Review Articles

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


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

Sticker shock for e-manifest?

EPA has proposed the method it will use to set e-manifest user fees. Compared to paper manifest costs, there may be some sticker shock. 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