Review Articles

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.

RCRA summer seminars

Brush up on your RCRA knowledge and join us at one of our .VIRTUAL summer seminars, July 26-30, 2021 or August 16-20, 2021. Tune in with our presenters during our live broadcast, and they will lead you through case-studies, cover in-depth modules, answer questions, and provide thorough RCRA insight.

Register for July.VIRTUAL
Register for August.VIRTUAL
5-Day .VIRTUAL Agenda

Air is in the fall

Don’t miss our CAA seminar, November 2-4, 2021. Our presenters break down the complexity of the immense Clean Air Act to help clarify the programs and shed light on how they are interrelated. The seminar is presented virtually. We’ve recreated an in-person experience so you can ask questions in the moment, learn in-depth modules, and find the missing pieces in your air puzzle. Join us.

Register for our November CAA seminar

Just added—2-day Refresher

Due to popular demand, we’ve added a fall .VIRTUAL RCRA Refresher seminar, September 8-9. Catch our live broadcast and gain training on almost all of our 5-day seminar content in two accelerated days. Our presenters work case-studies, answer questions, and cover detailed modules to help you gain practical knowledge—fast.

Register for our September RCRA Refresher

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

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