September 16, 2022

LDR Compliance Strategies for WAPs and Permits

EPA has published a bulletin (RO 51461) reviewing strategies permit writers and regulated facilities can use to improve RCRA permits and waste analysis plans (WAPs). Included are some tools for inspectors to determine compliance with the land disposal restrictions (LDR) program.

A WAP establishes enforceable hazardous waste sampling and analysis procedures that a facility will follow to ensure compliance with the LDR standards. A WAP also provides the basis for monitoring whether a facility is meeting the LDR treatment standards and requirements. RCRA-permitted facilities (and large quantity generators, or LQGs, who treat their wastes in 90-day units) must have a WAP. Before a permitted facility treats, stores, or disposes of any hazardous wastes, it must obtain a sufficiently detailed chemical and physical analysis of that waste to confirm LDR compliance. [§264.13]

EPA reviewed 57 hazardous waste treatment facility WAPs and sampling results from 14 facility LDR inspections. The review found numerous WAP and LDR deficiencies, starting with insufficient LDR treatment verification sampling and high LDR failure rates in treatment residues. The agency believes these failures were caused by inadequate LDR treatment design and failure to operate within permit requirements. The bulk of the guidance discusses strategies to correct and prevent noncompliance

More frequent and adequate WAP LDR verification sampling is recommended to prevent land disposal of hazardous waste that does not meet the LDR treatment standards. During development of the LDR standards, EPA clearly stated that testing results showing hot spots remain are evidence the treatment was ineffective; thus, the treated waste is not in compliance with the LDR treatment standards. [63 FR 28567] The agency also noted that its 2015 WAP guidance discusses how facilities should sample their waste streams thoroughly to ensure no hot spots remain after treatment.

A facility’s WAP must address sampling frequency per §264.13(b)(4) and also consider the variability of incoming and treated waste. To ensure adequate waste analysis, EPA recommends performing a comprehensive analysis of each waste stream annually. [51 FR 40598] EPA’s review found many facilities combine multiple incoming waste streams from different generators or hazardous waste brokers. Consequently, each treatment batch varies in composition and source, making it challenging to maintain compliance. EPA again recommends facilities follow the 2015 WAP guidance to ensure proper frequency and thorough waste analysis.

The permit writer and facility should consider a wide array of sampling strategies and ensure treatment systems and procedures are well-designed and well-operated. These include segregating generator waste streams, pre-treatment analysis, small treatment batch sizes, prescribed treatment processes, and minimum mixing times. Design and operation conditions should be enforceable and added to a facility’s WAP and permit. [§270.30(e)] RO 51461 also provides general information on the LDR treatment standards and additional information on sampling strategies.

The WAP requirements apply to LQGs treating their wastes in 90-day units, but compliance is usually much simpler. Still, many of the same lessons apply. Ensuring adequate sampling protocols and frequency to properly characterize wastes and treatment residues is critical to compliance.


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This document addresses issues of a general nature related to the federal RCRA regulations. Persons evaluating specific circumstances dealing with the RCRA regulations should review state and local laws and regulations, which may be more stringent than federal requirements. In addition, the assistance of a qualified professional should be enlisted to address any site-specific circumstances.