Audit, Compliance and Risk Blog

EPA Repeals Vacated Secondary Waste Management Rules

Posted by Jon Elliott on Tue, Jul 10, 2018

On May 30, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) repealed a number of regulations governing recycling of secondary materials, which EPA adopted as parts of a major rulemaking effective July 2015, but which were rejected by a federal court in decisions issued in July 2017 and March 2018. These rules apply the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) by creating exemptions from the “Definition of Solid Waste” to define a number of potentially hazardous wastes as “hazardous secondary materials”, and to establish special rules to allow generators and qualified third parties to recycle and recover qualifying materials. (I summarized the larger 2015 rules here). The remainder of this note identifies EPA’s latest changes.

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Tags: RCRA, Hazcom, Environmental, Environmental risks

The US Green Building Council’s New LEED v4 Rating System

Posted by Rebecca Luman on Thu, Dec 15, 2016

The US Green Building Council (USGBC), founded in 1993, is a consensus-based nonprofit organization with more than 12,000 national members representing the entire building industry. USGBC plays an important role in providing leadership and integration for the building industry in driving sustainable building.

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Tags: Environmental, RCRA, Environmental risks, Health & Safety, EHS

U.S. Commission on Civil Rights Criticizes EPA’s Environmental Justice Efforts

Posted by Jon Elliott on Tue, Oct 18, 2016

In September 2016, the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights (Commission) issued its annual “Statutory Enforcement Report for 2016”; this year’s topic is the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) efforts to protect and promote “Environmental Justice.” The Commission reviews decades of EPA efforts, and criticizes longstanding inadequacies.

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Tags: EPA, Environmental, ghg, Environmental risks, Hazcom, RCRA, Health & Safety


Posted by Rebecca Luman on Thu, Oct 06, 2016

To improve the efficiency of RCRA Corrective Action, in 2014, EPA Regions 3 and 7 began a pilot to implement RCRA Corrective Action using Lean process analysis with the goal of clarifying goals and expectations early in the process. The Lean process is a collection of principles and methods that focus on the systematic identification and elimination of non-value-added activity involved in producing a product or delivering a service to customers. Within the RCRA Corrective Action program, the Lean process was used to remove various redundant steps and frontload goals and expectations through a corrective action framework (CAF), resulting in significant time savings.

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Tags: EHS, RCRA, Environmental, Environmental risks, Hazcom, EPA

EPA Proposes Next Step Toward e-Manifests

Posted by Jon Elliott on Thu, Sep 29, 2016

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulates hazardous wastes under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). These regulations include a detailed national system governing hazardous waste shipments from generators to offsite management facilities. In October 2012, RCRA was amended by the Hazardous Waste Electronic Manifest Establishment Act, authorizing EPA to implement a national electronic manifest system. In 2014, EPA adopted regulations to govern the new electronic system (I blogged about the rules here), but deferred compliance provisions (including specific electronic formats) while the agency continues to work on its data collection and management system.

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Tags: EPA, Environmental, Hazcom, RCRA

Nearly Time For Hazardous Waste Biennial Reports

Posted by Jon Elliott on Thu, Feb 25, 2016

Federal laws (commonly referred to as RCRA, after the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act of 1976) provide comprehensive management requirements for parties involved in hazardous waste management, from “cradle to grave” covering generators, transporters, and offsite management facilities. Among these many provisions are requirements that “large quantity generators (LQGs)” submit biennial reports to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) or delegated states in March of every even-numbered year. March 2016 is the next such deadline, so now is a good time to review biennial report requirements.

Who Must File Biennial Reports?

A facility that was an LQG during calendar year 2015 must file a biennial report. LQGs are defined as a facility that generates either of the following during a calendar month:

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Tags: OSHA, EHS, EPA, Hazcom, RCRA

EPA Proposes To Revise Hazardous Waste Import-Export Requirements

Posted by Jon Elliott on Wed, Oct 14, 2015

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administers rules governing the import and export of hazardous waste regulated by the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). These rules implement requirements established by RCRA, and also ensure that the U.S. meets its international responsibilities as a member of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) by creating national rules that meet agreed-upon OECD standards. The proposal should appear in the Federal Register soon, opening a 60 day comment period after which EPA will decide whether to finalize the changes.

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Tags: Health & Safety, Environmental risks, Environmental, EPA, Hazcom, RCRA, Canadian

New EPA Rules For Recycling Of Selected Hazardous Wastes

Posted by Jon Elliott on Wed, Feb 18, 2015

The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) and its state counterparts provide requirements to govern hazardous wastes during every step of their management, from “cradle to grave.” Although these rules are intended to improve management and provide incentives for recycling and other beneficial uses of hazardous wastes, many organizations find many of the rules unnecessarily onerous – and therefore potentially counterproductive if they actually discourage beneficial activities. In addition, over time changes in technologies, commercial activities and regulatory priorities reveal gaps in existing rules. In January, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) revised its “Definition of Solid Waste” rules governing a number of potentially hazardous wastes that it instead considers to be “hazardous secondary materials”, and the range of recycling and recovery activities eligible for special regulatory considerations. The revisions become effective on July 13, 2015.

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Tags: Environmental risks, Environmental, EPA, Hazcom, RCRA

How Can Hazardous Wastes Be Treated?

Posted by Jon Elliott on Mon, Jan 26, 2015

After a facility determines it has generated hazardous waste, it must determine how to manage that waste in compliance with the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act of 1976 (RCRA), regulations issued by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and their state equivalents. (I recently wrote about hazardous waste determination, here and here).

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Tags: Corporate Governance, Health & Safety, Environmental, EHS, EPA, Hazcom, RCRA

Waste Identification Part I: Is My Material A “Solid” “Waste”?

Posted by Jon Elliott on Mon, Dec 01, 2014

Federal and state laws govern “hazardous wastes”—the federal law is commonly called RCRA, after the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act of 1976. However, RCRA itself was enacted as an expansion of the prior Solid Waste Disposal Act (SWDA) of 1965, and requirements for both solid and hazardous wastes have been revised many times in recent decades. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administers these requirements nationally, delegating many provisions to individual states that qualify for authorization to assume regulatory roles.

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Tags: Business & Legal, Health & Safety, Environmental risks, Environmental, EPA, Hazcom, RCRA