September 16, 2022

Ensuring Validity of Financial Assurance Mechanisms

A June 2022 memo from EPA to regions has been published providing guidance on overseeing the validity of financial assurance for RCRA-permitted hazardous waste treatment, storage, and disposal (TSD) facilities. [RO 14947] The memo lists existing guidance and establishes new standard operating procedures (SOPs) for regions.

Financial assurance is the RCRA requirement for a TSD facility to assure EPA and the states it will have the resources available for permit compliance, closure, post-closure care, and corrective action. Additionally, financial assurance provides third-party liability coverage for accidental occurrences from facility operations. The agency believes financial assurance also serves as an incentive for responsible management of hazardous waste.

In the memo, EPA’s Office of Resource Conservation and Recovery (ORCR) discussed the existing guidance, provided new SOPs for regions, and provided a detailed list of additional guidance. The agency is encouraging regions and states to follow the new SOPs. Under the new SOPs, permitting authorities should check with other regions and states when facilities with multiple self-insured liabilities are involved. Recommended steps to take when invalid financial assurance is identified are also provided. The SOPs also include an SOP for collecting and documenting causes of invalid financial assurance. The goal is to establish nationally recognized procedures to help ensure consistent oversight and methods of tracking financial assurance going forward.


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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.