Beyond the "Grave": Getting LDRs Right

Posted on 9/24/2018 by Donna Shurley

land_fill.jpgThe RCRA hazardous waste rules regulate hazardous wastes from “cradle-to-grave.” But as generators, our responsibilities for compliance actually go beyond the grave. If a waste is buried properly, but the containers later leak, the generator may be held responsible for damage done to the soil, groundwater, or public health.

So when you send waste off for disposal, it pays to know for sure that you’ve given your treatment, storage, and disposal facility (TSDF) the information they will need to properly lay your waste to rest.

Basics of LDRs

Land disposal restriction treatment standards—just naming the requirement is a mouthful all by itself.  Called LDR’s for short, these standards are treatments that must be applied to hazardous waste before it can safely and legally be placed in or on the ground, in its final resting place (the “grave” in “cradle-to-grave”).

Once you’ve reviewed your hazardous waste against the applicable LDRs, you must communicate with your Treatment, Storage, or Disposal Facility (TSDF) to let them know if your hazardous waste meets applicable LDR’s or does not meet those standards.

LDR paperwork can be onerous. The two basic types of LDR documentation--LDR notifications and LDR certifications--each have a distinct purpose and call for different information to be shared.

To read these rules for yourself, check out 40 CFR 268.7.

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Now let’s take a detailed look at when we should use an LDR notification and when to use an LDR certification. Because whether you issue a notification or certification, the documents follow a specific format and must include detailed information about the hazardous waste. Either document must also reflect the manifest document number of the first shipment of that particular hazardous waste to the TSDF.

When Do I Send a TSDF My LDR Paperwork?

LDR-landfill.gifThere are a few occasions when generators are required to send LDR notification or certification to a TSDF. Again, this paperwork must accompany the first off-site shipment of any hazardous waste to any TSDF.

When you generate a brand-new waste stream, the LDR paperwork must accompany the first off-site shipment. If an existing waste’s profile changes in some way, you must include a new LDR document with the first shipment of that waste.

The same is true for changing your TSDF. If you’ve never shipped a particular waste to a particular TSDF before, a new LDR document must accompany the first shipment.

What Goes On an LDR Notification or Certification?

Each new notification or certification must reflect the significant hazardous waste codes, “D” codes for characteristic hazardous waste and the “F and K” or “P and U” codes for listed hazardous waste. These waste codes inform the TSDF of exactly what treatment standards must be applied to the waste before it can be placed in a land-based disposal facility, e.g., a landfill.

The “treatability group” must be included, i.e., whether the waste is considered a wastewater or a non-wastewater. The TSDF needs to know which subcategory, which is a fancy way to say description, applies to the waste stream/profile.

Finally, the TSDF needs any analytical data associated with the waste. Now that we have all of this information identified and included on the document, we must review 40 CFR 268.7 for specific statements that may need to be included on the documentation.

That’s a lot of work! Yes, it is. Many generators rely on their TSDF to perform this step for them. That said, it is the generator’s responsibility to ensure that the information provided to the TSDF is accurate and correct.hazardous-waste-loading.jpg

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LDR Notifications

So far, we’ve discussed the commonalities between LDR notifications and LDR certifications. Now let’s talk about the differences. Let’s think about the two types of LDR documentation; notifications and certifications. The names of the paperwork give us a clue as to what they are all about.

Let’s start with notification. What are we doing when we issue a notification? We’re notifying the TSDF about something to do with the waste stream/profile.

A notification is used to notify the TSDF that:
  • Our waste does not meet the current LDR treatment standards and the TSDF must treat that waste stream before it can be sent to the landfill; or
  • That as a generator we did not evaluate the waste stream/profile against the LDR treatment standards and we would like for the TSDF to perform that step for us.
Often called a land-band form, the LDR notification tells the TSDF that our waste is not ready to be placed in/or on the land in a final resting place. In other words, our waste is banned from being placed in/or on the land until the TSDF has completed evaluating and performing treatment standards for the waste.

What about LDR Certifications?

So what are we doing when we issue a certification? We’re certifying something.
A certification is when we certify to the TSDF that our waste meets all applicable LDR treatment standards and can be placed in/or on the land.

In certain circumstances, such as a lab pack, we may certify that we have met a specific requirement such as not including any of the waste codes that are prohibited in lab-packs. In short, a certification is certifying that the waste meets LDR requirements.

LDR Recordkeeping for Generators

As generators of waste, we must keep records demonstrating that all applicable land disposal restriction treatment standards that applied at the point-of-generation for a waste have been identified and met (the certification) or must be identified and/or met by the TSDF (the notification).
Whether a generator determined the status of LDR treatment standards based solely on his or her knowledge of the waste or used analytical data, all supporting data used to make the determination must be kept on-site and readily available for review for the past three (3) years.

All of the documents used in making determinations must be kept for as long as the generator is creating that specific waste plus an additional three (3) years from the last time the waste was shipped offsite.

The bottom line is this: All hazardous waste must meet all LDR treatment standards before it can be placed in/or on the land. We must, as generators, communicate to the TSDF through the notification or certification the status of the LDR determination. We must keep all records used in making these determinations.

Master EPA’s Hazardous Waste Land Disposal Restrictions

computer-(1).jpgLDRs are one of the most complex, confusing parts of the RCRA hazardous waste regulations. Discover a simple, 5-step approach to ensure your waste is properly treated and disposed of with the LDR Online Course.

A robust understanding of EPA’s Land Disposal Restrictions for hazardous waste will help you to prevent releases to the environment, redundant treatment costs, and future CERCLA liability.

Tags: hazardous, hazardous wste treatment, land disposal restrictions, LDR, RCRA, waste

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