Review Articles

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

RCRA in May

Join us for our next McCoy.VIRTUAL RCRA 5-day seminar, May 24-28, 2021. Our presenters provide a roadmap to the hazardous waste regulations. This live broadcast of our training is an interactive experience—you’ll work case studies, ask questions, and learn detailed modules. Gather RCRA insight and find a clear way forward with McCoy.VIRTUAL.

Register for May.VIRTUAL RCRA seminar
5-Day .VIRTUAL Agenda

See CAA in a new light

The Clean Air Act regulations can be daunting. Gain practical knowledge at our McCoy CAA.VIRTUAL training, June 8-10, 2021. Our live broadcast, with three presenters, will shed light on the regs. We’ll walk you through case studies, answer live questions, and provide practical and helpful applicability tools. Keep CAA in your sights with McCoy.

Register for CAA June.VIRTUAL
3-Day CAA.VIRTUAL Agenda

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


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

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