July 17, 2018

New Episodic Generation Regs Provide Generators a Break

Sometimes a very small quantity generator (VSQG) or small quantity generator (SQG) encounters an event (e.g., planned maintenance or unplanned spill cleanup) that generates enough waste to propel them into a higher generator category for that month. Fortunately, provisions in Part 262, Subpart L (added by the 2016 generator improvements rule) allow VSQGs and SQGs to maintain their existing generator category in the event of planned or unplanned episodic generation event (i.e., generators do not have to count hazardous waste managed as part of the episodic event when making their monthly generator-category determination). [§262.13(c)(8)]

The new regulations define planned and unplanned episodic events to distinguish between the two. Additionally, EPA noted that long-term demolition or remediation projects and other large, long-term projects do not appear to be the kind of event that EPA would consider an “episodic” event. Instead, hazardous waste generated during these non-episodic events requires the facility to change to the larger generator waste category for the duration of the event to properly manage the hazardous waste. [81 FR 85788]

This relief for an episodic event is allowed only once per calendar year, although a facility can petition its state/EPA for relief a second time in that year per §262.233. Keep in mind that the second event in that year must be unplanned if the first one was planned and vice versa. This relief is contingent on meeting the following conditions:

Notification—The generator must notify EPA (using Form 8700-12) no later than 30 days before a planned episodic event or within 72 hours of an unplanned event. Notification of an unplanned event may be made via phone, fax, or email with follow-up submittal of Form 8700-12. The required notification includes identification of an emergency coordinator. A VSQG would also have to obtain an EPA ID number.

Onsite accumulation—Hazardous waste generated from episodic events must be accumulated in containers or tanks. Containers must be:

Tanks used to accumulate hazardous waste from episodic events must be:

Accumulation time—Hazardous waste generated during an episodic event must be manifested to an offsite RCRA-designated facility within 60 days from the start of the event. This manifesting requirement applies to VSQGs as well as to SQGs. SQGs also have the option of treating hazardous waste generated during an episodic event within the same 60-day time frame. EPA noted that a generator could start and complete multiple projects (e.g., a small demolition project, a tank cleanout, and removal of excess chemicals) at different dates within the 60-day time limit, so long as all projects are completed within the 60-day start and end dates identified on the notification. Under that scenario, all hazardous waste generated would be considered part of the same episodic event. [81 FR 85783] A timeline for episodic generation under these new provisions is shown below.

Episodic Generation Timeline

Additional requirements—SQGs must also comply with all of the conditions in new §262.16 for wastes managed during an episodic event (e.g., employee training and emergency preparedness and prevention conditions). [81 FR 85785] VSQGs must manage hazardous waste in a manner that minimizes the possibility of a fire, explosion, or release of hazardous waste or hazardous waste constituents to the air, soil, or water. [new §262.232(a)(4)(iii)]

Recordkeeping—Records of the episodic event must be maintained for 3 years from the end date of the event. The information that must be kept is identified in new §262.232.

Failure to meet conditions—“[S]hould a VSQG fail to meet the specified conditions, it loses the VSQG exemption and becomes the operator of a non-exempt storage facility unless it also immediately complies with all of the conditions for exemption for an SQG or LQG. If an SQG fails to meet any specified condition for exemption, it loses its exemption and becomes the operator of a non-exempt storage facility unless it immediately complies with all of the conditions for an exemption for an LQG.” [81 FR 85783]


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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.