Hazardous Waste Generator Improvement Rule

On September 25, 2015, EPA published proposed regulations on hazardous waste generator improvements.  The proposed revisions are mostly clarifications of the existing requirements for generators and a few new requirements for generators. 

On November 28, 2016, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published in the Federal Register the final Hazardous Waste Generator Improvements Rule. Even though EPA states that the new regulation was needed to improve clarity and flexibility of hazardous waste generator requirements, the rule will add regulatory burdens on waste generators.

According to EPA, the final rule provides approximately 60 changes to the hazardous waste generator regulations, including the following:

  • Allowing additional flexibility for very small quantity generators (VSQGs), and small quantity generators (SQGs)
  • Requiring notification for SQGs every four years, as opposed to a one-time notification under the current federal system 
  • Improving risk communication by revising the regulations for labeling and marking of containers and tanks to indicate the hazards of the hazardous waste contained inside
  • Making some revisions to the requirements applicable to satellite accumulation for hazardous waste
  • Revising the regulations for completing the RCRA biennial report to be consistent with the current instructions distributed with the form
  • Requiring recycling facilities to report wastes that are not stored prior to recycling
  • Revising generator requirements for waste determinations, submission of contingency plans, and other emergency preparedness and prevention areas, and for closure of hazardous waste units.

In response to public comments, EPA did not finalize certain proposed changes.

The rule became effective on May 30, 2017. States with RCRA-authorized programs will have to adopt rules and become authorized for the new provisions.  These states are only required to adopt the provisions in this final rule that are more stringent than the current RCRA regulations.

EPA hosted two webinars for the public to discuss the final rule in 2016.

More information on the rule can be obtained by visiting the EPA website at https://www.epa.gov/hwgenerators/final-rule-hazardous-waste-generator-improvements