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Why Your Choice of a Haz Waste TSDF Matters

Posted on 3/26/2019 by Roseanne Bottone

The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) mandates a “cradle-to-grave” management system for hazardous waste. The “grave” is more commonly known as a TSDF (Treatment, Storage and Disposal Facility)—your hazardous waste’s final resting place.

Choosing the best TSDF for your waste is essential for several reasons:

Hazardous Waste Manifest Certifications

Every time large quantity generators sign the Uniform Hazardous Waste Manifest, they are attesting to having selected “the practicable method of treatment, storage, or disposal currently available to me which minimizes the present and future threat to human health and the environment.” Small quantity generators certify that they have selected “the best waste management method that is available to me….” [40 CFR 262.27] Commonly, the generator’s waste vendor vets several TSDFs to use for their clients.

Meet EPA's annual hazardous waste training mandate. The RCRA Hazardous Waste Management Workshop returns to Houston, Dallas, Detroit, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, and Cincinnati in May 2019. 

Limiting Future CERCLA Liability

CERCLA (Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation and Liability Act) liability extends beyond the grave. If there is a release to the environment of the hazardous waste or its treatment residue, the “superfund” laws require cleanup and enforce the concept of “strict liability.” This means that your company can be on the hook for cleanup and other associated costs even if your company is not responsible for the release and has done everything legally. Since you have “arranged for disposal,” you are potentially liable for releases.

It's Just Good Business

Selecting the TSDF that best meets your company’s needs is environmentally sound policy and a good business practice.

It is prudent to compare several TSDFs by using standardized, objective, and quantitative methods. You should have standardized key criteria to assess. Objective measurements may include A.M. Best or Moody ratings for insurance coverage; the numbers and types of notices of violations given to the TSDF; or customer ratings. For your assessment to be quantitative, you may want to use a weighting system for each line item.

When Evaluating a TSDF, Consider These General Topics:

  • General Site Management, including spill and fire prevention, employee training, and recordkeeping protocol.
  • Waste Acceptance, including use of the manifest system, secondary containment, and storage options.
  • Transportation Services, such as pickups, route planning, driver qualifications, and DOT certification.
  • Discharges, including permits and de-containment.
  • The Surrounding Area, including buffer zones and flood levels.
  • Financial Assurances, including insurance ratings, closure and post-closure funding, bankruptcies, and stability.
  • Compliance History, including a history of fines and penalties and recent inspection reports.
You may leave the choice of TSDF to your waste vendor with the understanding that the genereator is legall responsible for the consequences, or you may purchase an unbiased report from a third-party vendor that conducts these types of evaluations. 

TSDF Evaluation Checklist for Generators

If you’ve completed Lion’s RCRA Hazardous Waste Management Workshop or online course in the last 12 months, you can access a prototype of a Generator TSDF Selection Checklist to help you evaluate possible partners (Requires Member Login).

Join Us for RCRA Training in Midwest Cities

Not a Lion Member? Get a full year of access to exclusive updates, resources, and training discounts when you join us for a RCRA workshop in 2019. You will meet EPA’s annual training mandate and keep your expertise up to date with recent revisions to the RCRA regulations under EPA’s “Generator Improvements Rule.”

The RCRA Hazardous Waste Management Workshop comes to Grand Rapids, Chicago, St. Louis, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Detroit, and more in April and May. 
See the 2019 schedule here.

Tags: hazardous waste management, RCRA, RCRA compliance',, training, TSDF

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