In September, the EPA proposed rule changes to the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) Subtitle C hazardous waste generator program that could relieve some stress for generators, allowing them to operate within the rules in a much easier way.
One of the changes deals with the ability to avoid the increased burden of a higher generator status when hazardous waste generation spikes in the frame of a month, in an unexpected manner. The second of the changes discusses the ability of a Conditionally Exempt Small Quantity Generator (CESQG) to send waste to Large Quantity Generators (LQGs) while under the control of the same management personnel.
The rules, as they’re currently enforced, can create problems in day-to-day business activities for generators and unnecessarily drive up the cost of compliance instead of providing better protection of the environment.
Let’s look at the proposed changes a bit more closely.
Avoiding a Higher Hazardous Waste Generator Status Due to Episodic Waste
Generators do not always produce the same amount of hazardous waste from month to month and, under the current rule, this can create a problem if they happen to see a spike in the volume of their waste.
The new proposal would allow generators to avoid this higher hazardous waste generator status when generating episodic waste. Generating more waste in a given month doesn’t necessarily mean the generator is generating more on a routine basis. It could be the result of unknown spike or, for example, unused materials that were found and needed to be discarded.
In the aforementioned examples, it simply isn’t sensible, practical, or fair for generators to have their generator status changed based on one or two anomalies. Making a change to this rule would make staying in compliance easier for many generators and would also save them time.
Consolidation of Waste Between CESQG Locations and LQG Locations Under the Same Staff’s Control
Frequently, big companies operate smaller locations that are deemed CESQGs. These locations generate small amounts of hazardous material and don’t have the staff to manage its accumulation in an efficient manner. In scenarios like this one, being allowed to consolidate the waste by moving it from a CESQG facility to a LQG facility, that are owned and operated by the same person, makes sense both economically and environmentally.
Under the current rules, generators cannot transport waste material to or from one another and had to go to greater lengths to dispose of the waste. This is not only inefficient for some, but it can make it more difficult to stay in compliance.
If the rule were to change, it would make things a bit easier for these generators by allowing them an easier route to compliance and it would create a much more efficient disposal process. LQGs also must comply with the extensive manifest system and can better ensure wastes are directed to qualified treatment, storage, and disposal facilities.
Commenting on these proposed changes closes on December 24th and, should they go into effect, they’d clearly make the lives of many a lot easier.