’s initiative to convert historical letters of interpretation on hazmat regulations into a user-friendly format. PHSMA published its first set of FAQs on March 22, 2022, which focused on hazmat regulation applicability. [87 FR 85694] Those interested in other PHMSA rules and notices published in the Federal Register can search for them on the administration’s Notices and Rulemaking Documents webpage.

EPA updates EAFs

Fed almost entirely by scrap metal, electric arc furnaces (EAFs) are efficient metal recyclers operating in batches (cycles) typically lasting 2-10 hours. These secondary steel manufacturing operations are regulated under NSPS and NESHAP, and EPA recently updated the Part 60 requirements. Effective August 25, 2023, EAF regulations have minor updates under Subparts AA and AAa, and new sources are now subject to Subpart AAb. The changes are not particularly drastic, with the focus remaining on controlling particulate matter emissions and reducing stack gas opacity. READ MORE

RCRA receives regulatory revisions

On August 9, 2023, EPA promulgated a direct final rule addressing numerous technical corrections to the RCRA regulations. In addition to typographical and cross-reference changes, the rule clarifies specific provisions from the generator improvements rule, hazardous waste pharmaceuticals rule, and the definition of solid waste rule. While most of the new rule is straightforward and does not fundamentally alter the hazardous waste program, one particular change opens the door to further confusion. READ MORE

Drums in distress

From hazardous waste spills and environmental media contamination to exploding drums and employee injury, managing containers that aren’t actually “RCRA empty” poses many risks. In light of its 2022 drum reconditioner damage case report, EPA has released an advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM) exploring options for better managing hazardous waste containers and residues. The agency is seeking input from industry and regulators on a mix of regulatory and non-regulatory solutions. READ MORE

Easily accessing e-manifest

E-manifest information is available to the public and is now easier to access via RCRAInfo Web. The database is searchable and can be filtered by location, facility information, or shipment date range. EPA has also updated its e-manifest system webinar schedule and e-manifest user fees for fiscal years 2024 and 2025. READ MORE

Coking NESHAP doubleheader

Coke is produced when coal is heated in an oxygen-free atmosphere to remove impurities and separate volatile and liquid products such as coal gas and coal tar—what remains is highly-purified coke. On August 16, 2023, EPA proposed amendments to two coking-industry NESHAPs: Part 63, Subpart L for coke oven batteries and Part 63, Subpart CCCCC for coke oven pushing, quenching, and battery stacks. [88 FR 55858] Between the two, the standards would require fenceline monitoring for benzene, reduce emission limits for particulate matter (a surrogate for metal HAPs), and set new limits for more than one dozen previously unregulated HAPs (e.g., hydrogen cyanide, mercury). Comments may be submitted through October 2, 2023 via Docket ID Nos. EPA-HQ-OAR-2002-0085 and EPA-HQ-OAR-2003-0051.

Delisting determinations download

Pursuing a hazardous waste delisting can be an expensive and time-consuming process. One risk assessment tool facilities can use to evaluate a delisting’s feasibility is EPA’s hazardous waste delisting risk assessment software (DRAS). DRAS was originally designed to address the criteria for listing hazardous waste in §261.11(a)(3), a requirement for evaluating §260.22 hazardous waste delisting petitions. The software models mismanagement scenarios and calculates the potential human health risks associated with disposing of a specific waste in a Subtitle D landfill or surface impoundment. EPA provides resources for DRAS users, including download instructions, a quick start guide, and technical support documents.

Ironing out HAP kinks

As part of a major source technology review, amendments to the integrated iron and steel manufacturing NESHAP were proposed on July 31, 2023. [88 FR 49402] The proposal to Part 63, Subpart FFFFF would tighten opacity limits, require fenceline chromium monitoring, and set standards for HAPs not currently regulated, such as mercury, hydrogen fluoride, and dioxins/furans. A major driver of this proposal was the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals decision in Louisiana Environmental Action Network vs. EPA (often referred to as “LEAN”), which stated EPA must address unregulated HAP emissions from a source category when it conducts the required eight-year technology review. Comments may be submitted through September 29, 2023 via Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2002-0083. [88 FR 63047]

Weakening excess emission defenses

Emission exceedances at stationary sources can result in a CAA violation, and sources now have one less way of protecting themselves during an enforcement action. In light of recent court cases, EPA has removed the emergency affirmative defense provisions from its Title V permitting programs. States must follow suit, and Title V permits will be updated accordingly. READ MORE

Pharmaceutical problems

Healthcare facilities are finding it challenging to ship hazardous waste pharmaceuticals offsite due to the temporary backlog of containerized hazardous waste at commercial incinerators. New EPA guidance discusses the options available to healthcare facilities to dispose of their hazardous waste pharmaceuticals. The guidance reviews the options within the pharmaceuticals rule and clarifies applicability within the very small quantity generator requirements to assist healthcare facilities. READ MORE

RCRA air emissions assistance

Compliance with the RCRA air emissions standards is currently a national compliance initiative. To assist, EPA has a webpage dedicated to the RCRA air emission standards (Part 264/265, Subparts AA, BB, and CC) for TSDFs and hazardous waste generators. This resource contains a plethora of tools, definitions, frequently asked questions, training options, and more to assist TSDFs and generators with compliance. READ MORE

ORCR RCRA wrap-up

The Office of Resource Conservation and Recovery (ORCR) has released a report on its 2022 accomplishments. Most of the topics covered in the report have been written about in previous McCoy Review articles. The topics range from proposed and finalized rules to sustainability accomplishments. The report also provides statistics on the web traffic EPA’s webpages receive, how many downloads occurred, and what were the most popular downloaded documents. Throughout the report are links to recently issued guidance documents and webpages, which makes it a nice wrap-up of RCRA in 2022.

Cu smelting supplement

Since EPA’s 2022 proposed amendments to the major and area source primary copper smelting air toxics standards [87 FR 1616], new information has been collected requiring supplemental action. On July 24, 2023, the agency published a supplemental proposal further strengthening the major source standard (Part 63, Subpart QQQ). [88 FR 47415] Most significantly, the supplemental proposal would add new and existing source emission limits for the following pollutants: benzene, toluene, hydrogen chloride, chlorine, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, naphthalene, and dioxin/furans. No supplemental amendments are proposed for the area source standard of Part 63, Subpart EEEEEE. Comments may be submitted through September 22, 2023 via Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2020-0430. [88 FR 57381]

Light reading on landfill gas

As part of its landfill methane outreach program (LMOP), EPA provides a list of publications related to landfill gas and waste management. The list is split into four categories, starting with LMOP and its connection to landfill gas. The next category provides publications on landfill best management practices. The third category is organic waste diversion, and the final category contains miscellaneous landfill publications.

Lowdown on lithium batteries

Lithium batteries are in many different types of electrical equipment. Questions arise when a facility needs to discard, reuse, or recycle these types of batteries. New EPA guidance clarifies how the RCRA regulations apply to lithium batteries and provides answers to frequently asked questions about lithium battery management under RCRA. READ MORE

Spring into fresh CAA rules

EPA’s Spring 2023 regulatory agenda is now available. A critical aspect of the CAA is the periodic review of source category standards, so the agency is planning reviews, revisions, and amendments to scores of stationary source regulations. Several NSR actions are on the agenda, too. While much of what is on the agenda is typical, some items result from lawsuits and court orders. READ MORE

RCRA regulatory roundup

The Spring 2023 regulatory agenda is now available. EPA continues to focus on regulating per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) as RCRA hazardous constituents, CERCLA hazardous substances, and proposing additional regulations for these chemicals. The agency also plans numerous technical corrections. READ MORE

Public participation manual

During RCRA permitting and corrective action, public participation is a requirement. In 2016, EPA published a guide to assist regulators and the regulated community with these requirements as well as provide additional information and resources for the public to learn more about public participation in RCRA. READ MORE

Military munitions management

The recovery of metals and energetics from unused large and small caliber munitions does not involve destruction and disposal; therefore, the unused munitions are not solid wastes. [RO 14958] In this guidance, EPA noted a process using heat to separate the shell casing metals, like steel and brass, from lead bullets meets the §266.202(a) exclusion requirements. Thus, unless use constituting disposal or burning for energy recovery is occurring, unused munitions undergoing materials recovery activities are not solid wastes. [§266.202(a)(2)]. Always check with the state where the recycling processes are occurring since states can have more-stringent RCRA regulations.

Plastic pyrolysis paralysis

The pyrolysis of plastic waste, sometimes referred to as advanced recycling, is receiving increased media attention and continues to be a hot-button issue for chemical manufacturers and environmental advocates. In 2020, EPA proposed removing pyrolysis/combustion units from the “municipal waste combustion unit” definition in Part 60, Subparts EEEE and FFFF, but on June 5, 2023, the agency withdrew that proposal. [88 FR 36524] Why does this matter? Retaining pyrolysis in the definitions for incinerators and waste combustors keeps this method of plastic recycling subject to more-stringent CAA Section 129 solid waste combustion standards rather than less-stringent CAA Section 111 or 112 provisions. Though an advanced notice of proposed rulemaking for pyrolysis and gasification units was scheduled in EPA’s Fall 2021 regulatory agenda, this action has been dropped from the agency’s official agenda since then.

CCR soil studies

EPA has published a report on the beneficial use of flue gas desulfurization (FGD) gypsum as a soil amendment in agriculture. This would be a substitute for mined gypsum. FGD gypsum is a type of coal combustion residual (CCR) generated from pollution control technologies intended to reduce sulfur emissions. This report is an overview of the pollution control process, the agricultural applications of gypsum, and research on the use of FGD gypsum as a soil amendment. EPA’s website has additional information on CCR reuse.

Interactive coastline considerations

Coastal flooding is a serious issue, especially with more inclement weather events occurring due to climate change. EPA has developed an interactive map demonstrating the potential effects of coastal sea level rise on United States hazardous waste facilities. The purpose of the map is to help communities better prepare for sea level increases along coastlines and promote awareness of the potential risks. The agency has additional visualizations in their web data portal, including interactive maps for interstate transportation of hazardous waste, an overview of hazardous waste generation, and more.

Raptor memories

McCoy’s networking event at the June Denver 5-day seminar was a smashing success! Our office is a “stone’s throw” from the Sheraton Denver West hotel where the seminar was held. The highlight of the event was the presentation by Mr. Kin Quitugua, master falconer. Kin and his docents brought four raptors and flew a Harris hawk down the hall—inside our office! Thank you to all who shared their evening with Team McCoy! 

Check out the birds of prey in action!

Major SOCMI shake up soon

A series of significant changes to the CAA standards for the synthetic organic chemical manufacturing industry (SOCMI) and the polymers and resins industries have been proposed by EPA. In some instances, these standards have not been updated in more than two decades. The agency is now under court order to finalize a review of these standards, with EPA’s fall 2022 agenda anticipating a final rule in March 2024. If finalized, the rule would slash pollutant emissions by tens of thousands of tons annually at hundreds of chemical manufacturing facilities throughout the United States. READ MORE

SDWA PFAS proposal

EPA issued a final regulatory determination to regulate perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS) as contaminants under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA). The agency also made a preliminary regulatory determination to regulate four additional polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) chemicals and their mixtures. EPA is proposing a national primary drinking water regulation and health-based maximum contaminant levels and goals for all six chemicals and their mixtures. READ MORE

Taking EGUs to the MATS

Since the 2012 promulgation of the mercury and air toxics standards (MATS) for coal- and oil-fired electric utility steam generating units (EGUs), these sources have reduced emissions of mercury, non-mercury metal HAPs, and acid gas HAPs by as much as 96%. That said, these units remain the largest domestic emitter of mercury and many other HAPs. In the most recent review of these standards, EPA proposes to lower the emission limits further, require PM CEMS, and remove one of the definitions of “startup”. This proposal piggybacks on the recent appropriate and necessary determination to regulate EGUs under the CAA. READ MORE

Reducing business volatility?

Even everyday tools we use around the office, such as laptops, timeclocks, phones, and copiers, are subject to CAA standards—or at least the surface coating of their plastic parts are. On March 27, 2023, EPA revised Part 60, Subpart TTT and added a new Subpart TTTa for the surface coating of plastic parts for business machines. New surface coating operations are now subject to stricter VOC limits, while both standards now require electronic reporting and have approved alternatives for demonstrating compliance. READ MORE

CERCLA sights seven more PFAS

EPA is seeking public input and data as to whether seven additional polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) chemicals, besides perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS), should be listed as hazardous substances under CERCLA. [88 FR 22400] The April 13, 2023 advanced notice of proposed rulemaking follows a September 6, 2022 proposed rule that would designate PFOA and PFOS as hazardous substances under CERCLA. [87 FR 54415] Both rulemakings are driven by EPA’s PFAS Strategic Roadmap and National PFAS Testing Strategy. Comments may be viewed at Docket ID: EPA-HQ-OLEM-2022-0922.

Preparing a Pb(&J) ISA

Since 1978 the primary and secondary lead (Pb) NAAQS have been reduced tenfold, yet it is time to review those standards again. On March 30, 2023, EPA announced its external review draft of the Integrated Science Assessment for Lead (ISA), which documents the latest evidence of lead’s harmful effects on public health and welfare. [88 FR 19302] After public input and review by the Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee, the ISA will be finalized and used to support a future decision on updating the Pb NAAQS. If you want a say in controlling lead emissions, now is your chance. More information is available via Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2020-0701.

Minor changes to many NESHAPs

On April 27, 2023, EPA proposed work practice changes and technical corrections to four source category standards under the Part 63 air toxics program. [88 FR 25574] The source categories include ethylene production (Subparts XX and YY), miscellaneous organic chemical manufacturing (Subpart FFFF), organic liquids distribution (non-gasoline, Subpart EEEE), and petroleum refineries (Subpart CC). These changes are in response to a series of petitions for reconsideration in light of recent risk and technology reviews for the standards. The changes pertain to pressure relief devices, emergency flaring related to force majeure provisions, storage vessel degassing, pressure-assisted flares, and fixing typographical errors. More information is available at Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2022-0787.

Standards for legacy CCR units

On May 18, 2023, EPA responded to a federal court ruling by proposing to regulate inactive coal combustion residual (CCR) surface impoundments at inactive facilities, also known as legacy CCR surface impoundments. [88 FR 31982] Additionally, the agency proposed to extend groundwater monitoring, corrective action, closure, and post-closure care requirements to previously exempt CCR management units at regulated CCR facilities. These additional requirements would apply regardless of how or when the CCR was placed in the unit. Several technical corrections to existing regulations are also included. Comments may be submitted through Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OLEM-2020-0107 until June 17, 2023.

NSPS coatings rule roadworthy

EPA’s revisions to NSPS Subpart MM and promulgation of new NSPS Subpart MMa are effective May 9, 2023. [88 FR 29978] These automobile and light duty truck (ALDT) surface coating standards have been finalized as proposed. Subpart MM revisions add new electronic reporting requirements, and the standard now applies to sources that commence construction, reconstruction, or modification after October 5, 1979, and on or before May 18, 2022. Compared to Subpart MM, Subpart MMa has stricter VOC emission limits, more-extensive work practice provisions, unique operating limits and monitoring requirements for specific control devices, new and alternative test methods, and the elimination of the startup, shutdown, and malfunction exemption. New Subpart MMa applies to sources that commence construction, reconstruction, or modification after May 18, 2022.

Enhanced EtO NESHAP

On April 13, 2023, EPA proposed a risk and technology review (RTR) for the commercial sterilization facilities NESHAP. [88 FR 22790] Regulated under Part 63, Subpart O, these commercial sterilizers play a crucial role in the supply of medical devices—an estimated 20 billion devices, in fact. However, they are large emitters of ethylene oxide (EtO), and recent scientific literature shows this HAP is a far more potent carcinogen than previously understood. The proposal estimates an 80% reduction in EtO emissions from commercial sterilizers can be achieved through tightening EtO standards at affected sources, installing new air pollution control equipment, continuous emissions monitoring, and increased performance testing. More information is available via Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2019-0178.

CAA tech correct

A series of typographical and technical corrections, updates to outdated procedures, and clarifying revisions will take effect for CAA emission standards on May 30, 2023. [88 FR 18396] The rule makes minor amendments to the general provisions of Parts 60 and 63, the appendices to Parts 51, 60, and 63, and a handful of NSPS and air toxics standards. These revisions are meant to improve data quality and do not impose new substantive requirements on affected source owners and operators. As such, no changes were made regarding source category applicability determinations.

RCRA permitting priorities

EPA has collaborated with EPA regions, states, and territories to identify, prioritize, and address the issues impacting RCRA permitting as well as hazardous waste management. Through this process the agency has created a list of national RCRA permitting priorities, which are updated every two years. EPA has also completed six priorities from previous years. READ MORE

E-manifest blunders

EPA has identified several data quality issues with manifests submitted to the e-manifest system. The agency has seen Inaccurate and missing EPA ID numbers on paper manifests and in the e-manifest system. Also, some generators have used non-approved printing companies leading to invalid manifest tracking numbers. Generator typographical errors, illegible information, and issues with receiving facilities’ digitization processes for paper manifests have led to other discrepancies. More information on the data quality issues and additional resources for generators can be found in EPA’s published compliance advisory.

EPA triples on lead emissions

In the past few months, we have seen numerous rules and strategies for managing lead emissions from EPA. The most recent effort to control lead emissions comes in the form of three final rules for lead-acid battery manufacturers. These sources, potentially subject to both NSPS and NESHAP, are now facing tighter lead emission limits, increased inspections, periodic performance testing, and work practices to control fugitive emissions. As also seen recently, the startup, shutdown, and malfunction exemptions are removed. READ MORE

No migration units

A no migration variance (NMV) allows facilities to store and/or dispose of untreated hazardous wastes in land disposal units if the owner/operator can demonstrate that hazardous constituents will not migrate from the unit for as long as the wastes remain hazardous. Facilities can apply for an NMV by following the regulations in §268.6. Some facilities with permitted RCRA landfills asked to use the NMV provisions to store hazardous waste in temporary piles within the permitted landfill while they wait for confirmation that the waste meets the applicable land disposal restrictions treatment standards. New guidance discusses how to demonstrate the treated hazardous waste and constituents will not migrate beyond the temporary waste pile in these situations. [RO 14952, 88 FR 10894] EPA also explains the information requirements for NMVs, including facility descriptions, units covered by the NMV, duration of temporary storage, and monitoring plans.

MATS still appropriate

On February 15, 2023, EPA reaffirmed it remains appropriate and necessary to regulate HAPs from coal- and oil-fired electric utility steam generating units under the CAA. [88 FR 13956] The agency proposed this reaffirmation of the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS) in early 2022 as a response to Executive Order 13990, “Protecting Public Health and the Environment and Restoring Science to Tackle the Climate Crisis.” [87 FR 7624] With this final action, HAPs such as arsenic, chromium, hydrogen cyanide, and mercury will continue to be regulated under Part 63, Subpart UUUUU. EPA is also working on a review of the Subpart UUUUU 2020 residual risk and technology review (RTR). More information on the RTR and other MATS rulemaking efforts is available via Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2018-0794.

PCB cleanups

EPA’s factsheet on PCB Greener Cleanups provides a toolkit on the Greener Cleanups’ best management practices (BMPs) for cleanups, as well as case studies of successful cleanups. Greener Cleanups is a set of established principles for EPA and its partners to evaluate the effectiveness of cleanup operations and reduce the environmental footprint of those operations. The factsheet also contains a list of examples of frequently used BMPs and an overview of the ASTM guide for Greener Cleanups. Additional information on PCBs is available on EPA’s website.

Chipping away at wood preserving/products

EPA promulgated a two-part rule on March 8, 2023, making minor technical corrections for two separate air toxics standards. [88 FR 14280] The first part finalized the technology review for the Part 63, Subpart QQQQQQ wood preserving area source NESHAP. Table 1, Applicability of General Provisions, was reformated; however, no actual changes to Subpart A applicability, nor any work practice standards were made. The second part of the rule removed an outdated reference to OSHA-defined carcinogens in the Part 63, Subpart QQQQ wood building products surface coating major source standard. Replacing the reference is a new Table 7 listing HAPs that must be counted toward organic HAP content if present at 0.1% or more by mass.

Reassess your recycling

If your facility recycles hazardous secondary materials, it is a good idea to evaluate your operations to ensure your recycling is legitimate, meets the terms of any claimed exclusion or exemption, and satisfies all other qualifying criteria. EPA has updated checklists, tools, and resources available for facilities that are recycling hazardous secondary materials, as well as for regulators monitoring recycling operations. READ MORE

PM limits for MCM

The miscellaneous coating manufacturing (MCM) NEHSAP is a safety net of sorts. If equipment used during the manufacturing of paints, inks and resins at a major source is not already subject to another air toxics standard, then it may be subject to the MCM provisions. On February 22, 2023, EPA finalized a risk and technology review of the standard and began regulating metal HAP emissions. Emission standards have now been set for particulate matter as a metal HAP surrogate at both new and existing sources. READ MORE

Dive into PFAS data

The PFAS Analytical Tools are an integration of publicly available PFAS data. The tools consolidate 11 different databases into an interactive map of the United States. Users can find information on Clean Water Act discharges, spills, PFAS manufacturers, PFAS detection in the environment, and more. If you have ever wondered how your community has been affected by PFAS, you can use the PFAS Analytical Tools to find out more. READ MORE

Reconsidering PM NAAQS

On January 27, 2023, EPA proposed its reconsideration of the particulate matter (PM) national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS). [88 FR 5558] The agency is considering retaining most of the current primary and secondary standards for PM10 and PM2.5 while changing the primary annual PM2.5 standard from 12.0 µg/m3 to between 9.0 and 10.0 µg/m3. Revisions to the air quality index (for communicating to the public about daily air quality) and monitoring network design criteria (focusing on environmental justice) are also on the table. EPA has provided additional information on the PM NAAQS reconsideration, including fact sheets, maps, and a PowerPoint presentation. Comments may be submitted through March 28, 2023 via Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2015-0072.

Hazmat FAQ

On March 22, 2022, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHSMA) announced an initiative to convert historical letters of interpretation applicable to the hazardous materials regulations into frequently asked questions. [87 FR 75694] The goal is to bolster the value of PHSMA’s online code of federal regulations as well as improve public understanding and awareness of the hazardous materials regulations by making this guidance more easily available. The FAQs will be added to PHMSA’s online CFR tool.

EPA passes on PVC petition

The Center for Biological Diversity requested that discarded polyvinyl chloride (PVC) be listed as hazardous waste under RCRA. [88 FR 2089] EPA has denied the petition, claiming the petition does not provide sufficient evidence suggesting managing discarded PVC as a hazardous waste would reduce exposure to phthalates. The petition claims exposure from marine litter, poorly lined landfills, and atmospheric exposure from incineration warrant the hazardous waste classification. EPA clarifies that RCRA already prohibits open solid waste dumping, including marine litter. Landfills are already required to control blowing litter and leachate, disposal of PVC at hazardous waste landfills would not be any different. Air emissions from incinerating municipal-type solid waste are already regulated under the Clean Air Act.

OB/OD regs reviewed

In July 2022, EPA published guidance on the permitting requirements for open burning/open detonation (OB/OD) units. This guidance was discussed in the August McCoy Review. In February and March 2022, EPA hosted virtual meetings requesting input on how to amend the OB/OD regulations with EPA regions, tribes, community and environmental groups, and owners/operators of OB/OD units. In December 2022, EPA hosted a public engagement webinar covering the proposed OB/OD rulemaking. More information on the rulemaking and the recordings of the 2022 meetings can be found on EPA’s website.

Compliance becomes social

Regulatory compliance may be a primary focus for environmental professionals, but when your facility is in violation, what is the real root cause? Achieving long-lasting compliance is often not as simple as just “putting the lid on the drum” or “segregating the waste streams”. A successful environmental program may require a fundamental behavior change. Fortunately, EPA has some tips on creating messages to drive that behavior change, and it starts with something that might not be in the typical environmental manager’s wheelhouse: social marketing. EPA’s social marketing webinars will guide you through the ten steps to create a successful social marketing program and give you one more tool to help your facility maintain regulatory compliance.

Fluffy, not stuffy

A specific processed engineered fuel product called “fluff” is considered a non-waste fuel product under §241.3(b)(4) when burned for energy recovery. In this specific operation, the fluff is being used as a substitute for coal and wood/biomass in stoker boilers. [RO 14957] To be considered a non-waste fuel under §241.3(b)(4), the regulations require processing of the nonhazardous secondary materials (NHSM) to meet the definition of “processing” in §241.2 and also to meet the legitimacy factors for fuels in §241.3(d)(1). However, determining if an operation meets the definition of “processing” is done on a case-by-case basis. Units burning the NHSM must also meet applicable emission standards for solid waste under Section 129 of the Clean Air Act.

2021 Biennial results released

The latest biennial numbers are in: U.S. large quantity generators generated nearly 36.7 million tons of hazardous waste in 2021, just over half of which is generated in Texas. Waste generation and management data are available online back through the 2001 reporting cycle. READ MORE

G5 Site remediation reshuffle

Previously, site remediations could be subject to either a CERCLA/RCRA clean-up program or the air toxics site remediation standard, but not both. On December 22, 2022, EPA removed the CERCLA/RCRA exemptions from Part 63, Subpart GGGGG. Now, even if your site is subject to a CERCLA or RCRA remediation program, those clean-up activities may still need to be CAA-compliant. The agency also decided to retain the “co-location” provision, so sources not subject to another air toxics standard will not be pulled into G5. READ MORE

Inflation pumps 2023 penalties

EPA is required by law to annually adjust the maximum civil penalties allowed under environmental law to account for inflation. Because the adjustments are tied to the consumer price index, it’s no surprise the 2023 increases are approximately 8 percent. Thus, the cost of noncompliance continues to increase. READ MORE

HAP limits in limelight

From water purifier to soil additive to construction material, lime is highly versatile, and limestone deposits are found worldwide. Lime production begins with limestone mining, and while limestone extraction is not subject to a stationary source standard, lime manufacturing is. EPA has proposed amendments to the lime manufacturing air toxic standard by setting emission limits for previously unregulated hazardous air pollutants and establishing operating parameters for various air pollution control devices. Comments can be submitted on the proposal until February 21, 2023. READ MORE

RCRA agenda looks ahead

The Fall 2022 regulatory agenda is now available. EPA continues to focus on regulating PFAS as RCRA hazardous constituents and coal combustion residues. EPA plans to propose a new rule for drum reconditioners due to growing concerns about environmental contamination stemming from these facilities. The agency also plans to make numerous technical corrections to the RCRA regulations. READ MORE

Fall into CAA agenda

EPA’s Fall 2022 regulatory agenda is now available. The agency is planning reviews, revisions, and amendments to scores of stationary source regulations. A critical aspect of the CAA is the periodic review of source category standards. While much of what is on the agenda is the typical review, some items result from lawsuits and court orders. READ MORE

Invest in e-manifest

Since the inception of the e-manifest system in June 2018, EPA has received an estimated 25,000 electronic manifests out of a total of 7 million manifests created. Less than a half percent of all manifests are electronic. The Hazardous Waste Electronic Manifest System Advisory Board recently made its October 2022 meeting minutes available. The purpose of the meeting was for the board to advise EPA on proposed IT changes to the e-manifest system to increase the adoption of electronic manifests.

The board is hosting its next three-day virtual public meeting February 28-March 2, 2023. [88 FR 2910] and plans to discuss e-manifest program priorities and user fees for 2024 and 2025. Attending and providing oral public comments during the meeting requires online registration. You can register and find more information about the meetings on EPA’s website.

EtO risk redux rejected

After the miscellaneous organic chemical manufacturing NESHAP (Part 63, Subpart FFFF) received its risk and technology review in 2020, EPA received numerous petitions for reconsideration due to previously unavailable data. Petitioners felt the agency’s use of the 2016 integrated risk information system (IRIS) value for ethylene oxide (EtO) was flawed, and a risk value provided by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) should be used instead. Developed using a different model, the TCEQ EtO risk value was estimated to be 2000-fold lower than the IRIS risk value. EPA proposed to reject the reconsideration and reaffirm its use of the 2016 IRIS cancer risk value for EtO on February 4, 2022. [87 FR 6466] On December 21, 2022, the agency finalized this decision. [87 FR 77985]

Small changes for small stripping and coating ops

Paint stripping and surface coating are common operations in many industries and are regulated under several CAA source category standards. Area sources conducting these activities may find themselves subject to the provisions in Part 63, Subpart HHHHHH. In November 2022, EPA finalized its technology review of Subpart HHHHHH, which eliminates the SSM exemption, requires electronic reporting, and updates definitions and cross-references. The compliance date is May 9, 2023. READ MORE

Saner sanitizer strategies

Large quantities of hand sanitizers were generated during the height of the COVID pandemic. Now facilities are looking at options to manage and dispose of the excess hand sanitizers. EPA has published guidance on the management, disposal, and other requirements for facilities with excess sanitizer. Most hand sanitizers would be regulated as ignitable hazardous waste when disposed of. Thus, depending on whether they are disposed of, reclaimed/recycled, or recalled, the facility will have different requirements that must be met. READ MORE

HW pharma blueprint

EPA has published an extensive guide to assist healthcare facilities managing hazardous waste pharmaceuticals. This 10-Step Blueprint breaks down the details of the hazardous waste pharmaceutical regulations and explains show the rules apply to pharmacies, nursing units, and environmental services groups. This guidance also reviews the applicable hazardous waste generator requirements and making hazardous waste determinations. READ MORE

PFAS reporting revisions

Many per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are already subject to toxic release inventory (TRI) reporting under the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA). EPA is proposing to add these PFAs to the list of chemicals of special concern under the Pollution Prevention Act (PPA). [87 FR 74379] Because these PFAS already have a lower reporting threshold of 100 pounds, the main effect of the proposal would be to subject PFAS to the same reporting requirements as other chemicals of special concern. Perhaps more important, the proposal would eliminate the use of the de minimis exemption for all chemicals of special concern. Comments must be received on or before February 3, 2023 using Docket ID: EPA-HQ-TRI-2022-0270.

Taking AIM at HFCs

Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) have been used as substitute refrigerants under the CAA to replace chlorofluorocarbons and other ozone-depleting substances. Though HFCs do not react in the atmosphere to destroy ozone, they are potent greenhouse gases. The regulations in 40 CFR Part 84 were promulgated under the American Innovation and Manufacturing Act (AIM Act) and include an allowance allocation program to control production and consumption of HFCs. On December 15, 2022, EPA proposed additional regulations to restrict HFC use, create a process for submitting technology transition petitions, and establish administrative requirements. [87 FR 76738] EPA seeks comment on the proposed rule and also seeks advance information on HFC restrictions for certain equipment and a third-party auditing program. Comments may be submitted through January 30, 2023 via Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2021-0643.

Corrective action aspirations

EPA published a memorandum on goal 4 of EPA’s 2030 Vision, Mission, and Goals for the RCRA corrective action program. [RO 14951] Goal 4 states that by 2025 the RCRA corrective action program will identify and implement key elements of effective long-term stewardship for corrective action cleanups. The memorandum identifies nine elements as a first step to provide a general framework for regulators. EPA plans to work with states and regions to evaluate and solicit input on the needs of program implementers.

See your SIP

State implementation plans (SIPs) are EPA-approved documents containing both regulatory and nonregulatory provisions designed to address each state’s unique air pollution problems. They provide a path for ensuring air quality control regions attain national ambient air quality standards and contain provisions tied to enforcement, monitoring, reporting, visibility, and more. But how, or where, can you actually read a SIP? Every three years, EPA assembles the requirements of the federally-enforceable SIPs in each state and provides notification in the Federal Register of their availability. [87 FR 74314] EPA has a map with links to approved SIPs on its website.

Wastewater treatment unit?

The wastewater treatment unit (WWTU) exemption allows units meeting the definition of a WWTU to be exempt from RCRA tank requirements. In recent guidance, EPA clarified applicability of the WWTU exemption when offsite shipments of hazardous wastewater are trucked from a tank to a POTW. Specifically, would a storage tank used in this case be eligible for the WWTU exemption? READ MORE

Flight plan proposed for lead

Pop quiz: what is the largest source of lead emissions in the United States? A) waste incinerators, B) lead-acid battery manufacturing, or C) metals processing and smelting? It is actually D) emissions from the use of leaded aviation gasoline, also known as avgas, in piston aircraft. EPA has proposed to find lead emissions from avgas are endangering public health and welfare and, consequently, warrant further regulation under Title II of the CAA. If finalized, the rule would allow EPA and the FAA to work together in developing an appropriate emission limit for this piston-aircraft fuel. READ MORE

Naughty or nice RICE?

EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance has published an enforcement alert on excess emissions from stationary engines regulated under Part 60, Subparts IIII and JJJJ, and Part 63, Subpart ZZZZ. These units emit numerous air pollutants like carbon monoxide, particulate matter, and formaldehyde. However, many facilities fail to conduct the required testing, lack monitoring equipment, and miss annual tune-ups. Noncompliance may result in fines, engine retrofitting, and a mandatory switch to offsite electrical grid power. To achieve compliance, the agency recommends operators familiarize themselves with the available tools and guidance, determine each engine’s design and operating parameters, and even consider swapping out older engines with newer, cleaner-burning models.

Natural disaster debris workshops documented

EPA and its partners convened a series of workshops on resiliency and natural disaster debris in 2021. The purpose of the workshops was to establish a common understanding of life-cycle approaches to disaster debris, discuss key challenges to life-cycle thinking, and identify potential solutions for stakeholders to advance this work. The life cycle approach hopes to achieve a circular economy when managing natural disaster debris. Key insights and potential actions were assembled in a summary report of workshop conversations. Additional background information and resources may be found on EPA’s website.

Second secondary lead smelting NSPS

On December 1, 2022, EPA proposed revisions to Part 60, Subpart L and a new Part 60, Subpart La, which are both new source performance standards for secondary lead smelters. [87 FR 73708] Both standards would contain definitions closely aligned with the secondary lead smelting NESHAP of Part 63, Subpart X. The proposed revisions would require periodic performance testing along with revised administrative requirements, including electronic reporting. New Subpart La would build off of these revisions but would also have stricter PM and opacity limits, while the SSM exemption would be removed. Comments may be submitted until January 17, 2023 via Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2022-0481.

Fed facilities evaluated for CERCLA

Ever wonder if a federal facility manages hazardous waste or if it is potentially subject to Superfund cleanup? EPA has recently completed its 42nd update to the Federal agency hazardous waste compliance docket. [87 FR 64214] The purpose of this docket is to identify all federal facilities that manage hazardous waste and must be evaluated through the site assessment process. The docket compiles the information submitted to EPA under these CERCLA provisions and makes this information available to the public. Additional guidance and resources are available on the docket website.

Less lead

EPA has released a detailed strategy to reduce lead exposure in United States communities. [87 FR 66302] The strategy communicates the agency’s plan to strengthen public health protections, address legacy lead contamination, and promote environmental justice and equity. The strategy also seeks to protect children’s health and reduce exposure in communities with persistent disparities in children’s blood lead levels. EPA received thousands of comments from the public on its strategy and has incorporated the main themes. The strategy also includes performance measures and milestones the agency will use to track its progress in meeting the goals.

Boiling down MACT limits

EPA has amended the boiler MACT standard in response to two separate court cases. Faulty methodology was used to set emission limits for four different pollutants, meaning most of those limits were too lenient. Effective December 5, 2022, 28 emission limits for different boiler and process heater subcategories will be strengthened, including all limits associated with CO. The agency also promulgated numerous technical corrections and further supported using CO as a surrogate for organic HAPs. READ MORE

NSR major mods after fugitives

EPA’s new source review (NSR) program is arguably one of the most complicated aspects of the CAA and has been subject to numerous challenges, petitions, and revisions since its inception in the late 1970s and NSR reform in the early 2000s. Fugitive emissions are just one of many tricky spots, but the applicability exemptions for these emissions may be pared down. In October 2022, the agency proposed simplifying NSR major modification determinations by removing the exemptions for fugitive emissions from many sources. If finalized, the rule would require all sources to consider fugitive emissions rather than only facilities operating in select source categories. READ MORE

Do cleanups add up?

EPA has published data on the benefits of the RCRA corrective action program, which requires facilities with RCRA permits to clean up historical contamination. EPA claims successful corrective action cleanups provide opportunities for a wide range of new developments, like new neighborhoods, shopping centers, office buildings, hotels and more. New economic data from 2020 and 2021 covers 79 facilities and provides a series of facility profiles highlighting the positive impacts of the corrective action program. READ MORE

RCRA email updates

EPA’s Office of Resource Conservation and Recovery (ORCR) has an email subscription service for various newsletters providing news releases and other information relevant to RCRA. If you’ve already subscribed to one or more of these newsletters, you don’t have to do anything to continue receiving it. However, to sign up you must now use the EPA ORCR subscription page. You may also manage your existing subscriptions on this page.

Electronic shipping docs

The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) is seeking input on allowing electronic communication methods as an alternative to physical documentation for hazard communication. [87 FR 41179] Within this request for information (RFI), “hazard communication” refers to shipping papers, train consists, dangerous goods manifests, notifications to the pilot in command, and emergency response information. DOT is also considering electronic communication for special permits, approvals, and registrations. The overall goal is to improve emergency response, oversight, and efficiency. You can submit comments via Docket ID No. PHMSA-2021-0043. The initial comment period has ended, but any comments submitted after September 9, 2022 will be considered to the extent practicable.

Petition to sweep SSM from NSPS

Under the Part 61 NESHAP and Part 63 air toxics program, a facility is not exempt from emissions limits during periods of startup, shutdown, and malfunction (SSM). However, under many Part 60 NSPS, facilities are exempt from emission limits during SSM. A September 2022 petition to EPA from numerous environmental interest groups aims to change this. Citing a 2008 court finding, the petition claims the SSM exemptions under NSPS are illegal and should be removed from all standards under the NSPS program. READ MORE

Proposing PFOA and PFOS for CERCLA

In September, EPA proposed designating the two most well-studied PFAS, perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS), as CERCLA hazardous substances. This designation would include their salts and structural isomers and set a reportable quantity of one pound. Evidence indicates these “forever” chemicals may present a substantial danger to public health and the environment when released. A CERCLA hazardous substance designation would facilitate the cleanup of contaminated sites and reduce human exposure to these chemicals. Additionally, EPA and state agencies could more easily respond to PFOA and PFOS releases and recover cleanup costs from potentially responsible parties. READ MORE

Damaging drum report

Recently, EPA published a damage case report on drum reconditioning facilities. Drum reconditioning facilities clean and recondition plastic and metal drums for resale, reuse, or disposal. EPA believes many drum reconditioning facilities are not properly managing the containers they receive nor adequately determining if they are RCRA-empty. These failures can cause a chain reaction of missed RCRA requirements, from mismanaging the residues left in the containers to not characterizing the wastes properly. The damage case report reviews the regulatory problems facing drum reconditioning facilities and provides summaries of facilities that have faced these violations. READ MORE

Clearing up the DSW exclusions

August 2022 guidance from EPA clarifies the differences between the 2015 and 2018 definition of solid waste (DSW) rules, particularly the transfer-based and verified recycler exclusions. The DSW exclusions facilitate the legitimate recycling of hazardous secondary materials. In this guidance, EPA reviews the complicated aspects of these rules, like state adoption and interstate shipments of hazardous secondary materials. The guidance also covers the “reasonable efforts” audit requirement per the 2018 DSW rule. READ MORE

New PM NAAQS on horizon?

As the body of scientific knowledge advances, so too does EPA’s understanding of the effectiveness of NAAQS for criteria pollutants. The agency recently released its updated final policy assessment on the current NAAQS for particulate matter (PM). Though these standards were reviewed in 2020, new technical data and information warrants a reconsideration. Indeed, while most current primary and secondary PM standards are deemed adequate, the assessment suggests room to strengthen the primary annual PM2.5 standard. READ MORE

TRI reporting PFAS

EPA is adding five per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) to the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) list of chemicals. [87 FR 42651] This list was established under the Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act. Addition of these PFAS to the list was required by a statutory mandate included in the National Defense Authorization Act for the fiscal year 2020. The final rule took effect on August 17, 2022, meaning facilities must report 2022 releases of these chemicals on TRI forms due July 1, 2023.

Watch your WAPs

EPA reviewed waste analysis plans (WAP) from 57 facilities and sampling results for 14 different land disposal restrictions (LDR), finding numerous deficiencies in WAP and LDR compliance. New guidance provides EPA’s recommendations for permit writers and facilities to improve their WAPs and sampling strategies to achieve LDR compliance. The recommendations include increasing LDR verification sampling events, solidifying enforceable permit conditions for treatment operations, and conducting a thorough waste analysis of each waste stream. READ MORE

Emergency engine, no more?

On August 10, 2022, EPA issued a final rule amending the emergency engine provisions in Part 63, Subpart ZZZZ and Part 60, Subparts IIII and JJJJ. [87 FR 48603] The rule reflects an immediately effective 2015 court vacatur of two provisions and, as a result, is administrative in nature. To be classified as an emergency engine under the internal combustion engine standards, such an engine can only be used in a non-emergency capacity for up to 100 hours per year in limited ways. Two of those ways were vacated by the court: 1) running the engines when the reliability coordinator declares an energy emergency alert Level 2, and 2) when there is a 5% or greater deviation from standard voltage or frequency. Since the 2015 vacatur, engines that operate for either of these reasons are considered non-emergency engines and must be in compliance with the applicable emission standards.

Financial assurance affirmation

RCRA-permitted facilities must provide financial assurance that they have the necessary resources to fulfill their permit obligations, closure, post-closure, and corrective action costs. As one could imagine, these mechanisms can be fairly complex. EPA issued a memo to regions providing a list of existing guidance on financial assurance and a new standard procedure to assist regulators overseeing the validity of financial assurance mechanisms. READ MORE

October e-manifest advisory board meeting

The Hazardous Waste Electronic Manifest System Advisory Board is conducting a three-day virtual public meeting on October 4-6. [87 FR 49830] EPA and the board plan on discussing recommendations regarding the operational activities, functions, policies, and regulations for the e-manifest system. Attending and providing oral public comments during the meeting requires online registration. You can register and find more information about the meetings on EPA’s website.

Explosive OB/OD guidance

New EPA guidance communicates the existing permitting requirements for open burning/open detonation (OB/OD) units. OB/OD is a thermal treatment process used for waste explosives that cannot safely be disposed of through other modes of treatment. Alternative technologies have been reported in two separate 2019 reports. EPA is encouraging permit authorities to consider these reports when issuing new OB/OD permits and evaluate if safer treatment alternatives are available for the waste explosives. The guidance also clarifies some of the permitting requirements and explains how to implement them. READ MORE

Electrifying proposals for secondary steel

Electric arc furnaces are used in secondary steel manufacturing, meaning their input is almost 100 percent scrap steel. Presently regulated under NSPS Part 60, Subparts AA and AAa to control particulate matter emissions, a new Subpart AAb was proposed by EPA on May 16, 2022. [87 FR 29710] Subpart AAb would set a facility-wide emission limit rather than establish limits for each emission control device (typically a baghouse/fabric filter), as seen in Subparts AA and AAa. The new standard would require compliance testing every five years and electronic reporting. It would also eliminate the startup, shutdown, and malfunction exemption, but maintain the opacity limits from Subparts AA and AAa. Electronic reporting and minor technical updates were also proposed for Subparts AA and AAa. More information is available at Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2002-0049.

CFC conundrum

EPA addressed questions on the use of plasma arc units to burn chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and the applicability of the CFC exclusion from the definition of hazardous waste in the RCRA regulations. The exclusion requires the CFCs to be reclaimed, calling into question whether plasma arc units would be considered unpermitted reclamation units conducting legitimate reclamation. Since the facility burning the CFCs will receive carbon credits, they claim that this is reclamation and should be eligible for the CFC exclusion. READ MORE

Plastic parts touchup

Surface coating of plastic parts for certain electronic and mechanical office equipment, known as business machines, is regulated under NSPS Part 60, Subpart TTT, and soon, Subpart TTTa. On June 21, 2022, EPA proposed minor updates to Subpart TTT and a new TTTa reflecting improvements in the best system of emission reduction. [87 FR 36796] For Subpart TTT, the agency proposes an e-reporting requirement, three alternatives to Method 24, and removing obsolete references to the definition of “business machine.” Subpart TTTa would also contain e-reporting and Method 24 alternatives. However, no startup, shutdown, and malfunction exemption is provided, and the VOC emission limit is reduced by as much as 40 percent, depending on the source. Comments may be submitted through August 22, 2022 via Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2021-0200.

Spring (agenda) is in the air

EPA’s Spring 2022 regulatory agenda is now available. The agency is planning reviews, revisions, and amendments to scores of stationary source regulations. A critical aspect of the CAA is the periodic review of source category standards. While much of what is on the agenda is the typical review, some items are resulting from lawsuits and court orders. READ MORE

Studying EAF slag

Electric arc furnace (EAF) slag is a rock-like material generated during steelmaking and is used in concrete and as loose ground cover material. EAF slag contains elevated levels of manganese, hexavalent chromium, and other metals. It is unclear if unencapsulated EAF slag poses a risk to human health, but both manganese and hexavalent chromium can cause negative health outcomes. EPA’s website has more information on EAF slag and answers frequently asked questions on EAF slag safety. Also available is information on current EAF slag research conducted by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine and information on leaching environmental assessment framework testing.

RCRA regulatory actions spring forth

The Spring 2022 regulatory agenda is now available. For RCRA, EPA has added a long-term focus on regulating various PFAS as RCRA hazardous constituents and making a series of technical corrections. The agency also continues to develop regulations on coal combustion residues and enhance the e-manifest system. READ MORE

Direction on thermal desorption

Recently, EPA was asked for clarification on the regulatory status of thermal desorption units (TDUs) used as recycling units when the materials are managed under the transfer-based exclusion. TDUs are used to legitimately reclaim organics from hazardous secondary materials. EPA’s guidance reiterates the conditions of the transfer-based exclusion and discusses the RCRA status of TDUs managing excluded materials. READ MORE

Don’t flush the pharms

Effective August 21, 2019, EPA prohibited all healthcare facilities and reverse distributors from disposing of their hazardous waste pharmaceuticals down the drain, effectively known as the “sewer ban.” EPA has published an introductory fact sheet on the sewer ban and another fact sheet for publicly owned treatment works on navigating the new requirements. The agency also has a water reuse action plan to reduce sewering of pharmaceuticals, among many other things. READ MORE

Beware: lithium battery blunders

During recent Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) inspections, inspectors routinely observed shippers improperly packaging and shipping lithium batteries. PHMSA has published a safety advisory notice to increase awareness of this issue. The notice discusses the dangers of shipping lithium batteries for consumers, shippers, and carriers. It also summarizes the regulatory information needed to ship lithium batteries properly. Additional resources on preparing lithium batteries for shipment are provided in the notice.

Vehicle coating VOC clampdown

The surface coating of automobiles and light-duty trucks is regulated under both the NSPS and NESHAP programs. VOC emissions from the multi-step prime coat, guide coat, and topcoat operations are typically controlled via thermal and catalytic oxidizers. As part of the periodic review for the Part 60, Subpart MM NSPS, EPA proposed a new Subpart MMa to control VOC emissions from affected sources that commence construction, reconstruction, or modification after May 18, 2022. [87 FR 30141] Besides lowering VOC emission limits, Subpart MMa would not exclude the coating of plastic autobodies, not include a startup, shutdown, and malfunction exemption, and require periodic testing to determine VOC destruction efficiency. Comments may be submitted through July 18, 2022 via Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2021-0664.

Misc. metals coating controls considered

On June 7, 2022, EPA proposed an amendment to the miscellaneous coating manufacturing NESHAP in Part 63, Subpart HHHHH. [87 FR 34614] Only applicable when an affected source is not already subject to another subpart of Part 63, this major source standard controls organic HAP emissions from process vessels, storage tanks, pipe runs, and other equipment. The proposal would add particulate matter (PM) to the MACT standard, which would act as a surrogate for metal HAPs. Affected sources would need to meet process vessel PM emission limits, demonstrate compliance via a continuous parameter monitoring system, and submit semiannual reports documenting compliance and deviations. Comments may be submitted through August 8, 2022 via Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2018-0747.

EPA slides for third on gasoline industry standards

EPA published a 3-part proposal for updating gasoline terminal, plant, and pipeline regulations on June 10, 2022. [87 FR 35608] The proposal would not only strengthen the major and area sources standards of Part 63, Subparts R and BBBBBB but also create a new Part 60, Subpart XXa. External floating roof tanks would require controls similar to NSPS Part 60, Subpart Kb, optical gas imaging may be an option for LDAR monitoring, and performance test requirements would be unique to the standards rather than tied to the general provisions. The startup, shutdown, and malfunction exemption is also not provided in proposed Part 60, Subpart XXa. Comments may be submitted through August 9, 2022 via Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2020-0371.

QRG FAQ

EPA recently published guidance on the large quantity generator contingency plan requirement to have a quick reference guide (QRG). The QRG provisions were added to the federal regulations in 2016. Since then, regulators and the regulated community have had questions on how to comply with specific elements. The new guidance answers many questions and clarifies some requirements. READ MORE

WIPP recertification

The Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) underwent the fourth periodic evaluation of its continued compliance with disposal regulations in 40 CFR Part 191 and WIPP compliance criteria in 40 CFR Part 194. The WIPP is a DOE disposal facility designed specifically for defense-related transuranic radioactive wastes. This recertification process is required every five years and is based on a thorough review of information submitted by DOE, independent technical analyses, and public comments. EPA has recertified the WIPP and has determined that DOE continues to meet all applicable requirements of the disposal regulations and WIPP compliance criteria. [87 FR 26126]

Ozone danger zone?

Using an ozone generator to purify indoor air? Manufacturers claim these generators are safe and effective. EPA recently reviewed research conducted on ozone and its effects on indoor air quality and human health. The agency also investigated how effective ozone generators are at air purification. The research revealed that ozone generators may do more harm than good. READ MORE

E-manifest destiny delay

EPA published a proposal on April 1, 2022, to amend several provisions in the hazardous waste manifest regulations [87 FR 19290]. The amendments would change how generators receive signed copies of manifests from receiving facilities. They would also alter procedures for exception, discrepancy, and unmanifested waste reports. Other changes are also proposed as discussed in a previous McCoy Review article. Since then, EPA has extended the comment period till August 1, 2022 [87 FR 31514].

Test methods touched up

The rulemaking process can be a labored affair for any federal agency, and despite extensive review and proofing, minor mistakes are inevitable. EPA catalogs errors and corrections caught by agency personnel and the regulated community. Periodically, the agency updates and revises regulations as necessary. On April 26, 2022, EPA proposed a series of corrections and updates to emissions testing regulations under Parts 51, 60, and 63. [87 FR 24488] Primarily, the corrections fix typographical errors, update testing procedures, and add alternative equipment and methods approved by the agency. Comments may be submitted through June 27, 2022 via Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2020-0556.

Reviewing the O3 review

By law, every five years, EPA is supposed to review each primary and secondary NAAQS, ensuring those standards reflect the latest advances in scientific knowledge. While the 2015 ozone NAAQS was reviewed in 2020, the agency believes the process was flawed. A draft policy assessment has been made available to provide the public, the regulated community, and EPA policymakers with the most accurate information on ozone effects. EPA is planning to complete its review of the 2020 review by the end of 2023. READ MORE

No more mercury cell emissions

On May 6, 2022, EPA finalized its risk and technology review (RTR) of the mercury cell chlor-alkali plant NESHAP located in Part 63, Subpart IIIII. [87 FR 27002] Most significantly, the RTR “prohibits” mercury emissions from existing sources. With a compliance deadline of May 6, 2025, the standard effectively requires existing sources to close their mercury cell chlor-alkali plants or convert to another technology (e.g., membrane cell). The chlor-alkali process produces chlorine and caustic soda but the mercury cell method is obsolete and the NESHAP has limited applicability in the United States. Despite the standard’s limited reach, the RTR helps the United States meet its obligations under the Minamata Convention.

G5 MACT white (hot) paper

Hot off the press, McCoy has a new white paper. Site remediation not only poses RCRA challenges but also has CAA implications. Facilities conducting “site remediation activities,” including spill cleanups, may be subject to the Part 63, Subpart GGGGG site remediation MACT standard under the CAA. If your facility is already a major source of hazardous air pollutants—or would be due to site remediation activities—the G5 MACT probably applies. Our G5 MACT white paper will help you understand whether this standard applies to your situation, provides tips on the CAA/RCRA interface, applicability, compliance dates, exemptions, and reviews the compliance requirements. If conducting site remediation cleanup activities is in your future, you won’t want to miss this.

OBSM reclamation residues regulated?

Recycling processes involve many considerations, not only regarding the materials being recycled, but also for any reclamation residues. New EPA guidance delves into these issues for oil-bearing secondary materials (OBSM) reclaimed under the transfer-based exclusion. In this situation, does the exclusion extend to the reclamation residues? And how will the derived-from rule apply? The answers to these questions are key to determining whether the reclamation residues are hazardous waste. We discuss EPA’s response in our article. READ MORE

e-Manifest destiny

EPA published a proposal on April 1, 2022 to amend several provisions in the hazardous waste manifest regulations. The amendments would change how generators receive signed copies of manifests from receiving facilities. They would also alter procedures for exception, discrepancy, and unmanifested waste reports. Other proposed amendments include integrating export manifests into the e-manifest system, revising the movement document requirements, and improving compliance with import and export consents. Integration of e-manifests and biennial reports was also discussed. Find more information and how to comment in our article. READ MORE

Better lithium battery blueprint

EPA gathered stakeholders from multiple sectors and hosted a virtual workshop on solutions to prevent fires from lithium-ion battery disposal and promote recycling of these batteries. To prevent fires, stakeholders suggested increasing public education and awareness of proper lithium-ion battery management. Suggestions for recycling focused primarily on the universal waste program and clarifying the regulations to include lithium-ion batteries and the unique hazards associated with their management. READ MORE

CERCLA list adds HAP, loses K codes

EPA issued technical amendments modifying the CERCLA list of hazardous substances. [87 FR 20721] The amendments include adding a new CAA hazardous air pollutant 1-bromopropane (see previous article) and removing several vacated RCRA K-code wastes: K064, K065, K066, K090, and K091. The final rule was effective April 8, 2022.

Online modules for developing countries

EPA published Best Practices for Solid Waste Management: A Guide for Decision-Makers in Developing Countries in October 2020 (see previous article). The agency has now created online learning modules to complement the guide. Nine modules on various solid waste management topics are available, ranging from solid waste management governance to energy recovery. The modules include links to case studies and specific chapters within the written guide. The guide and full list of modules may be accessed online.

Emission factors not so free

There’s no such thing as a free lunch—even when calculating emission rates. A common way for determining CAA compliance is using EPA’s AP-42 emission factors. But the agency has found widespread misuse of these factors resulting in significant noncompliance. The result? While using emission factors may be free, the results are often inaccurate, and emission violations may cost a facility tens of millions of dollars in penalties and pollution control costs. EPA alerts us to the dangers and the alternatives. READ MORE

Sanity for hand sanitizers

The FDA issued temporary policies in March 2020 for non-drug manufacturers to produce and distribute alcohol-based hand sanitizers due to the COVID pandemic. The FDA has withdrawn the temporary policies and now these companies can no longer sell or distribute these sanitizers after March 31, 2022. A few options are available to manage their excess hand sanitizer. Within the RCRA regulations, companies may dispose of the sanitizer as ignitable hazardous waste (D001), or possibly manage it through the episodic generation provisions, or even legitimately recycle the hand sanitizer. READ MORE

Wildfire waste woes

Wildfires pose a growing threat to the dry west coast climates of the United States. Over the years they have been increasing in both occurrence and severity. In 2018 and 2020, California experienced record-setting fire seasons, resulting in significant damage and destruction to over 20,000 structures. One problem associated with wildfires is the tremendous amount of hazardous waste that is generated when structures are damaged or destroyed. EPA coordinated cleanups for both California wildfires and reviewed their operations to make improvements. READ MORE

FAQ future for hazmat guidance

Like RCRA, DOT hazardous material transportation regulations can sometimes be difficult to understand. Fortunately, resources are available to navigate those requirements, one being PHMSA’s letters of interpretation (LOI) database. On March 22, 2022, PHMSA proposed to convert the LOI into broadly applicable frequently asked questions to provide additional value to the administration’s online Code of Federal Regulations (oCFR) tool. [87 FR 16308] PHMSA believes this FAQ initiative will optimize the effectiveness, reach, and impact of its Office of Hazardous Material Safety LOI process. Comments will be accepted through May 23, 2022 via Docket Number PHMSA-2021-0109.

Combustion turbines controlled

Effective March 9, 2022, certain stationary combustion turbines regulated under Part 63, Subpart YYYY are subject to formaldehyde emission limits. [87 FR 13183] Shortly after the stationary gas turbine NESHAP was promulgated in 2004, EPA added a stay of standards for two different types of gas-fired turbines. The stay was in response to an industry effort to delist those turbines. However, the delisting was not approved, and 18 years later, the agency has lifted the stay. Consequently, lean premix and diffusion flame gas-fired stationary combustion turbines located at major sources are now subject to the 91-ppbvd formaldehyde limit. Sources have 180 days to perform their initial compliance demonstration.

Wood preserving NESHAPs perpetuated

On March 7, 2022, EPA proposed minor editorial and formatting changes to the wood preserving area source NESHAP of Part 63, Subpart QQQQQQ. [87 FR 12638] While a review concluded there were no improvements in work practices and control technologies to warrant strengthening the standard, some minor updates to the standard’s general provisions applicability table are necessary. Additionally, technical corrections to the surface coating of wood building products major source NESHAP of Part 63, Subpart QQQQ are also proposed. An obsolete cross-reference to OSHA-defined carcinogens would be removed in favor of a dedicated list of carcinogenic organic HAPs added to a new Table 7 in Subpart QQQQ. Comments may be submitted through April 21, 2022 via Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2021-0133.

RCRA + CAA: dual or duel?

When the RCRA air emission standards in Parts 264/265 Subparts AA, BB, and CC were promulgated, EPA did not want overlapping regulation occurring between RCRA and CAA. Thus, hazardous waste vents and units otherwise subject to Subparts AA and CC are exempt, provided controls are already required by an applicable CAA source category standard. For Subpart BB, facilities have a compliance election provision they may use. New guidance discusses this topic and assists regulators and the regulated community in determining if these exemptions or elections are applicable. READ MORE

Generator guidance garnished

The 2016 Hazardous Waste Generator Improvements Rule revised and reorganized the RCRA requirements for hazardous waste generators. However, this means that past EPA guidance may reference outdated provisions and regulatory citations. EPA recently addressed this for two guidance documents, RO 11200 and RO 11062, by clarifying the guidance is still applicable with minor language changes. New regulatory citations are also addressed in a cover letter attached to the original guidance documents.

Big battery manufacturing mods

Used in automobiles and heavy machinery, emergency lighting, and large-scale electrical grid power systems, lead-acid batteries are ubiquitous. Approximately 40 lead-acid battery manufacturing facilities are in operation throughout the United States and are subject to CAA standards under both the NSPS and NESHAP programs. EPA has reviewed these lead-acid battery standards and found room for additional requirements based on improved operating practices and control technologies. The agency proposed updates for these rules and is receiving comments through April 15, 2022. READ MORE

Reading EPA’s radar

You may not be aware of it, but EPA has a list of Compliance Advisories and Enforcement Alerts, including all they have issued since 2019 and a selection of historical advisories/alerts. Each advisory/alert identifies a specific agency priority at the time it was issued (e.g., PFAS in ski wax). These documents address a variety of audiences in the regulated community and often provide clear and concise guidance on how the agency believes the various regulations apply to specific situations. One example posted in this list is a 2020 EPA enforcement alert, discussing the national compliance initiative focusing on RCRA air emissions.

MATS benefits bolstered

On February 9, 2022, EPA proposed to revoke a 2020 finding stating it is not appropriate and necessary to regulate coal- and oil-fired electric utility generating units (EGUs) under the CAA. [87 FR 7624] EGUs became regulated under the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS) NESHAP [Part 63, Subpart UUUUU] on February 16 2012. [77 FR 9304] After a contentious history, EPA’s 2020 risk and technology review (RTR) found fault in the original benefit-cost analysis, allowing it to stop enforcing emission limits. [85 FR 20838] With a change in administration, the agency is now rejecting its 2020 finding and also soliciting comments on HAP-control technologies, methods of operation, and risk-related information to more thoroughly review the 2020 MATS RTR. Comments will be accepted through April 11, 2022 via Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2018-0794.

NHSM petition denied, mostly

A petition requesting amendments to the 40 CFR Part 241 nonhazardous secondary materials (NHSM) regulations was submitted on March 21, 2011. The petition requests three changes to NHSM regulations, including 1) changing a legitimacy criterion from mandatory to “should consider,” 2) removing limitations on creosote-treated railroad ties, and 3) revising the definition of paper recycled residuals (PRR). EPA proposes to deny the requested amendments but plans to revise the definition of PRR. READ MORE

Alternative air methods available

Every year EPA adds to its list of CAA broadly applicable alternative test methods, most recently on January 21, 2022. [87 FR 3296] The agency regularly reviews requests from owners of affected sources to allow for alternative test methods. Sometimes required stack testing equipment is inappropriate given a site’s unique circumstances. Other times a method is ineffective at measuring air pollutants below a specific concentration. Rather than continuously granting the same alternative methods on a site-specific basis, EPA simplifies the process and allows these oft-requested alternatives to be used by any source without further agency approval. More information can be found in the agency’s original January 30, 2007 notice. [72 FR 4257]. In a separate notice on January 24, 2022, EPA withdrew two previous alternatives once available for the residential wood heaters NSPS. [87 FR 3532]

MON RTR challenged

A risk and technology review (RTR) for the miscellaneous organic chemical manufacturing NESHAP (MON, Part 63, Subpart FFFF) was completed on August 12, 2020. [85 FR 49084] Since then, EPA has received petitions for reconsideration due to previously unavailable data, and the agency is now requesting comment for reconsideration of the rule, as required by CAA Section 307(d)(7)(B). [87 FR 6466] The petitions argue EPA’s use of the 2016 integrated risk information system (IRIS) value for ethylene oxide was flawed. Instead, the agency should use the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality’s risk value for ethylene oxide, which by using a different model, estimates the ethylene oxide risk value to be 2000-fold lower than that of the IRIS risk value. EPA proposes to reject this reconsideration and reaffirm its use of the 2016 IRIS cancer risk value for ethylene oxide. Comments will be accepted through March 24, 2022 via Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2018-0746.

Minimal MSW landfill tweaks

EPA’s technical revisions and clarifications for the municipal solid waste (MSW) landfill CAA standards of Part 60, Subpart XXX and Part 63, Subpart AAAA became effective February 14, 2022. [87 FR 8197] The revisions make relatively minor changes to wellhead monitoring provisions, compliance timing for different types of landfills, definitions, and cross-references. The rule also makes small changes to Part 62, Subpart OOO, the federal plan for certain MSW landfills that have not triggered Subpart XXX compliance or are in states without an EPA-approved Part 60, Subpart Cf emission guideline. None of the changes to the three subparts substantially alter a facility’s applicability determination or compliance requirements.

Clap for new HAP

For the first time in 32 years, EPA tread new ground by adding a chemical to the CAA’s list of HAPs. Effective February 4, 2022, the agency’s addition of 1-bromopropane (1-BP) means the chemical is now regulated under the law’s Section 112 air toxics program. The rule, however, does not set any emission standard for the pollutant. Instead, the agency intends to issue a separate rule creating a proper regulatory infrastructure addressing how 1-BP, and future new HAPs, will be regulated. READ MORE

Inflation hits CAA and RCRA civil penalties

EPA is required by law to annually adjust the maximum RCRA civil penalties to account for inflation. Because the formulas used are tied to consumer inflation, the 2022 adjustments made in January are approximately 6 percent. Thus, the cost of noncompliance, like all other costs, continues to increase. READ MORE

Civil inspections rule reversed

In accordance with an executive order, EPA is rescinding a 2020 final rule applicable to onsite civil inspections conducted by federally credentialled EPA civil inspectors, contractors, and senior environmental employment employees. The 2020 rule was originally implemented due to perceived lack of transparency on how EPA conducts onsite civil administrative inspections. This rule reversal is in effect as of December 30, 2021. READ MORE

Stricter copper smelting NESHAPs suggested

On January 11, 2022 [87 FR 1616], EPA proposed standards based on its risk and technology reviews of the primary copper smelting NESHAPs for major sources (Part 63, Subpart QQQ) and area sources (Part 63, Subpart EEEEEE). For major sources, the agency proposed strengthening particulate matter emission limits; adding a new standard for mercury; requiring fugitive dust controls; removing the startup, shutdown, and malfunction (SSM) exemption; and requiring electronic reporting. Proposed area source changes include removing the SSM exemption and adding electronic reporting requirements. Comments may be submitted through February 25, 2022 via Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2020-0430. More information on the proposed revisions to the two standards is avail-able on EPA’s website.

Closure device clarity

EPA published new guidance [RO 14940] focused on RCRA Subpart BB and CC applicability for specific equipment and/or closure devices. This final guidance clarifies how the RCRA organic air emission standards apply to closure devices, which has sparked confusion amongst the regulated community. The memo explicitly clarifies Subpart CC applies to closure devices located in covers on top of tanks, containers, and surface impoundments. All other equipment is regulated under Subpart BB. For example, a pressure-relief device on the top of a tank would be regulated under Subpart CC. A pressure-relief device on the side of a tank will be regulated under Subpart BB.

HW compendium complemented

EPA has added more documents to its Hazardous Waste Generator Regulations Compendium. The compendium is a user-friendly guide that can assist regulators, the regulated community, and the general public on specific issues within the hazardous waste program. Each document contains numerous resources on specific topics. In January 2022, EPA added five documents to the compendium.

Comment on CCR extensions

Affected facilities have been seeking approval to extend the deadline for unlined coal combustion residuals (CCR) surface impoundments to stop receiving waste. These facilities had the option to submit demonstrations to EPA through November 30, 2020. EPA has reviewed a portion of the demonstrations and plans to announce determinations on the rest as soon as possible. The Agency is seeking public comment and has set up a separate docket for each of the proposed determinations. READ MORE.

Twelve have two to redo SIPs

Effective February 11, 2022, EPA found 12 states and local air pollution control agencies have failed to submit revised state implementation plans (SIPs) as required by the CAA. [87 FR 1680] The required updates pertain to EPA’s 2015 “SIP calls” for provisions related to excess emissions during startup, shutdown, and malfunction events. The finding initiates a series of deadlines by which the state agencies must submit revisions to their SIPs. If the agencies have not submitted their updated SIPs within 18 months of this finding, 2-to-1 emission offsets will be required for major sources subject to nonattainment NSR. Six months later, highway funding sanctions will be imposed in the affected nonattainment areas, and EPA will promulgate a federal implementation plan for the state. Provided the required SIP revisions are submitted within the given time frames, EPA will not impose these CAA-required sanctions.

Taking PERC to the cleaners

EPA is proposing amendments to the Part 63, Subpart M NESHAP for dry cleaning facilities using the HAP perchloroethylene (PERC). [86 FR 73207] The amendments are part of the periodic review requirements of the CAA and are not likely to be considered a “major rule.” Consequently, the agency expects the effective date of the rule would also be its promulgation date. Specifically, EPA proposes to require dry cleaning machines at both major and area sources to have both refrigerated condensers and carbon adsorbers as secondary controls. Comments will be accepted through February 10, 2022 via Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2005-0155.

RCRA rules roadmap

The Fall 2021 regulatory agenda is now available. For RCRA, EPA has added a long-term focus on regulating various PFAS as RCRA hazardous constituents and making a series of technical corrections. The agency also continues to develop regulations on coal combustion residues and enhancing the e-manifest system. READ MORE

Air action agenda

EPA has unveiled its Fall 2021 regulatory agenda. The agency is planning reviews, revisions, and amendments to scores of stationary source regulations. A critical aspect of the CAA is the periodic review of source category standards. While much of what is on the agenda is the typical review, some items are resulting from lawsuits and court orders. READ MORE

RCRA public notices go digital

EPA is providing notice and inviting public comment until February 14, 2022 on allowing modern electronic alternatives for public notices in implementing RCRA. The agency intends to expand on the RCRA provisions requiring public notices be published in printed newspapers. Printed newspapers are not available in all communities and are not representative of how most people consume news. EPA recognizes a need for the modernization of this RCRA requirement. READ MORE.

Quick sign of success

A Quick Sign signature is a more efficient signature method for generators, transporters, and receiving facilities signing e-manifests. Signers using Quick Sign do not have to answer CROMERR challenge questions when signing manifests. In their monthly webinar series on e-manifests, EPA announced a 50% increase in the number of generators who registered for Quick Sign compared to the prior year. This is significant progress towards EPA’s goal for increased adoption of e-manifests. If you would like to attend the next webinar on January 26, 2022, at 2:00 pm ET, visit the e-Manifest webinar website.

Tribal waste journal

Indian tribes often maintain tribal sovereignty over waste management on tribal lands. In support of their efforts, EPA publishes the Tribal Waste Journal annually. The 2021 issue, Developing and Implementing Codes and Ordinances on Tribal Lands, discusses the importance and complexity of implementing waste codes (i.e., basic waste management regulations) in tribal communities. This issue also includes a step-by-step guide for tribal environmental professionals who want to develop a waste code for their tribe. The 2021 issue concludes with case studies of tribal communities successfully implementing waste codes. You can read the current and previous issues on EPA’s website.

Revamping “reduce, reuse, recycle”

In November 2021, EPA introduced its National Recycling Strategy. This strategy is only the first in a series focused on improving our current recycling system. The goal is to build a circular economy - an industrial system restorative or regenerative by design. It identifies strategic objectives and stakeholder-led actions, which will create a stronger, more resilient, and cost-effective municipal solid waste recycling system. The National Recycling Strategy along with additional information on EPA’s strategies to build a circular economy can be found on EPA’s website.

PFAS public meetings

EPA’s Science Advisory Board (SAB) is holding four virtual public meetings on December 16, 2021, and January 4, 6, & 7, 2022 [86 FR 62526]. The meetings will discuss EPA’s proposed approaches to maximum contaminant level goals (MCLGs) for perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) in drinking water. The SAB will also review cardiovascular disease risk reduction from lowered PFOA and PFOS exposure in drinking water along with EPA’s draft framework for estimating noncancer health risks associated with PFAS mixtures. Refer to the SAB website for more information on the meetings and how to register.

Have a waste minimization program?

Did you know when you sign a hazardous waste manifest, you are certifying the appropriate waste minimization statement in §262.27 is true? EPA and state inspectors often ask questions about a facility’s waste minimization program. Some states have even identified failure to maintain a waste minimization program as one of the top generator violations in their state. Maintaining a waste minimization plan is not only a regulatory requirement but can also lead to cost savings. READ MORE

NSPS tightening for oil and gas

The impacts of anthropological climate change are well documented and understood, and the recent COP26 conference again highlights the urgent need for action. One of the most significant contributors to our warming planet is methane emissions, and the largest industrial source of methane is the oil and natural gas industry. EPA is proposing to update two new source performance standards (NSPS) and promulgate two new standards strengthening the industry’s CAA requirements. The agency estimates the rules would result in tens of millions of tons of pollutant reductions and tens of billions of dollars in climate benefits. READ MORE

PFAS Roadmap revealed

PFAS are toxic per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances. They are so chemically stable that they are often referred to as “forever chemicals,” and their persistence poses an urgent public health and environmental issue in the United States. To address PFAS, EPA announced the PFAS Strategic Roadmap, laying out the framework for a whole-agency approach. READ MORE

PCB regs overhaul

EPA is proposing to expand the available extraction and determinative test methods used to characterize and cleanup PCB waste under TSCA regulations. Along with the changes in test methods, EPA is proposing changes to PCB cleanup and disposal regulations, adding more flexibility for cleanups involving PCBs. READ MORE

Who ya gonna call?

Did you know EPA has a list of hotlines? This comprehensive list includes hotlines for many environmental topics ranging from TRI to TSCA. You may also find region-specific customer service lines where you can contact a specific EPA region. Unfortunately, the RCRA Hotline was shut down long ago, but you may still submit RCRA questions using the Ask a Question – EPA form.

Import-Export fixes

Earlier this year, Canada made changes to their import-export regulations that became effective on October 31, 2021. To bring the United States hazardous waste regulations into conformance with the changes, EPA published a final rule on October 1, 2021. [86 FR 54381] Because hazardous waste import-export regulations are managed solely by EPA (i.e., not states), this rule was effective in all states on October 31, 2021.

Solar panels feel the heat

Solar is a rapidly growing energy source in the United States. The panels used for solar energy typically have a life span of over 25 years. When they reach end of life, they must be managed safely when sent for disposal. EPA has a web page discussing some considerations for disposing of solar panels. If your solar panels are determined to be hazardous waste, then RCRA regulations must be followed to ensure the solar panels are recycled or disposed of safely. READ MORE

Corrective action closeout

EPA has made the RCRA Corrective Action 2020 Goals Closeout Fact Sheet available. This document provides a background on the goals that the agency set for the program and discusses the results. McCoy discussed these goals in more detail in a previous article. EPA has announced new 2030 goals for the RCRA Corrective Action program on their website as well.

Apathetic adoption

Adoption of the e-manifest system has been much slower than anticipated. Thus, EPA is holding two virtual public meetings, one in October and one in November, to discuss how to increase adoption of electronic manifests and solicit feedback from stakeholders. READ MORE

Mercury storage redux

The Mercury Export Ban Act (MEBA) was signed into law in 2008. One section of MEBA requires the Department of Energy (DOE) to designate a facility for the long-term storage of waste elemental mercury generated in the United States. The department established a fee rule and designated a long-term storage facility, but the rule was vacated by the courts. On October 6, 2020, DOE announced an amended record of decision reflecting the court vacatur. READ MORE

EPA has a plan

EPA announced the availability of its Draft Strategic Plan for FY 2022-2026. [86 FR 54448] This plan includes seven strategic goals focused on protecting human health and the environment along with four cross-agency strategies that describe the methods EPA will employ to carry out its mission. EPA expects the final Strategic Plan will be submitted to Congress in February 2022. Comments are due by November 12, 2021. You can submit comments through Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OA-2021-0403, and you can view the Draft Strategic Plan online.

Love food, hate waste

Food waste is a major global environmental, social, and economic challenge. EPA has recently developed two reports summarizing the contamination in food waste streams and the potential risks to human health and the environment. EPA also discusses food waste processing methods, food waste management, and other emerging issues with food waste. Additional information on this topic and both reports can be found on EPA’s food waste page.

Out of accumulation time

What happens when you run out of time for storing hazardous waste? What if the nation simply lacks the necessary incineration capacity? A backlog of untreated waste is raising these very questions. And to stay in regulatory compliance, facilities may need to examine alternatives not usually considered. Recent EPA guidance highlights options available for generators and permitted facilities looking to extend their hazardous waste accumulation limits. READ MORE

PFAS, EPCRA, and SW-846

As the dangers of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are further studied and congressional action intensifies, EPA regulatory and guidance actions are picking up steam. Effective July 6, 2021, three specific PFAS were added to EPCRA’s section 313 Toxics Release Inventory. [86 FR 29698, §372.65] To regulate these persistent and bioaccumulative chemicals, one must also be able to test for them. As such, EPA added test method 3512 to SW 846, used to detect certain PFAS in surface water, ground water, and wastewater. Method 3512 previously existed as an appendix to Method 8327, another test method for analyzing PFAS.

RCRA PFAS Petition

In June, the state of New Mexico petitioned EPA for the RCRA regulation of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). While perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) are the most well-known and studied PFAS, New Mexico believes the entire class of PFAS, potentially thousands of different chemicals, deserves regulation. The petition is only the latest in a growing line urging EPA to take regulatory action on these “forever chemicals”. Certain PFAS are already subject to EPCRA’s TRI reporting requirements, and the agency may soon craft regulations under CERCLA and the SDWA. Perhaps RCRA is right around the corner. READ MORE

BB and CC draft closure device guidance

With greater scrutiny from regulators, compliance with RCRA’s air emission standards is more important than ever. Consequently, EPA recognizes a need for additional guidance on which standards apply to closure devices found on hazardous waste management units. The language describing closure devices creates confusion on whether these devices are subject to Subpart BB or CC. New draft guidance explains the scope of these standards, and comments are being received until October 3, 2021. READ MORE

Requisite request: recycle batteries

Lithium-ion batteries are found in innumerable electronics used both at home and in business. Unfortunately, their reactive chemistry and improper management have caused hundreds of fires throughout the country. Recognizing the danger, EPA released a report on the importance of safely handling and recycling these hazardous wastes. Proper battery management allows for both the recovery of valuable materials and a reduced risk of bodily injury and property damage. READ MORE

Shipping state-specific wastes

The e-manifest system is not just the central repository for federally regulated hazardous waste shipment data. It also includes data on shipments of state-specific hazardous wastes. If the waste is required to be manifested, then the information finds its way into the system. It’s a challenge to remember all of those state hazardous wastes, and that’s where EPA comes in. A new agency website helps keep track of these unique wastes subject to the RCRA manifesting requirements. READ MORE

Fuel or waste?

What do demolition wood, scrap tires, and poultry litter have in common? They are all examples of nonhazardous secondary materials (NHSM). And if those NHSM are burned as a fuel, then whether or not they are a solid waste will determine which CAA standards apply. A new guide for making such a determination is now available from EPA. The agency walks through the considerations to be made by anyone trying to make NHSM fuel determinations. READ MORE

Decontaminate debris, LDR style

Treatment standards under the land disposal restrictions (LDRs) were developed with process wastes in mind, not hazardous debris. Fortunately, the alternative treatment standards for hazardous debris can help. Several options require treatment to a “clean debris surface,” allowing for small quantities of waste to remain. But just how much can remain? EPA cleans up the confusion on this, and other issues with debris on their LDR FAQ page.

Used oil container closure compliance

Hazardous waste containers must remain closed unless adding or removing waste. A good rule of thumb to meeting this closure requirement is to ensure the container is vapor tight and spill-proof. However, containers accumulating used oil under Part 279 are not required to comply with this standard. That said, used oil containers must still be in good condition and not leaking. This and other common used oil management questions are addressed on EPA’s used oil FAQ page.

Rulemaking dates extended

The Spring 2021 regulatory agenda is now available, and not much has changed in the last six months. A focus remains on regulating coal combustion residues, improving the e-manifest system, and regulating PFAS under CERCLA. READ MORE

D002 definition dabbling denied

In 2011, EPA received a petition to reevaluate RCRA’s corrosivity characteristic definition in §261.22. Two changes were requested: 1) lower the upper pH regulatory value from 12.5 to 11.5, and 2) expand the regulatory definition to include nonaqueous wastes. On June 15, 2021, the agency issued a final denial of this rulemaking petition. [86 FR 31622] While this concludes EPA’s reassessment of the corrosivity characteristic at the federal level, state waste regulations can be more stringent or broader in scope. This is particularly true of the corrosivity characteristic, as some states already regulate certain physically solid wastes as corrosive.

March e-manifest minutes

The e-manifest system is in the middle of some major changes: paper manifest submittals are no longer accepted, user fees are set to change on October 1, and exports will soon be integrated. EPA has published the minutes from its meeting with the e-manifest advisory board in March 2021, which addresses these issues and more. READ MORE

Permit appeals rule reversed

Executive orders from the new administration have resulted in the rescission or reconsideration of several recent EPA rules. Earlier this year, we saw changes to how agency guidance is managed. The latest rule reversal pertains to changes in the process for appealing environmental permits and the function of the Environmental Appeals Board (EAB). Effective June 11, 2021, this rule is meant to retain the transparency, fairness, and finality of EAB decisions. READ MORE

New e-Manifest user fees

EPA has announced the updated e-manifest user fees for FY2022/23, effective October 1, 2021. Per-manifest fees will be $20 for image upload, $13 for data file plus image upload, and $8 for fully electronic submittal. These are essentially the same as the existing fees, although there will actually be a decrease of $1 for each data file plus image upload submitted. You note there is no FY2022/23 fee for paper copies mailed to the e-manifest system; as of June 30, 2021, those are no longer accepted. More information can be found on the agency’s e-manifest user fee website.

OIG inspects inspectors

When a hazardous waste land disposal unit closes, the facility owners/operators can’t just walk away. If hazardous waste is still in the closed unit, additional controls are needed for decades to come. EPA’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) released a report in March 2021 highlighting the agency’s gaps in monitoring such facilities and providing recommendations to ensure these units are adequately inspected.

Plug pulled on portal

EPA’s May 2021 administrative procedures rule has removed Part 2, Subpart D a mere seven months after its promulgation. Originally intended to improve transparency and public involvement, it was found to do just the opposite. Related to this, EPA has taken down the agency’s central guidance portal. Both of these actions are in response to E.O. 13992. READ MORE

Li battery booster: DOT download

As a waste management expert, you not only safely manage lithium batteries while at your facility but also correctly package, mark, and label them for transportation. In April, EPA and DOT teamed up to host a detailed webinar on lithium battery management, and a recording and presentation slides are available at that website. In addition, check out EPA’s Sustainable Materials Management Web Academy, where you can find recordings of previous webinars. Topics include residential recycling, managing debris from natural disasters, and waste reduction modeling.

Environmental justice for tribal nations

Since the summer of 2020, EPA has been hosting the Tribal Waste Management Program Webinar Series. The series is a free resource designed to assist environmental staff operating on tribal lands. In May, a webinar was held on environmental justice (EJ) and how those seeking EJ grants can use EPA’s EJSCREEN tool. EJSCREEN is a web-based mapping and screening tool, combining publicly available environmental and demographic information with EJ indexes.

Paper manifests past prime

Paper manifests will not be accepted for processing in the e-manifest system after June 30, 2021. While the use of paper manifests is still commonplace, receiving facilities will need to convert them into an electronic format before submittal. This requirement can be met by submitting either an image upload into the system or a data file plus image upload. Of course, EPA strongly encourages the use of completely electronic manifests by all waste management entities: generators, transporters, and TSD facilities. More information on this and other e-manifest issues can be found on EPA’s e-manifest frequent questions website.

New PCB guidance

Although the production of PCBs has been banned since 1979, TSCA allows small quantities of PCBs to be inadvertently generated in certain manufacturing processes. EPA has set up a website providing regulatory and enforcement information on this topic. Additionally, PCB products were used extensively during construction and renovation activities from 1950 until 1979. The agency’s May 2021 fact sheet on PCBs in building materials discusses PCB material identification, testing, demolition, disposal, environmental contamination, and safe management of these wastes.

Waste management on tribal lands

In February, EPA added a factsheet on sustainable tribal waste management to its tribal waste management program site. The guide summarizes various strategies to assist tribal communities with waste management, while acknowledging their unique histories, cultures, finances, and geographies. Numerous links are included in the factsheet to additional resources related to financial viability, education and outreach, planning, program administration, and operation.

Lithium battery safety webinars

Lithium batteries pose safety and compliance challenges during onsite management and transportation. On May 18 and May 25, a 2-part training webinar will be hosted by the Northeast Recycling Council and the Northeast Waste Management Officials’ Association. The two 1.5-hour classes will provide a regulatory overview of lithium batteries, discuss their uses and recycling, and explore ways to reduce fire risks. You must register for each webinar separately if you would like to attend.

Paltry guidance on POLYM

New EPA guidance sheds a little light on the RCRA implications of using polymerization (POLYM) as a form of hazardous waste treatment. This technology chemically bonds scrap resin monomers into a solid inert material, which can then be sent for nonhazardous waste disposal. But, is application of indirect heat to scrap resin/catalyst mixtures considered thermal treatment necessitating a RCRA permit? Also, what are the Subpart CC air emissions requirements for containers used for POLYM? EPA hints at some answers. READ MORE

New resources for battery management

In March, EPA unveiled three new webpages containing information on the safe disposal and recycling of batteries at both businesses and residences. While there are many different types of battery chemistries, the underlying hazards are very similar. Recycling to recover valuable minerals, rather than disposal, improves regulatory compliance and also promotes environmental stewardship. READ MORE

Overtime for CCR NODA

On December 22, 2020, EPA issued a notice of data availability (NODA) and request for comment on coal combustion residue (CCR) piles and beneficial use criteria. Our previous article provides details. The agency is extending the public comment period for this NODA for an additional 60 days through May 11, 2021. [86 FR 14066]

HW compendium available

Many resources are available as aids in understanding the hazardous waste regulations, including McCoy’s RCRA Unraveled. EPA recently created the Hazardous Waste Generator Regulations Compendium. This is a hyperlinked and cross-referenced Internet resource, containing EPA memoranda, questions and answers, and Federal Register rules. READ MORE

GIR transition tool

In the 2016 generator improvements rule (GIR), EPA consolidated most of the generator requirements into Part 262 to reduce cross-references to Parts 261 and 265. These revisions resulted in the creation of many new regulatory sections and deletion of old ones. In January 2021, the agency created the Crosswalk of Previous Regulations to Reorganized Regulations, which cross-references previous regulatory citations with their new ones. It even includes a “comment” section, containing additional information describing the nature of the regulatory changes.

Waste guide for developing countries

By 2050, an estimated 3.4 billion metric tons of solid waste is expected to be generated annually on a worldwide basis. The United Nations Environment Program estimates at least 2 billion people living in developing countries lack waste collection and rely on uncontrolled dumpsites. To address these issues, EPA compiled a decision-maker’s guide for managing solid waste in developing countries to help get these areas headed in the right direction. READ MORE

Audit policy Qs get As

A great way to ensure compliance with applicable environmental regulations is via a self-auditing program. EPA has a formal audit policy whereby facilities that discover, fix, and self-report violations of federal environmental laws and regulations may receive penalty mitigation. The agency has recently issued new guidance clarifying several aspects of its audit policy. READ MORE

How to retire scrap tires

Occasionally, EPA provides guidance and insight into nonhazardous secondary material (NHSM) determinations for materials processed and then burned as fuels. In December 2020, the agency published a fact sheet on its NHSM determination for scrap tires. To receive nonwaste status under the Part 241 NHSM provisions, discarded tires must be processed into tire-derived fuel. Typically, this means the tires are chipped or shredded, sorted, and dewired (with at least 90% wire removal). [76 FR 15498]

Mapping hazardous waste

While there are thousands of large quantity generators (LQGs) throughout the country, only a small portion operate on federal or tribal lands. EPA has created an interactive map displaying these LQGs. Although operating on federal or tribal lands, these LQGs are often owned by private entities. Additional waste data from these and other generator facilities can be obtained by exploring EPA’s biennial report summary.

New e-Manifest bulletin

To help improve stakeholder communication, EPA has launched the e-Manifest Quarterly Bulletin. The first issue arrived in February and provided an overview of the e-manifest system’s latest developments and what’s right around the corner. In this initial installment, you’ll find information on the recent e-manifest advisory board meeting, the new quick-sign feature, help on registering for the e-manifest system, and more. The e-manifest monthly webinars are also still being held, typically at 2 pm Eastern time on the last Wednesday of each month.

2019 biennial report online

The numbers are in: U.S. large quantity generators generated more than 34 million tons of hazardous waste in 2019. The 2019 biennial report data are available, and EPA’s website provides significant flexibility in accessing the data. Waste generation and management data are available all the way back to the 2001 reporting cycle. So, if you are interested in knowing how much hazardous waste was generated in the Northern Mariana Islands in 2007, the biennial report website has your answer. READ MORE

GIR penalties clarified

EPA recently updated its RCRA civil penalty policy, clarifying penalty assessments for violations of the 2016 generator improvements rule (GIR). Most importantly, the revisions reiterate the agency’s position that noncompliance with certain generator regulations may constitute operation of a TSD facility without a RCRA permit. READ MORE

COVID-19 FAQs

Federal agencies have taken numerous steps to protect their employees and regulated communities from the effects of COVID-19. EPA has provided FAQs about the virus, including how the virus has impacted the agency’s waste program. READ MORE

March e-manifest meeting

The fifth meeting of the hazardous waste e-manifest advisory board will be held in March. To prepare people who will be attending and providing comment, EPA provided an e-manifest background white paper and other documents detailing past accomplishments and future functionality. Included is a preview of the proposed e-manifest fees for FY 2022–23. READ MORE

Solidifying no-migration guidance

No-migration variances (NMVs) are not a high-profile part of the RCRA regs. But, it turns out many TSD facilities treating and disposing hazardous waste may need one. This obligation is particularly true if the facility operates a temporary waste pile within a landfill cell. EPA is seeking input on draft guidance related to how facilities operating under these circumstances can petition for an NMV. Comments are being accepted through February 18, 2021. READ MORE

E15 rule may rust USTs

EPA is concerned that the shift to fuels containing high concentrations of ethanol (e.g., E15) could cause compatibility issues with existing underground storage tanks (USTs) designed to store more traditional fuels. Thus, existing UST regulations (at §280.32) require a compatibility demonstration for USTs holding ethanol-fuel blends. On January 19, 2021, EPA proposed a rule that would, among other things, provide additional flexibility when demonstrating UST equipment compatibility with ethanol blends. [86 FR 5094] Comment is being sought through April 19, 2021 via Docket No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2020-0448.

CCR rule technical correction

On November 12, 2020, EPA finalized a rule allowing facilities to request approval to operate an existing coal combustion residues (CCR) surface impoundment with an alternate liner. [85 FR 72506] You can read our discussion of this rule in a previous article. The agency issued minor corrections to the rule on December 14, 2020 [85 FR 80626], which reference withdrawal of the decision on the alternate source demonstration.

CCR ANPRM comment period extended

On October 14, 2020, EPA issued an advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM) for legacy coal combustion residues (CCR) surface impoundments. Our previous article gives the details. The agency is extending the public comment period for this ANPRM by an additional 60 days, through February 12, 2021. [85 FR 80718]

Latest regulatory agenda maintains CCR focus

The 2020 fall regulatory agenda is now available. Within the RCRA program, EPA plans to continue work on regulating coal combustion residues (CCR) and improving the e-manifest system. Under CERCLA, the agency is looking to regulate PFAS. READ MORE

Beneficial use of CCR

On December 22, 2020, EPA made new information and data available related to its coal combustion residues (CCR) beneficial use definition and accumulation provisions. The agency’s beneficial use and piles rule was proposed a year and a half ago, but it isn’t ready to be finalized. Instead, EPA is seeking public input based on new information gathered via utility CCR websites and stakeholder meetings. This is the agency’s second look at CCR beneficial use and piles after a 2018 DC Circuit Court remand. READ MORE

Incremental increase for RCRA civil penalties

EPA is required by law to make an annual adjustment to the maximum RCRA civil penalties. The 2021 adjustments were made in December, resulting in another ratcheting up of the penalties. While there are no surprises, we encourage you to review the cost of noncompliance for the new year. READ MORE

PFAS destruction and disposal

As required by the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act, EPA released interim guidance on per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) destruction and disposal. Although PFAS perform useful functions in certain products, they also bioaccumulate in the environment and can cause adverse human health effects. EPA’s guidance provides information on feasible and appropriate PFAS destruction and disposal technologies and also identifies areas for future research and development. READ MORE

Puerto Rico regs a fuego

The Commonwealth of Puerto Rico has a unique position within the USA, and its RCRA program is also unique. EPA Region 2 administers the federal portion of the RCRA regulations via its Caribbean Environmental Protection Division. In addition, Puerto Rico has its own regulations administered by its Department of Natural and Environmental Resources. So, complying with the hazardous waste program can get a little messy. If you are lucky enough to work on this tropical paradise, you may need some help navigating its hazardous waste regulations. We have gathered and clarified the rules in our new white paper: “Puerto Rico’s Hazardous Waste Program.”

Another chance to improve e-manifest

The e-manifest advisory board will hold another public meeting March 2–4, 2021. Announced in a December 29, 2020 Federal Register notice [85 FR 85631], the purpose of the meeting is for EPA to seek the board’s consultation and recommendations regarding e-manifest program priorities and user fees for FY2022 and 2023. This public meeting will be conducted virtually. Registration is required to attend and/or provide oral comment during the meeting. Please refer to the e-manifest advisory board website for information on how to register as a public audience attendee and/or oral commenter.

New non-waste fuels: shredded autos and appliances

The latest nonhazardous secondary material (NHSM) determination from EPA is for auto shredder residue (ASR). [RO 14937] NHSM determinations via 40 CFR Part 241 are important because they impact which set of Clean Air Act regulations apply when combusting that material. In this instance, ASR is considered a non-waste fuel under §241.3(b)(4). You can read about the details of how EPA makes such determinations in a previous article.

CCR liners hear alternative music

The next set of regulations in a long line of CCR rules pertains to an alternate liner demonstration. Effective December 14, 2020, EPA’s final rule creates a process allowing certain CCR surface impoundments to continue operation rather than close. The rule finalizes only one portion of a four-part March 2020 proposal, so additional final rules are expected. READ MORE

Don’t store unwanted material indefinitely

Table 1 of §261.2 is what we affectionately call “the table with the asterisks.” A dash at the intersection of “commercial chemical products” and “speculative accumulation” generally means there is no clock running on the storage, use, or recycling of a raw material or product at a facility. However, that does not mean these materials may be stored onsite in perpetuity. Timeless EPA guidance provides clarification. READ MORE

EPA issues CCR ANPRM

Last month, EPA released an advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM) to expand its coal combustion residues (CCR) rule. While inactive surface impoundments at inactive facilities were exempt from regulation in the original 2015 CCR rule, a 2018 court decision required EPA to bring them under federal control. The agency is using this ANPRM to collect information on legacy CCR surface impoundments to assist in the development of regulations for these units. Comments and data are being accepted until December 14, 2020. READ MORE

New procedures for managing guidance

EPA’s rule for managing guidance documents was finalized in October 2020. This administrative rule impacts not only how the agency develops guidance, but also how the public can petition for its modification, withdrawal, or reinstatement. EPA cites three benefits of this new rule: 1) guidance is developed with appropriate review, 2) accessibility and transparency are provided to the public, and 3) significant guidance documents are developed with public participation. READ MORE

Psst. PFAS guidance.

EPA’s current regulatory agenda includes proposing a rule to designate per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) as CERCLA hazardous substances. In the meantime, the agency has made interim recommendations on cleaning up groundwater contaminated with two of these chemicals, perfluorooctanoic acid and perfluorooctanesulfonate. The guidance applies to federal cleanup activities under CERCLA and RCRA corrective action. READ MORE

Streamlined signing for e-manifests

Although the e-manifest system has been in use for more than two years, e-manifests (fully electronic and hybrid) represent less than 0.5 percent of the approximately two million manifests EPA receives annually. Responding to input from the e-Manifest Advisory Board, the agency will no longer require generators and transporters to go through the CROMERR validation process for their e-manifest signatures. READ MORE

Rip van Guidance

Although twenty years old, recently released RO 14932 is still relevant. The 2000 guidance reaffirms EPA’s position from 1985, noting that sulfuric acid from a smelter’s metallurgical acid plant is a co-product, rather than a waste. If you are not working in the metal smelting industry, why should you care? Because a material designated by RCRA as a co-product, even if it is contaminated with heavy metals in excess of their toxicity characteristic levels, is still a nonwaste.

The next decade of corrective action

EPA’s RCRA corrective action (CA) program is the mechanism the agency uses to require the cleanup of RCRA-permitted treatment, storage, and disposal facilities. Since 1984, this program has resulted in the cleanup of thousands of sites throughout the country. Many of these facilities have spent millions of dollars to achieve their CA objectives. On September 1, 2020, EPA announced the program’s goals for the next ten years. READ MORE

State authorization of RCRA rules

A lot has changed since RCRA first started 40 years ago, and complying with new rules can be challenging. How do you know if the state you operate in has adopted a new rule or if the rule even needs to be adopted? If you can’t find the answer on your state environmental agency’s website, you can always use EPA’s authorization status tracker. The document includes the adoption and authorization status for rules promulgated under the base RCRA program and HSWA authority. READ MORE

That’s the fact sheets, Jack

Though a few years old, EPA’s generator improvements rule has been adopted by only about half of the RCRA-authorized states. Consequently, many generators are still getting used to the new requirements and are looking for a little guidance. To assist facilities, EPA updated its RCRA compliance fact sheets for both very small and large quantity generators. READ MORE

CCR closure rule finalized after 120,000-plus comments

The first final rule of 2020 dealing with the management of coal combustion residues (CCR) has been promulgated. Effective September 28, 2020, this rule finalizes several requirements for CCR unit closure and also addresses aspects of a 2018 court vacatur. We break down the five significant components of this CCR unit closure rule in our article. READ MORE

Waste FAQs relocated again

Recently, we noted that EPA had moved its waste FAQs database. As of August 2020, the Waste—Frequent Questions database has yet another new home. Most, if not all, of the guidance from the old waste FAQs database is in the new location, and there is still an option to submit a question. However, one function is missing from the new site; there is no longer an option to search through the entire database.

New non-waste fuel determination

EPA recently weighed in on another Part 241 non-waste fuel determination. The latest determination is for “waste” paper generated at certain pulp and paper facilities. Though the Part 241 regulations fall outside of the hazardous waste program, such determinations impact CAA compliance requirements. READ MORE

Appealing permits

In August 2020, EPA finalized an administrative rule that streamlines procedures during the appeal of various environmental permits. Challenging a RCRA, NPDES, SWDA, or CAA permit means a stint in front of the Environmental Appeals Board. The rule modifies many provisions governing how the board operates and grants the EPA Administrator a good deal of power regarding legal interpretations. READ MORE

Manifest signature alternatives policy extended

In May 2020, EPA released a memo providing flexibility regarding signatures on paper manifests due to impacts from COVID-19. We wrote about the impacts previously. In August, the agency released an additional memo, new RO 14936, which extends this flexibility until November 30, 2020. The memo contains three changes from the original policy: 1) shortening the required phrasing in Block 15, 2) changing the EPA policy reference in the generator’s signature substitute, and 3) removing language referencing the Temporary COVID-19 Enforcement Policy (terminated August 31) regarding recordkeeping.

New test methods included in SW–846 update

Update VII to SW–846 has arrived, making two specific changes to EPA’s compendium of solid waste sampling and test methods. First, the agency updated multiple methods stemming from the modernizing ignitable liquids determinations rule; among the updated methods are 1010B and 1020C, used to determine the flash point of liquids. Second, Method 8327 was added, which analyzes for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). While SW–846 contains methods for analyzing solid wastes, RCRA does not currently regulate PFAS. A second method for analyzing for PFAS, Method 3512, will soon be added; it now exists as an appendix to Method 8327.

Reduce holding times, increase accuracy

Adhering to recommended analytical sample holding times reduces error in the sample results. Reduced error equates to increased accuracy, meaning the end user of the analytical results, such as a hazardous waste generator, can perform a more accurate hazardous waste determination—a fundamental aspect of RCRA. May 2020 guidance from EPA clarifies holding time guidelines found in SW–846 and aligns these recommendations with other quality assurance programs. READ MORE

RCRA/MEBA interface a little less mercuric

While still having its uses in various scientific research applications, the market for elemental mercury has mostly dried up. A significant cause of this reduced demand is the Mercury Export Ban Act (MEBA). This law prohibits the export of elemental mercury from the United States and impacts facilities managing waste elemental mercury due to MEBA’s amalgam with the RCRA storage prohibition. New guidance from EPA discusses this confluence and the establishment of DOE’s long-term mercury storage facility. READ MORE

Waste FAQs have a new home

With the creation of EPA’s guidance portal, the agency is making changes to its other guidance databases. Guidance from the Waste—Frequent Questions database has been transferred to a new webpage, and the only remaining function on the old page is the ability to submit a question. While significant changes to other databases, like RCRA Online, have not yet been made, the agency may do so in the future. READ MORE

Update on e-manifesting

An e-Manifest Advisory Board public meeting was held April 14-16, 2020. The goal was to find ways of increasing e-manifest system usage, including reducing the administrative burden associated with generator and transporter e-signatures. After considering written and oral comments from regulatory agencies and industry, the board made several recommendations to EPA. READ MORE

RCRA rules on the horizon

The 2020 spring regulatory agenda is now available. EPA’s big efforts in the RCRA program are focused on coal combustion residue management, regulating PFAS under CERCLA, and improvements to the e-manifest system. READ MORE

Attention to air standards advised

Violations of RCRA’s air emission standards are still prevalent despite being one of EPA’s national compliance initiatives for years. Periodically, EPA disseminates guidance and advisories to help affected facilities maintain compliance. Along those lines, the agency issued an “enforcement alert” in June, describing its findings during numerous compliance inspections and its expectations for demonstrating compliance. Of particular interest is the discussion of the relationship between RCRA’s air emission standards and the CAA. READ MORE

Another method for generating e-manifest reports

The RCRAInfo Industry Application has new functionality related to e-manifests. A new tab called “Reports/Extracts” allows users to sort through facility, manifest, and waste line information based on facility type, date, and site ID search criteria. Due to the vast quantities of data the extracts pull from, it may take some time to generate the requested report. Fortunately, reports are saved so they can be referred to later.

Disaster planning resources

For some areas of the United States, natural disasters are a relatively rare occurrence. Other areas will suffer the experience on a frequent basis. Waste management and disaster planning professionals now have an updated, nationwide resource to help them plan for the worst. EPA’s Disaster Debris Recovery Tool contains a list of tens of thousands of facilities capable of landfilling and recycling many different types of debris generated from these disasters. Provided contact information allows users to take a proactive approach to protect their community in times of crisis. READ MORE

Don’t get burned by ignitability rule

EPA’s new rule modernizing ignitable liquids determinations is effective at the federal level on September 8, 2020. The rule won’t drastically change how generators make a D001 determination, but it does bring the definition of an ignitable hazardous waste into the 21st century. Will the other hazardous waste characteristics receive a similar revamp in the near future? We’ll have to wait and see. READ MORE

EPA terminates COVID-19 enforcement policy

In light of COVID-19, EPA issued a policy memo in March describing the agency’s increased discretion when deciding whether to enforce certain environmental regulations. We summarized the impacts of that memo in a previous article. On June 29, 2020, EPA released an additional memo terminating the temporary policy. Termination is set to occur at 11:59 PM Eastern time on August 31, 2020. Based on changing conditions, EPA may terminate the temporary policy at an earlier time and, if so, will provide notification at least seven days prior to any earlier termination date.

CCR comments continued, part deux

EPA’s proposed rule for a federal coal combustion residues (CCR) permit program had an original public comment deadline of April 20, 2020. [85 FR 9940] After a first comment extension to May 20, 2020 expired [85 FR 20625], the agency has provided yet another extension—this time to July 19, 2020. [85 FR 29878]

Hazardous waste import reporting

Importing hazardous waste requires a little extra paperwork to demonstrate RCRA compliance. Facilities involved in hazardous waste imports must include additional information on the WR and GM forms in their biennial reports. EPA’s Office of Inspector General found that TSD facilities and LQGs often do not submit all of the required information, or do so incorrectly. Recent guidance for importers clarifies these issues. READ MORE

First SQG renotification requirement coming up

In 2021, SQGs start a four-year renotification cycle. Renotification will help keep SQG information current in the RCRAInfo database, just like an LQG’s completion of a biennial report. Though EPA Form 8700-12 is the primary vehicle for meeting this SQG renotification requirement, states may require completion of equivalent documents. READ MORE

Significant changes to the development and use of EPA guidance

A proposed administrative rule will significantly change the way EPA develops, and the regulated community uses, regulatory guidance. In conjunction with the agency’s new guidance portal, there will soon be regulations governing how EPA issues, modifies, and withdraws guidance documents. The proposal is intended to ensure guidance documents are appropriately reviewed, accessible and transparent, and open to public participation. READ MORE

Manifest signature alternatives

Hazardous waste manifesting is a linchpin of the RCRA program, allowing the regulators and regulated community to keep track of waste from cradle-to-grave. And a critical part of manifesting is obtaining signatures from the generator, transporter, and designated facility. Unfortunately, COVID-19 has made such a simple and mundane task a health risk. To address this situation, EPA has provided some alternatives to the traditional hard-copy signature usually applied by generators. READ MORE

RCRA turns 40!

May 19, 2020 marked the birthday of the RCRA regulations; first issued forty years ago in 1980. Some of you have been involved with this program from its inception and some have just started your environmental management career.

We believe that RCRA has helped us to have clean parks to play in, clean water to drink, and clean air to enjoy. And that’s worth commemorating! And if you didn’t celebrate last month, it’s not too late. The effective date of the RCRA regs was November 19, 1980, so you have plenty of time to book the caterer and order the cake. Between now and November, there’s plenty of time to celebrate 40 years of RCRA compliance.

New guidance portal + problematic purge

A 2019 executive order has changed the way EPA guidance documents are accessed and used. All agency guidance documents, which previously were available from numerous different websites, are now organized into a single online public guidance portal. In addition to providing a single location to access “active” EPA guidance, the portal provides a mechanism for the public to request modification or withdrawal of such documents. The executive order and portal language also make it clear that guidance documents lack the force and effect of law, do not construe any obligations or binding requirements on regulated parties, and do not pose any threat of enforcement action if the regulated public does not comply. What is not clear yet is the status of guidance documents that are not moved into the new portal. READ MORE

CCR comments continued

In March, we wrote an article reviewing EPA’s proposed federal coal combustion residues (CCR) permit program. [85 FR 9940] The original deadline for public comment on the proposal, April 20, 2020, has been extended to May 20, 2020 to provide additional time for organizations to develop and submit comments. [85 FR 20625]

Desire tire wire?

Scrap tires are one of almost a dozen different materials identified as non-wastes when used as a fuel in a combustion unit. [§241.4(a)(1)] Tire beads, which hold the tire to the rim, contain a fair amount of steel wire. Normally, a scrap tire would need to be shredded with upwards of 90% of this wire removed to create tire-derived fuel (TDF). In new RO 14924, EPA notes that certain facilities, like cement kilns, may actually benefit from combusting TDF with higher wire content. As such, EPA stated in this guidance that removing as little as 2%–10% wire content when generating TDF would be sufficient to remain consistent with the Part 241 legitimacy criteria and standards.

Access e-manifest data

There are now two ways for the public to access e-manifest data. Accessible through the RCRAInfo Public Extract, users can view e-manifest data in comma-separated values (CSV) file format using “Version 1” or “Version 2” files. Version 1 files are organized by month with each row containing all of the information you would typically find on a manifest, including generator info, proper shipping names, and waste stream volumes. Version 2 files are organized by data type with each file containing data for one manifest field. Thus, one set of files contains generator information, another lists waste codes, yet another lists waste shipping information, and so forth. For users looking to peruse what wastes are being shipped, Version 1 is more amenable and can be opened in a spreadsheet application or text editor. But individuals looking to import data into database applications may find Version 2 superior.

COVID-19 field impacts

In addition to drastically affecting our personal lives, COVID-19 has significantly altered the way we work and conduct business. Although the long-term impacts of the virus remain to be seen, companies large and small, as well as government agencies, have adjusted daily operations to one degree or another. Recently, EPA provided insight into how it will continue to support its mission of protecting human health and the environment in light of the pandemic. The latest guidance deals with continuing or suspending cleanups and field work based on several COVID-19 factors. READ MORE

RCRA translated

In late 2019, EPA updated its guide to RCRA compliance for small businesses. In a previous article, we mentioned how the guide incorporates some of EPA’s latest efforts such as the generator improvements rule, e-manifest rule, and pharmaceuticals rule. The guide has now been translated into a number of foreign languages, including simplified and traditional Chinese, Korean, Russian, Spanish, Vietnamese, and Tagalog.

Economics 101—hazardous waste supply and demand

EPA has released its periodic National Capacity Assessment Report, stating the country has enough commercial hazardous waste recovery, treatment, and landfilling capacity to last the next 25 years. Compiled from the most recent biennial report data, the assessment also notes 1) a trend of consolidation within the commercial hazardous waste management industry, and 2) unforeseen circumstances over the next couple of decades could potentially impact our national capacity. READ MORE

Biennial report, visualized

Back in 2018, we briefly wrote about EPA’s 2017 Biennial Report results. Now, the agency has put together a new interactive website, which displays the report’s data in an easy-to-use format. Users can quickly view year-to-year trends in waste generation, major waste-generating industries, and interstate shipments. With just a few clicks, you can even filter down to see how much hazardous waste was generated at an individual site. For those who learn best using visuals, this is a great tool to help understand how the country is doing with its hazardous waste management and minimization goals.

Objection! Hazardous waste imports. Sustained!

If you import hazardous waste, you have to work with EPA as well as the foreign entity. The import approval process can take months, only to end with EPA’s objection. New agency guidance provides insight into EPA’s process for reviewing a notice of intent to import hazardous waste. In particular, there are numerous reasons EPA might object to importing a hazardous waste, including statutory prohibitions, lack of a RCRA permit, and imminent and substantial endangerment. READ MORE

More proposals in the CCR saga

The management of coal combustion residues (CCR) has received increased scrutiny starting with the promulgation of CCR landfill and surface impoundment regulations in 2015. Numerous court cases, proposed rules, and public comments now bring us to the second CCR proposal of 2020. At hand are four proposed revisions primarily to CCR unit closure and post-closure requirements. Comments on the March 3, 2020 proposed rule are still being accepted for a few more days. READ MORE

Coronavirus impacts EPA enforcement

EPA recognizes that the COVID-19 pandemic has made it difficult for many in the regulated community to meet certain regulatory obligations. On March 26, 2020, the agency announced a temporary policy for enforcement during the pandemic. Until further notice, EPA will use increased discretion in deciding whether to enforce various environmental regulations. READ MORE

2019 enforcement stats still lagging

The agency’s environmental enforcement results are now available for FY2019, detailing the agency’s civil, criminal, and Superfund enforcement achievements. The provided story map highlights EPA’s accomplishments and provides interactive case maps to track individual enforcement actions. Also available is a link to the agency’s six national compliance initiatives and associated results. READ MORE

Concern not fear

Our mission as a training provider is to bring a broader viewpoint along with accurate and clear information. That’s why we want to provide coronavirus facts—not fear. Of course, we are deeply concerned about the wellbeing of our attendees, friends, family, and world, and we are seeking a responsible balance in all we do. We will provide ongoing updates as information changes. With resoluteness and concern, we will get through this challenging time together. READ MORE

New ways to sign e-manifest?

On April 14–16, 2020, the e-manifest advisory board will hold a virtual public meeting online to discuss proposals for increasing the use of the e-manifest system. [85 FR 9763] Up for consideration are additional methods for generators and transporters to sign electronically, including clicking links accessible via text message or email and using digitized signature pads. Further information on oral comments, webcast, etc. may be found on EPA’s website.

CCR permit program proposal published

Coal combustion residues (CCR) have been under intense scrutiny over the last few years. EPA has put out new proposals and guidance on CCR unit standards, beneficial use, and, now, permitting. If you’re interested, there is still time to submit comments or register to speak during the upcoming public hearing. To help you get ready, we provide a breakdown of some of the key components discussed in the new proposal. READ MORE

Corrective action gets a (website) facelift

Anyone involved in EPA’s corrective action (CA) program knows an affected site may spend decades, and hundreds of millions of dollars, in the cleanup process. It’s quite the undertaking. Thousands of sites are impacted by CA, and the agency’s upgraded CA website gives interested parties a way to keep track of which facilities are meeting their CA goals and which still have some work to do. READ MORE

Speaking of corrective action, the Association of State and Territorial Solid Waste Management Officials (ASTSWMO) will host a RCRA Corrective Action Conference in Lexington, KY from June 3–5, 2020. The agenda looks very interesting!

Import/export guidance makes waves

A new RCRA Online guidance document (RO 14922) is available discussing hazardous waste imports/exports. Consistent with the 2016 revisions to these regulations [81 FR 85696], international ocean carriers in territorial waters importing/exporting hazardous waste do not need an EPA ID number or a uniform hazardous waste manifest, but they do still have certain movement document and contractual requirements. These include having contracts or equivalent arrangements in place that: 1) name all transporters that will have physical custody of the hazardous waste, 2) require the transporter to inform authorities if shipments cannot be managed as described in the notification of intent to export, and 3) require compliance with the applicable movement document contents and signature requirements.

New structure for EPA inspections

A facility should conduct its operations in a manner so it is always prepared for an inspection. On March 2, 2020, EPA promulgated a rule setting procedures for onsite civil inspections. This rule codifies what actions an inspector will take and, in turn, provides guidance on what inspected facilities can expect. If you have never gone through an EPA inspection, or maybe it’s been a while, a quick review of this rule can help you plan accordingly. READ MORE

Bombshell report on treating explosive wastes

The latest in hazardous waste treatment technology revolves around explosive wastes. As an alternative to open burning/open detonation, new methods for treating high-energy hazardous wastes are being developed that are safer and more environmentally friendly. A new report from EPA provides a summary of numerous technologies for treating these wastes, which typically are unusable military munitions. READ MORE

Yearly tradition—RCRA civil penalties increase

EPA is required by law to annually adjust the maximum RCRA civil penalties to account for inflation. The 2020 adjustments were made in January, and some penalties are now in excess of $100,000 per day. See how much it can cost to be in RCRA noncompliance. READ MORE

Phantastic pharma guidance on waste codes

If you’re at a healthcare facility operating in a state that has adopted EPA’s pharmaceutical rule, then you may be enjoying the tailored management requirements for your hazardous waste pharmaceuticals. But are you, your state, and your TSD facility on the same page with pharmaceutical waste codes? EPA’s new guidance allows a new “PHRM” code when completing manifest Item 13. READ MORE

Pesticide contamination subject to RCRA corrective action

Though a few years old, guidance was recently made available to provide clarity on a unique and potentially significant corrective action issue. In this guidance, EPA states that although pesticides may have been applied to soil or buildings for their intended use, pesticide-contaminated soil/buildings may become discarded at some point in time even if not excavated/demolished. A discarded material is a solid waste and subject to corrective action authority at RCRA-permitted facilities. READ MORE

More CCR changes on the horizon

Three more changes to EPA’s coal combustion residues (CCR) rule have been proposed. As a result of the USWAG court decision (see our November 2018 write-up), revisions are being considered for clay-lined impoundments, closure deadlines, and alternative closure options. Some of the newly proposed deadlines are less than a year away, so take a look at how these regulations may be changing once more. READ MORE

Multiple methods given the green light

Newly available RO 14918 clarifies EPA’s position on the concurrent use of multiple test methods found in SW–846. At heart is whether one method can be used in conjunction with a second if the first method is not specifically mentioned in the method description for the second. EPA explains that barring any state restrictions, using multiple methods concurrently is a standard part of environmental testing, based on the objectives of the analysis. For example, one could test for metals concentration using SW–846 Method 6010D, after first preparing a sample using Method 1311 (the TCLP), even though Method 1311 is not mentioned in the description of Method 6010D.

2020 biennial report prep begins

The new (even-numbered) year brings with it an extra reporting requirement—the biennial report. If you were an LQG or TSD facility in 2019, you will need to file EPA Form 8700-13A/B, or your state equivalent, by March 1. This report allows regulators to see how much of each hazardous waste is being generated at a given site and how the site owner is minimizing waste generation. EPA has also updated their report instructions and form to reflect changes over the last two years. READ MORE

New year, new agenda

Barely squeaking in, the 2019 fall regulatory agenda was announced in the December 26, 2019 Federal Register and is now available. EPA’s big efforts under RCRA/CERCLA are focused on coal combustion residue management units, regulating PFAS under CERCLA, clarifying how D001 is defined, and improvements to the e-manifest system. READ MORE

Proposal revamps permit appeals

EPA has proposed a set of rules to change how the Environmental Appeals Board operates, particularly regarding permit appeals. Whether it is a RCRA, NPDES, SDWA, or CAA permit, the proposed changes will impact the way industry, regulators, and other interested parties appeal permitting decisions. The proposal may affect industry’s permitting strategies as well as the legal standing of citizen groups inclined to file suit. READ MORE

Pharma wastes and reverse distribution/logistics

EPA has reaffirmed its position on reverse distribution versus reverse logistics, which was developed in the agency’s February 2019 hazardous waste pharmaceuticals rule. Prescription hazardous waste pharmaceuticals undergoing reverse distribution are solid wastes, but nonprescription pharmaceuticals and other unsold retail items sent through reverse logistics are not solid waste if they have a reasonable expectation of being legitimately used/reused or reclaimed. READ MORE

New non-waste fuel determination

EPA has approved another non-waste fuel determination for a material under Part 241. [RO 14916] This time, the nonhazardous secondary material (NHSM) is “Btu Boost,” which is not considered a waste when burned as a fuel. Non-waste fuel determinations are often issued to individual companies for a specific material. You can read our previous article for more information on this unique concept.

Pharma rule LTCF definition clarified

In other guidance providing interpretation of the 2019 pharmaceuticals rule, RO 14917 addresses the status of certain intermediate care facilities that provide care to individuals with intellectual disabilities. EPA was asked whether these facilities would be included in the definition of long-term care facilities (LTCFs) in the 2019 rule. While both entities provide care to their residents, LTCFs are typically regulated under Part 266, Subpart P, while wastes generated from intermediate care facilities enjoy the household hazardous waste exclusion. READ MORE

Aerosol cans now universal waste

On December 9, 2019, EPA published a final rule adding hazardous waste aerosol cans to the universal waste program in Part 273. In general, the requirements for universal waste aerosol cans are the same as those for other universal wastes: handlers may accumulate waste aerosol cans onsite for up to one year and do not have to use a manifest for offsite shipments. Handlers who puncture universal waste aerosol cans must recycle the empty punctured cans and meet certain requirements. READ MORE

Generator category—state-to-state

Knowing your generator category is one of the most fundamental and critical parts of the RCRA program. Generator category determines which set of hazardous waste regulations apply to your activities. There are three generator categories in the federal RCRA program, but some RCRA-authorized states have a different set of generator categories. EPA has a useful website that allows you to quickly see if you live in one of those states. READ MORE

New RCRA guidance cache aired

RCRA’s air emission standards (Subparts AA, BB, and CC) are a common source of noncompliance at large quantity generators and TSD facilities. For years, these standards have been part of EPA’s list of national compliance initiatives. The agency has periodically published compliance assistance guidance, but it has been difficult to find. Last month, EPA put together a new website to compile this guidance and make it easier for companies to establish strategies for complying with these extensive regulations. READ MORE

Small business? Great guidance!

Even if your company is small and generates very little hazardous waste, you still have RCRA obligations. And if you’re a small business, chances are you do not have a dedicated staff of waste management professionals to ensure compliance. To help small businesses in their RCRA compliance efforts, EPA has just updated its “all-in-one” RCRA guide for small businesses, pointing out the pitfalls and compliance criteria to help avoid RCRA violations. READ MORE

Updated federal facilities compliance data

Ever wonder if a federal facility manages hazardous waste or if it is potentially subject to Superfund cleanup? EPA has recently updated its Federal Agency Hazardous Waste Compliance Docket. Here, you can determine whether the hundreds of military bases, national labs, federal housing complexes, etc. have RCRA permits and whether they have had a release triggering potential CERCLA cleanup. You can also read about how former federal properties are being transformed into neighborhoods and communities. It’s very possible that a site near you once made an appearance on this docket.

Attendees and raptors!

Our last seminar just concluded and we appreciate all those who made the trek to Denver. Team McCoy enjoyed providing your RCRA training--and the Food & Feathers event--in our hometown.

And a special thank you to those who shared your Wednesday evening with us. It was a magical time with the HawkQuest team and guest raptors: bald eagle, peregrine falcon, barn owl, and the amazing desert raptor, the Harris hawk. Who could forget the stories of Mr. Kin Quitugua, master falconer, hunter, and environmental educator, as he flew the Harris hawk down the hall lined with our attendees and team!

We’ll be adding photos here, so if you have some you’d like to share, please email them to hello@mccoyseminars.com.

Harris Hawk Flight
Photos of the birds
HawkQuest

Solvent-contaminated wipe questions, answered

The McCoy team discusses solvent-contaminated wipes in nearly every seminar we hold. Afterward, there is usually a flurry of hands raised into the air requesting additional clarification on how to manage this ubiquitous waste stream. If it has been a while since you have been to one of our seminars, check out EPA’s FAQs database on the solvent-contaminated wipes rule. There might just be some tasty nuggets in there to help put your mind at ease. READ MORE

Not all RCRA rules effective in all states

If only all RCRA regs took effect everywhere at the same time…. Since this isn’t the case, you’ll need to know which rules your state has adopted and which it has not. There have been a handful of significant rules promulgated in the past few years, and fortunately there is an easy way to keep track of their state adoption status. Come take a look at these maps to see which rules your facility will need to comply with. READ MORE

e-Manifest system: adapt and adopt

Adoption of the e-manifest system is still lagging, despite being “live” for over a year. Accessibility challenges and lack of functionality are just a couple of factors keeping end-users at bay. To address these concerns and provide solutions, the e-Manifest Advisory Board convened in June and has made their meeting minutes available. The Board thoroughly considered dozens of roadblocks, challenges, and changes, and we invite you to see what is on the table for consideration. READ MORE

Pharma rule coverage and questions clarified

Has your state has adopted the new hazardous waste pharmaceutical rule? What about the less-stringent provision that excludes certain nicotine replacement therapies from the P075 listing? EPA has answered these questions and provided answers to two dozen FAQs on the new hazardous waste pharmaceutical rule. This rule has been in effect for just a few weeks now, but states will be expected to adopt most of the provisions within the next couple of years. Not only are dedicated healthcare facilities subject to the new rule, but so are onsite/co-located health clinics at manufacturing facilities or other businesses. READ MORE

Nuts and bolts of the e-manifest fee increase

To better explain the upcoming e-manifest user fee increase effective October 1, EPA’s Office of Resource Conservation and Recovery released new guidance. In the memo, EPA details how lower-than-expected manifest usage, incorrect user data submissions, the government shutdown, and more have impacted the regulatory-based user fee methodology. Also mentioned is the last day for paper manifest submissions—June 30, 2021. READ MORE

Remanded CCR rule revived

The 2015 coal combustion residual rule has seen a series of court challenges, leaving the current Part 257, Subpart D regs in limbo. To button up some of these issues, EPA is proposing a series of changes affecting everything from environmental site assessments to availability of websites for information. Comments on the proposed changes will be accepted until October 2, 2019. READ MORE

EPA approves ISM for PCBs

Incremental sampling methodology (ISM), sometimes known as Multi-Increment® Sampling (MIS), can be a useful tool for obtaining a representative sample from heterogeneous materials. Developed in the 1990s by the Army Corps of Engineers, ISM is now used outside of military cleanup applications, and can be used for metals, dioxins, VOCs, and other analytes. On August 8, 2019, EPA released a new guidance document for using ISM at PCB-contaminated sites.

Another non-waste fuel identified

An additional fuel has received a non-waste regulatory determination from EPA under Part 241. [RO 14911] The agency determined the nonhazardous secondary material (NHSM) known as “BDF” (biomass-derived fuel) from a particular vendor is a non-waste fuel when burned under certain conditions. For additional background on non-waste fuel determinations, see our previous article.

Cooperative federalism policy finalized

After considering public comment, EPA has finalized their policy on joint planning of compliance assurance and civil enforcement between federal and state governments. [84 FR 34887] The final policy is nearly identical to the draft proposal except for some minor verbiage changes. If you are interested in a quick summary of the draft policy, then read our article from earlier this year.

e-Manifest fees doubling

User fees for submittals to the e-manifest system are set to increase from 60 to 115 percent for the next two years. Taking effect October 1, 2019, the increases are the result of a biennial recalculation of fees considering system costs and use. Based on the 2018 e-manifest fee rule, the two main drivers for the price increase are slower than expected adoption of the e-manifest system and higher than expected operating costs. READ MORE

Weighing solvent wipe options

In some instances, solvent-contaminated wipes may not be managed under the excluded wipes rule. In new guidance, EPA addresses how a facility may use the “under the control of the generator” exclusion (part of the DSW rule) to reclaim solvent-contaminated wipes, even if they are unable to meet all of the provisions of the excluded solvent-contaminated wipes rule. Depending on whether your state has adopted one or both of these rules, you may be able to reduce the volume of hazardous waste generated at your facility. READ MORE

Latest List of Lists

Chemical names are confusing. Often, there are a dozen or more names for a single chemical. If you are used to referring to a certain chemical by one name over another, how would you know you are not missing certain regulatory requirements? Fortunately, EPA has combined chemical names, CAS numbers, and regulatory reporting thresholds in a single, easy to use document—the List of Lists. Find out how to get the latest update in our article. READ MORE

e-Manifest developers: August 26

An in-person developers workshop will be held on Monday, August 26, 2019 in Chicago, IL. The e-manifest development team is looking to engage with industry IT developers in a technical talk on implementing a full-electronic workflow. The event is extremely IT-focused, but all interested generators, transporters, brokers, and receiving facilities are encouraged to attend. READ MORE

A new season of regulations

Just in time for summer, the 2019 spring regulatory agenda has been released. EPA has been busy, and if the schedule can be maintained, there will be some interesting rule changes happening soon. Continuing actions addressing coal combustion residues, and new efforts to promote cleanup of PFAS chemicals, are in the hopper. READ MORE

NCIs extend RCRA air initiative

A new batch of national compliance initiatives reflects EPA’s focus for the next few years. There are four main goals: improving air quality, ensuring safe drinking water, reducing the risk of hazardous chemical releases, and addressing childhood exposure to lead. A summary and explanation of the RCRA air emphasis are included in our article. READ MORE

Chute! Concrete truck washout complications

Approximately 65,000 ready mixed concrete trucks are currently operating in the United States. What are the RCRA implications of managing the washout from one of these trucks? Are we turning a blind eye to a potential problem? READ MORE

Dollars and RCRA sense

If a broker buys a used material from an industrial facility, is it automatically a product that can be managed outside of RCRA? Does the monetary value of a material determine its RCRA status? These are tough questions to which EPA has historically and recently answered “No.” READ MORE

Lithium batteries—the fireworks are over!

Most of us have seen pictures or videos of fires caused from improper packaging of lithium batteries during transportation. DOT and EPA have teamed up to train people on new regulatory requirements to prevent this dangerous situation. They will be offering four free workshops on lithium battery transportation during the next several weeks. READ MORE

More non-waste fuels get a nod

When is a nonhazardous secondary material burned as a fuel considered a waste, and when is it considered a non-waste fuel? Part 241 sets out requirements for identifying non-waste fuels that are not subject to the solid waste regulations. In three new guidance documents, EPA gave three nods to some new non-waste fuels. READ MORE

Cooperative federalism meets draft policy

EPA has provided a copy of their draft policy on joint planning of compliance assurance and civil enforcement. The policy incorporates EPA’s “cooperative federalism” approach in establishing best practices that will allow the agency and states to share accountability in the implementation of federal environmental programs. Although the comment period on this draft policy has ended, the regulated community will still be able to see how EPA plans to work with states on compliance efforts. READ MORE

Use the e-manifest system…please?

From June 18-20, 2019, EPA is convening a public meeting in Arlington, VA to consult the Hazardous Waste Electronic Manifest System Advisory Board on ways to increase the adoption of the e-manifest. [84 FR 20626] Recent data indicates that while more than 1.5 million manifests have been submitted to the e-manifest system, less than 1 percent of them are fully utilizing the system. Additional information on oral comments, webcast, etc. may be found on EPA’s website.

Turn over a new LEAF

EPA has finalized the Leaching Environmental Assessment Framework (LEAF), which consists of four new SW–846 test methods and a how-to guide. The LEAF methods are not RCRA regulatory tests, but they may be used to evaluate the leaching potential of inorganic constituents from solid materials under varying conditions. This could be useful in evaluating conditions at cleanup sites or other locations. READ MORE

New prescription for HW pharma

EPA issued a new set of regulations in February under which hazardous waste pharmaceuticals are to be managed. One provision, the sewering ban, takes effect nationwide on August 21, 2019. As for the rest, because the new Part 266, Subpart P regulations are considered more-stringent, authorized states will be required to adopt regulations that are at least as stringent over the next two years. To find out if the new HW pharma rule will affect your operations, have a look at our new white paper.

EPA reaffirms stance on inherently waste-like materials

What is so toxic that it is inherently a waste no matter how it is recycled? How about halogenated organic compounds burned to produce hydrochloric acid. Recent EPA guidance (RO 14900) reinforces the agency’s previous determination that, due to the dangers of recycling inherently waste-like materials, solid waste exclusions do not apply. READ MORE

“Owner/operator” clarification

Two recent RCRA Online guidance documents, RO 14897 and 14899, provide clarification of the terms “owner” and “operator,” defined in §260.10, and “owner or operator,” defined in §270.2. EPA does its best to provide general interpretations based on a specific list of facts for a hypothetical Company, but the agency ends the discussion with a lateral to the states: “states authorized to implement the RCRA program may have more stringent requirements that may impact the Company’s status under RCRA.” RO 14908 confirms EPA's stance that authorized states should determine which facilities are owners or operators subject to RCRA permitting.

Proactive planning for natural disaster debris

Last year, EPA released a pre-incident planning poster and brochure to help communities plan for wastes generated in the wake of a natural disaster. Last month, EPA published a full-blown update to their guidance on Planning for Natural Disaster Debris. [84 FR 17160] Incorporating lessons learned from natural disasters over the past decade, the guidance stresses a proactive approach to dealing with wastes generated during these events. Essential steps include identifying debris types and forecasted amounts, evaluating debris management options, and establishing temporary debris management sites. A review of this latest guidance can help waste professionals, emergency coordinators, and community leaders improve their emergency response capabilities during these difficult events.

E&P wastes get another look

Per a December 2016 consent decree, EPA has just released its 2019 review of the management of wastes generated during the exploration and production (E&P) of oil and natural gas. These wastes are currently excluded from RCRA Subtitle C hazardous waste regulation, but the agency was required to review whether their regulation under RCRA Subtitle D is warranted (similarly to the regulation of coal combustion residues in Part 257, Subpart D). EPA concluded that an existing network of state regulations and best management practices are sufficient to ensure that these wastes are managed in a manner that is protective of human health and the environment. Therefore, “revisions to the federal regulations for the management of E&P wastes under Subtitle D of RCRA are not necessary at this time.” READ MORE

More e-manifest functionality forthcoming

A recording of the April 2019 e-manifest webinar has been released detailing upcoming functionality in the e-manifest system. EPA is working on a third e-manifest rule that will integrate export manifests, exception reporting, and discrepancy reports into the existing system. Also discussed in the webinar were some of the most common errors that the agency has observed to date in uploading/entering data to the e-manifest system, including missing signatures, illegibility, and no management codes. An updated demonstration is also provided to get you e-registered if you have not already done so.

Best management practice: don’t sewer pharmaceuticals

Recently, we released a write-up of the February 2019 pharmaceuticals rule. Although the rule prohibits healthcare facilities and reverse distributors from discharging hazardous waste pharmaceuticals to a sewer system that flows to a POTW, the ban does not apply to nonhazardous waste pharmaceuticals. That said, evidence shows that the disposal of any pharmaceuticals into our waterways results in a variety of deleterious effects. In RO 14905, EPA encourages healthcare facilities to not sewer any waste pharmaceuticals. READ MORE

CCR monitoring and closure clarification

Although some aspects of the 2015 coal combustion residues (CCR) rule are in limbo after a recent court decision (see our November 2018 write-up), many of the requirements have not been challenged and are currently in effect. Recent RCRA Online guidance documents further explain EPA’s requirements for groundwater monitoring and unit closure/retrofitting. READ MORE

Methylene chloride banned from consumer paint removal products

After evaluating more than 100,000 comments, EPA has promulgated a final rule prohibiting the use of methylene chloride in consumer paint and coating removal products. [March 27, 2019; 84 FR 11420] The rule establishes a new 40 CFR Part 751 under TSCA—not RCRA—authority, and the prohibition is effective November 22, 2019. However, after August 26, 2019, the new part requires manufacturers, processors, and distributors of methylene chloride for any use to provide downstream notification of the prohibition by inserting specific language in SDSs for methylene chloride and any methylene chloride-containing product.

On the same day, EPA issued an advanced notice of proposed rulemaking to solicit comment on a TSCA training and certification program for the commercial use of methylene chloride. [84 FR 11466] As currently envisioned, a final rule would allow access to paint and coating removal products containing methylene chloride only to commercial users who are certified as being properly trained to use such products in a safe and environmentally sound manner. Public comments are due May 28, 2019 and may be submitted through Docket ID: EPA-HQ-OPPT-2018-0844 at regulations.gov.

Ignitability definition just got hot

On April 2, 2019, EPA proposed a series of changes that would modify and update the RCRA ignitability characteristic. The proposed rule would update referenced test methods, codify guidance for the alcohol-content exclusion and evaluation of multiphase wastes, reconcile differences with DOT’s regs, and provide alternatives to the use of mercury thermometers. EPA is seeking your input on these proposed revisions to D001. READ MORE

Maximum RCRA civil penalties on the rise

By law, EPA must adjust maximum RCRA civil penalties annually, and this year's adjustment has been made. Per-day penalties approaching $100,000 are now in effect, depending on the type of violation. See how costly noncompliance can be for 2019. READ MORE

Suggestions on improving the manifest?

Have you ever wanted to enter a waste quantity on a manifest smaller than one pound? What about using a more precise quantity amount, such as 2.3 tons? Better yet, did you ever wish manifest information was the same as that required in your biennial report? EPA is seeking comment on multiple proposals regarding these very issues. We’ve summarized the goals and proposals to help you weigh in with your thoughts and suggestions. READ MORE

Final pharmaceutical rule promulgated

EPA’s final pharmaceutical rule was promulgated on February 22, 2019. The rule will take effect at the federal level on August 21, 2019. EPA hosted a webinar and provided answers to a variety of questions asked by the regulated community concerning this new rule. A recording of the webinar may be accessed via EPA’s CLU-IN website. Last month, we provided a detailed analysis of its various provisions, including management standards for healthcare facilities and reverse distributors, revisions to the P075 nicotine listing, and more. We’ve updated it with links to new Subpart P on the e-CFR. READ MORE

EPA’s 2018 enforcement stats

The agency’s environmental enforcement results are now available for FY2018, detailing the agency’s civil, criminal, and Superfund enforcement achievements. A new feature in this year’s report is a story map, highlighting the agency’s achievements and also providing interactive case maps to track individual enforcement actions. READ MORE

Detailed analysis of RCRA pharmaceutical rule

Last month, we provided an introduction to the new Subpart P pharmaceutical rule. Although the final rule has not yet been promulgated in the Federal Register, we’ve dug dig deeper into the details. Whether you’re at a hospital, a health clinic, or a reverse distributor, this new rule will greatly impact how you manage your unusable pharmaceuticals and empty pharmaceutical containers. See how this rule will affect you before it goes live. READ MORE

Used oil clarifications

From the largest manufacturing facilities to the smallest service centers, just about every site generates used oil. While the used oil regulations of Part 279 might not be particularly lengthy, there are some issues in those regs that you don’t necessarily find in other hazardous waste regulations. What happens when your used oil is mixed with a fuel? How do you manage your oil-soaked absorbents? We investigate these issues, so you don’t have to. READ MORE

New petroleum industry white paper released

Our latest white paper, “RCRA Compliance in the Petroleum Industry,” is available on our website. This guide breaks down the various petroleum-related RCRA issues you may face at your facility. From the E&P exclusion to K-wastes, this paper starts with what is discussed in RCRA Unraveled and takes it to the next level. We hope you find this white paper an excellent addition to our other resources at your disposal.

That’s a lot of waste…

More than 36 million tons. That’s how much hazardous waste was generated via large quantity generators (LQGs) in 2017. EPA has released the 2017 Biennial Report based on EPA Form 8700-13 filings submitted by March 1, 2018. Waste generation and management information collected from LQGs and treatment, storage, and disposal facilities is included and allows the user to examine the statistics for each state and territory and drill down to individual sites managing hazardous waste. EPA has arranged the site to allow the data to be accessed by NAICS code, management methods, and hazardous waste type and properties. Data for sites that are recycling hazardous waste, as well as the quantity of hazardous waste recycled nationally and in each state, are also available for use by the regulated community, governing agencies, and the general public.

Final pharma pre-pub rule released

Big news for healthcare facilities and reverse distributors: A pre-publication copy of the final Subpart P pharmaceutical rule has been released. If you are in the healthcare or reverse distribution industries, you may find that these new regulations will greatly clarify and improve your ability to manage hazardous pharmaceuticals. This is a significant rule with a pre-pub version preamble that is hundreds of pages long. Before the final rule goes live, see what may be in store for your facility. READ MORE

Latest e-manifest happenings

A new year brings new developments for the e-manifest system. While the monthly webinars are temporarily curtailed due to the government shutdown, new FAQs and the first batch of shipment data have been made available. Take a look at our article to help you stay in the know. READ MORE

Auto airbag waste exempted—with conditions

A new conditional exemption from RCRA was promulgated on November 30, 2018. EPA issued an interim final rule, effective immediately, that exempts airbag waste from RCRA regulation provided that certain conditions are met. If you work in the automotive industry, this could very likely benefit you. We’ve summarized the new conditional exemption and some of the associated nuances. READ MORE

Staying ahead of disasters

Nobody can predict a natural disaster, but when one happens, will your community be ready? Unforeseen events may generate millions of cubic yards of debris and other wastes that may be hazardous. Properly planning for these events will prepare communities to manage these wastes more effectively. EPA has created a pre-incident planning poster and brochure to assist stakeholders in this process. A 4-step strategy is outlined to help your community prepare, and recover, after one of these tragic events.

CCR rules in reverse

The DC Circuit Court of Appeals has issued a decision vacating portions of EPA’s current coal combustion residues (CCR) rule for not being stringent enough. Because of this, the agency will likely need to forgo its current two-phase relaxation of CCR regs and instead reverse course to strengthen regulatory requirements. Additionally, states regulators that are crafting their own CCR programs are now faced with significant uncertainty. READ MORE

ID your BB equipment

Did you know there is a leak detection and repair (LDAR) program in RCRA just like those in the CAA? If you operate hazardous waste equipment that is not controlled under the CAA, you may need to demonstrate compliance with Parts 264/265, Subpart BB. These standards are designed to prevent fugitive emissions, and compliance begins with the proper identification of your equipment. Because this is a national compliance initiative, it’s a good idea to identify all your BB equipment now. READ MORE

Cookin’ up some RCRA rules

If you’ve checked out the latest regulatory agenda, you know that EPA’s Office of Land and Emergency Management has been busy working on some very interesting RCRA rules. These include a new program for managing hazardous pharmaceuticals as well as adding aerosol cans as universal waste. We’ve got a summary of what’s cooking in the agency’s kitchen. READ MORE

e-Manifest for e-mergency personnel

If you manage emergency response and cleanup personnel, they may need authorization to sign e-manifests. EPA has released a new fact sheet to help explain how these personnel may be affected and what they must do to gain access to the e-manifest system. Five-page paper manifests may still be used to track wastes generated during emergency responses. But as with all other paper manifests, this information will ultimately be entered into the e-manifest system.

How-tos for household pharma takebacks

Household pharmaceutical wastes are not subject to RCRA, but they may be dangerous none the less. Mismanaged, unwanted pharmaceuticals can be, and are, abused by people and released into the environment. To help prevent this, DEA and law enforcement agencies have programs for the safe collection of these unwanted pharmaceuticals. EPA has provided guidance on how law enforcement can manage this process. READ MORE

Airbag guidance glossed up

If you are in the auto industry, you will likely have to manage airbags at some point. What do you do when you make the decision to discard some? Are they solid waste? Are they hazardous? What if you are dealing with recalled Takata brand airbags? EPA has issued some clarifying guidance that summarizes the agency’s position on the regulatory status of these materials. READ MORE

RCRA Online 2.0

EPA has revamped their RCRA Online database to provide an updated look and streamlined experience. While the guidance documents have not changed, the URLs are now a simplified format containing the RO document number. The old RCRA Online website is fading into history, so now is the time to update your links and bookmarks. READ MORE

e-Manifests: updates and developments

We are just over two months into the e-manifest system, and its usage has rapidly risen since June 30. EPA continues to provide new updates and keep us abreast of upcoming functionality. Recently, there have even been changes to manifest submissions for shipments containing Department of Homeland Security chemicals of interest. As always, we have the skinny on the latest and greatest. READ MORE

GIR tightens container labeling

Like to label your drums “Spent Solvents”? Prefer a more casual approach such as “Bad Stuff”? Maybe you really like exclamation points and use “Hey homies! No rags allowed!” Well forget about any of those satisfying the generator improvements rule (GIR) labeling requirements. The GIR requires a more-stringent and standardized approach to how containers are labeled. This includes nuanced pretransportation requirements as well. See how you can maintain compliance without exceeding your exclamation point quota. READ MORE

Address change for import/export paperwork

Effective August 6, 2018, there is a change in the address where paper notification documents for imports/exports of hazardous waste and conditionally excluded cathode ray tubes must be sent [see §262.82(e)(1)]. Notifications must now be addressed to EPA at the “Office of Land and Emergency Management, Office of Resource Conservation and Recovery, Materials Recovery and Waste Management Division, International Branch (Mail Code 2255A) Environmental Protection Agency, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20460.” [83 FR 38262]

SAAs see shrinking benefits

In the mid-eighties, to ease compliance with full 90-/180-day requirements when waste is first collected, EPA implemented the satellite accumulation area (SAA) provisions. Since then, there had been no substantive changes in these regulations until the 2016 generator improvements rule. As a result of the latest changes, there are now fewer benefits to using these units compared to 90/180-day accumulation containers. READ MORE

More e-manifest morsels

The e-manifest system has now been up and running for more than a month. Since its launch on June 30, there have continued to be updates and changes from EPA. And since EPA has continued to provide new information, we would like to do the same. We’ve got an update on what’s been happening over the last month. READ MORE

CCR tweaks finalized (partially)

EPA has issued a final rule that addresses recent court action in response to the promulgation of the 2015 coal combustion residue (CCR) rule. The final rule provides some breaks to facility owners who are managing these Bevill Amendment wastes. However, not all of the originally proposed revisions were finalized. We have a brief summary of EPA’s most recent rule. READ MORE

Regulatory relief for episodic generators

Some generators are VSQGs or SQGs—except when a planned or unplanned event occurs that pushes them into a higher generator category. This is known as “episodic generation.” One portion of the 2016 generator improvements rule provides regulatory relief for episodic generators. These new provisions allow VSQGs and SQGs to maintain their lower generator category during an episodic event if certain conditions are met. READ MORE

e-Manifest is live—no going back

As of June 30, 2018, the e-manifest system is live in all states, and although EPA didn’t burn the paper manifests, there’s no going back. Whether you will be fully utilizing e-manifest or are still working with paper manifests, this system impacts your operations. The agency has provided a great deal of information in the last year to prepare the regulated community, and we have summarized that information. READ MORE

State of the DSW rules

Over the past decade, EPA has reworked the definition of solid waste (DSW) rules to promote recycling. This has resulted in several iterations and court challenges, culminating in the recent court-mandated vacaturs, So, what is the current state of the DSW rules in the federal regulations? Check out our recently updated white paper to find out.

Ruling results in revised DSW regs

EPA’s definition of solid waste (DSW) rule has been the subject of several court challenges over the years. In response to the latest ruling, EPA has issued revisions to its 2015 DSW reclamation exclusions and definition of legitimate recycling. The May 30, 2018 final rule implements the DC Circuit Court’s vacatur of certain 2015 DSW regulations and reinstatement of 2008 language. READ MORE

EPA’s spring 2018 agenda revealed

EPA’s Office of Land and Emergency Management is working on several RCRA rules. These include a revised ignitability characteristic, a new approach for hazardous waste pharmaceuticals, and managing aerosol cans as universal waste. Come see what’s on the horizon. READ MORE

Are your HW units air compliant?

One of EPA’s current national enforcement initiatives is to reduce air emissions from hazardous waste management units. Based on the results of recent inspections, EPA has released a compliance advisory providing a list of common noncompliance with the Subparts AA/BB/CC air emission regs. Before your inspector shows up, check out if these concerns might apply to you. READ MORE

e-Manifest questions answered

The e-manifest system goes live in less than two months. The regulated community has numerous questions about the e-manifest, and EPA has provided answers to almost 90 FAQs so far. We have digested and summarized the agency’s answers to some of the key questions we are most often asked by our seminar attendees. READ MORE

EPA’s 2017 enforcement stats

If you’re wondering how enforcement for EPA stacked up in fiscal year 2017, the agency has made available its Environmental Enforcement Results for that year. An overview, details, analysis, and an interactive map showing enforcement data are provided online. Some additional background information and links to the site can be found in our article. READ MORE

Watch: Registering for the e-manifest

If you’re involved with shipping hazardous waste, it’s time to register for your e-manifest account. There are different ways of registering and different levels of account access, so you will need to familiarize yourself with the details. Fortunately, EPA has added some training videos to give you a hand. If you can spare a couple of hours now, you will be ready to rock on June 30. READ MORE

Hurricanes, tornadoes, wildfires, and RCRA

A tremendous amount of hazardous and nonhazardous debris is generated during natural disasters, including hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes, floods, wildfires, and winter storms. Often, this presents a challenge because proper identification and management of hazardous wastes during response and cleanup can be difficult. To assist, EPA has just released draft guidance on managing such debris and is soliciting public comment. READ MORE

Aerosols becoming universal

EPA is taking up the issue thousands of generators have been clamoring for—adding aerosol cans to the universal waste program. The benefits of Part 273 are well known, and you may soon be able to enjoy these benefits when managing your aerosols. Aerosol can puncturing would also be allowed under the proposed rule. READ MORE

Eleven CCR tweaks proposed

In response to recent Congressional legislation and court actions, EPA has issued a proposed rule that would make several adjustments to its coal combustion residue (CCR) rules. The agency has proposed 11 total changes, most of which will give more flexibility to facility owners. We’ve summarized them for you. READ MORE

Do you know CC controls?

Do your eyes glaze over when trying to navigate RCRA’s air emission standards? Since they are currently a national enforcement priority, they’re worth understanding. But don’t worry, we’ve done the reading so you don’t have to. Sip your coffee and nosh on that glazed donut while you get the skinny on Subpart CC control standards in our guide. READ MORE

GIR questions? EPA answers.

EPA has recently posted answers to frequent questions on the new generator improvements rule (GIR). Because states are currently revising their RCRA programs to adopt the GIR, and this is the first guidance the agency has provided on many provisions, it’s worth a look. If you are familiar with the GIR, you won’t find too many surprises, but there are a few sleepers worth noting. READ MORE

T minus 100 days till e-manifest launch

The countdown is nearing 100 days before June 30, 2018—the date EPA’s new e-manifest system will be officially launched. And it will become the de facto system in all 50 states on that date. We’ve met many people who are unsure of what they need to do to prepare. So, we have a list of five things to point you in the right direction. READ MORE

Clarity through litigation? DSW rule update.

Unless environmental petitioners appeal to the Supreme Court, litigation of EPA’s definition of solid waste (DSW) rule is over. After a rehearing, the DC Circuit Court of Appeals issued its final opinion on the matter. The court ultimately vacated parts of the 2015 regulation and reinstated some of the 2008 language. READ MORE

Things that aren’t waste when burned

Under the RCRA regulations, secondary materials that are burned are usually considered solid (and potentially hazardous) waste. However, EPA has promulgated a list of materials that are not considered solid wastes when burned. Recently, the agency added certain railroad ties to this list of categorical non-waste fuels in Part 241. READ MORE

e-Manifest fees add up

June 30 is right around the corner, and that is the date the e-manifest system goes live. EPA will be doling out new fees for manifest usage, and these increased costs could affect everyone in the industry. We’ve summarized what’s happening so you can prepare for the big day. READ MORE

Inflation bumps RCRA penalties

It’s that time of year again. No, not the family reunion (although maybe that too)—annual penalty increases! Effective January 15, 2018, RCRA civil penalties are being raised to keep up with inflation. Read on to see the new costs for noncompliance. READ MORE

RCRA rules on the horizon

EPA has now formally announced its new RCRA rulemakings in the agency’s Fall 2017 regulatory agenda. Last month, when it was posted online, we gave you a rundown of the agency’s outlook. Jump over to our article to see how the new waste rulemakings may impact you. READ MORE

Satellite container management upgrade

State adoption of the Generator Improvements Rule is happening as we speak. And most states will complete their adoption by June 30. Some of the changes affect how facilities manage their satellite accumulation containers. We break down the intricacies to prepare you for the road ahead. READ MORE

Rulemaking priorities revealed

EPA has released their Fall 2017 agenda. In addition to the two final rules discussed elsewhere in this newsletter, EPA is working on five rules that will make interesting changes to the hazardous waste regs. Two new rulemakings would add aerosol cans as universal waste and make changes to the ignitability characteristic. See what you can expect in 2018. READ MORE

NORM issues?

People periodically ask us: “How should we manage NORM?” They are not referring to their coworker—Norm, but to naturally occurring radioactive material—NORM. Unfortunately, there is no simple or nationally consistent answer to managing Norm or NORM. We can’t help you with the former, but we’ve got some considerable background information to get you going in the right direction on NORM. READ MORE

No secrets here

Documentation for regulatory compliance sometimes involves confidential business information, which can be protected under law. On the other hand, EPA has finalized a rule to exclude hazardous waste import-export documents from confidentiality claims. This action is consistent with the agency’s previous decision that manifest data is not confidential business information. READ MORE

e-Manifest launches June 30, 2018
Fee rule finalized

Put it on your calendar! June 30, 2018 is the day EPA expects that the new e-manifest system will be up and running. But, who’s going to pay and how much? A final rule issued by the agency has answers. We’ve summarized the final fee structure and other changes being made to the manifest management system. READ MORE

Annual RCRA training required if…

The regs say that “facility personnel” need annual RCRA training. But who is that exactly? Sometimes, you have to look past the job title to what the person actually does. The preamble to the November 28, 2016 generator improvements rule has given us guidance on what job functions at a facility trigger the annual RCRA training requirement. READ MORE

Ready for the new container standards?

The November 28, 2016 generator improvements rule made some significant changes to the management of hazardous waste in containers. Some states have already adopted these changes and because they are more-stringent, they are coming to your state, too. The good news is that compliance should not be too difficult. In order to assist you, we’ve summarized the new RCRA container requirements. READ MORE

EPA reveals its strategic plan

Every four years, EPA is required to give us an update on where it’s going and how it’s going to get there. The agency has released its draft FY 2018–2022 strategic plan. In this time of uncertainty, it is well worth a read. READ MORE

DOT puts thumb print on manifest

Because most RCRA hazardous waste meets DOT’s hazardous material definition, and waste is often transported, there is significant interface between these two programs. Thus, a few recent DOT interpretations may affect hazardous waste manifest preparation. READ MORE

Recalled airbags are…

With all the airbag recalls due to inflators, the question arises as to the RCRA status of these devices. EPA has considered many issues regarding the status of airbags that are being held and/or will be discarded. For example, did you know that undeployed airbags that have been installed in vehicles and are subsequently removed are considered “used” (i.e., spent materials). READ MORE

Form 8700-12 is up-to-date!

The Site ID form (EPA Form 8700-12) has recently been modified and revamped, adding numerous additional data fields that allow the various new notifications required by the November 28, 2016 generator improvements and import-export rules. To find out more about the new form and what notifications are required, see our summary. READ MORE

Cigarettes and fireworks, anyone?

Some of the risks associated with products are fairly obvious—like using cigarettes and fireworks simultaneously. But what happens when these products are discarded? EPA has recently weighed in on the RCRA regulatory status of unused cigarettes and fireworks. READ MORE

Burning questions on off-spec used oil

EPA regulates the combustion of off-spec used oil under the Part 279 burner standards in the RCRA regulations. But due to statutory requirements added to the CAA in 1990, the CAA has much more to say about off-spec used oil when burned for energy recovery. To understand the landscape, have a look at our summary. READ MORE

Electronic filing of export paperwork

After December 31, 2017, exporters of hazardous waste, universal waste, spent lead-acid batteries, and cathode ray tubes will be required to file information in the U.S. Customs’ Automated Export System for each export shipment. We’ve got some pointers on where to get information on accessing the system and what paperwork is required. READ MORE

RCRA rules on the horizon

EPA is working on seven rules that will make interesting changes to the hazardous waste regs. Two new rulemakings would add aerosol cans as universal waste and make changes to the ignitability characteristic. See what’s over the next hill. READ MORE

DSW rule legal woes continue

EPA’s 2015 definition of solid waste (DSW) rule was issued to resolve legal challenges to its 2008 DSW rule. And now the 2015 rule itself has been successfully challenged. The court vacated parts of the 2015 regulation—and reinstated some of the 2008 language. We kid you not. READ MORE

Thoughts on the e-manifest?

The e-manifest advisory board will hold a public meeting in September to solicit advice on the launch of the e-manifest system in 2018. To find out more about this meeting or where to get additional information on the e-manifest, check out our summary. READ MORE

Avoid this analytical pitfall

Don’t get too excited when you see a nondetect for an analytical result. First, check the method detection limit. If it’s above the regulatory level, you may not know as much as you think you do. READ MORE

Compacting = Treatment?

If you are compacting hazardous waste, would that be considered “treatment”? A company that compacts and bales its hazardous waste air filters asked EPA this question recently. And the agency has now responded with formal guidance. To find out the answer, see our summary. READ MORE

GIR guidance drips in

Now that the Generator Improvements Rule (GIR) has begun taking effect, EPA is getting inquiries about how it applies in particular situations. The wood treating industry is the first to receive any formal guidance—specifically on drip pads. We’ve summarized what the agency said. READ MORE

Manifesting off-shore wastes

Off-shore oil platforms are unusual facilities under RCRA because they are, well, off-shore. EPA recently issued some new guidance that rescinds a previous interpretation regarding when manifests must accompany wastes shipped from off-shore oil platforms. READ MORE

GIR is here—are you ready?

EPA’s Generator Improvements Rule (GIR) is now in effect in Alaska, Iowa, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. Many of the significant new provisions will be welcomed by generators. Although states are not required to adopt all of the new rule, portions are more stringent than the existing regs, so these requirements should become effective in the other 46 states by July 1, 2018. READ MORE

VSQGs vs. CESQGs

As part of the Generator Improvements Rule (GIR), EPA renamed “conditionally exempt small quantity generators” (CESQGs) as “very small quantity generators” (VSQGs). In addition, there are some new provisions for this generator category. We’ve got a quick summary and a new detailed white paper on VSQG requirements to help you understand how these provisions may impact your operations. READ MORE

What is a “manufactured article”?

If you’re trying to determine whether an unused device is a P/U-listed commercial chemical product or an unlisted manufactured article, EPA has issued some new guidance to clarify this distinction. We’ve got details. READ MORE

Are EPA’s regs too burdensome?

In response to Executive Order 13777, EPA is evaluating its existing regulations to identify those that could be repealed, replaced, or modified to make them less burdensome. The agency is accepting public input as part of this evaluation. READ MORE

New scrap metal guidance

Although anodes, wire, pellets, and pins clearly meet the definition of “scrap metal,” what about metal powders? New guidance from EPA notes that agglomerated powders can also meet this definition under certain circumstances. READ MORE

Join our team

We’re always looking for qualified people to join our team. If you are a voracious reader who loves to write and can hold your own presenting, check out our latest opening. If the fit is right, send us your resume. READ MORE

Wanted: e-manifest system testers

EPA is looking for a few good environmental professionals to test an early release of the e-manifest system. This is a great opportunity for you to get a feel for how the new system is going to work. READ MORE

State of the DSW rule

EPA has created a website showing which states have adopted the definition of solid waste (DSW) exclusions for hazardous secondary materials that are reclaimed. Plus, some additional state-specific detail is provided. READ MORE

33,640,709 tons of hazardous waste!

How much hazardous waste was generated in 2015? Hazardous waste generation and management data for the 2015 biennial reporting year (and other years back to 2001) are now available. These data are broken down by state, generation and management site, NAICS code, and hazardous waste type. READ MORE

Is 30 years enough?

Although 30 years of post-closure care for land disposal units seems like a long time, determining whether or not additional time is necessary requires a unit-specific assessment. With many old land disposal units reaching the end of the initial post-closure care period, EPA has issued guidance to assist permitting authorities in making these determinations. READ MORE

RCRA applicability to filters

Filter canisters do not enjoy the manufacturing process unit exemption from RCRA when 1) connected to manufacturing equipment that has been out of service for more than 90 days, or 2) disconnected from manufacturing equipment. READ MORE

Penalties take their annual leap

Last year, a new law required annual inflationary adjustments for RCRA civil penalties by January 15 of each year. Because last year was a catch-up year, the initial jumps were quite large. See how the penalties were affected this year. READ MORE

Waiting on a new prescription

Was EPA thinking about pharmaceuticals in the late seventies when they were writing the RCRA rules? At the manufacturing level, yes, but not at the retail and patient level. So how do we manage hazardous pharmaceutical wastes where RCRA wasn’t designed to work? READ MORE

Celebrating 40 years of RCRA

Can you believe RCRA is a Gen X-er? Yes, December 8, 2016 marked 40 years for RCRA, and the agency has a website memorializing the program’s milestones. Check out the 40th anniversary website to see a RCRA timeline, case studies, and EPA’s discussion about its path forward.

Get clued-in on site remediation

EPA’s massive website is a great resource for all types of environmental information, and has many subsites. The agency’s Contaminated Site Clean-Up Information (CLU-IN) website is just one example. If you are involved in remediation, it may be worth a visit. READ MORE

2016 enforcement results released

EPA recently made available its Enforcement Annual Results for fiscal year 2016. An overview, details, analysis, and an interactive map showing enforcement data are provided online. READ MORE

Findings on fracking

Although not a RCRA issue, there is significant interest in the environmental community and country at large as to the effects of fracking on drinking water quality. EPA recently released its final report entitled Hydraulic Fracturing for Oil and Gas: Impacts from the Hydraulic Fracturing Water Cycle on Drinking Water Resources in the United States. A 50-page executive summary and 666-page main report (not including 572 pages of appendices) should provide plenty of informative reading.

What do labs and agriculture have in common?

They are both covered by new McCoy white papers. If you work in a lab, you may be interested in downloading our new white paper entitled RCRA Issues in Academic, Government, and Industrial Laboratories. And for those of you in the agricultural chemical industries, we have just made available a white paper entitled RCRA Compliance in the Agricultural Fertilizer, Pesticide, and Chemical Industry. Both are provided on a complimentary basis as a service to our customers.

RCRA in retail

Compliance with RCRA in the retail sector is difficult for many reasons. EPA recently released its strategy for addressing RCRA compliance in this sector. READ MORE

Generator improvements finalized

EPA’s generator improvements final rule was published in the November 28, 2016 Federal Register. We’ve put together a summary of the rule, which makes significant changes to the hazardous waste generator regulations. We’ve also prepared a detailed discussion of the new requirements, plus a review of significant guidance and best management practices contained in the rule preamble, in a McCoy white paper. READ MORE

Final import/export rule arrives

EPA finalized changes to the hazardous waste import and export regulations to make them consistent with the rules for transboundary shipments between OECD countries. The rule, published in the November 28, 2016 Federal Register, also mandates electronic submittal of notices, reports, receipts, and consent notifications required for transboundary shipments of hazardous waste. READ MORE

EPA’s fall agenda reveals rulemaking priorities

Twice a year, the federal government publishes its regulatory agenda. The Fall 2016 federal agency regulatory agenda was posted on November 28 and we’ve summarized EPA’s priorities. READ MORE

Put your import/export documents online?

Until EPA has its electronic import/export tracking system up and running, the agency is proposing that importers/exporters each develop a publicly accessible website where they can post documents associated with these shipments. READ MORE

RCRA status of fuel/water mixtures

Folks in the petroleum industry have often operated under the mindset that water containing any level of hydrocarbon could be managed as off-spec product if sent for fuel blending/recovery. New guidance from EPA requires a legitimacy evaluation before such fuel/water mixtures can be managed outside of RCRA. READ MORE

Disasters happen…are you ready?

Whether it’s a hurricane, fire, flood, or other disaster that has impacted your facility, pre-incident preparation for these events is essential. EPA wants you to consider waste management activities as a part of your planning process. To assist with the planning and mitigation of wastes generated during these occurrences, the agency has a new Waste Management Benefits, Planning and Mitigation Activities for Homeland Security Incidents website.

Clarity on the wipes rule

EPA’s solvent contaminated wipes rule has been in effect since January 2014 and has generated quite a few questions since its inception. Well, the agency has come to the rescue with a great new web page that answers frequently asked questions surrounding this rule. We’ve summarized some of the most useful information. READ MORE

EPA spotlights spent solvents

For those that are new to the RCRA realm, EPA’s 32-page Solvents in the Workplace document explores the regulation of solvents. From determining if your solvent is a solid waste to managing solvents that are considered hazardous waste, this document has it all. Even for those who have been around the haz-waste drum a time or two, there are a few nuggets of information you may find interesting.

Do you know what SW–846 is?

If you know that SW–846 is EPA’s compendium of analytical methods for evaluating wastes, you may be interested in a new SW–846 emailing list. By signing up on the list, you will be notified and asked to comment when EPA posts additions or revisions to nonregulatory SW–846 test methods. READ MORE

Are “day” cans allowed?

What is the regulatory status of a small “day” container holding hazardous waste or a container that is marked “empty at the end of each shift”? Drilling down into some 2011 EPA guidance gives us the answer. READ MORE

Got spills? Get guidance

New guidance released by EPA in September covers RCRA questions surrounding releases and residues from accidents. How does this information apply to accidents that may occur at your facility? READ MORE

RCRA: A to Z

EPA’s new A to Z directory of hazardous waste topics is a great starting point for RCRA information and guidance. As it looks like the agency’s website reorganization is coming to an end, you can also use this site to find and re-bookmark your favorite RCRA topics. READ MORE

Bad news/good news for ash ponds

Utilities that are closing ash ponds will now be subject to ground water monitoring and other post-closure care requirements under an August 2016 rule. On the other hand, these folks will get an extra 1.5 years to comply. READ MORE

Give EPA a piece of your mind

The agency has a new website that makes it easier for you to review and comment electronically on proposed rules. Check out how organized and easy it is to use EPA’s new comment portal. READ MORE

More monetary incentives to minimize violations

EPA had some catching up to do. The agency is now required by law to adjust the maximum penalties for RCRA civil violations to compensate for inflation. But the law also required them to play catch up this year for past inflation, so the initial increases may surprise you! READ MORE

Proposed e-manifest fee rule published

When the new e-manifest system is up and running, who’s going to pay and how much? We’ve summarized the proposed fee structure, which is a bit steeper than fees for paper manifests. READ MORE

TSD facility guidance gets facelift

EPA has uploaded the newest version of its TSD facility user-friendly guidance document. If you are a permitted facility or work with them, you should check it out! READ MORE

Top ten RCRA violations

State lists of the most common RCRA violations can help focus your compliance efforts. We collected the lists from six states. READ MORE

RCRA rules in the pipeline

EPA is working on six rules that will make important changes to the hazardous waste regs. See what’s in the pipeline. READ MORE

Corrosivity revisions?

EPA is extending the comment period, so you can still submit your thoughts on revisions to the corrosivity characteristic. READ MORE

e-Manifest advisory board appointed

Eight people have accepted appointment to an advisory board to help guide EPA on the e-manifest system’s activities, function, policies, and regulations. READ MORE

EPA targets air emission violations

EPA believes there is significant noncompliance resulting in releases of hazardous air pollutants from hazardous waste management units and has made air emissions one of its newest enforcement initiatives. READ MORE

Goodbye to CERCLA and RCRA exemption from G5 MACT?

EPA is proposing to remove the exemption from the site remediation MACT for remedial activities conducted under CERCLA and RCRA corrective action and asks for comment before the changes are finalized. READ MORE

Changes to corrosivity definition denied—for now

On September 8, 2011, EPA was petitioned to revise the definition of corrosivity due to adverse health effects suffered by first responders and others from the dust generated during the collapse of the World Trade Center towers in 2001. The agency tentatively denied this petition in April 2016. READ MORE

TSD facility inspection rates fall short

The Office of Inspector General (OIG) has determined that EPA has not met statutory goals for inspecting TSD facilities. OIG is concerned this may lead to increased noncompliance at these facilities, negatively affecting surrounding communities. READ MORE

P-waste limits clarified for satellite accumulation

New guidance is available on what should be included when calculating the volume of P-waste in a satellite accumulation area. More specifically, should you count the container volume or just the volume of P-residue in the container? READ MORE

Upcoming enforcement priorities revealed

EPA has announced its national enforcement initiatives for FY 2017–2019. There is some carryover from previous years, but focus on new areas begins October 1! READ MORE

Guidance on non-waste fuel determinations

The agency has released guidance documenting its non-waste fuel determinations for various types of nonhazardous materials (e.g., tires, biosolids, paper wastes, and engineered fuels) that are combusted. READ MORE

Is your recycling legitimate in the eyes of EPA?

The new definition of solid waste (DSW) rule is complex and contains significant nuances, one being the recycling legitimacy criteria. These criteria apply to all recycling conducted under RCRA—not just to the new reclamation exclusions added by this rule. How do you prove such legitimacy to a regulatory authority? EPA has a tool to assist you. READ MORE

New categorical non-waste fuels

EPA has added some new materials to the list of categorical non-waste fuels as part of the nonhazardous secondary materials rule of Part 241. See what materials, if burned, are not solid wastes. READ MORE

Speculative accumulation rules

We get quite a few questions about what triggers the RCRA speculative accumulation requirements. So we thought it would be helpful to explain the applicability of these provisions. READ MORE

RCRA compliance—in a flash

Beginning with the 2016 edition, McCoy’s RCRA Compliance CD has been transformed into a flash drive. It’s still the powerful research tool that contains over 1,460 EPA guidance documents and 370 Federal Register notices in PDF format along with McCoy’s RCRA Reference and RCRA Unraveled. You’ll find the compliance answers you need with a few clicks. Order yours today.

Enforcement results available for 2015

EPA recently made available its Enforcement Annual Results for fiscal year 2015. An interactive map showing enforcement data is also online. READ MORE

EPA offers user-friendly document collections

EPA has a new website that consolidates the regulations, Federal Register notices, policy letters, and guidance documents for a variety of RCRA topics. READ MORE

RCRA rules quiet in January 2016

No significant federal RCRA rules or proposals were published in the Federal Register in January 2016.

EPA launches self-policing portal

While EPA has encouraged self-disclosure of environmental violations for some time, the process can be time-consuming. To address this, the agency launched a web-based portal to streamline self-disclosure of violations, thereby saving time and resources for both regulated entities and EPA. READ MORE

Say goodbye to OSWER and hello to OLEM

The Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response (OSWER) has changed its name to the Office of Land and Emergency Management (OLEM). [80 FR 77575] EPA states that since the inception of OSWER, the office has expanded its program beyond just “solid waste,” and the new name better represents its current role. There are no plans to change the current mission of OLEM or to change any of the statutes that fall under OLEM’s authority, which include RCRA, CERCLA, EPCRA, and SARA. The name change is effective December 15, 2015, the date it was published in the Federal Register.

No new RCRA rules in December 2015

December 2015 was a quiet month for EPA. No significant RCRA rules or proposals were published.

Regulatory agenda reveals EPA’s RCRA priorities

Twice a year, the federal government publishes its regulatory agenda. The Fall 2015 federal agency regulatory agenda was posted on November 24 and we’ve summarized EPA’s priorities. READ MORE

EPA overhauls its website

Just like McCoy, EPA is making significant changes to its website. Did you know that one third of users access EPA’s website via mobile devices? Some of the agency’s updates were made to take advantage of these new practices and technologies, and their reorganizing everything at the same time. We’ve got a state of the site report. READ MORE

Significant changes proposed for import/export regulations

On October 19, 2015, EPA proposed significant changes to the regulations covering the import and export of hazardous waste. If you import or export hazardous waste for recycling or disposal, you may be affected, even if the waste is universal waste, spent lead-acid batteries, industrial ethanol, secondary material shipped for precious metal recovery, or cathode ray tubes. READ MORE

Is it a liquid?

Part of determining whether a solid waste is ignitable or corrosive is to first determine whether the waste is a liquid. As with all things RCRA, this sounds a lot simpler than it is. We’ve pulled together all of EPA’s guidance on this subject to provide some clarity. READ MORE

Household waste pharmaceuticals still excluded

Recent regulatory actions by EPA and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) have been taken to require appropriate management of waste pharmaceuticals. And in order to ensure that the regulatory status of expired or unwanted pharmaceuticals generated in homes is clear, EPA has issued some new guidance. READ MORE

Summary of proposed changes to RCRA generator regs

EPA proposed significant changes to the hazardous waste generator regulations on September 25, 2015. We’ve summarized the changes for you. READ MORE

Proposed pharmaceutical waste management regs summarized

On September 25, 2015, EPA proposed standards for hazardous waste pharmaceuticals generated and managed in the healthcare industry. The proposed rule would regulate healthcare facilities and reverse distributors. READ MORE

OIG report on hazardous waste imports

EPA’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) issued a July 6, 2015 report indicating that, among other things, EPA is unable to confirm that all imported hazardous waste shipments reach their intended destinations. READ MORE

Submitting DSW notifications

Under the 2015 Definition of Solid Waste (DSW) rule, people who want to use the exclusions from the definition of solid waste contained in that rule must notify EPA or their state using the site identification form (EPA Form 8700-12). The DSW rule went into effect on July 13, 2015 in states, territories, and tribal lands that are not authorized to administer RCRA. But Form 8700-12 has not been updated to accommodate the new notification requirements. To facilitate notification in the meantime, EPA issued “Interim Procedure for Submitting Notifications under the 2015 Definition of Solid Waste Final Rule” in July. The procedure explains how people can meet their notification requirements using existing Form 8700-12.

Major changes proposed for RCRA generators

A proposal to make significant changes to the hazardous waste generator regulations was signed on August 31, 2015. READ MORE

Pharmaceutical waste management regs proposed

EPA signed a proposed rule on August 31, 2015 that would change the regulations for the management and disposal of hazardous waste pharmaceuticals. The proposed rule has not been published in the Federal Register yet, but EPA has provided a summary, answers to frequent questions, and a prepublication copy. We will provide additional details on this proposal in the October edition of McCoy’s RCRA Review.

Reclamation vs. reuse

Reclamation can impact whether or not reused materials are considered waste. In recent guidance, EPA highlighted the importance of whether or not a material is reclaimed. READ MORE

SW–846 updated

EPA’s has updated it’s compendium of official sampling and analytical methods for evaluating solid waste under RCRA. READ MORE

UST regs undergo major overhaul

For the first time, EPA is making significant revisions to the underground storage tank regulations of Part 280. Training, secondary containment, testing, and more are all on the table, and operators of USTs will need to begin complying by October 13, 2015. Though hazardous waste tanks are not included in this rule, compliance with the new rule will still be a hurdle for many chemical companies, refineries, and other industries who utilize USTs. READ MORE

Bio-additives okay in used oil

The increasing use of bio-additives in oil has given pause to used oil generators. Could this used oil still qualify for management under Part 279? Fortunately, EPA has clarified that this is indeed the case. While pure used animal or vegetable oil is precluded from management under Part 279, mixtures of crude or synthetic derived oil with bio-additives can still enjoy the relaxed regulatory requirements. READ MORE

RCRA status of particulate emissions up in the air

In conflicting court decisions, particulate emissions that fall to the ground may or may not constitute disposal of solid waste. While uncontained gases do not meet the statutory definition of a solid waste, this is not necessarily true for the solid particulates being emitted. If the particulate comes into contact with the ground, this may meet the definition of “disposal”… depending on your court district. READ MORE

Gasification and comparable fuels exclusions no more

EPA issued a final rule on April 8, 2015, removing from RCRA the regulations 1) the gasification option for managing oil-bearing secondary materials in §261.4(a)(12)(i), and 2) the comparable fuels exclusions in §§261.4(a)(16) and 261.38. [80 FR 18777] This rule is in response to the June 2014 finding by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit that Congress, in RCRA Section 6924(q), unequivocally requires EPA to regulate hazardous-waste-derived fuels as solid waste.

Hazardous corrosive solids? Maybe

A petition started by EPA whistleblower Dr. Cate Jenkins has resulted in EPA taking a look at updating their definition of a D002 corrosive hazardous waste. Not only could the upper pH threshold of 12.5 be reduced, physically solid wastes could also be regulated as corrosive. The implications of this are far-reaching and would be a step in bringing U.S. waste regulations in line with other parts of the world. READ MORE

Contractor a.k.a. cogenerator conundrum

Who is the generator when product owned by one company is spilled at an offsite third-party warehouse? The concept of cogeneration means that either facility could assume generator responsibilities, but both could still be held liable in an enforcement action. Depending on the business arrangement, there are a couple of ways the facilities could approach this type of waste management. READ MORE

Two-part test for state regs

Knowing your state waste regulations is just as important as understanding the federal requirements. The nature of RCRA allows state regulations to be “more stringent” or “broader in scope”. But what exactly do these two phrases mean? And what does it mean for facilities undergoing an enforcement action? EPA provides clarification in new guidance, and we break it down for you. READ MORE

Dig into mining and mineral processing

The mining and mineral processing industry enjoys significant exclusions from RCRA—but not all wastes produced in this industry are excluded. So, which wastes are subject to RCRA and which are not? We've put together a detailed white paper that explores the nuances of RCRA compliance for this industry. Download a copy for yourself.

Waste segregation = safety + compliance

Explosions, fires, and toxic vapors may all result from improperly segregated wastes. While different wastes can be stored in the same container, care must be taken to ensure the wastes are compatible to protect safety and ensure regulatory compliance. To support generators and receiving facilities in these requirements, EPA has made available an extensive guidance document. READ MORE

CCR final rule incoming

Promulgation of the coal combustion residues (CCR) final rule is imminent, and CCR disposal units will need to be updated and improved accordingly. New engineering requirements will include strengthening structural integrity, establishing a ground water monitoring program, liner installation, and a host of other improvements. For the time being, CCR are still not regulated as a hazardous waste, but if you are managing this material, you will likely be impacted by this new rule. READ MORE

RCRA enforcement targets Army indoor air

In a unique circumstance, EPA has used RCRA statutory language to require an investigation into indoor air quality. Affecting the Fort Gillem Army base and surrounding properties, the order was issued under Section 7003 of the RCRA statute, which gives the agency broad authority to address an imminent and substantial endangerment to health or the environment. READ MORE

Non-waste fuels a hot topic

Part 241 regs are not usually a major topic of discussion in RCRA, but the impact of fuels listed in these provisions is profound. Solid waste regulations in Parts 231 to 259 are as much a part of RCRA as the hazardous waste regulations in Parts 260 to 279. When a non-waste fuel is listed in Part 241, this not only impacts the RCRA regulated status of the fuel, but also the CAA status of the combustion unit. See what EPA has to say on the matter. READ MORE

CRT guidance times two

EPA has made available two new RCRA Online guidance documents discussing the regulatory status of recycled cathode ray tubes (CRTs). One document addresses LDR applicability when recycled CRT glass is used as alternative daily cover at a landfill. The other guidance deals with the legitimacy criteria for recycled hazardous secondary materials, which must be addressed per §260.43. READ MORE

Burning questions on POG for WTE

With companies looking to improve their environmental stewardship, more and more are turning to waste-to-energy (WTE) facilities to go landfill-free. But just as a manufacturer generates its own wastes, the WTE facilities do too. In new guidance, EPA discusses where the point of generation is for some of the waste generated at these locations. READ MORE

RCRAInfo—big data meets hazardous waste

EPA’s RCRA Information System, or RCRAInfo, is a national system allowing public access to facility-specific hazardous waste management data. RCRAInfo tracks information about the RCRA-regulated sphere of hazardous waste handlers. The system identifies facility status, regulated activities, cleanup actions, and compliance histories and contains detailed data on the generation of hazardous waste at generator sites and on waste management practices at TSD facilities. Data are made available to the public through EPA's Envirofacts Data Warehouse.

All hazardous waste generators, transporters, and TSD facilities are required to provide information about their activities to state environmental agencies. These agencies, in turn, pass on the information to regional and national EPA offices, where it ultimately is entered into RCRAInfo. The database is very useful to users looking for identification and location data for specific hazardous waste handlers, and it also provides a wide range of information on TSD facilities. Begin your search here.

Solvent wipe adoption status and examples

EPA’s solvent-contaminated wipes rule has been out for less than a year, but already a handful of states have adopted the new provisions. Two different exclusions allow generators to manage their wipes outside of the hazardous waste regulations provided they meet several conditions. We have been receiving calls on which solvents are included in the rule and which are not. To assist users, McCoy has compiled a table of examples with common scenarios you may face at your own facility. READ MORE

RCRA is now middle-aged

The RCRA statute is fast approaching 40 years or age with the first batch of 1980 regulations not far behind. This was the most complex piece of environmental legislation when it passed, taking four years to develop those regulations. To recognize its importance, EPA has provided a document detailing their vision of the program and what challenges may arise in the future. Here’s to another successful 40 years! READ MORE

EPA guidance on CRTs

Cathode ray tubes (CRTs) are rapidly becoming an obsolete technology that facilities around the country are attempting to recycle. Some of these recycling methods do not meet the requirements of the CRT exclusion, raising questions on how to best manage this hazardous material. New EPA guidance on the CRT exclusion clarifies these murky waters. READ MORE

CRT exports get another look

In a revision to the 2006 cathode ray tube (CRT) recycling exclusion, EPA has updated the CRT export requirements. Since imports/exports are an international issue, EPA does not authorize states to administer this portion of the RCRA regs. As a result, the new rule will go into effect in all states on December 26, 2014, whether they have their own RCRA program or not. READ MORE

Court vacates comparable fuels and gasification exclusions

In related rulings, on June 27, 2014, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit vacated the comparable fuels exclusion in §§261.4(a)(16) and 261.38 along with the gasification exclusion for oil bearing secondary materials in §261.4(a)(12)(i). (See Natural Resources Defense Council et al. vs. EPA; Docket No. 98-1379 and Sierra Club et al. vs. EPA; Docket No. 08-1144.) The court’s reasoning in both cases was the same. It found that Congress, in Section 6924(q) of the RCRA statute, unequivocally required EPA to regulate hazardous-waste-derived fuels. Therefore, the two rules cited above are inconsistent with Congress’ clear intent. As of this writing, EPA had not commented officially on the court’s action.

EPA’s FAQs on CCRs

As EPA continues to struggle with finalizing a rule on the RCRA management (hazardous vs. nonhazardous) of coal combustion residues (CCRs), one of the stickiest issues is the status of CCRs that will be recycled. For example, fly ash from utility coal-fired power plants is often recycled into concrete; flue gas desulfurization sludge from limestone scrubbers on these units can be recycled into wallboard. To provide clarity to the regulated community EPA has created a FAQ website discussing the beneficial use of CCRs.

Biennial reporting for CERCLA sites….

…depends. EPA’s new guidance reaffirms a site undergoing active CERCLA cleanup is not required to submit a biennial report. Of course, there is an exception to every rule. And this time it is for large quantity generators undergoing their own CERCLA mandated cleanup. These facilities will still need to submit their biennial report by March 1 of each even-numbered year. READ MORE

LDR applicability for treated waste temporarily placed on the land

In another new guidance document [RO 14843], EPA answers the question of whether hazardous waste treatment residues can be placed on the land (e.g., in a landfill or on a synthetic liner) after treatment but before testing is complete to confirm that the treated waste meets LDR treatment standards. The agency clearly states that outside of placement in an approved no-migration unit, land placement of waste that is found not to meet LDR treatment standards would be illegal disposal. (Of course, if the residues were found to meet treatment standards, the land placement would be legal.) EPA based its statements on the language of Section 3004(k) of the RCRA statute, which draws no distinction between temporary and permanent placement in its definition of “land disposal.”

RCRA import/export guidance

EPA answers a question on whether an RCRA-excluded recycled material traveling from Mexico to Canada, would need to comply with the RCRA import/export provisions. Simply put: No, since the material is excluded. But DOT and states can have their own more-stringent requirements so that doesn’t mean you are off the hook yet. READ MORE

Three new non-waste fuels for consideration

New additions to Part 241’s list of non-waste fuels are proposed. For consideration are paper recycling residues, processed construction and demolition wood, and creosote-treated railroad ties. If finalized, these nonhazardous secondary materials could be burned as a fuel and fall outside the purview of solid waste regulations. READ MORE

Can’t satisfy the 50-foot buffer zone?

EPA released new guidance in which the agency discusses the applicability of §265.176 for generators who physically cannot accumulate their ignitable or reactive waste 50 feet from their property line. In RO 14840, the agency explains that the historical purpose of the buffer zone was based on the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) code and that EPA incorporated it into the regulations to protect adjacent properties from the effects of a fire or explosion. As fire safety is not EPA’s area of expertise, the agency recommends facilities simply work with their EPA region or state inspector to determine if the local fire department or fire marshal will grant a variance from the 50-foot buffer requirement. Any such variance should be in writing and maintained onsite.

Midnight dumper determinations

When a mystery drum of waste shows up at your facility, you must manage it just like any other waste at your facility. This means performing a hazardous waste determination and figuring out if what is in the drum is listed or exhibits a characteristic. If hazardous, then that drum must be managed under the same generator requirements you are already following per Part 262. READ MORE

State adoption of solvent wipes rule

If you are interested in making use of either of the exclusions for solvent-contaminated wipes, you will need to check your state regs. Since the rule provides two exclusions, thus making the regs less stringent, states are not required to adopt it. Fortunately, there is a new website that lets users quickly check on the state adoption status of this new rule. READ MORE

Electronic manifests for a new age

EPA’s e-manifest rule has been finalized indicating a digitized format is the way of the future. The full functionality and user fees have yet to be determined, but if you plan on using the e-manifest system, then you must sign up for an online account and obtain a verified signature. The tentative go-live date is October 2015 meaning there are less than two years to develop the system from the ground up. READ MORE

Non-waste fuel identified in WV

Sometimes a nonhazardous secondary material burned as a fuel is not regulated as a solid waste. This has both RCRA and CAA implications. Part 241 defines how to ID these non-waste fuels that fall outside of the solid waste regulations. A new non-waste fuel has been identified at a facility in West Virginia. READ MORE

New exclusion for sequestered CO2

As an uncontained gas, carbon dioxide (CO2) would not meet the definition of a solid waste, and therefore, could not be a hazardous waste. But what about if the CO2 is “supercritical” and exhibits properties of both a gas and a liquid? In circumstances where this waste stream would be hazardous, facilities may now inject the CO2 stream for geologic sequestration and know that new §261.4(h) excludes this sequestered CO2 from the definition of hazardous waste. READ MORE

Geologic sequestration explained

In the wake of EPA’s newly issued exclusion from the definition of hazardous waste for carbon dioxide, many of us that work in the RCRA realm are wondering what exactly is geologic sequestration? We take a look at this decades-old process and discuss some of the concerns. READ MORE

Determine and decontaminate before demolition

Demolition projects can be the source of dozens of different types of unplanned, or unknown waste streams. Before you start knocking that building down, make sure you have completed an exhaustive hazardous material assessment. After all, you wouldn’t want to end up having a little bit of overlooked listed waste contaminate several tons of wood, brick, plaster, and other demo debris. READ MORE

Accumulation limits may impact status

The monthly generation thresholds are clearly understood by most generators, but few small quantity generators SQGs consider the ramifications of the sitewide accumulation limits. Accumulating hazardous waste onsite in quantities above these limits automatically pushes the SQG into the large quantity generator status. Reduced accumulation times, more significant training requirements, and a formal contingency plan are a few of the requirements that are subsequently triggered. READ MORE

Revised RCRA permit guidance revealed

EPA has announced the availability of an updated guidance document entitled Hazardous Waste Treatment, Storage, and Disposal Facilities (TSDF) Regulations: A User-Friendly Reference Document for RCRA Subtitle C Permit Writers and Permittees. The objective of the document is to consolidate and streamline the TSDF regulatory requirements into a helpful reference tool that features a user-friendly format, including hyperlinked references to the regulations in addition to Federal Register notices, flow charts, checklists, and guidance documents that the agency has provided to the public through the years. Because this document references online resources, its usefulness is maximized when it is viewed online.

Corrective action status update

Designed to address the cleanup and remediation of RCRA-permitted facilities, the corrective action program has been around for nearly two decades. Though program details and requirements are site-specific and require a close relationship with the state agency, EPA has published a new report on their view of the program. If your facility is subject to corrective action you could find yourself involved for decades and sometimes to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars. READ MORE

Mind your P’s and U’s with CCPs

If a discarded material is thrown in the trash, it is easy to see how it would be a solid waste. It has been abandoned. But what about unused, raw materials and products long expired and sitting in the back of a warehouse? In other words, are commercial chemical products (CCPs) a solid waste just because they might be expired? A series of checklists have been developed by EPA to assist regulators and the regulated community in making this determination. Hint: there may be some P- and U-codes lurking on those shelves. READ MORE

Tap shut off on diluting F003

EPA has reaffirmed the dilution prohibition for treating F003 hazardous waste. Like all other listed hazardous wastes, it is impermissible to dilute out the hazardous constituents of a listed waste. After all, at the end of it, you still have the same quantity of that hazardous constituent in the waste. There are some exceptions to the dilution prohibition of §268.3, but mixing hazardous waste solvents with a bunch of water isn’t one of them. READ MORE

Treat onsite with no permit?

You can do it if you can make use of one of eight exemptions built into the federal RCRA regulations. One of those methods is using a 90/180-day unit such as a tank, container, or containment building. EPA has provided dozens of examples over the years indicating that treatment in these units without a permit is allowed, with a few restrictions. As always, however, check with your state to make sure they don’t have more stringent requirements. READ MORE

Heavy metal soil can rock you

From mining operations to munitions testing to pesticide applications, heavy metals (e.g., arsenic, lead, mercury) have found their way into soils across the United States. Typically, generators simply containerize and ship their hazardous soils to a RCRA permitted TSD facility for waste management. However, it’s not uncommon for generators to stabilize their heavy metal-contaminated soil to render it nonhazardous and then ship it offsite to a landfill. But, can they do this? Is it a regulatory possibility for a generator without a RCRA permit to treat their characteristically hazardous soil to render it nonhazardous and then send it to an offsite Subtitle D (nonhazardous waste) landfill? READ MORE

CRT exclusion in flux

Cathode ray tubes (CRTs) are an obsolete technology, fast being replaced by the latest liquid crystal displays and plasma panels. The CRT exclusion is meant to encourage their recycling, but questions have arisen as to whether or not this leaded glass can be used as a fluxing agent. Well, it depends on the smelter. See how EPA weighs in on the matter. READ MORE

Waste analysis guidance revamped

Updated guidance for both generators and TSDFs is now available. Reflecting EPA’s views as of 2013, the guidance is a significant revision to the previous guidance from 1994. The document, weighing in at over 200 pages, discusses everything from sampling, recharacterizing wastes, waste analysis plans, what qualifies as acceptable knowledge, and more. READ MORE

More burning breaks for NHSMs

Nonhazardous secondary materials (NHSMs) under certain circumstances may be burned as a fuel and fall outside of RCRA’s solid and hazardous waste regulations. In a recent update to these Part 241 regulations, EPA revised a handful of definitions and added additional NHSMs to be able to enjoy these provisions. The agency is also considering three more materials to be added to the list of non-waste fuels in a future rule. READ MORE

When is a gas a solid waste?

In new guidance, EPA assessed the status of biogas as a traditional or a nontraditional fuel. Additionally, the agency discusses what is meant by a “contained gaseous material”—a critical definition for understanding what materials may be regulated as a solid waste, and thus subject to RCRA. Applicability of both RCRA and CAA may be impacted by whether the material is considered a solid waste. And the answers in this case are found in guidance regarding an often overlooked part of RCRA, Part 241. READ MORE

When is hazardous waste determination finished?

Knowing the point of generation for a waste is arguably one of the most critical aspects of RCRA. After all, this is where RCRA begins, and thus, where you perform your hazardous waste determination. But what happens if the nature of your waste changes over time, becoming hazardous when it was once nonhazardous. EPA weighs in on how a subsequent hazardous waste determination may be necessary even after the initial point of generation. READ MORE

Revised procedure. More appealing?

Obtaining a permit in RCRA, or any other environmental program, is often a balance of satisfying greater production volumes while meeting difficult environmental regulatory requirements. Sometimes, a facility or citizen disagrees with a permitting decision. If someone wants to challenge a permit, the first stop in the “judiciary” chain is often the Environmental Appeals Board. Recently, EPA updated the process via which one may appeal a permit decision through this board. There is also useful literature available for citizens who would like to get involved in the permitting process. READ MORE

Confidential: import/export info

The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) allows the public to obtain access to business and government information not normally accessible. If EPA receives one of these FOIA requests, they will notify businesses that potential confidential business information (CBI) may be released. Facilities who claim certain materials are CBI and want to keep that information from the public must provide support for such claim to EPA. READ MORE

Supreme RCRA ruling on fines

After a RCRA lawsuit that could have resulted in $38 million fine, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a ruling on the role a jury plays when imposing criminal fines for RCRA violations. Criminal fines set by a jury must be based on facts proven beyond a reasonable doubt. In this instance, the jury’s findings supported a maximum fine of only $6 million. READ MORE

Mercury rising

The domestic mercury market is inarguably drying up, and soon the ability to export will go away, too. Scientists are coming up with more nontoxic chemicals to replace mercury in numerous industrial and scientific processes. In addition, to promote the safe management of mercury, and to reduce releases of mercury and emissions into the environment, Congress passed the Mercury Export Ban Act, which is to take effect January 1, 2013. The Act will not only affect mercury recyclers and other TSD facilities, but likely generators as well. READ MORE

RCRA air compliance guidance

An oft-overlooked portion of RCRA is the Subpart AA, BB, and CC air emission standards. These three subparts make up a massive amount of the hazardous waste regulations and govern air emissions from hazardous waste management units such as containers and tank, ancillary equipment, and process vents. Furthermore, this is a major source of noncompliance for both generators and permitted facilities, so we have provided a series of links to EPA guidance on how to get your facility into compliance. READ MORE

RCRA/TSCA PCB issues

When we typically think of PCB regulations, TSCA comes to mind. But there are actually a couple of places in the regulations where PCBs are mentioned or regulated in RCRA. Even decades after their production was banned, PCBs still show up in used oil, meaning facilities not only have RCRA regulations to comply with, but potentially TSCA as well. This month we breakdown the issues and point to some beneficial guidance for managing such wastes. READ MORE

Don’t cry over spilled diesel

Diesel fuel is widely used in industry and has the benefit of being more efficient, and not RCRA ignitable, compared to gasoline. But, inevitably spills happen, and you are faced with the responsibility of cleaning it up. When you discard the spilled diesel the same RCRA questions will need to be asked and answered just like for any other discarded material. We take a look at how the regulations apply to diesel fuel spills. READ MORE

An eighth way to treat without a permit

Typically, a generator who treats hazardous waste onsite will need a RCRA permit in order to do so. There are, however, eight federally recognized exceptions to this rule. One possibility, albeit not often used, is to burn small quantities of hazardous waste in an onsite boiler. Rare is the time you can burn a hazardous waste without a permit, but we’ll explain how this exemption works. READ MORE

Opening is not considered use

The latest from EPA reinforces their stance on what constitutes an empty container, and how that relates to the use of a P- or U- listed waste. It remains the case that a discarded half-full bottle containing a P- or U-listed commercial chemical product is a container holding a listed hazardous waste. The remaining chemical product, inside of a half-used bottle, is not itself used. Rendering the container empty will require you to meet the provisions of §261.7. READ MORE

TSDFs: be prepared

Preventing fires, explosions, and releases of hazardous waste into the environment is the objective of preparedness and prevention requirements. And if things do go awry and a response is needed to one of these threats, that is the purposed of a written contingency plan. New guidance from EPA provides recommendations for treatment, storage, and disposal facilities subject to the RCRA program based on feedback from the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board. READ MORE

Hold the salt on P046

Over thirty of the P- and U-waste listings specifically include not only a pure commercial chemical product, but its salts as well. Per EPA’s most recent guidance, P046, phentermine, is not one of them. Of course, when making a hazardous waste determination, it isn’t enough to only determine if a waste is listed or not. You must also determine if it exhibits a characteristic, and phentermine salts just might. READ MORE

One more non-waste fuel identified

fuel has received EPA’s nod to no longer be considered a waste when burned as fuel. Thus, when these discarded, nonhazardous, fuel pellets are burned as a fuel, they are not regulated as solid waste, which has both RCRA and CAA implications. In this case, the fuel pellets are fiber and polymer-based refuse from the paper and woodworking industries. READ MORE

Shedding light on lamp management

It’s estimated in the United States, more than 600 million spent mercury-containing lamps are generated every year, with only a fraction of that number being recycled. In an effort to encourage the proper management of these spent lamps, The Association of Lighting and Mercury Recyclers developed a training module under a cooperative agreement with EPA. The one-hour training module is geared towards users of mercury-containing lighting, anyone who handles spent lighting products, and anyone who can influence lamp recycling and disposal decisions. The module focuses on the universal waste rule for hazardous lamps but also addresses health and safety issues with lamp handling and breakage events, as well as the proper management of PCB and non-PCB ballasts.

Refining on-spec used oil

A petroleum refinery purchases on-spec used oil to use as a feedstock in its refining operations. The refinery wants to take advantage of an exemption codified in Part 279 after insertion into the refining process? New EPA guidance addresses this question. READ MORE

Q&A for closed containers

Unfortunately, there is no definition for “closed” in the RCRA regulations when it comes to container management. But, a great rule of thumb for ensuring your containers are closed is ensure they are vapor tight and spill proof. That said, sometimes you have a process where a satellite container might not be able to “meet” this rule of thumb. EPA has new guidance discussing ways generators and TSDFs can meet their container closer requirements. READ MORE