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EPA’s Hazardous Waste Generator Improvements Rule became effective on May 30, 2017. This Rule is designed to make the RCRA hazardous waste generator regulations easier to understand; provide greater flexibility in how hazardous waste is managed; and improve environmental protection. The final rule includes over 60 revisions and new provisions to the hazardous waste generator program.
One of these notable provisions, which impacts small quantity generators (SQG), is the requirement for SQGs to re-notify EPA or their state agency about their hazardous waste activities every four years. The first re-notification is due by September 2021. Since this is the first time EPA is requiring this of SQGs, many are not as aware of this specific re-notification requirement—and it is one that will impact many.
Who’s an SQG?
Let’s take a step back and first define who is considered an SQG. According to EPA, SQGs are those facilities that generate more than 100 kilograms but less than 1,000 kilograms of hazardous waste per month. EPA cites the following major requirements for SQGs:
- SQGs may accumulate hazardous waste onsite for 180 days without a permit (or 270 days if shipping a distance greater than 200 miles).
- The quantity of hazardous waste onsite must never exceed 6,000 kilograms.
- SQG are limited to one episodic event per calendar year (40 CFR 262.230).
- SQGs must comply with the following requirements:
- Hazardous waste manifest (40 CFR 262, subpart B)
- Pre-transport (40 CFR 262.30-33)
- Preparedness and prevention (40 CFR 262.16(b)(8) and (9))
- Land disposal restriction (40 CFR 268)
- Management of hazardous waste in tanks or containers (40 CFR 262.16(b)(2) and (3))
- There must always be at least one employee available to respond to an emergency. SQGs are not required to have detailed, written contingency plans.
And, starting in 2021, SQGs are required to re-notify EPA or their state environmental agency regarding their generator status at least every four years.
The intent of the re-notification requirement is to create a more accurate and complete count of the federal SQG universe, helping EPA and authorized states conduct oversight, enforcement, and planning. Ultimately, the data collected will allow EPA to identify those SQGs that are active and to remove those that are inactive from the database.
To meet the re-notification requirement, SQGs must complete and submit the Notification of RCRA Subtitle C Activities (i.e., Site Identification Form – also known as EPA Form 8700-12) or the state equivalent in full. The requirement for generators to re-notify whenever there is a change to the site contact, ownership, or type of RCRA Subtitle C hazardous waste activity conducted remains in place. Note: An SQG that submits a complete re-notification within the four years before an SQG renotification deadline would be considered in compliance with this provision.
Facilities can elect to fill out the paper form or may submit electronically via MyRCRAID, an electronic reporting system for submitting to the EPA Site Identification Form. Some states have their own forms that are equivalent to the Site Identification Form, also meeting the requirement of the regulation. In states where there is a more frequent re-notification or reporting requirement, the SQG should comply with its state deadline.
As generators consider this re-notification requirement and the other Hazardous Waste Generator Rule provisions, it is important to:
- Get a solid understanding of the rule for the state(s) in which the generator operates. Requirements, forms, frequency, etc. may vary from state to state and compared to EPA.
- Ensure the inventory of types and quantities of hazardous waste generated at the facility is current and documented.
- Review the Site Identification Form and determine what additional data needs to be gathered in advance of the September 2021 submittal deadline.