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June 08, 2017
New Hazardous Waste LQG requirements - Is this news to you?
By Elizabeth M Dickinson, JD, Senior Legal Editor - EHS

The Hazardous Waste Generator Improvements Rule (Rule) went into effect at the federal level on May 30, 2017. Many of the new provisions that apply to both small quantity generators (SQGs) and large quantity generators (LQGs) have generated a lot of attention—for example, those related to labeling containers and tanks; waste management in satellite accumulation areas; and updated/additional preparedness, prevention, and emergency procedures.

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However, new requirements that have not received as much of the spotlight are those that apply exclusively to LQGs, including:

  • The “quick reference guide” (i.e., a summary) to the LQG’s contingency plan;  
  • Closure standards for hazardous waste management units; and
  • Biennial report requirements.

For LQGs only

The ‘quick reference guide’

An LQG that first becomes subject to the hazardous waste provisions after May 30, 2017, or an LQG that is amending its contingency plan, must submit what the EPA calls a “quick reference guide” to the contingency plan to the local emergency responders identified in the contingency plan or the Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC).

The purpose of the guide is to provide first responders with readily available information describing what they will immediately confront upon arrival at the scene. It must include:

  • The types/names of hazardous wastes in layman’s terms and the hazard(s) associated with each hazardous waste present (e.g., toxic paint wastes, spent ignitable solvent, corrosive acid);
  • The estimated maximum amount of each hazardous waste that may be present on-site at any one time;
  • The identification of any hazardous wastes where exposure would require unique or special treatment by medical or hospital staff;
  • A map of the facility showing where hazardous wastes are generated, accumulated, and treated and how to access those areas;
  • A street map of the facility in relation to surrounding businesses, schools, and residential areas to understand how best to get to the facility and also how to evacuate citizens and workers;
  • The locations of the water supply (e.g., fire hydrant and its flow rate);
  • The identification of on-site notification systems (e.g., a fire alarm that rings off-site, smoke alarms); and
  • The name of all emergency coordinators and all 24-hour, 7-day/week emergency telephone numbers or, in the case of a facility where an emergency coordinator is continuously on duty, the emergency telephone number for the emergency coordinator.

An LQG must update, if necessary, its quick reference guide whenever the contingency plan is amended, and submit this document to the local emergency responders identified in its plan or the LEPC.

Closure standards

When an LQG ceases to operate a unit that accumulates hazardous waste (e.g., a tank, container, drip pad, containment building), it must comply with the disposal and decontamination standards known as closure requirements. However, in order to close a waste accumulation unit, LQGs must first meet the Rule’s new closure notification requirements and new closure performance standards.

Notification for closure

Closure of an accumulation unit. When closing a waste accumulation unit and after meeting the closure performance standards for the unit, the LQG must submit a notice to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Form 8700-12 within 90 days after closing the unit stating that it has met the appropriate closure performance standards for the unit.

However, instead of performing closure standards, the LQG may place a notice in the facility’s operating record within 30 days after closing the unit that identifies the location of the unit within the facility. If the LQG has placed this notice in the facility’s operating record, it may be removed by the LQG if the unit is subsequently reopened.

Closure of the facility. If the LQG is closing the facility, it must notify the EPA using Form 8700-12:

  • No later than 30 days before closing the facility; and
  • Within 90 days after closing the facility, stating that it has complied with the clean closure performance standards for the unit.

Closure as a landfill. If the LQG cannot meet the applicable clean closure performance standards for its tank, container, or containment building, it must notify the EPA on Form 8700-12 that it will close the unit as a landfill.

Unit closure performance standards

Clean closure. The generator must close its container, tank, or containment building; waste accumulation unit; or the LQG facility in a manner that meets the “clean closure” standards at 40 CFR 262.17(a)(8)(iii), which involve:

  • Controlling, minimizing, or eliminating, the post-closure escape of hazardous waste;
  • Removing or decontaminating contaminated equipment, structures, and soil; and
  • Properly managing any hazardous waste generated in the process of closing the facility or accumulation units.

Many of these clean closure performance standards apply also to drip pads as do the closure standards applicable to interim-status drip pads found at 40 CFR 265.445.

Closure as a landfill. If the LQG demonstrates that any contaminated soils and wastes cannot be practicably removed or decontaminated, the LQG must close the container, tank, or containment building and perform post-closure care in accordance with the hazardous waste landfill closure and post-closure care requirements. The waste accumulation unit will be considered to be a hazardous waste landfill for purposes of closure, post-closure, and financial responsibility.

Biennial report

No need to be concerned about this quite yet, but there are a couple of new requirements for LQGs in connection with the biennial report (EPA Form 8700-13 A/B) filed March 1 of every even-numbered year, such as in 2018.

The Rule now requires that a generator that was an LQG for at least 1 month of an odd-numbered year (the reporting year, e.g., 2017) and that ships any hazardous waste off-site to a treatment, storage, and disposal facility (TSDF) must complete and submit the biennial report by March 1 of the following year and cover in the report all its generator activities during the previous year, not just the month or months that the generator was an LQG.

In addition, LQGs that participate in the Rule’s program that allows very small quantity generators (VSQGs) under the same ownership to send their hazardous waste to the LQG for consolidation must include those VSQG wastes in the LQG’s biennial report.

What’s next?

Although now in effect at the federal level, the Rule will not be in effect in a state (other than Alaska and Iowa) until the state adopts it. Because New Jersey and Pennsylvania adopt the federal hazardous waste generator rules prospectively, the Rule went into effect in those states on May 30 as well.

Other states will adopt the Rule provisions on their own schedule, with a deadline of July 1, 2018, for most states or, with approval from the EPA, a deadline of up until July 1, 2019, if legislative action must be taken. Georgia anticipates adopting the Rule shortly. Periodically check the BLR® guidance document Adoption by States of the Hazardous Waste Generator Improvements Ruleto see what states have adopted the Rule.

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