New RCRA Rules Take Effect Today!

Posted on 5/26/2017 by James Griffin

Today’s the day!

The US EPA’s Hazardous Waste Generator Improvement Rule will have a major impact on the way sites nationwide manage waste. The new rules take effect today, May 30th, 2017, across the USA.

Or do they? 

As of today, when the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) implements the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act of 1976 as amended, the Agency will enforce RCRA in line with the changes in the Generator Improvement Rule (GIR), in jurisdictions without authorized independent RCRA enforcement programs.

As of now, this includes Alaska, Iowa, and some insular areas and Indian reservations.
Every other US state, plus Washington DC, is authorized by the US EPA to implement its own RCRA program.

Understanding RCRA State Authorization

Authorization means that (with certain exceptions) the State-level government has:
  1. Created a set of laws and regulations that are equivalent to, and at least as stringent as, the Federal RCRA Statute (42 U.S.C. 6900 et. seq.) and Regulations (40 CFR 260–279);
  2. Established a department, agency, or office to implement and enforce such program; and
  3. Obtained authorization from US EPA to do so.
When the US EPA authorizes a state to implement RCRA, it means that the state-level agency enforces the state-level laws and regulations in the jurisdiction of that state, and the US EPA is mostly hands-off.

When the US EPA amends Federal hazardous waste regulations to create new requirements, states are required to adopt equivalent requirements into their own programs. If the State program is already implementing similar requirements, the state may not need to take any action.

When the US EPA amends the Federal RCRA hazardous waste regulations to create new reliefs, states are NOT required to adopt equivalent reliefs. 

How and When States Will Adopt the New RCRA Rules

The Hazardous Waste Generator Improvements rule contains three kinds of rule changes:
  1. New reliefs, such as the new relief for episodic generation and others. 
  2. New more stringent requirements like those for Satellite Accumulation Areas, contingency planning, and container markings.
  3. Non-substantive and re-organization changes: Many of the provisions of the Generator Improvements Rule don’t change the day-to-day requirements that generators must follow, but do change where the rule is found in 40 CFR or how it’s formatted. For example, many of the provisions of 40 CFR Part 265 that generators were already required to follow will move to a new home in Part 262.
blue-Drums-stacked.jpgAuthorized Plan States (i.e., every state except Alaska and Iowa) must adopt the new more stringent requirements to retain their authorization. If these states fail to adopt the more stringent RCRA provisions, then US EPA must revoke their authorization and begin implementing the hazardous waste regulations directly.

Authorized Plan States have two years (until June 1, 2019) to adopt the new more stringent requirements into their own laws and regulations.

New Jersey and Pennsylvania are Authorized Plan States. But because of the way these states incorporate updates to the Federal RCRA rules into their State programs, the major changes in the Generator Improvements Rule will take effect immediately in those two states.

Authorized Plan States are NOT required to incorporate new reliefs.
Authorized Plan States are NOT required to alter the layout or format of their regulations to match the editorial changes EPA has made in 40 CFR. 

This Summer: RCRA Training on New Rules

Lion’s RCRA Hazardous Waste Management Workshop curriculum is now updated to cover the major changes in EPA’s Hazardous Waste Generator Improvements Rule. Join us live to find out how these new requirements impact your facility, get updated RCRA regulations, and leave with a full year of Lion Membership for ongoing support and fast answers to your compliance questions. 

Starting June 5, catch the workshop in Portsmouth, Albany, Boston, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Hartford, New Jersey, Rochester, Williamsburg, Charlotte, Orlando, Atlanta, Birmingham, Nashville, Memphis, Little Rock, Tulsa, New Orleans, Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, Seattle, Las Vegas and Phoenix.

Read More About the Hazardous Waste Generator Improvements Rule

We’ve been writing about EPA’s RCRA Hazardous Waste Generator Improvements Rule for nearly two years, which means there is a wealth of content to help you sort through the major changes and how they will impact your site. Get a head start—or take a trip down memory lane—with these Lion News features:  

Live RCRA Update Webinar: New Session Added

Working_On_Computer_2.jpgIf you haven’t joined us for a session yet, you now have another chance! In response to overwhelming demand for RCRA update training, Lion today added an extra session of theHazardous Waste Generator Improvements Rule Webinar to our 2017 schedule, to be presented on June 20 from 1—3 PM ET.
In 90 minutes, we cover the biggest changes to RCRA and what you need to do to stay in compliance. Get your questions answered during the presentation and take away a digital compliance reference you will refer to again and again as you get accustomed to the revised RCRA requirements, structure, and vocabulary.  

Only four sessions left: June 20, July 18, September 12, and November 29. 

Sign up now!

Tags: hazardous, new rules, RCRA, waste

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