April 9, 2015

Could Corrosive Solids Be Regulated as Hazardous Waste?

As a result of a March 13, 2015 court order, EPA has committed to respond to a petition seeking revisions to the corrosivity characteristic in §261.22(a)(1). [In re: Cate Jenkins et al.; U.S. Court of Appeals, D.C. Circuit; Docket No. 14-1173] In its 2011 petition, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) asked EPA to reduce the upper pH threshold from 12.5 to 11.5 and to eliminate the requirement for the waste to be aqueous in order to carry the D002 waste code.

The agency will respond to PEER’s petition in the Federal Register by March 31, 2016, using one of three approaches: 1) an advance notice of proposed rulemaking, 2) a proposed rule, or 3) a tentative determination to deny the petition.

The court order referenced above is one step in a lengthy legal process that could affect the corrosivity characteristic regulations in all 50 states. Currently, at least three states, California, New Hampshire, and Washington, regulate corrosive wastes that are not aqueous, and the upper pH threshold for aqueous wastes in all 50 states is 12.5.


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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.