Changes to the 2015 biennial report form: you’re in luck
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July 07, 2015
Changes to the 2015 biennial report form: you’re in luck
By Elizabeth M Dickinson, JD, Senior Legal Editor - EHS

It’s not too early to think about 2016

Every two years, before the March 1 submission deadline for EPA’s Hazardous Waste Report (aka the biennial report), the Agency releases the Hazardous Waste Report form (EPA Form 8700-13 A/B), which most often includes changes from the form used 2 years before. Sometimes the revisions are relatively minor (as in 2011 when a few form codes and definitions were added, several source code descriptions were revised, and two forms were tweaked) and sometimes the revisions are more complicated (as in 2013 when management method codes were consolidated, waste minimization codes and source codes were revised, and new NAICS codes were added).

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Often the revised form is not released by the EPA until the late fall of the reporting year, preventing the hazardous waste large quantity generator (LQG) or treatment, storage, or disposal facility (TSDF) from getting a head start on reviewing and absorbing the changes before the March 1 submission date a few months later. For reporting year 2015, however, the stars have aligned for the regulated environmental community: not only is the form available now, the changes will not impact TSDFs, and it will help a hazardous waste generator to determine if it is a LQG.

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EPA clarifies what is an LQG

The changes to the 2015 Hazardous Waste Report redefine the definitions of LQG, SQG, and CESQG for the purpose of helping a hazardous waste generator better understand whether or not it needs to file the report. Under the federal rules, the only generators that must file the biennial report are LQGs, but as the EPA explains, "current RCRA regulations do not specifically define the term 'large quantity generator'." The components of what quantities of generated hazardous and acute hazardous waste constitute a LQG are only understood by comparing these descriptions of generators found throughout the RCRA hazardous waste regulations:

  • The 40 CFR 261.5 definition of CESQG (generation of no more than 100 kilograms (kg) of hazardous waste in a calendar month; generation of less than or equal to one kg of acute hazardous wastes in a calendar month)
  • The 40 CFR 260.10 definition of SQG (generation of less than 1,000 kg of hazardous waste in a calendar month)
  • The description in 40 CFR 262.34(d) of the generator who qualifies for accumulating waste for up to 180 days (generation of more than 100 kg but less than 1000 kg of hazardous waste in a calendar month—clearly an SQG based on the previous two definitions)
  • The description in 40 CFR 262.34(b) of the generator that qualifies for accumulating waste for up to 90 days (generation of 1,000 kg or more of hazardous waste or more than 1 kg of acute hazardous waste in a calendar month—this must be a LQG, as the other classes have been defined)

So, it’s almost by default that one reaches the conclusion as to what quantities of generated hazardous waste are associated with being an LQG.

It is, as the EPA specifically states in the instructions to the 2015 biennial report form, helpful "for purposes of clarity" to define what an LQG is in order to assist generators in determining whether they need to file the biennial report. The EPA notes in the report's instructions that it is "revising" the definitions of the three generator classes in order "to describe all those situations where a generator would be an LQG" and those situations in which a generator in one of the other two generator classes "would continue to be an SQG" or "would continue to be a CESQG."

Through these changes, the EPA appears to be consolidating the bits and pieces of regulatory language found throughout the RCRA regulations and coming up with complete, stand-alone definitions of the three generator classes. The EPA has not changed the quantities of hazardous waste associated with each class of generator, it has just revised the descriptive language to better communicate the parameters of the hazardous waste that each generator class can generate.

Here are EPA’s revised generator definitions as found in the instructions to the 2015 Hazardous Waste Report form.

LQG. “For purposes of providing information in this report, the site is an LQG if the site generates any of the following amounts in a calendar month:
(i) Greater than or equal to 1,000 kilograms (kg; 2,200 pounds [lb]) of nonacute RCRA hazardous waste; or
(ii) Greater than 1 kg (2.2 lb) of any RCRA acute hazardous waste listed in sections 261.31 or 261.33(e); or
(iii) Greater than 100 kg (220 lb) of any residue or contaminated soil, waste, or other debris resulting from the cleanup of a spill, into or on any land or water, of any acute hazardous wastes listed in sections 261.31 or 261.33(e).”

SQG. “This site is an SQG if the site meets all of the following criteria:
(i) Generates, in any calendar month, more than 100 kg (220 lb) but less than 1,000 kg (2,200 lb) of RCRA hazardous waste; and
(ii) Does not generate, in any calendar month, more than 1 kg (2.2 lb) of acute hazardous waste listed in sections 261.31 or 261.33(e); and
(iii) Does not generate more than 100 kg (220 lb) of material from the cleanup of any residue or contaminated soil, waste, or other debris resulting from the cleanup of a spill, into or on any land or water, of any acute hazardous wastes listed in sections 261.31 or 261.33(e).”

CESQG. “This site is a CESQG if the site generates less than or equal to the following amounts in a calendar month:
(i) 100 kg (220 lb) of hazardous waste; and
(ii) 1 kg (2.2 lb) of acute hazardous wastes listed in sections 261.31, or 261.33(e); and
(iii) 100 kg (220 lb) of any residue or contaminated soil, waste, or other debris resulting from the cleanup of a spill, into or on any land or water, of any acute hazardous wastes listed in sections 261.31, or 261.33(e).”

Do these revised definitions serve another purpose?

Don’t be surprised if these definitions show up in EPA’s soon-to-be-proposed Hazardous Waste Generator Improvement Rule. The EPA may have dropped such a hint when it noted in the biennial report instructions that the Agency ‘plans to make the appropriate conforming change to the outdated definition of an SQG at 40 CFR 260.10 in the future.”

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