Review Articles

That’s the fact sheets, Jack

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

CCR closure rule finalized after 120,000-plus comments

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

Waste FAQs relocated again

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

New non-waste fuel determination

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

Appealing permits

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

Manifest signature alternatives policy extended

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

Register for September.V

Dive into our upcoming McCoy RCRA 5-Day VIRTUAL seminar, September 28-October 2, 2020. McCoy conducts a live broadcast of our in-person RCRA training that walks you through the regulations in a format that is easy-to-digest and follow. Ask real-time questions, work case studies, and gain insights from fellow attendees. Join us.

Register for September-October.VIRTUAL
5-Day Agenda

.VIRTUALLY Refreshing

If you’re comfortable with the RCRA regs and prefer an accelerated pace, try our 2-Day RCRA Refresher. We cover almost all of the content from our 5-Day RCRA .VIRTUAL seminar, but we mash it into a faster, abbreviated format. Consider joining us at our first ".V" Refresher.

Register for November 9–10 .VIRTUAL Refresher
2-Day Agenda

Team Sherpa

Open the door for your entire team to access McCoy Sherpa with a LAN/WAN license. Look up RCRA regs and guidance with its easy-to-use search engine. Sherpa contains over 50,000 hyperlinks, an electronic table of contents, flowcharts, and much more. It’s a tool for increased efficiency. Let the power of Sherpa lift your team.

Compare our publications
Consider a Sherpa network license
Buy a stand-alone Sherpa

Plastic excess

The pandemic has created a surge in single use plastic items. The increased usage is driven by an unsubstantiated fear for COVID safety. To allay consumers’ and retailers’ concerns, a group of 119 international scientists released a statement confirming that reusable items are no more likely to spread the virus than disposable ones, as long as they are effectively cleaned. Learn more.

Secure water

Water consumption is on the forefront of sustainability initiatives. And with a global footprint that impacts over 190 countries, Unilever is working to conserve water. However, a significant catch-22 is that the major water useage itself comes from using Unilever products! Even so, it is developing water-smart products that require less water to help modify consumer behavior. Tackling complex global water issues with a range of multifaceted solutions—is the wave of the future.

Seats available in August.VIRTUAL!

Join us for the next McCoy RCRA 5-Day Virtual seminar, August 24-28, 2020. This seminar provides the content from our 5-day training on RCRA, and it clarifies these complex and often confusing regs. Gain insight through case studies, hear questions from other virtual attendees, and even ask your own questions during the live broadcast. McCoy.VIRTUAL—training that works for you.

New test methods included in SW–846 update

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

Reduce holding times, increase accuracy

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

RCRA/MEBA interface a little less mercuric

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

Waste FAQs have a new home

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

Update on e-manifesting

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

RCRA rules on the horizon

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

Attention to air standards advised

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

Another method for generating e-manifest reports

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

Disaster planning resources

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

Don’t get burned by ignitability rule

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

EPA terminates COVID-19 enforcement policy

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

Sherpa territory

RCRA guidance is important and McCoy Sherpa covers a lot of ground. Our 2020 Edition includes RCRA-centric search capabilities, 500 examples from EPA guidance, Federal Register notices back to 1978, and more. Compare Sherpa with our RCRA Unraveled and RCRA Reference books. Bring the right tool with you to be prepared for whatever comes your way.

CCR comments continued, part deux

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

Hazardous waste import reporting

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

First SQG renotification requirement coming up

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

Significant changes to the development and use of EPA guidance

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

Manifest signature alternatives

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

RCRA turns 40!

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

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

New guidance portal + problematic purge

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

CCR comments continued

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

Desire tire wire?

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

Access e-manifest data

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

COVID-19 field impacts

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

RCRA translated

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

See More...