Recent Changes to the EPA's Hazardous Waste Generator Rule
November 14, 2016
As of October 2016, the Environmental Protection Agency has completed an overhaul of its “Hazardous Waste Generator” regulations. At Shield Engineering, we’re already fielding calls from customers wondering how these changes will impact their business and what they mean for waste management in the long run. Here’s what you need to know.
The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act
The most significant change by the EPA was the finalization of important import-export regulations under the RCRA. These revisions affect four primary groups:
1.Those importing/exporting hazardous waste for recycling or disposal
2. Facilities that receive such imports
3. Those importing/exporting cathode ray tubes being shipped for recycling
4. Those who transport any shipments of such
The changes will begin implementation almost immediately and require more stringent regulations on transboundary shipments. These new rules will affect nearly every hazardous waste generator – both large and small – in thousands of industries.
How Does this Change Things?
The long-standing regulatory framework from the EPA required that LQCs and SQCs are allowed to accumulate hazardous waste onsite for limited periods of time without a permit as long as they meet certain requirements. This is no longer the case. The final rule states that the EPA will hereby designate any facility that mismanages said requirements (such as an inspection one day late or a mislabeled waste code) to a Treatment, Storage and Disposal Facility (TSDF). The implications for small hazardous waste handlers are obviously huge.
While the EPA maintains these changes are meant to make the transportation and storage of hazardous waste a safer, more traceable process, many generators and handlers are worried. Within the new rules, several “clarifications” from the EPA have uncovered agency interpretations that may have been misunderstood for decades, requiring additional stringency. There are, however, several new regulations in place concerning the shipment of materials from SQCs to LQCs that might, in fact, make the process simpler for both.
If your facility maintains, processes, or even ships hazardous waste materials, you have a right to know how these new EPA rules and regulations will impact your business. At Shield Engineering, we make it our job to stay on top of industry adjustments so you don’t have to.