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January 27, 2020
The 2019 biennial report – are you ready to submit it?
By Elizabeth M Dickinson, JD, Senior Legal Editor - EHS

As hazardous waste large quantity generators (LQGs) and hazardous waste treatment, storage, and disposal facilities (TSDFs) know all too well, the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) requires them to report every two years on the quantities, types, and management methods of hazardous wastes generated on-site and hazardous wastes received from off-site sources. Referred to by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as the Hazardous Waste Report (EPA Form 8700-13 A/B ), aka the Biennial Report, this report must be submitted by March 1 of every even-numbered year with information of the facility’s hazardous waste activities during the previous odd-numbered calendar year. Therefore, the report must be filed by March 1, 2020.

Let’s go over the reporting basics, examine the circumstances that would requiring filing of the report by small quantity generators (SQGs), and some of the mistakes that are commonly made when preparing the Biennial Report.

Who must report and for what period

LQGs and TSDFs are still required to report, but as a result of revisions to the hazardous waste regulatory program for generators in 2017, facilities that recycle regulated hazardous waste without first storing the waste (i.e., the facility does not have a RCRA Part B storage permit) must also report for calendar year 2019. Such facilities could include small quantity generators (SQGs) that would be otherwise exempt from filing a Biennial Report. In addition, circumstances where an SQG or very small quantity generator (VSQG) generates hazardous waste from an episodic event would require the SQG or VSQG to submit at least one of the four forms that comprise the Biennial Report.

Generators should bear in mind that an LQG must complete and submit a Biennial Report if the generator was an LQG for at least one month of the reporting year and the LQG:

  • Shipped any hazardous waste off-site to a TSDF within the United States; or
  • Treated, stored, or disposed of hazardous waste on-site.

To clear up any confusion, the EPA has emphasized that the LQG must identify in the Biennial Report all hazardous waste generated in the calendar year and not just for the month in which the generator was an LQG.

Common mistakes made on the Biennial Report forms

Errors on the Biennial Report may result in violations that can cause a facility to fall out of compliance. Here are some mistakes that are commonly made on the Biennial Report, but that can be easily avoided:

  • Failing to submit the report by March 1st;
  • Not submitting all the required forms;
  • Failing to complete every item on the forms;
  • Not indicating the current generator status which may be different from the status for the reporting year;
  • Entering a management method code for which the facility is not permitted. (Incineration, fuel burning, and fuel blending are distinct categories that are often erroneously interchanged.)
  • Entering as on-site management a wastewater that is exempt under a federal exclusion;
  • Failing to have the Site Identification Form certified by an “authorized representative.”

Note that filing the report electronically instead of on paper may help cut down on errors.

Changes to the 2019 Report

For the 2019 and subsequent Biennial Reports, a few source, form, and management method codes were added.

2019 pharmaceutical rule. For example, if the 2019 "Management of Pharmaceutical Waste" regulations at 40 CFR 266, Subpart P are in effect in your state, and you are either a healthcare facility or a reverse distributor operating under these regulations, you must complete new Item 11.D of the Site ID Form. A new Source Code. G76, has also been added on the GM Form for evaluated hazardous waste pharmaceuticals accumulated by a reverse distributor.

2018 exemption for airbag waste. Another new Source Code, G77, is for airbag waste received from airbag waste handlers conditionally exempt from hazardous waste regulation under 40 CFR 261.4(j) as of 2018. In addition, those who qualify for the airbag exemption will need to be aware of new Form Code W006 and Management Method Code H015.

If you haven’t already, gather your records and complete the process

With only a little over a month until the filing date, now’s the time to finalize the Biennial Report. Be sure that you have consulted your records on quantities and types of hazardous waste generated, managed, shipped, or received by your facility. Helpful records often include:

  • Hazardous waste manifests
  • Previously submitted Biennial Reports
  • Records of hazardous waste generated or accumulated on-site
  • Results of laboratory analyses of wastes (i.e. records of waste determination)
  • Contracts and agreements with off-site facilities that manage your wastes
  • Copies of permits for on-site waste management systems
  • Land disposal restriction documentation

Recognizing common mistakes made on the Biennial Report, familiarizing yourself with the changes made to the 2019 Biennial Report forms, and reviewing the records that help you complete the report will help ensure a smooth path to the March 1, 2020 submittal deadline.