BE CAREFUL: MANY U.S. STATES HAVE ANNUAL HAZMAT REPORTING REQUIREMENTS—NOT JUST BIENNIAL ONES
You know the drill…
Every two years the EPA requires LQGs and TSDFs to report the “nature, quantities, and disposition” of hazardous wastes they handle—a hazardous waste management form-filling exercise with the unusually straightforward moniker: Biennial Report.
But whatever you call it, the report needs to be submitted to your “authorized state agency or the EPA Regional Office” by March 1st of every even-numbered year.
We know what you’re thinking: So then I don’t have to worry about it until March 2022. Right? Well not so fast…
Many states require the off-year filing of the EPA Biennial Report
If you live in one of at least 25 U.S. states (last time we looked), you’re required to file an annual report that looks & smells an awful lot like its EPA counterpart, demanding much of the same info & data concerning your hazardous waste management. These are commonly called a State Annual Report…but also keep an eye out for an Annual Waste Summary.
To complicate your life, state agencies often have more stringent reporting requirements than the Fed. For example:
- Required paperwork might be state-specific in lieu of federal forms.
- Intervals between required hazmat accumulations might be tighter.
- If you’re a small quantity generator (SQG), you might need to chat up your state bureaucracy even though the EPA doesn’t want to hear from you.
Also…be careful: the EPA considers you to be an LGQ even if you’ve only once & incidentally generated 2200 lbs. or more of hazardous waste in a single month during a year. And thus, so will your state.
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.
How state annual hazmat reports and EPA biennial reports might converge
You can use EPA Biennial Report requirements as a guideline for what to confess to your state Inquisitors.
Along with the usual requirements for such mundane info as 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 the year, 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 wait…there’s more. Somewhat ominously, you’re beholden to describe to your friendly functionaries at the EPA:
- What efforts you’ve undertaken during the last year to reduce the volume & toxicity of the hazardous wastes you generate
- Any changes in hazardous waste volume and toxicity you’ve achieved during the year in comparison to previous years
Your biennial report (or annual state hazmat 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 a person of equal responsibility).
Some notes on bookkeeping for state annual hazmat reports
Your biennial report must be extant for three years after the due date, but you don’t necessarily need to have it on site.
It can be at your corporate headquarters—far away from any hazardous waste—or maybe in your sock drawer. Just so long as you’re able to provide the EPA with “information on, or access to, these records” upon demand. (So maybe the sock drawer isn’t ideal.)
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 pretty good that it’s something 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 authorized representative.
How can you make filing state annual hazmat reports 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 a 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 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 on site for three years subsequent to your shipping hazardous waste offsite to be treated before disposal.
You might think that the “biennial” nature of EPA large-scale reporting requirements gives you a 365-day hiatus from that chore. But check to make sure that the U.S. state in which you do business doesn’t demand annual reporting. At least half of them do!
Thank you for reading our blog. And contact us for expert advice across all aspects of hazardous material removal and management.