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.Read More
Audit, Compliance and Risk Blog
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.Read More
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.Read More
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:
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.
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.
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).
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.
The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) requires you to document all shipments of regulated hazardous wastes. Domestic transportation is documented using Uniform Hazardous Waste Manifests, which are shipping documents prescribed by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) which revises Manifest forms occasionally—including major changes back in 2006. Now EPA has acted again, to create an electronic manifest (“e-Manifest”) option that will take force once EPA finishes the web-page data system required to receive and manage electronic filings.
All hazardous wastes are not created equal. The basic model is that: