RCRA
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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



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