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A Quick Review of EPA Biennial Report Requirements

December 7, 2021

Every two years the EPA requires large-quantity hazardous waste generators (LQGs) to report the “nature, quantities, and disposition” of hazardous wastes they generate: mostly known as the Biennial Report; sometimes called the Hazardous Waste Report; but also evoked by its alphanumeric nickname, 8700-13A/B

But whatever you call it, the thing must be submitted to your “authorized state agency or the EPA Regional Office” by March 1st of every even-numbered year, and 2022 is perfectly divisible by two—we did the math.

Although you’ll be filing the report in March of 2022, remember that you’ll be providing data about your hazmat activities from January 2020 to December 2021 inclusive. That means you’ll have 59  days after the close of business on New Year’s Eve to gather the data; so your future self would really appreciate your doing some preparation now instead of later.

How can you make this easier? 

There’s required paperwork that’s fairly common across different kinds of businesses that generate hazardous waste, and that you’re supposed to have on file for viewing on demand by the EPA. If these are up to date, they can be harvested for much of the information you’ll be asked for in your biennial report. Three of the most useful are:

  • Records of waste determination. You must document how you identified something as hazardous waste and what danger it poses. (Just as importantly, you should document how you identified something as not being hazardous waste in the event you’re challenged about it.) Such records must be extant for three years subsequent to the last treatment, storage, or disposal of a material.
  • Hazardous waste manifests. These are integral to most hazardous waste inspections. As a hazardous waste generator, you must keep a copy of the manifest signed by the transporter; a confirmation copy of the manifest with the TSDF’s signature must also be kept on file after the waste is accepted by the transporter. Both must be extant for three years.
  • Land disposal restriction documentation. Certain determination and notification records must be kept onsite for three years subsequent to your shipping hazardous waste offsite to be treated before disposal.

Who exactly needs to file the EPA Biennial Report?

As regarding most things having to do with government in general and the EPA in specific, there’s no exact answer to this question. But onward…

Biennial reporting is required only if you’re a Large Quantity Generator (LGQ), meaning you generate 2200 lbs. or more of hazardous waste per month—about 1,000 kgs. But be careful: the EPA considers you to be an LGQ even if you’ve only once & incidentally generated 2200 lbs. or more of a hazardous waste in a single month during 2020 or 21.1

For example, say you pumped 40 barrels of goo from your facility during a once-in-a-decade cleanout project. At 55 gal. per barrel, you’ve achieved 2200 lbs., and if said goo is considered a “listed” or “characteristic” waste by the EPA, congratulations: you’re an LGQ and need to file.

If this happens to you, then you’re going to need an EPA Identification Number, which—generally speaking—can be obtained by filing EPA Form 8700-12, aka Notification of Regulated Waste Activity

But there’s more than one type of EPA ID (of course); and some are administered at the state level, not by the EPA itself. (So you need to consult some hazmat experts. That would be us.)

1The EPA also wants to hear from you if you’re operating a hazmat treatment, storage, or disposal facility (TSDF) with similar numbers. 

So, who doesn’t have to file?

Maybe you. Or maybe not. As in all things involving the EPA, expert advice is crucial. But generally speaking, you don’t have to file the biennial report if: 

  • You’re a Small Quantity Generator (SQG), producing more than 220 lbs. (100 kgs) but less than 2200 lbs. (1000 kgs) of hazardous waste monthly. states_not_requiring_biennial_reports
  • You’re a Very Small Quantity Generator (VSQG), producing 220 lbs. (100 kgs) or less of hazardous waste monthly.

But be advised that state agencies often have more stringent reporting requirements. For example:

  • Some states require annual as opposed to biennial reports—25 of them at last count
  • Notification of “regulated waste activity” might require state-specific paperwork in lieu of federal forms
  • Time intervals between required accumulations might be tighter

Also, federal restrictions are much more stringent for acutely hazardous wastes: the kind that will cause death, disabling personal injury, or serious illness.

Have we mentioned that expert advice is crucial?

What needs to be reported?

Along with your EPA ID and the name & address of your facility, the EPA wants to know the quantity of hazardous waste you’ve sent to each TSDF during 2020 and 21, as well as:

  • The name, address, and EPA ID of those TSDFs 
  • The name and EPA ID of the transporter(s) you used to get it there
  • And a description of the hazardous waste (by EPA hazardous waste number)

But also—perhaps ominously—they want you to describe:

  • What efforts you’ve undertaken during 2020 and 21 to reduce the volume & toxicity of the hazardous wastes you generate
  • Any changes in hazardous waste volume and toxicity you’ve achieved during those areas in comparison to previous years  

Your biennial report needs to be certified—i.e. signed—by you or your authorized representative. An “authorized representative” is a person responsible for the overall operation of your site (i.e., plant manager or superintendent, or some other kahuna with equal responsibility).

Your site identification form

Your biennial report needs to be accompanied by another form, called the Site Identification Form—or Site ID. You can file the Site ID electronically, but you do so by contacting your regional authority, which might be an EPA district office, but the chances are it’s a state thing with a name like “Alabama Department of Environmental Management.” 

To figure out your situation, look here.

The Site ID must also bear the autograph of someone in your organization legally considered an owner; operator; or an authorized representative.

The upshot

Familiarity with the nuances of EPA reporting requirements is necessary for successful hazardous waste management, but it’s not sufficient. Individual states can impose reporting burdens that are more restrictive than their EPA counterparts—and very often do. 

Running afoul of this matrix of state and federal reporting demands can be expensive, litigious, and time-consuming. So as in all things concerning hazardous waste management, you need to get expert advice.

Contact us. Or call 888.681.8923

And thank you for reading our blog!

Disposal of hazardous waste doesn’t have to be painful.