June 16, 2014

Biennial Reporting Requirements for CERCLA Sites and Episodic Generators

EPA released a guidance document in which they discuss the applicability of biennial reporting at CERCLA sites. RO 14842 reaffirms that EPA considers biennial reporting an administrative requirement and administrative requirements do not apply to onsite actives during the CERCLA cleanup process. However, the agency went on to clarify that any activities at a large quantity generator (LQG) CERCLA site involving treatment, storage, and/or disposal of hazardous waste at an offsite RCRA-permitted facility are subject to all RCRA requirements, including biennial reporting. Thus, CERCLA cleanup actions involving offsite management of RCRA hazardous wastes will trigger a biennial report if the site is an LQG.

An interesting point for non-CERCLA sites is EPA seems to be shifting its thinking when it comes to biennial reporting requirements for episodic generators—generators usually in one generator class but occasionally move into another (e.g., a small quantity generator that cleans out a warehouse, making it an LQG for that month). In the 1980s, the agency stated episodic generators should include only the waste generated during the month(s) that the site is actually an LQG when completing their biennial report. [51 FR 10160] We saw the first shift in the approach for episodic generators in the instructions for the biennial report, where the agency states that “all hazardous waste that was used to determine the site’s generator status” must be reported. Although that language is not completely clear, EPA seems pretty clear in RO 14842 when it notes that facilities need to “determine if, in any single calendar month, the site is an LQG, and if so, report all RCRA hazardous waste that is generated onsite…for the entire calendar year.” In our discussions with EPA headquarters, agency personnel noted this approach will also be emphasized in a proposed rule due out at the end of this year, clarifying RCRA generator requirements.

Note: RO 14842 is actually dated December 14, 2011, but was only added to the RCRA Online database (and thus came to our attention) in June 2014.

 


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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.