RCRA Update: Latest on Generator Improvements Adoption
Update #1: Washington D.C.
Environmental regulators in Washington, D.C. have adopted EPA’s Generator Improvements Rule into the District’s hazardous waste regulations. D.C. adopted the rule in full—adding new, stricter provisions for contingency planning, re-notification, and more, as well as new reliefs such as the counting exemption for waste generated by episodic events.
The revised RCRA requirements took effect immediately on January 20, 2023.
See the full rulemaking here.
With new regulations in effect now, hazardous waste generators in the District of Columbia must comply with detailed new provisions and take up new responsibilities.
Update #2: California
California’s Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) proposed a rule to adopt several more-stringent provisions for hazardous waste generators from the Generator Improvements Rule.A 45-day public comment period opened on Friday, March 24 and closes on May 8. Generators, industry stakeholders, and the general public can submit written comments in two ways:
- Email written comments to firstname.lastname@example.org
- Mail hard-copy written comments to:
Office of Legislation and Regulatory Review
Department of Toxics Substances Control
P.O. Box 806, Sacramento, CA 95802-0806
See the seven stricter requirements California is proposing for adoption in our blog dedicated to DTSC's proposed rule, just published here.
Where is the RCRA Generator Improvements Rule in Effect?
As of March 28, 203,2 thirty-nine (39) states and Washington D.C. have adopted part or all of the RCRA Generator Improvements Rule. On the map below, states in blue have adopted (at least) the mandatory changes from EPA’s 2016 Final Rule.
*Map current as of 03/27/2023
The following states have now incorporated part or all of the RCRA Generator Improvements into their state hazardous waste regulations.
Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Washington D.C., West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.
Add Puerto Rico, American Samoa, the Northern Mariana Islands, and Federal Tribal territories, all of which use the Federal RCRA regulations, to that list.
The number of states to adopt overhauled hazardous waste management regulations from US EPA’s Generator Improvements Rule has held steady at 39, with Washington D.C. now added to the mix.
Hazardous waste generators in eleven states (and Guam) are still waiting for the overhauled, re-organized RCRA requirements to be adopted:
Latest State Authorizations from US EPA
Since May, US EPA has authorized several state authorities to enforce new and revised hazardous waste regulations, including changes from the Generator Improvements Rule.
- North Dakota on October 19, 2022
- Virginia on October 18, 2022
- Tennessee on July 13, 2022
- Michigan on June 15, 2022
- Hawaii on May 3, 2022
EPA authorized six states for program revisions related to the Generator Improvements Rule before May 2022: Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Nevada, North Carolina, and South Carolina.
Hazardous waste generators in states that have adopted the Generator Improvements provisions must comply with the new requirements even if US EPA has not yet authorized those state program changes.
What Does “Authorized” Mean?
US EPA authorizes most states to oversee a state-level hazardous waste program, provided that the state maintains requirements that are at least as stringent as the Federal RCRA regulations.
When a state updates its program, they must submit the changes to US EPA for approval. When EPA gives its final authorization, they officially hand off enforcement powers for those provisions to the state. EPA provides more info about State Authorization on this web page.
All of these states plan to adopt overhauled RCRA standards from US EPA's Generator Improvements Rule in 2023 or 2024.
California (Cal/EPA) has proposed a rule to adopt several more-stringent (i.e., mandatory) provisions of the Generator Improvements Rule. The public comment period opened on March 24 and closes on May 8, 2023.
Connecticut is actively working with US EPA and expects to adopt the Generator Improvements within one year.
Kansas is working to adopt updates to the Federal hazardous waste regulations, including the Generator Improvements Rule, the Hazardous Waste Pharmaceuticals Rule, and other rulemakings. Kansas anticipates that an adoption packet will be available by May 2023.
Maine expects to start drafting changes to its state hazardous waste management rules—including adoption of the Generator Improvements Rule and the Hazardous Waste Pharmaceuticals Rule in 2023.
Massachusetts expects to propose a timeline for adopting the Generator Improvements in early 2023.
Minnesota now plans to publish Land-Related Housekeeping Amendments with a formal public comment period in July 2023. Minnesota will adopt some of the voluntary (i.e., more flexible) provisions from the GIR. Currently, the state does not plan to adopt the allowance for consolidation of VSQG waste nor the relief for episodic generation.
Nebraska is in the process of adopting the Generator Improvements Rule in its entirety, with no precise timeline for implementation.
New Hampshire plans to adopt the Generator Improvements Rule on or before March 30, 2024.
New York will incorporate the GIR into its state regulations as part of an ongoing rulemaking project titled FedReg6, which also includes the Hazardous Waste Pharmaceuticals Rule, revisions to the Definition of Solid Waste (DSW), and relaxed management standards for waste airbags.
Missouri and Rhode Island are working through state-specific issues with EPA before adopting the updated RCRA rules. Both states plan to adopt at least the mandatory provisions.
Washington, D.C. has adopted the Generator Improvements Rule (in full), effective January 20, 2023.
To complete the above list, Lion is actively seeking an update on the status of the rule change in Guam.
Previous Generator Improvements Rule Updates
Montana has incorporated-by-reference revised RCRA regulations, including the Generator Improvements Rule provisions, effective May 14, 2022.
In Vermont, the Generator Improvements Rule provisions are among changes to the hazardous waste regulations that took effect on February 1, 2022.
In Texas, final action to adopt EPA's Generator Improvements Rule and make other significant changes to the state hazardous and industrial waste regulations took effect on February 3, 2022.
Oregon DEQ approved major changes to the state's hazardous waste regulations. Updated rules for hazardous waste generators include the adoption of landmark updates from US EPA's Generator Improvements Rule. Also coming to Oregon: New management standards for hazardous waste pharmaceuticals, aerosols as universal waste and more. The new regulations take effect January 1, 2022.
Maryland has adopted the RCRA Hazardous Waste Generator Improvements Rule. A Notice of Final Action was published to the Maryland Register issued on April 23, 2021 (pp. 359—360). When the rule was proposed, Maryland DOE released a two-page document detailing critical hazardous waste regulatory changes. Effective date: May 3, 2021.
Tennessee has adopted the RCRA Generator Improvements Rule, along with other Federal hazardous waste rule updates. Effective date: May 13, 2021.
Effective January 21, 2021, Delaware has adopted the RCRA Generator Improvements Rule. New regulations concerning aerosols as universal waste, hazardous waste pharmaceuticals, waste airbags, hazardous waste import/export, and electronic Manifests are in effect now in Delaware too.
Nevada adopted the Generator Improvements Rule in 2020, Lion has learned. The updated hazardous waste regulations were signed into law on August 25, 2020.
As of October 2, 2020, Arkansas has adopted five recent RCRA rule updates, including the Generator Improvements Rule, into state Regulation 23. The state's Pollution Control and Ecology Commission (APC&EC) notified stakeholders of the rulemaking by e-mail this week.
Michigan, Ohio, and Wisconsin have all incorporated the RCRA Generator Improvements Rule into their state hazardous waste regulations. Effective dates:
Michigan: August 3, 2020 (Details)
Wisconsin: September 1, 2020 (Details)
Ohio: October 5, 2020 (Details)
Louisiana and North Dakota each adopted the updates in EPA's Generator Improvements Rule in July 2020,
Indiana and Wyoming are the two states to most recently adopt EPA's Generator Improvements Rule. That means half the country (25 states) have now adopted the more stringent RCRA requirements.
The effective date for US EPA’s landmark Generator Improvements Rule (GIR) was May 30, 2017.
States with approved RCRA programs (i.e., all states other than Alaska and Iowa) must adopt at least the more-stringent regulations within one year of the Final Rule’s effective date. If a state needs to change its state law to accommodate changes to its hazardous waste program, the state gets two years to adopt the Generator Improvements Rule.
Both the one-year and two-year deadlines have now passed. If your state has not yet adopted the mandatory elements of the Generator Improvements Rule, you should expect them to very soon.
How the Generator Improvements Rule Makes RCRA Stricter
The following are examples (not all-inclusive) of more stringent requirements from EPA's Generator Improvements Rule:
The recordkeeping and retention requirements for hazardous waste determinations previously found at 40 CFR section 262.40(c) were moved into section 262.11(f), with clarifications on what records must be kept;
Small and Large quantity generators must indicate waste codes on containers before shipping hazardous waste off site to a RCRA permitted treatment, storage, and disposal facility in accordance with the requirements of 40 CFR section 262.32; and
Any generator managing a potentially hazardous waste should manage it in accordance with the generator regulations until such time that the generator is sure that the waste is not hazardous (e.g. while awaiting the results of analysis).
Marking and Labeling
The final rule added a provision for generators to mark hazardous waste containers with an indication of the hazards of the contents.
Emergency Preparedness and Prevention
The GIR added a requirement that the generator must keep documentation of the fact that it has made arrangements with local emergency responders.
LQG’s written contingency plan must include satellite accumulation areas and have a “quick reference guide.”
There are new closure reporting requirements for a large quantity generator’s 90-day central storage area.
Small quantity generators will be required to re-notify starting in 2021 and every four years thereafter using EPA Form 8700-12. This re-notification must be submitted by September 1st of each year in which re-notifications are required.
Watch your State Registers for official notification of when the GIR has been adopted in your state, keep an eye on Lion News for more updates in the future, or visit the EPA website for a list of state adoption activities.
If Your State Has Adopted the GIR...
If your state is pictured in blue on the map above, check your state regulations to see if they adopted the GIR in its entirety.
States are not required to adopt anything that is less stringent then their current regulations.
New RCRA rules that are less stringent include:
Allowing a hazardous waste generator to avoid increased burden of a higher generator status when generating episodic waste provided the episodic waste is properly managed
Allowing a very small quantity generator (VSQG) to send its hazardous waste to a large quantity generator under control of the same person
Venting containers at satellite areas for certain conditions
Removing the need for the home address of Emergency Coordinators
To check your updated state regulations, click here and scroll to your state for the link: Links to Generator Improvements State Regulations.
What if My State Did Not Adopt the GIR Yet?
In states that have not yet adopted the Generator Improvements Rule, Lion recommends that generators comply with the stricter regulations.
In the US, hazardous waste regulation is a joint effort between Federal and state agencies. When US EPA makes changes to the Federal program, states must adopt any updates that make the rules more stringent. States that fail to maintain hazardous waste regulations that are at least as stringent as the Federal RCRA program risk losing their authorization to run a state program.
Did we miss your state? Know something we should add to the next update?
Email rwm@Lion.com and we’ll take a look!
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