Review Articles

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.


Catch our next live broadcast, McCoy RCRA 5-Day virtual seminar, July 27-31, 2020. Our presenters cover in-depth RCRA topics while fielding real-time questions. It’s an interactive virtual experience that's remarkably similar to our in-person seminars (try it!). For convenience, course materials are provided beforehand. Keep RCRA in your sights, as you move ahead.

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.

Pollinating progress

Since 2006 honey bees and other pollinators have been in decline due to habitat loss, pesticides, and climate change. In 2015, the White House launched its national strategy to promote the health of pollinators. With over 90 commercial crops dependent on honey bees, protection is sorely needed. The Wildlife Habitat Council has stepped in to help businesses support local pollinator habitats on corporate lands.

Help! Recycle food cartons

Demand for paper products has increased substantially due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Companies are trying to increase production while the “feedstock” paper fiber supply has been diminished. It is important to recycle paper food storage products and beverage cartons to replenish the supply of paper pulp. The Carton Council is educating consumers on the life cycle of paper products and how important paper recycling is to keeping essential items in stores.

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


Our training comes to you. Though many things in our lives seem up in the air right now, essential work such as environmental management continues. To help you with RCRA training, and hopefully make things a little easier, consider joining us for our RCRA 5-day virtual training, June 1-5, 2020. It will be a live broadcast of our in-person seminar. We’re looking forward to seeing you.

Register for June 1-5 RCRA training

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.

Economics 101—hazardous waste supply and demand

EPA has released its periodic National Capacity Assessment Report, stating the country has enough commercial hazardous waste recovery, treatment, and landfilling capacity to last the next 25 years. Compiled from the most recent biennial report data, the assessment also notes 1) a trend of consolidation within the commercial hazardous waste management industry, and 2) unforeseen circumstances over the next couple of decades could potentially impact our national capacity. READ MORE

Biennial report, visualized

Back in 2018, we briefly wrote about EPA’s 2017 Biennial Report results. Now, the agency has put together a new interactive website, which displays the report’s data in an easy-to-use format. Users can quickly view year-to-year trends in waste generation, major waste-generating industries, and interstate shipments. With just a few clicks, you can even filter down to see how much hazardous waste was generated at an individual site. For those who learn best using visuals, this is a great tool to help understand how the country is doing with its hazardous waste management and minimization goals.

Objection! Hazardous waste imports. Sustained!

If you import hazardous waste, you have to work with EPA as well as the foreign entity. The import approval process can take months, only to end with EPA’s objection. New agency guidance provides insight into EPA’s process for reviewing a notice of intent to import hazardous waste. In particular, there are numerous reasons EPA might object to importing a hazardous waste, including statutory prohibitions, lack of a RCRA permit, and imminent and substantial endangerment. READ MORE

More proposals in the CCR saga

The management of coal combustion residues (CCR) has received increased scrutiny starting with the promulgation of CCR landfill and surface impoundment regulations in 2015. Numerous court cases, proposed rules, and public comments now bring us to the second CCR proposal of 2020. At hand are four proposed revisions primarily to CCR unit closure and post-closure requirements. Comments on the March 3, 2020 proposed rule are still being accepted for a few more days. READ MORE

McCoy virtual seminars

As an environmental pro, you’re accustomed to dealing with hazardous substances and waste. Now more than ever, your experience is invaluable as much of it translates to the challenges we face with COVID-19. And if safety, social distancing, and reduced personnel aren’t enough of a heavy load, your RCRA training should also continue.

Though we resolutely believe in the power and effectiveness of in-person training, we’re bringing virtual training online. It's always been a part of our future, but as we watched our hotels struggle in Denver, then Houston, and Hilton Head (and they have all temporarily closed), the time is now.

Our first virtual seminar is June 1–5, 2020. The format, hours, content, and course materials will be the same as our in-person training; 8:00AM to 5:00PM, Monday through Thursday, and 8:00AM to noon on Friday. Register today. If you have questions, call us at 303-526-2674 or write hello@mccoyseminars.com.

Coronavirus impacts EPA enforcement

EPA recognizes that the COVID-19 pandemic has made it difficult for many in the regulated community to meet certain regulatory obligations. On March 26, 2020, the agency announced a temporary policy for enforcement during the pandemic. Until further notice, EPA will use increased discretion in deciding whether to enforce various environmental regulations. READ MORE

2019 enforcement stats still lagging

The agency’s environmental enforcement results are now available for FY2019, detailing the agency’s civil, criminal, and Superfund enforcement achievements. The provided story map highlights EPA’s accomplishments and provides interactive case maps to track individual enforcement actions. Also available is a link to the agency’s six national compliance initiatives and associated results. READ MORE

Concern not fear

Our mission as a training provider is to bring a broader viewpoint along with accurate and clear information. That’s why we want to provide coronavirus facts—not fear. Of course, we are deeply concerned about the wellbeing of our attendees, friends, family, and world, and we are seeking a responsible balance in all we do. We will provide ongoing updates as information changes. With resoluteness and concern, we will get through this challenging time together. READ MORE

See More...