October 14, 2016

New Procedures for Adding/Revising Informal SW–846 Methods

EPA’s SW–846 compendium consists of over 200 analytical methods for sampling and analyzing waste and other matrices. These methods can be broken into two groups:

  1. Methods used to evaluate “method-defined parameters” (MDPs)—These methods are required in the RCRA regulations for compliance purposes. An MDP is a RCRA regulatory parameter (i.e., a property or characteristic) that is defined by the outcome of a specific test method. MDP methods include those for determining compliance with 1) the corrosivity characteristic (Methods 9040C and 1110A), and 2) the toxicity characteristic (Method 1311—the TCLP). EPA will continue using the Federal Register to solicit public comment on additions or revisions to MDP methods.
  2. Methods that are intended as guidance (i.e., nonregulatory methods)—The agency is interested in releasing new and updated SW–846 methods more quickly in order to 1) keep up with scientific advancements, 2) address emerging contaminants (e.g., perfluorinated compounds), and 3) respond to emergencies. Thus, EPA will begin using a new process to release validated nonregulatory methods for public comment and incorporate these methods into SW–846. This new process, which EPA will begin using for its next set of updates to SW–846, was announced in the September 27, 2016 Federal Register. [81 FR 66272]

Under the new process, nonregulatory methods and guidance will be released using EPA’s SW–846 website and announced to those on a dedicated SW–846 electronic mailing list. The agency will notify the SW–846 analytical community via emails and web postings of the comment period for additions or revisions to nonregulatory methods. After reviewing and responding to public comment and revising the methods accordingly, EPA will notify those on the SW–846 email list and post the new or revised methods, the “Response to Comments” background documents, and other supporting documents on the SW–846 website. The form to sign up for the SW–846 emailing list is located on the Contact Us area of the SW–846 website.


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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.