February 1, 2018

Generator Improvements Rule Makes Changes to Satellite Accumulation Container Management

The Generator Improvements Rule (GIR), effective May 30, 2017 at the federal level, has made a variety of changes to satellite accumulation container management. While not every state has adopted the GIR at the time of this writing, §271.21(e)(2)(ii) requires authorized states to adopt the more-stringent GIR provisions by July 1, 2018. Below is a comparison of how the new GIR satellite accumulation rules differ from the “old way” of doing things.

Comparison of GIR Satellite Accumulation Container Regulations With Pre-GIR Requirements

Requirement

New GIR regulations

Pre-GIR regulations

Satellite accumulation maximum quantity limits

  • 55 gallons of nonacute hazardous waste
  • 1 quart of liquid acute hazardous waste or 1 kg of physically solid acute waste 1
  • 55 gallons of nonacute hazardous waste
  • 1 quart of acute hazardous waste

Standards for incompatible wastes in satellite accumulation containers

Essentially the same as for 90/180/270-day accumulation containers in new §262.15(a)(2-3) 2

Container had to be compatible with waste per §265.172

Times when satellite accumulation containers may be open

  • When adding, removing, or consolidating waste
  • When venting the container is necessary (e.g., for proper equipment operation or to prevent dangerous situations)

When adding or removing waste

Satellite accumulation container marking/labeling

The words “Hazardous Waste” and an indication of the hazard(s) of the contents 3

The words “Hazardous Waste” or other words that identify the contents

Preparedness, prevention, contingency plan, and emergency procedures

Per Part 262, Subpart M

None

1 The accumulation limits for acute hazardous wastes are not intended to be additive; so, in cases where a generator has both liquid and solid acute hazardous waste accumulating in a satellite accumulation area, the 1-kg (2.2-lb) limit will apply. [81 FR 85765]

2 A satellite container holding hazardous waste that is incompatible with any waste or other materials accumulated nearby in other containers must be separated from the other materials or protected from them by any practical means. EPA mentioned two methods to achieve this compatibility requirement: 1) segregating incompatible wastes onto separate pallets and ensuring that incompatible wastes are separated by at least one pallet width in all directions, and 2) providing drip trays or other secondary containers for satellite containers. [81 FR 85764]

3 Examples of an indication of the hazard(s) associated with the contents include the applicable hazardous waste characteristic(s), a DOT label or placard, an OSHA hazard statement or pictogram, or an NFPA hazard label.

Source: McCoy and Associates, Inc.

The GIR results in increased similarities between the regulatory requirements for satellite accumulation units and 90-day containers. There are still important differences, however, as demonstrated in the table below.

Federal Requirements for Satellite Accumulation Units vs. 90-Day Containers

Requirement

Satellite accumulation units

90-day containers

Must be in good condition

Yes

Yes

Must be compatible with the hazardous waste in the container

Yes

Yes

Must be closed at all times except when adding or removing waste

Yes1

Yes

Inspection requirement

None

Weekly

Hazard marking requirement

“Hazardous waste” and an indication of the hazards of the contents

“Hazardous waste” and an indication of the hazards of the contents

Date marking requirement

On the date 55 gallons (or 1 quart/1 kg for acute wastes) is exceeded

On the date waste first goes in the container (or container enters the area)

Maximum length of storage

Unlimited

90 days

Maximum waste volume in storage

55 gallons (or 1 quart/1 kg for acute wastes)2

Unlimited

Personnel training required

No3

Yes

Can treat hazardous waste in the unit

No

Yes

Special requirements for ignitable/reactive wastes

No

Yes

Special requirements for incompatible wastes

Yes4

Yes

Must comply with Part 265, Subpart CC air emission standards

No

Yes

Must comply with preparedness, prevention, contingency plan, and emergency procedures in Part 262, Subpart M

Yes5

Yes

1 SAA containers may also be open when consolidating waste and when venting the container is necessary (e.g., for proper equipment operation or to prevent dangerous situations).

2 If the maximum waste volume/weight is exceeded, the excess must be dated and moved within three days. [§262.15(a)(6)] The accumulation limits for acute hazardous wastes are not intended to be additive; so, in cases where a generator has both liquid and solid acute hazardous waste accumulating in a satellite accumulation area, the 1-kg (2.2-lb) limit will apply. [81 FR 85765]

3 A simple reading of §262.15(a)(7), which requires SQGs to comply with emergency procedures in §262.16(b)(9) for their SAAs, will trigger personnel training requirements for SAAs at SQGs. This is true since the SQG personnel training requirements are in §262.16(b)(9)(iii). We think this is inadvertent on EPA’s part based on preamble language where EPA says it decided not to require training for staff at SAAs. “However, EPA would encourage all generators to take appropriate steps to ensure that all employees who work at areas where hazardous waste is accumulated, including at SAAs, or are otherwise involved in hazardous waste management receive sufficient training to ensure that they are familiar with proper handling and emergency procedures.” [81 FR 85797]

4 A satellite container holding hazardous waste that is incompatible with any waste or other materials accumulated nearby in other containers must be separated from the other materials or protected from them by any practical means. EPA mentioned two methods to achieve this compatibility requirement: 1) segregating incompatible wastes onto separate pallets and ensuring that incompatible wastes are separated by at least one pallet width in all directions, and 2) providing drip trays or other secondary containers for satellite containers. [81 FR 85764]

5 The preparedness, prevention, contingency plan, and emergency procedures of Part 262, Subpart M apply to those areas at an LQG facility where hazardous waste is generated (e.g., SAAs) as well as those areas where hazardous waste is accumulated onsite (e.g., 90-day areas). [§262.250]

Source: McCoy and Associates, Inc.; adapted from §§262.15 and 262.17(a)(1) and RO 14703, 14758.

 


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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.