In some ways, it was the most significant new regulation for hazardous waste in the 21st century.
In other ways, all it did was rearrange old stuff into a more convenient, intuitive order.
Here we’ll break down one of most subtle, yet impactful, changes for hazardous waste generators in US EPA’s Generator Improvements Rule. Build in-depth expertise to keep your site in compliance with new and changing RCRA rules when the RCRA Hazardous Waste Management Workshop
comes to Minneapolis, Cedar Rapids, Chicago, St. Louis, Louisville, Cincinnati, and Indianapolis in September.
Something Old and Something New
As one state after another adopt provisions of EPA’s Generator Improvements Rule (GIR), it’s critical that facilities understand the parts of the new rules that are more stringent than the previous regulations.
One of the GIR’s new, more stringent requirements is found at 40 CFR 262.11
Under this section, persons who generate solid waste MUST determine whether that waste is listed as hazardous waste and/or exhibits hazardous waste characteristic(s) at the point-of-generation. That’s the part that already existed at 262.11, before the GIR.
The new part is in paragraphs (f) and (g) of 262.11, which state that generators MUST document the waste determination process and keep records of the process and all supporting documentation.
To recap: Under the old version of the rule, if you created any documentation while performing a waste determination, you were required to keep those documents (40 CFR 262.40).
Under the new version of the rule, you must document the waste determination process and keep those records. EPA also incorporated the recordkeeping requirement into 262.11. Because RCRA already required generators to make accurate waste determinations, many may already have the documentation they need to comply with the new recordkeeping rule.
Note: While US EPA does not require records for non-waste determinations or for non-hazardous-waste determinations, some states do. So, it may be a best practice for some generators to keep records of those non-RCRA determinations as well.
What Goes in a Waste Determination Record?
Per 40 CFR 262.11(f), waste determination records must include the following types of information:
The results of any tests, sampling, waste analyses, or other determinations made in accordance with this section;
records documenting the tests, sampling, and analytical methods used to demonstrate the validity and relevance of such tests;
records consulted in order to determine the process by which the waste was generated, the composition of the waste, and the properties of the waste; and
records which explain the knowledge basis for the generator’s determination…
Even if you can classify a hazardous waste without testing by relying on your knowledge of its source, ingredients, and/or properties; you still must document the basis of your knowledge. Such records could include safety data sheets (SDS), recipes, quality tests, etc.
How Long to Keep RCRA Waste Determination Records?
Generators must keep archives of their hazardous waste determinations for three years, starting from the last time a waste stream is shipped.
This duration is automatically extended if there’s an unresolved enforcement action. The recordkeeping retention requirement is similar in scope to most other RCRA recordkeeping rules.
How Do RCRA Waste Determination Records Impact LDRs?
Before you send waste off site for disposal, you’ve got to treat it, or at least ensure it will be treated, to the applicable Standards from 40 CFR 268.40 [See 40 CFR 268.7].
Part of your responsibility is to notify the Treatment, Storage, or Disposal Facility (TSDF) that the waste may need treatment before disposal or to certify to the TSDF that the waste does not need treatment. Hazardous waste generators were always required to keep records of this communication with the TSDF, as well as supporting data and analysis.
Much of the data and analysis you’d use to identify what treatment (if any) a waste stream needs is also useful for doing the waste determination under the new requirement 40 CFR 262.11.
This recordkeeping requirement, while new, is a good example of how the RCRA Generator Improvements Rule largely repurposed and reorganized existing law and hazardous waste policy, rather than creating brand new mandates.
RCRA Hazardous Waste Management Training
Get up to speed with US EPA’s major updates to the RCRA hazardous waste standards, made under the “Generator Improvements Rule.” This RCRA training workshop provides critical updates on crucial terms and definitions, RCRA recycling rules, contingency planning, counting hazardous waste, container labeling, and much more. Meet EPA’s initial or annual refresher training requirement and take home resources that are already updated to account for changes to EPA’s 40 CFR Part 262.
In September: Minneapolis, Cedar Rapids, Chicago, St. Louis, Louisville, Cincinnati
In October: Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Atlanta, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Orlando, Detroit, Nashville, Charlotte, Dallas, Houston