entire manual (PDF) by zud45877

VIEWS: 33 PAGES: 248

									        RCRA Orientation


              1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
                WASHINGTON, DC 20460
Foreword ................................................................................................................................................ i
Chapter I:           Introduction to the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act ..................................... I-1
Chapter II:          Managing Solid Waste — RCRA Subtitle D .............................................................. II-1
Chapter III: Managing Hazardous Waste — RCRA Subtitle C ..................................................... III-1
   Hazardous Waste Identification ................................................................................................. III-3
   Hazardous Waste Recycling and Universal Wastes ................................................................. III-31
   Regulations Governing Hazardous Waste Generators ............................................................. III-41
   Regulations Governing Hazardous Waste Transporters .......................................................... III-51
   Regulations Governing Treatment, Storage, and Disposal Facilities ...................................... III-55
   Land Disposal Restrictions ...................................................................................................... III-91
   Hazardous Waste Combustion ............................................................................................... III-101
   Permitting of Treatment, Storage, and Disposal Facilities ................................................... III-111
   Corrective Action to Clean Up Hazardous Waste Contamination ......................................... III-123
   Enforcement of Hazardous Waste Regulations ..................................................................... III-129
   Authorizing States to Implement RCRA ............................................................................... III-139
Chapter IV: Moving Forward: Materials Management and Resource Conservation .................... IV-1
Chapter V: Miscellaneous Statutory Provisions ............................................................................. V-1
   Federal Procurement Requirements ............................................................................................ V-3
   Medical Waste Regulations ......................................................................................................... V-9
Chapter VI: Other Environmental Statutes .................................................................................... VI-1
   Legislative Framework for Addressing Hazardous Waste Problems ........................................ VI-3
   CERCLA — The Hazardous Waste Cleanup Program .............................................................. VI-9
Chapter VII: Public Participation ................................................................................................... VII-1
Appendix A: Hazardous Waste Manifest ......................................................................................... A-1
Appendix B: Land Disposal Restrictions Notification Requirements ............................................. B-1
Appendix C: Glossary ...................................................................................................................... C-1
Appendix D: Acronyms and Abbreviations ..................................................................................... D-1
Appendix E: OSW Organization Chart ............................................................................................. E-1
Appendix F: Environmental Contacts ............................................................................................... F-1

    This manual supersedes the 2006 RCRA                    Information about RCRA’s past, present, and
Orientation Manual. The Manual has proven to be a       future are contained in two other documents. For a
popular and valuable resource for anyone working        look ahead, Beyond RCRA: Waste and Materials
with EPA’s solid and hazardous waste management         Management in the Year 2020 identifies trends that
program. Since the manual’s initial publication in      affect the future of waste management and resource
1990, the RCRA program has evolved dramatically.        conservation and also suggests general strategies for
As a result of changes in the dynamics of solid and     building the future RCRA program. For a look back
hazardous waste management, as well as changes in       at past successes, the report 25 Years of RCRA:
the regulatory expectations and demands of              Building on Our Past to Protect Our Future
government, public, and private entities, the RCRA      commemorates RCRA’s 25th Anniversary in October
program has been modified through new regulations,      2001 and highlights the accomplishments of RCRA’s
policies, Agency-wide initiatives, and Congressional    protective framework to date. In addition, RCRA:
mandates. The Manual’s revision reflects the            Reducing Risk from Waste provides an overview of
progress that has been made in the program and          RCRA including: the history of RCRA, the role of
documents its changes.                                  EPA and the states, the regulated community, and
                                                        municipal and industrial waste issues.
     At this time, the RCRA Subtitle C hazardous
waste regulatory framework is completely in place,
and almost all states are implementing large portions
of the program. EPA has achieved significant
progress in establishing provisions to fully protect
both ground water and air resources. Under Subtitle
D, the establishment of municipal solid waste
landfill criteria ensures adequate protection of
human health and the environment from solid waste
disposal practices. In addition, the Agency has
significantly expanded initiatives to reduce the
amount of waste generated and to make waste
management more efficient.

                                        CHAPTER I
                         IINTRODUCTION TO THE RESOURCEI
                         CONSERVATION AND RECOVERY ACT

                                                                                     •   To reduce the amount of waste generated
    Overview ...............................................................   I-1
    RCRA: What It Is ..................................................        I-2   •   To ensure that wastes are managed in an
    - The Act ..............................................................   I-2       environmentally sound manner.
    - Regulations .......................................................      I-3
    - Guidance and Policy .........................................            I-4        RCRA also regulates underground storage
    RCRA: How It Works ...........................................             I-4   tanks (USTs) that store petroleum or certain
    - Subtitle D — Solid Waste ..................................              I-4   chemical products under Subtitle I. Requirements
    - Subtitle C — Hazardous Waste .........................                   I-4   exist for the design and operation of these tanks and
    Who Is Involved in RCRA? ...................................               I-5   the development of systems to prevent accidental
    RCRA Today .........................................................       I-5   spills. Examples of facilities using these tanks
    - Looking to the Future ........................................           I-5   include petroleum refineries, chemical plants, and
    - Conserving Natural Resources .........................                   I-6   commercial gas stations.
    - Preventing Future Waste Problems ..................                      I-7
                                                                                         The Medical Waste Tracking Act of 1988 was a
    - Cleaning up Problems from Past Practices .......                         I-7
                                                                                     2-year demonstration program that expired in June
    Outline of the Manual ...........................................          I-7
                                                                                     1991. It created a Subtitle J program designed to
    Summary ..............................................................     I-7
                                                                                     track medical waste from generation to disposal. At
                                                                                     present, no federal EPA tracking regulations are in
                                                                                     effect for medical waste, but many states have
OVERVIEW                                                                             adopted their own programs.
    The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act                                           The Comprehensive Environmental Response,
(RCRA), an amendment to the Solid Waste Disposal                                     Compensation, and Liability Act (known as
Act, was enacted in 1976 to address the huge                                         Superfund or CERCLA) is a related statute that deals
volumes of municipal and industrial solid waste                                      with cleaning up inactive and abandoned hazardous
generated nationwide.                                                                waste sites. RCRA, on the other hand, deals with
                                                                                     materials that are currently destined for disposal or
       The goals set by RCRA are:
•      To protect human health and the environment
       from the potential hazards of waste disposal
•      To conserve energy and natural resources

Chapter I: Introduction to the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act

RCRA: WHAT IT IS                                             out the basic
                                                                                       Figure I-1: The Evolution
                                                             framework of the            of Significant RCRA
    The term RCRA is often used interchangeably to           current hazardous                Legislation
refer to the law, regulations, and EPA policy and            waste management
                                                                                        SOLID WASTE DISPOSAL
guidance. The law describes the waste management             program.                        ACT OF 1965
program mandated by Congress that gave EPA
authority to develop the RCRA program. EPA                        The Act, which has
regulations carry out the Congressional intent by            been amended several               RESOURCE
                                                             times since 1976,              CONSERVATION AND
providing explicit, legally enforceable requirements                                      RECOVERY ACT OF 1976
for waste management. These regulations can be               continues to evolve as
found in Title 40 of the Code of Federal Regulations         Congress alters it to
                                                             reflect changing waste       HAZARDOUS AND SOLID
(CFR), Parts 239 through 282. EPA guidance                                                 WASTE AMENDMENTS
documents and policy directives clarify issues               management needs.                    OF 1984
related to the implementation of the regulations.            The Act was amended
These three elements are the primary parts of the            significantly on
                                                                                            FEDERAL FACILITIES
RCRA program.                                                November 8, 1984, by        COMPLIANCE ACT OF 1992
                                                             the Hazardous and
                                                             Solid Waste
      The Act                                                Amendments (HSWA), LAND DISPOSAL PROGRAM
                                                                                          FLEXIBILITY ACT OF 1996
                                                             which expanded the
     The Act provides, in broad terms, general
                                                             scope and requirements
guidelines for the waste management program
                                                             of RCRA. HSWA was
envisioned by Congress (e.g., EPA is directed to
                                                             created largely in response to citizen concerns that
develop and
                                                             existing methods of hazardous waste disposal,
promulgate criteria                THE ACT                   particularly land disposal, were not safe. Because of
for identifying
                        The law that describes the           their significance and differences in their
hazardous waste).       kind of waste management             implementation, HSWA provisions are emphasized
The Act also            program that Congress wants
                                                             throughout this manual. Congress also revised
provides the EPA        to establish. The Act also
                        provides the Administrator of        RCRA in 1992 by passing the Federal Facilities
Administrator (or
                        EPA (or his or her designee)         Compliance Act, which strengthened the authority to
his or her
                        with the authority to implement      enforce RCRA at federal facilities. In addition, the
representative) with    the program.                         Land Disposal Program Flexibility Act of 1996
the necessary
                                                             amended RCRA to provide regulatory flexibility for
authority to develop
                                                             the land disposal of certain wastes.
these broad standards into specific requirements that
implement the law.                                                Today, the Act consists of 10 subtitles (see
                                                             Figure I-2). Subtitles A, B, E, F, G, H, I, and J
     What we commonly know as RCRA, or the Act,
                                                             outline general provisions; authorities of the EPA
is actually a combination of the first federal solid
                                                             Administrator; duties of the Secretary of Commerce;
waste statutes and all subsequent amendments (see
                                                             federal responsibilities; miscellaneous provisions;
Figure I-1). In 1965, Congress enacted the Solid
                                                             research, development, demonstration, and
Waste Disposal Act, the first statute that specifically
                                                             information requirements; underground storage
focused on improving solid waste disposal methods.
                                                             tanks; and medical waste tracking. Other subtitles
The Solid Waste Disposal Act established economic
                                                             lay out the framework for the two major programs
incentives for states to develop planning, training,
                                                             that comprise RCRA: Subtitle C (the hazardous
research, and demonstration projects for the
                                                             waste management program) and Subtitle D (the
management of solid waste. The Act was amended
                                                             solid waste program).
in 1976 by RCRA, which substantially remodeled
the nation’s solid waste management system and laid            The text of the Act can be found at

                                                                Introduction to the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act

                                                                 both an internal review process and public
                 Figure I-2: Outline of the Act
   Subtitle                 Provisions
                                                                      The final regulation is published, or
      A       General Provisions
                                                                 promulgated, in the Federal Register. Included with
      B       Office of Solid Waste; Authorities of the          the regulation is discussion of
              Administrator and Interagency Coordinating
              Committee                                          the Agency’s rationale for the
      C       Hazardous Waste Management
                                                                 regulatory approach, known as
                                                                 preamble language. Final
      D       State or Regional Solid Waste Plans
                                                                 regulations are compiled
      E       Duties of the Secretary of Commerce in Resource    annually and incorporated in
              and Recovery
                                                                 the Code of Federal
      F       Federal Responsibilities
                                                                 Regulations (CFR) according
      G       Miscellaneous Provisions                           to a highly structured format
      H       Research, Development, Demonstration, and          based on the topic of the
                                                                 regulation. This latter process
      I       Regulation of Underground Storage Tanks            is called codification, and each CFR title
      J       Standards for the Tracking and Management          corresponds to a different regulatory authority. For
              of Medical Waste                                                          example, EPA’s regulations are
                                                                           Protection of
                                                                           Environment  in Title 40 of the CFR. The
                                                                                        codified RCRA regulations can
                                                                           40           be found in Title 40 of the
    Regulations                                                            PARTS 260 TO 299
                                                                           Revised as of July 1, 1996

                                                                                        CFR, Parts 239-282. These
    The Act includes a Congressional mandate                                            regulations are often cited as
directing EPA to develop a comprehensive set of                                         40 CFR, with the part listed
regulations. Regulations, or rulemakings, are                                           afterward (e.g., 40 CFR Part
issued by an agency, such as EPA, that translate the                                    264), or the part and section
general mandate of a statute into a set of                                              (e.g., 40 CFR §264.10).
requirements for the Agency and the regulated
community.                                                            Although this relationship between an Act and
                                                                 the regulations is the norm, the relationship between
                                       Regulations are           HSWA and its regulations differs slightly. Congress,
                                  developed by EPA               through HSWA, not only provided EPA with a
  Legal mechanisms that           in an open and                 general mandate to promulgate regulations, but also
  establish standards or impose
                                  public manner                  placed explicit instructions in the Statute to develop
  requirements as mandated by
  the Act. RCRA regulations are   according to an                certain regulations. Many of these requirements are
  promulgated by EPA,             established process.           so specific that EPA incorporated them directly into
  published in the Federal        When a regulation              the regulations. HSWA is all the more significant
  Register, and codified in the   is formally
  Code of Federal Regulations.
                                                                 because of the ambitious schedules that Congress
                                  proposed, it is                established for implementation of the Act’s
                                  published in an                provisions. Another unique aspect of HSWA is that
official government document called the Federal                  it established hammer provisions, or statutory
Register to notify the public of EPA’s intent to create          requirements that would go into effect automatically
new regulations or modify existing ones. EPA                     (with the force of regulations) if EPA failed to issue
provides the public, which includes the potentially              regulations by certain dates.
regulated community, with an opportunity to submit
comments. Following an established comment                           The interpretation of statutory language does not
period, EPA may revise the proposed rule based on                end with the codification of regulations. EPA further
                                                                 clarifies the requirements of the Act and its
                                                                 regulations through guidance documents and policy.

Chapter I: Introduction to the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act

  The RCRA regulations can be found at                           Subtitle D — Solid Waste
                                                                  RCRA Subtitle D focuses on state and local
                                                             governments as the primary planning, regulating,
      Guidance and Policy                                    and implementing entities for the management of
                                                             nonhazardous solid waste, such as household
     Guidance documents are issued by EPA
                                                             garbage and nonhazardous industrial solid waste.
primarily to provide direction for implementing and
                                                             EPA provides these state and local agencies with
complying with regulations. They are essentially
                                                             information, guidance, policy, and regulations
“how to” documents. For example, the regulations
                                                             through workshops and publications to help states
                            in 40 CFR Part 270 detail
                                                             and the regulated community make better decisions
   GUIDANCE = How To        what is required in a
                                                             in dealing with waste issues, to reap the
  Documents developed
                            permit application for a
                                                             environmental and economic benefits of source
  and issued by EPA to      hazardous waste
                                                             reduction and recycling of solid wastes, and to
  provide instructions on   management facility,
  how to implement the                                       require upgrading or closure of all environmentally
                            while the guidance for this
  requirements of either                                     unsound disposal units. In order to promote the use
                            Part suggests how to
  the Act or regulations.                                    of safer units for solid waste disposal, EPA
                            evaluate a permit
                                                             developed federal criteria for the proper design and
                            application to ensure that
                                                             operation of municipal solid waste landfills
all information has been included. Guidance
                                                             (MSWLFs) and other solid waste disposal facilities.
documents also elaborate on the Agency’s
                                                             Many states have adopted these criteria into their
interpretation of the requirements of the Act.
                                                             state solid waste programs.
     Policy statements, on the other hand, specify
operating procedures that should generally be                    Subtitle C — Hazardous Waste
followed. They are mechanisms used by EPA
program offices to outline the manner in which the                RCRA Subtitle C establishes a federal program
RCRA programs are                                            to manage hazardous wastes from cradle to grave.
implemented. For                POLICY = Should Do           The objective of the Subtitle C program is to ensure
example, EPA’s Office of                                     that hazardous waste is handled in a manner that
                               Statements developed
Solid Waste (OSW) may          by EPA outlining a            protects human health and the environment. To this
issue a policy outlining       position on a topic or        end, there are Subtitle C regulations for the
what actions should            giving instructions on        generation, transportation, and treatment, storage, or
generally be taken to          how a procedure               disposal of hazardous wastes. In practical terms, this
                               should be conducted.
achieve RCRA corrective                                      means regulating a large number of hazardous waste
action cleanup goals. In                                     handlers. As of 2005, EPA had on record
many cases, policy statements are addressed to the           approximately 500 treatment, storage, and disposal
staff working on implementation, but they may also           facilities (TSDFs); 18,000 transporters; and 15,000
be addressed to the regulated community.                     large quantity generators (LQGs).
                                                                 The Subtitle C program has resulted in perhaps
RCRA: HOW IT WORKS                                           the most comprehensive regulations EPA has ever
                                                             developed. The regulations first identify the criteria
    To provide an overall perspective of how RCRA            to determine which solid wastes are hazardous, and
works, each waste program is briefly summarized              then establish various requirements for the three
here. Later, the Subtitle D (solid waste) program is         categories of hazardous waste handlers: generators,
discussed before the Subtitle C (hazardous waste)            transporters, and TSDFs. In addition, the Subtitle C
program. Although this is alphabetically out of
order, the structure is designed for better
understanding by the reader.

                                                          Introduction to the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act

regulations set technical standards for the design and     lieu of the federal program. These states are known
safe operation of TSDFs. These standards are               as authorized states.
designed to minimize the release of hazardous waste
into the environment. Furthermore, the regulations             The regulated community that must understand
for TSDFs serve as the basis for developing and            and comply with RCRA and its regulations is a
issuing the permits required by the Act for each           large, diverse group. It includes not only facilities
facility. Permits are essential to making the Subtitle     typically thought of as hazardous waste generators,
C regulatory program work, since it is through the         such as industrial manufacturers, but also
permitting process that EPA or a state applies the         government agencies and small businesses, such as a
technical standards to TSDFs.                              local dry cleaner generating small amounts of
                                                           hazardous solvents, or a gas station with
    One of the primary differences between Subtitle        underground petroleum tanks.
C and Subtitle D is the type of waste each regulates.
Subtitle C regulates only hazardous waste, a subset            Lastly, the general public plays a key role in
of solid waste, whereas Subtitle D primarily               RCRA by providing input and comments during
regulates nonhazardous solid waste.                        almost every stage of the program’s development
                                                           and implementation, through rulemaking
                                                           participation and comments on TSDF permits.
    The RCRA program involves many people and              RCRA TODAY
organizations, all with varying roles. Congress and
the President set overall national direction for the            Ensuring responsible waste management
RCRA program through amendments to the Act.                practices is a far-reaching and challenging
EPA, through its Office of Solid Waste and                 undertaking that engages EPA Headquarters and
Emergency Response (OSWER), translates this                regions, state agencies, tribes, and local
direction into operating programs by developing            governments, as well as everyone who generates
regulations, guidance, and policy.                         waste. EPA has largely focused on building the
                                                           hazardous and municipal solid waste programs and
     Site-specific implementation of the RCRA              fostering a strong societal commitment to recycling
program is the responsibility of the EPA regions and       and pollution prevention. Since the enactment of
states. Hazardous and solid waste programs have            RCRA, EPA has built a comprehensive cradle-to-
mechanisms through which states can exercise key           grave regulatory program for hazardous waste
program responsibilities. Initial federal                  management; authorized forty-eight states to
responsibilities vary among the different programs.        implement RCRA; set national baseline standards
                                                           for municipal solid waste landfills; identified priority
     Under Subtitle D, EPA established minimum             pollutants on which to focus hazardous waste
criteria for MSWLFs and required each state to gain        reduction efforts; worked in successful partnerships
approval for their MSWLF permitting program                to reduce waste, promote recycling, and build
through an approval process that ensures that the          markets for recycled-content products; and provided
state’s program meets minimum federal criteria.            education and technical assistance.
Most of the Subtitle D solid waste program is
overseen by the states, and compliance is assured
through state-issued permits.                                   Looking to the Future

     State involvement in the Subtitle C program is            In the future, EPA will maintain and build on the
similar to involvement in the Subtitle D program.          effective hazardous and municipal waste programs
Under Subtitle C, in the authorization process, EPA        already in place. At the same time, EPA must
reviews a state’s hazardous waste program and, if it       increase efforts in resource conservation,
is at least as stringent as the federal program, grants    sustainability, and safe materials management. Safe
the state authority to implement its own program in        waste management and cleanup remain the critical

Chapter I: Introduction to the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act

foundation to protect human health and the                   efficient cleanups will continue, and new corrective
environment. EPA now relies on a largely complete            action goals will focus on the activities that precede
regulatory structure for hazardous and municipal             completion of final corrective action, remedy
waste and proven implementation programs to                  selection, and construction. Encouraging facilities to
ensure safe management. EPA will assess potential            achieve corrective action goals helps move the
threats from wastes and address critical program             program toward success and provides increased
improvements in the most effective manner, either            protection against exposure to contaminants that
through regulatory changes, cooperative voluntary            have been released from corrective action facilities.
efforts, or other means.
    Striving for sustainability and materials                    Conserving Natural Resources
management are long-term challenges. EPA will
                                                                 EPA will continue to help society reduce the
look beyond the traditional definition of waste to
                                                             amount and toxicity of wastes that facilities generate
determine how programs fits into, and can benefit
                                                             and promote safe recycling and energy recovery. A
from, a life cycle approach to ensure that chemicals
                                                             successful materials management approach will
and materials are managed protectively, in all stages
                                                             assess risks and ensure that harmful chemicals do
of use and discard. In addition, waste issues must be
                                                             not enter the environment throughout the life cycle
considered beyond the nation’s boundaries to
                                                             of material handling. Resources that simply become
maximize environmental results and achieve
                                                             waste are not available for future generations, and
sustainability and safe materials management. A top
                                                             extraction and harvesting of resources can have
priority is to reduce the generation of industrial and
                                                             long-term environmental impacts. Despite
municipal waste and to conserve resources while
                                                             protective waste management programs, toxic
reducing environmental impacts. Through the
                                                             chemicals can still find their way into the
Resource Conservation Challenge (RCC), EPA is
                                                             environment throughout the life cycle of materials.
undertaking a broad spectrum of efforts to encourage
                                                             Persistent, bioaccumulative, and toxic chemicals
waste minimization, pollution prevention, energy
                                                             released into the environment can present long-term
recovery, and recycling. Where necessary, this may
                                                             risks to human health and the environment, even in
require refining the current regulatory system.
                                                             small quantities. The challenge is to mobilize
However, the scope of EPA’s regulatory work is
                                                             industries, state and local agencies, communities,
narrower and relies more on improving compliance
                                                             and the public through collaborative efforts and by
with the existing regulations. There are only two
                                                             harnessing regulatory incentives to minimize threats
remaining rulemakings to complete the hazardous
                                                             to human health and the environment. The RCC will
waste regulatory structure and 1984 statutory
                                                             be the main vehicle by which EPA works to meet
mandates. Other regulatory activities are primarily
                                                                                  this challenge. The main
targeted to simplify and add
                                                                                  objectives for conserving natural
flexibility and facilitate resource
                                                                                  resources are reducing priority
conservation and pollution
                                                                                  chemicals, stimulating product
                                                                                  stewardship and recycling,
    EPA believes a key to success                                                 fostering the transition to
for RCRA and for improving the                                                    materials management, forming
corrective action program will be                                                 partnerships, promoting
building new partnerships and                                                     recycling and safe energy
coalitions with government                                                        recovery from waste, and
agencies, businesses, interest                                                    engaging consumers and under-
groups, and the public. While                                                     served communities.
EPA has made great strides in
working in true partnership with
the states, more remains to be
done. The goal of faster, more

                                                          Introduction to the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act

    Preventing Future Waste Problems                       OUTLINE OF THE MANUAL
     EPA will sustain and enhance effective state               The remainder of this manual details the three
programs for hazardous, municipal, and industrial          RCRA programs briefly discussed in this
waste management and EPA regional                          introduction. The manual also describes two other
implementation to ensure protective management             components of RCRA: the federal procurement and
tailored to the full spectrum of wastes that facilities    medical waste tracking programs. In addition, the
generate. The large universe of waste generators and       manual discusses the interrelationships between
treatment, storage, and disposal facilities (TSDFs)        RCRA’s Subtitle C program and other environmental
subject to hazardous and solid waste requirements          statutes, as well as RCRA’s public participation
presents a substantial challenge. EPA intends to           provisions. To supplement this technical description
identify unaddressed significant risks from current        of the RCRA regulatory program, the manual also
and new wastes and waste management practices              contains appendices that present important RCRA
and incorporate flexibility, and ensure that all wastes    forms and paperwork requirements, a glossary (for
are managed protectively without unnecessary costs.        the reader’s convenience, the terms that appear in
The main objectives for preventing future waste            this glossary have been bolded throughout the text),
problems are setting national goals for hazardous          a list of acronyms and abbreviations, an OSW
waste management facilities, supporting state              organization chart, useful environmental contacts,
implementation of hazardous and solid waste                and a keyword index.
programs, building tribal capacity, maintaining and
updating the federal regulatory programs, assisting
industries to comply and move beyond compliance,           SUMMARY
engaging stakeholders, and improving waste and
                                                               RCRA was passed in 1976, as an amendment to
materials management.
                                                           the Solid Waste Disposal Act of 1965, to ensure that
                                                           solid wastes are managed in an environmentally
    Cleaning up Problems from Past                         sound manner. The goals of RCRA have changed
    Practices                                              over time as EPA has implemented the program.
                                                           The current goals are:
     EPA will continue to facilitate protective,
practical completion of cleanups at hazardous waste        •    To protect human health and the environment
TSDFs and help develop and/or strengthen state and              from the potential hazards of waste disposal
tribal waste cleanup programs. These cleanups
                                                           •    To conserve energy and natural resources
present a challenge because several thousand RCRA
facilities have potentially released hazardous waste       •    To reduce the amount of waste generated
to the environment. In addition, cleanup may be
costly and can take considerable time. EPA hopes to        •    To ensure that wastes are managed in an
achieve timely cleanups at high priority facilities and         environmentally sound manner
create an environment in which all stakeholders can
                                                           •    Prevent future problems caused by irresponsible
work together using a variety of tools and cleanup
                                                                waste management
programs. The main objectives for cleaning up
problems from past practices are controlling human         •    Clean up releases of hazardous waste in a timely,
exposures and groundwater releases, promoting                   flexible, and protective manner.
mechanisms for flexible cleanups, supporting a “one
cleanup program” framework, promoting
revitalization and reuse, and supporting the tribal
open dump cleanup and prevention program.

Chapter I: Introduction to the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act

    To achieve these goals, EPA will rely heavily on         •   Guidance – Documents developed and issued by
three programs:                                                  EPA to provide instructions on how to
                                                                 implement requirements of either the Act or
•     The current regulatory framework already in                regulations.
                                                             •   Policy – Statements developed by EPA outlining
•     Collaborative partnerships with stakeholders,              a position on a topic or giving instructions on
      such as those developed under the Resource                 how a procedure should be conducted.
      Conservation Challenge
                                                                  RCRA continues to change with amendments to
•     The RCRA corrective action program.                    the Statute. HSWA, in particular, significantly
There are several components of RCRA:                        expanded both the scope and detailed requirements
                                                             of the Act, especially in the context of the land
•     Act – The law that describes the kind of waste         disposal of hazardous wastes. Congress, EPA,
      management program that Congress wants to              states, regulated entities, and the general public are
      establish. The Act also provides the                   involved in developing and implementing the RCRA
      Administrator of EPA (or his or her designee)          program.
      with the authority to implement the Act.
                                                                 EPA continues to improve the RCRA program
•     Regulations – The legal mechanism that                 by using measurable results to identify and promote
      establishes standards or imposes requirements as       new initiatives, such as encouraging waste
      mandated by the Act. RCRA regulations are              minimization, improving the federal/state
      promulgated by EPA, published in the Federal           partnership in the hazardous waste program, and
      Register, and codified in the CFR.                     aiding state and local governments in reaping the
                                                             environmental and economic benefits of source
                                                             reduction and recycling.

                                CHAPTER II

In this chapter…
                                                                                   Congress enacted the Solid Waste Disposal Act
Overview ............................................................ II-1    of 1965 to address the growing quantity of solid
Definition of Solid Waste ................................... II-2            waste generated in the United States and to ensure
Municipal Solid Waste ....................................... II-2            its proper management. Subsequent amendments to
- Source Reduction .......................................... II-3            the Solid Waste Disposal Act, such as RCRA, have
- Recycling ....................................................... II-4      substantially increased the federal government’s
- Combustion .................................................... II-4        involvement in solid waste management.
- Landfilling ....................................................... II-5
Industrial Waste ................................................. II-5           During the 1980s, solid waste management
- Source Reduction .......................................... II-6            issues rose to new heights of public concern in
- Recycling ....................................................... II-6      many areas of the United States because of
- Treatment ....................................................... II-7      increasing solid waste generation, shrinking
- Landfilling ....................................................... II-8    disposal capacity, rising disposal costs, and public
- Guide for Industrial Waste Management ....... II-8                          opposition to the siting of new disposal facilities.
Criteria for Solid Waste Disposal Facilities ........ II-9                    These solid waste management challenges continue
- Technical Criteria for Solid Waste Disposal                                 today, as many communities are struggling to
  Facilities ......................................................... II-9   develop cost-effective, environmentally protective
- Conditionally Exempt Small Quantity                                         solutions. The growing amount of waste generated
  Generator Waste Disposal Facilities ............ II-10                      has made it increasingly important for solid waste
- Technical Criteria for Municipal Solid Waste                                management officials to develop strategies to
  Landfills ........................................................ II-10    manage wastes safely and cost-effectively.
- Bioreactor Landfills ....................................... II-11
Assistance to Native American Tribes ............. II-12
                                                                                            WHAT IS SOLID WASTE?
Other Solid Waste Management Initiatives ..... II-12
- Jobs Through Recycling .............................. II-12                  •   Garbage
                                                                               •   Refuse
- Pay-As-You-Throw (PAYT) ........................... II-13
                                                                               •   Sludges from waste treatment plants, water supply
- Full Cost Accounting for Municipal Solid                                         treatment plants, or pollution control facilities
  Waste ........................................................... II-13      •   Industrial wastes
- Construction and Demolition Materials ........ II-13                         •   Other discarded materials, including solid,
- Industrial Ecology ........................................ II-14                semisolid, liquid, or contained gaseous materials
                                                                                   resulting from industrial, commercial, mining,
Summary ......................................................... II-14
                                                                                   agricultural, and community activities.
Additional Resources ...................................... II-14

Chapter II: Managing Nonhazardous Solid Waste

      RCRA encourages environmentally sound solid         •   Industrial wastes (e.g., manufacturing process
waste management practices that maximize the reuse            wastewaters and nonwastewater sludges and
of recoverable material and foster resource recovery.         solids)
Under RCRA, EPA regulates hazardous solid wastes          •   Other discarded materials, including solid,
and may authorize states to do so. Nonhazardous               semisolid, liquid, or contained gaseous materials
solid waste is predominately regulated by state and           resulting from industrial, commercial, mining,
local governments. EPA has, however, promulgated              agricultural, and community activities (e.g.,
some regulations pertaining to nonhazardous solid             boiler slags).
waste, largely addressing how disposal facilities              The definition of solid waste is not limited to
should be designed and operated. Aside from               wastes that are physically solid. Many solid wastes
regulation of hazardous wastes, EPA’s primary role        are liquid, while others are semisolid or gaseous.
in solid waste management includes setting national
goals, providing leadership and technical assistance,          The term solid waste, as defined by the Statute,
and developing guidance and educational materials.        is very broad, including not only the traditional
The Agency has played a major role in this program        nonhazardous solid wastes, such as municipal
by providing tools and information through policy         garbage and industrial wastes, but also hazardous
and guidance to empower local governments,                wastes. Hazardous waste, a subset of solid waste, is
business, industry, federal agencies, and individuals     regulated under RCRA Subtitle C. (Hazardous
to make better decisions in dealing with solid waste      waste is fully discussed in Chapter III.) For
issues. The Agency strives to motivate behavioral         purposes of regulating hazardous wastes, EPA
change in solid waste management through both             established by regulation a separate definition of
regulatory and nonregulatory approaches.                  solid waste. This definition is discussed in Chapter
                                                          III and pertains only to hazardous waste regulations.
    This chapter presents an outline of the RCRA
nonhazardous solid waste program. In doing so, it
defines the terms solid waste and municipal solid         MUNICIPAL SOLID WASTE
waste, and it describes the role EPA plays in
assisting waste officials in dealing with solid waste          Municipal solid waste is a subset of solid waste
management problems. The remainder of this                and is defined as durable goods (e.g., appliances,
chapter will use the term “solid waste” to mean only      tires, batteries), nondurable goods (e.g., newspapers,
nonhazardous solid waste, excluding hazardous             books, magazines), containers and packaging, food
waste regulated under RCRA Subtitle C. The                wastes, yard trimmings, and miscellaneous organic
chapter will provide an overview of the criteria that     wastes from residential, commercial, and industrial
EPA has developed for solid waste landfills and will      nonprocess sources (see Figure II-1).
introduce some Agency initiatives designed to
promote proper and efficient solid waste
                                                                 Figure II-I: Products Generated in MSW by
management.                                                     Weight, 2006 (total weight - 251 million tons)
                                                                                         Nondurable Goods 25.5%
                                                                                             64.2 million tons
                                                              Durable Goods 16.0%
                                                                40.2 million tons                                       Containers and
       RCRA defines the term solid waste as:                                                                           Packaging 31.7%
                                                                                                                       79.6 million tons
•      Garbage (e.g., milk cartons and coffee grounds)
•      Refuse (e.g., metal scrap, wall board, and empty
•      Sludges from waste treatment plants, water             Food Waste 12.4%
                                                               31.3 million tons
       supply treatment plants, or pollution control
       facilities (e.g., scrubber slags)                                         Other 1.5%     Yard Trimmings 12.9%
                                                                               3.7 million tons    32.4 million tons

                                                                                     Managing Nonhazardous Solid Waste

    Municipal solid waste generation has grown                second to recycling as preferences to combustion
steadily over the past 46 years from 88 million tons          and/or landfilling (see Figure II-2).
per year (2.7 pounds per person per day) in 1960, to
251 million tons per year (4.6 pounds per person per
                                                                   Source Reduction
day) in 2006. While generation of waste has grown
steadily, recycling has also greatly increased. In                Rather than managing waste after it is generated,
1960, only about 7 percent of municipal solid waste           source reduction changes the way products are
was recycled. By 2006, this figure had increased to           made and used in order to decrease waste
32.5 percent.                                                 generation. Source reduction, also called waste
                                                              prevention, is defined as the design, manufacture,
     To address the increasing quantities of municipal
                                                              and use of products in a way that reduces the
solid waste, EPA recommends that communities
                                                              quantity and toxicity of waste produced when the
adopt “integrated waste management” systems
                                                              products reach the end of their useful lives. The
tailored to meet their needs. The term “integrated
                                                              ultimate goal of source reduction is to decrease the
waste management” refers to the complementary use
                                                              amount and the toxicity of waste generated.
of a variety of waste management practices to safely
                                                              Businesses, households, and all levels of government
and effectively handle the municipal solid waste
                                                              can play an active role in source reduction.
stream. An integrated waste management system
                                                              Businesses can manufacture products with
will contain some or all of the following elements:
                                                              packaging that is reduced in both volume and
source reduction, recycling (including composting),
                                                              toxicity. They also can reduce waste by altering
waste combustion, and/or landfilling. In designing
                                                              their business practices (e.g., reusing packaging for
systems, EPA encourages communities to consider
                                                              shipping, making double-sided copies, maintaining
these components in a hierarchical sequence. The
                                                              equipment to extend its useful life, using reusable
hierarchy favors source reduction to reduce both the
                                                              envelopes). Community residents can help reduce
volume and toxicity of waste and to increase the
                                                              waste by leaving grass clippings on the lawn or
useful life of manufactured products. The next
                                                              composting them with other yard trimmings in their
preferred tier in the hierarchy is recycling, which
                                                              backyards, instead of bagging such materials for
includes composting of yard and food wastes.
                                                              eventual disposal. Consumers play a crucial role in
Source reduction and recycling are preferred over
                                                              an effective source reduction program by purchasing
the third tier of the hierarchy, which consists of
                                                              products having reduced packaging or that contain
combustion and/or landfilling, because they divert
                                                              reduced amounts of toxic constituents. This
waste from the third tier and they have positive
impacts on both the
environment and
                                               Figure II-2: The Solid Waste Management Hierarchy
economy. The goal of
EPA’s approach is to use a
combination of all these
methods to safely and
effectively manage
municipal solid waste.
EPA recommends that                    Source                                          INTEGRATED
communities tailor their
systems from the four
                                     Reduction                Recycling
                                                                              =        SOLID WASTE
components in the three
tiers to meet their specific
needs, looking first to                        Combustion
source reduction, and
                               Source reduction, landfilling, recycling, and combustion are all pieces of the solid
                               waste management puzzle. Source reduction and recycling are preferred elements of
                               the system.

Chapter II: Managing Nonhazardous Solid Waste

purchasing subsequently increases the demand for                      Composting processes are designed to optimize
products with these attributes.                                   the natural decomposition or decay of organic
                                                                  matter, such as leaves and food. Compost is a
                                                                  humus-like material that can be added to soils to
                                                                  increase soil fertility, aeration, and nutrient retention.
    Municipal solid waste recycling refers to the                 Composting can serve as a key component of
separation and collection of wastes, their subsequent             municipal solid waste recycling activities,
transformation or remanufacture into usable or                    considering that food and yard wastes accounted for
marketable products or materials, and the purchase                25.0 percent of the total amount of municipal solid
of products made from recyclable materials. In                    waste generated in 2006. Some communities are
2006, 32.5 percent (82.0 million tons) of the                     implementing large-scale composting programs in
municipal solid waste generated in the United States              an effort to conserve landfill capacity.
was recycled (see Figure II-3). Solid waste
                                                                      For recycling to be successful, the recovered
                                                                  material must be reprocessed or remanufactured and
•      Preserves raw materials and natural resources              the resulting products bought and used by
•      Reduces the amount of waste that requires                  consumers. Recycling programs will become more
       disposal                                                   effective as markets increase for products made from
•      Reduces energy use and associated pollution                recycled material. The federal government has
•      Provides business and job opportunities                    developed several initiatives in order to bolster the
•      Reduces pollution associated with use of virgin            use of recycled products. EPA’s federal procurement
       materials.                                                 guidelines, authorized by RCRA Subtitle F, are
                                                                  designed to bolster the market for products
     Figure II-3: Management of MSW in the U.S., 2006             manufactured from recycled materials. The
               (total weight = 251 million tons)                  procurement program uses government purchasing
                                            Land disposal 55.0%   to spur recycling and markets for recovered
                                             138.1 million tons
    Recycling (including                                          materials. (This program is fully discussed in
    composting) 32.5%
     81.8 million tons                                            Chapter V).

                                                                      Confined and controlled burning, known as
                                                                  combustion, can not only decrease the volume of
                           Combustion 12.5%                       solid waste destined for landfills, but can also
                            31.4 million tons                     recover energy from the waste-burning process.
                                                                  Modern waste-to-energy facilities use energy
                                                                  recovered from combustion of solid waste to
    Solid waste recycling also reduces greenhouse                 produce steam and electricity. In 2006, combustion
gas (GHG) emissions. For example, using the Waste                 facilities handled 12.5 percent (31.4 million tons) of
Reduction Model (WARM), it can be calculated that                 the municipal solid waste generated (see Figure II-
the GHG savings of recycling 1 short ton of                       3). Used in conjunction with source reduction and
aluminum instead of landfilling it would be 3.71                  recycling, combustion can recover energy and
metric tons of carbon equivalent (MTCE).                          materials and greatly reduce the volume of wastes
                                                                  entering landfills.
    Communities can offer a wide range of recycling
programs to their businesses and residents, such as
drop-off centers, curbside collection, and centralized
composting of yard and food wastes.

                                                                            Managing Nonhazardous Solid Waste

    Landfilling                                               Similarly to municipal solid waste, EPA
                                                         recommends considering pollution prevention
     Landfilling of solid waste still remains the most   options when designing an industrial waste
widely used waste management method. Americans           management system. Pollution prevention will
landfilled approximately 55.0 percent (138.1 million     reduce waste disposal needs and can minimize
tons) of municipal solid waste in 2006 (see Figure       impacts across all environmental media. Pollution
II-3). Many communities are having difficulties          prevention can also reduce the volume and toxicity
siting new landfills, largely as a result of increased   of waste. Lastly, pollution prevention can ease some
citizen concerns about the potential risks and           of the burdens, risks, and liabilities of waste
aesthetics associated with having a landfill in their    management. As with municipal solid waste, EPA
neighborhood. To reduce risks to health and the          recommends a hierarchical approach to industrial
environment, EPA developed minimum criteria that         waste management: first, prevent or reduce waste at
solid waste landfills must meet.                         the point of generation (source reduction); second,
                                                         recycle or reuse waste materials; third, treat waste;
INDUSTRIAL WASTE                                         and finally, dispose of remaining waste in an
                                                         environmentally protective manner (see Figure II-4).
    Industrial waste is also a subset of solid waste     There are many benefits of pollution prevention
and is defined as solid waste generated by               activities, including protecting human health and the
manufacturing or industrial processes that is not a      environment, cost savings, simpler design and
hazardous waste regulated under Subtitle C of            operating conditions, improved worker safety, lower
RCRA. Such waste may include, but is not limited         liability, higher product quality, and improved
to, waste resulting from the following manufacturing     community relations.
processes: electric power generation; fertilizer or
agricultural chemicals; food and related products or         Figure II-4: Waste Management Hierarchy
by-products; inorganic chemicals; iron and steel
manufacturing; leather and leather products;
nonferrous metals manufacturing or foundries;
organic chemicals; plastics and resins
manufacturing; pulp and paper industry; rubber and
miscellaneous plastic products; stone, glass, clay,
and concrete products; textile manufacturing;
transportation equipment; and water treatment.                   Waste Management Hierarchy
Industrial waste does not include mining waste or oil
                                                            Source      If NO
and gas production waste.                                  Reduction

     Each year in the United States, approximately                      Recycling/   If NO
60,000 industrial facilities generate and dispose of                     Reuse
approximately 7.6 billion tons of industrial solid
waste. Most of these wastes are in the form of                                       Treatment

wastewaters (97%). EPA has, in partnership with
state and tribal representatives and a focus group of
industry and public interest stakeholders, developed                                             Disposal
a set of recommendations and tools to assist facility
managers, state and tribal regulators, and the               When implementing pollution prevention,
interested public in better addressing the               industrial facilities should consider a combination of
management of land-disposed, nonhazardous                options that best fits the facility and its products.
industrial wastes.                                       There are a number of steps common to
                                                         implementing any facility-wide pollution prevention
                                                         effort. An essential starting point is to make a clear

Chapter II: Managing Nonhazardous Solid Waste

commitment to identifying and taking advantage of        solvent use, and installing more energy and material-
pollution prevention opportunities. Facilities should    efficient equipment.
seek the participation of interested partners, develop
a policy statement committing the industrial                  In-process recycling involves the reuse of
operation to pollution prevention, and organize a        materials, such as cutting scraps, as inputs to the
team to take responsibility for it. As a next step,      same process from which they came, or uses them in
facilities should conduct a thorough pollution           other processes or for other uses in the facility. This
prevention opportunity assessment. Such an               furthers waste reduction goals by reducing the need
assessment will help set priorities according to         for treatment or disposal and by conserving energy
which options are the most promising. Another            and resources. A common example of in-process
feature common to many pollution prevention              recycling is the reuse of wastewater.
programs is measuring the program’s progress. The             Some of the easiest, most cost-effective, and
actual pollution prevention practices implemented        most widely used waste reduction techniques are
are the core of a program. The following sections        simple improvements in housekeeping. Accidents
give a brief overview of these core activities: source   and spills generate avoidable disposal hazards and
reduction, recycling, and treatment.                     expenses. They are less likely to occur in clean,
                                                         neatly organized facilities. Good housekeeping
       Source Reduction                                  techniques that reduce the likelihood of accidents
                                                         and spills include training employees to manage
    Source reduction is the design, manufacture, and     waste and materials properly; keeping aisles wide
use of products in a way that reduces the quantity       and free of obstructions; clearly labeling containers
and toxicity of waste produced when the products         with content, handling, storage, expiration, and
reach the end of their useful lives. Source reduction    health and safety information; spacing stored
activities for industrial waste include equipment or     materials to allow easy access; surrounding storage
technology modifications; process or procedure           areas with containment berms to control leaks or
modifications; reformulations or redesign of             spills; and segregating stored materials to avoid
products; substitution of less-noxious product           cross-contamination, mixing of incompatible
materials; and improvements in housekeeping,             materials, and unwanted reactions.
maintenance, training, or inventory control.
     One source reduction option is to reformulate or        Recycling
redesign industrial products and processes to
incorporate materials more likely to produce lower-          Industry can benefit from recycling: the
risk wastes. Some of the most common practices           separation and collection of byproduct materials,
include eliminating metals from inks, dyes, and          their subsequent transformation or remanufacture
paints; reformulating paints, inks, and adhesives to     into usable or marketable products or materials, and
eliminate synthetic organic solvents; and replacing      the purchase of products made from recyclable
chemical-based cleaning solvents with water-based        materials.
or citrus-based products.                                    Many local governments and states have
    Newer process technologies often include better      established materials exchange programs to facilitate
waste reduction features than older ones. For            transactions between generators of byproduct
industrial processes that predate consideration of       materials and industries that can recycle wastes as
waste and risk reduction, adopting new procedures        raw materials. Materials exchanges are an effective
or upgrading equipment can reduce waste volume,          and inexpensive way to find new users and uses for a
toxicity, and management costs. Some examples            byproduct material.
include redesigning equipment to cut losses during           Recycling can involve substituting industrial by-
batch changes or during cleaning and maintenance,        products for another material with similar properties.
changing to mechanical cleaning devices to avoid         For example, coal combustion ash has value as a

                                                                            Managing Nonhazardous Solid Waste

construction material, road base, or soil stabilizer.    barriers to beneficial reuse; and increasing outreach
The ash replaces other, non-recycled materials, such     and education on the benefits of source reduction,
as fill or Portland cement, not only avoiding disposal   recycling, and beneficially using wastes/materials.
costs but also yielding a quality product and            Industrial materials recycling activities under the
generating revenue. Other examples of industrial         RCC are discussed further in Chapter IV.
materials recycling include using wastewaters and
sludges as soil amendments and using foundry sand
in asphalt, concrete, and roadbed construction. State
regulatory agencies may require advance approval of          Treatment of nonhazardous industrial waste is
planned recycling activities and may require testing     not a federal requirement. However, it can help to
of the materials to be recycled. Others may pre-         reduce the volume and toxicity of waste prior to
designate certain by-products for recycling, as long     disposal. Treatment can also make a waste
as the required analyses are completed. Generally,       amenable for reuse or recycling. Consequently, a
regulatory agencies want to ensure that recycled         facility managing nonhazardous industrial waste
materials are free from constituents that might pose a   might elect to apply treatment. For example,
greater risk than the materials they are replacing.      treatment might be employed to address volatile
Industrial facilities should consult with the state      organic compound (VOC) emissions from a waste
agency for criteria and regulations governing            management unit, or a facility might elect to treat a
recycling before implementing this option.               waste so that a less stringent waste management
                                                         system design could be used. Treatment involves
    Increasing industrial materials recycling is a
                                                         changing a waste’s physical, chemical, or biological
priority of EPA’s Resource Conservation Challenge
                                                         character or composition through designed
(RCC). Through the RCC, EPA forms collaborative
                                                         techniques or processes. There are three primary
partnerships with industries to encourage them to
                                                         categories of treatment – physical, chemical, and
generate less waste and recycle by-products through
                                                         biological. Physical treatment involves changing the
environmentally sound practices. The objective is to
                                                         waste’s physical properties such as its size, shape,
achieve the economic and environmental benefits of
                                                         density, or state (i.e., gas, liquid, solid). Physical
recycling industrial by-products as inputs to new
                                                         treatment does not change a waste’s chemical
products and to extend the useful life of landfills,
                                                         composition. One form of physical treatment,
conserve virgin materials, and reduce energy use and
                                                         immobilization, involves encapsulating waste in
associated greenhouse gas emissions.
                                                         other materials, such as plastic, resin, or cement, to
    For example, the reuse of coal combustion            prevent constituents from volatilizing or leaching.
products (CCPs) reduces the emission of greenhouse       Listed below are a few examples of physical
gases (GHGs) in many ways. The primary way CCP           treatment:
reuse can reduce GHG emissions is through using          •   Immobilization, including encapsulation and
coal fly ash as a replacement for a portion of the           thermoplastic binding
portland cement used in making concrete. Without         •   Carbon absorption, including granular activated
using coal fly ash, it takes the equivalent of 55            carbon and powdered activated carbon
gallons of oil to produce a single ton of cement.        •   Distillation, including batch distillation,
Using CCPs in place of virgin materials also reduces         fractionation, thin film extraction, steam
the energy-intensive mining operations needed to             stripping, thermal drying, and filtration
generate virgin materials. Reduction in mining           •   Evaporation/volatilization
energy use leads to reduction in GHG emissions.          •   Grinding
                                                         •   Shredding
    EPA is pursuing four broad strategies in
                                                         •   Compacting
increasing the beneficial reuse of industrial
                                                         •   Solidification/addition of absorbent material.
materials: analyzing and characterizing the target
materials; identifying environmentally safe and             Chemical treatment involves altering a waste’s
beneficial practices; identifying incentives and         chemical composition, structure, and properties

Chapter II: Managing Nonhazardous Solid Waste

through chemical reactions. Chemical treatment can            Landfilling
consist of mixing the waste with other materials
(reagents), heating the waste to high temperatures, or         As with municipal solid waste, industrial
a combination of both. Through chemical treatment,        facilities will not be able to manage all of their
waste constituents can be recovered or destroyed.         industrial waste by source reduction, recycling, and
Listed below are a few examples of chemical               treatment. Landfilling is the least desirable option
treatment:                                                and should be implemented as part of a
                                                          comprehensive waste management system.
•      Neutralization
                                                          Implementing a waste management system that
•      Oxidation
                                                          achieves protective environmental operations
•      Reduction
                                                          requires incorporating performance monitoring and
•      Precipitation
                                                          measurement of progress towards environmental
•      Acid leaching
                                                          goals. An effective waste management system can
•      Ion exchange
                                                          help ensure proper operation of the many
•      Incineration
                                                          interrelated systems on which a unit depends for
•      Thermal desorption
                                                          waste containment, leachate management, and other
•      Stabilization
                                                          important functions. If the elements of an industrial
•      Vitrification
                                                          waste landfill are not regularly inspected,
•      Extraction, including solvent extraction and
                                                          maintained, improved, and evaluated for efficiency,
       critical extraction
                                                          even the best designed unit might not operate
•      High temperature metal recovery.
                                                          efficiently. Implementing an effective waste
    Biological treatment can be divided into two          management system can also reduce long- and short-
categories–aerobic and anaerobic. Aerobic biological      term costs, protect workers and local communities,
treatment uses oxygen-requiring microorganisms to         and maintain good community relations.
decompose organic and non-metallic constituents
into carbon dioxide, water, nitrates, sulfates, simpler        Industrial waste landfills can face opposition as
organic products, and cellular biomass (i.e., cellular    a result of concerns about possible negative aesthetic
growth and reproduction). Anaerobic biological            impact and potential health risks. To reduce risks to
treatment uses microorganisms, in the absence of          health and the environment, EPA developed
oxygen, to transform organic constituents and             minimum criteria that industrial waste landfills must
nitrogen-containing compounds into oxygen and             meet. The federal criteria for nonhazardous
methane gas (CH4). Anaerobic biological treatment         industrial waste facilities or practices are provided in
typically is performed in an enclosed digestor unit.      40 CFR Part 257, Subparts A and B. The criteria for
                                                          solid waste disposal facilities are discussed later in
     The range of treatment methods from which to         this chapter.
choose is as diverse as the range of wastes to be
treated. More advanced treatment will generally be
more expensive, but by reducing the quantity and
                                                              Guide for Industrial Waste
risk level of the waste, costs might be reduced in the        Management
long run. Savings could come from not only lower              EPA, in close collaboration with state and tribal
disposal costs, but also lower closure and post-          representatives through the Association of State and
closure care costs. Treatment and post-treatment          Territorial Solid Waste Management Officials
waste management methods can be selected to               (ASTSWMO), and a focus group of industry and
minimize both total cost and environmental impact,        public interest stakeholders, developed a set of
keeping in mind that treatment residuals, such as         recommendations and tools to assist facility
sludges, are wastes themselves that will need to be       managers, state and tribal regulators, and the
managed.                                                  interested public in better addressing the
                                                          management of land-disposed, nonhazardous
                                                          industrial wastes. The Guide for Industrial Waste

                                                                             Managing Nonhazardous Solid Waste

Management (EPA530-R-03-001) provides
                                                                       WHAT IS AN OPEN DUMP?
considerations and Internet-based tools for siting
industrial waste management units; methods for            An open dump is defined as a disposal facility that
                                                          does not comply with one or more of the Part 257 or
characterizing waste constituents; fact sheets and
                                                          Part 258 criteria. Using the Part 257, Subpart A criteria
Web sites with information about individual waste         as a benchmark, each state evaluated the solid waste
constituents; tools to assess possible risks posed by     disposal facilities within its borders to determine which
the wastes; principles for building stakeholder           facilities were open dumps that needed to be closed or
partnerships; opportunities for waste minimization;       upgraded. For each open dump, the state completed
                                                          an Open Dump Inventory Report form that was sent to
guidelines for safe unit design; procedures for           the Bureau of the Census. At the end of fiscal years
monitoring surface water, air, and ground water; and      1981 through 1985, the Bureau compiled all of the
recommendations for closure and post-closure care.        report forms and sent them to EPA, where they were
                                                          summarized and published annually.

CRITERIA FOR SOLID WASTE                                 the owner or operator of a solid waste disposal
DISPOSAL FACILITIES                                      facility in those states must directly implement the
                                                         requirements. In addition to the minimum federal
     One of the initial focuses of the Solid Waste       criteria, some states may impose requirements that
Disposal Act (as amended by RCRA) was to require         are more stringent than the federal requirements.
EPA to study the risks associated with solid waste       Citizen suits (under RCRA §7002) may also be used
disposal and to develop management standards and         to enforce the federal criteria in addition to state-
criteria for solid waste disposal units (including       issued permits.
landfills) in order to protect human health and the
environment. This study resulted in the
development of criteria for classifying solid waste          Technical Criteria for Solid Waste
disposal facilities and practices.                           Disposal Facilities
     On September 13, 1979, EPA promulgated                   The Part 257, Subpart A regulatory criteria used
criteria to designate solid waste disposal facilities    to classify solid waste disposal facilities and
and practices which would not pose adverse effects       practices consist of general environmental
to human health and the environment (Part 257,           performance standards. The criteria contain
Subpart A). Facilities failing to satisfy the criteria   provisions designed to ensure that wastes disposed
are considered open dumps requiring attention by         of in solid waste disposal units will not threaten
state solid waste programs. RCRA prohibits open          endangered species, surface water, ground water, or
dumping. As a result, open dumps had to either be        flood plains. Further, owners and operators of
closed or upgraded to meet the criteria for sanitary     disposal units are required to implement public
landfills. States were also required to incorporate      health and safety precautions such as disease vector
provisions into their solid waste programs to prohibit   (e.g., rodents, flies, mosquitoes) controls to prevent
the establishment of new open dumps. States have         the spread of disease and restrictions on the open
the option of developing standards more stringent        burning of solid waste. In addition, facilities are
than the Part 257, Subpart A criteria.                   required to install safety measures to control
                                                         explosive gases generated by the decomposition of
     Solid waste disposal is overseen by the states,     waste, minimize the attraction of birds to the waste
and compliance is assured through state-issued           disposed in the unit, and restrict public access to the
permits. EPA does not issue permits for solid waste      facility. The criteria also restrict the land spreading
management. Each state is to obtain EPA approval         of wastes with high levels of cadmium and
for their MSWLF permitting program. This                 polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in order to
approval process assesses whether a state’s program      adequately protect ground water from these
is sufficient to ensure each landfill’s compliance       dangerous contaminants.
with the criteria. In states without an approved
program, the federal criteria are self-implementing;

Chapter II: Managing Nonhazardous Solid Waste

    These criteria serve as minimum technical            landfills can dissolve harmful constituents in the
standards for solid waste disposal facilities. As a      waste and can eventually seep into the ground,
result, facilities must meet the Part 257 standards to   potentially contaminating ground water. In addition,
ensure that ongoing waste management operations          improperly maintained landfills can pose other
adequately protect human health and the                  health risks due to airborne contaminants, or the
environment. If they fail to do so, the facility is      threat of fire or explosion.
classified as an open dump and must upgrade its
operations or close.                                         To address these environmental and health
                                                         concerns, and to standardize the technical
                                                         requirements for these landfills, EPA promulgated
    Conditionally Exempt Small Quantity                  revised minimum federal criteria in Part 258 for
    Generator Waste Disposal Facilities                  MSWLFs on October 9, 1991. The criteria were
                                                         designed to ensure that MSWLFs receiving
     In July of 1996, EPA promulgated standards for      municipal solid waste would be protective of human
non-municipal, nonhazardous waste facilities that        health and the environment. All other solid waste
may receive conditionally exempt small quantity          disposal facilities and practices, besides MSWLFs,
generator (CESQG) waste (40 CFR Part 257,                remain subject to Part 257, Subpart A or B.
Subpart B). These revisions address location
restrictions, requirements for monitoring for ground-    Criteria for Municipal Solid Waste Landfills
water contamination, and corrective action
provisions to clean up any contamination. (CESQGs            A municipal solid waste landfill is defined as a
are fully discussed in Chapter III, Regulations          discrete area of land or excavation that receives
Governing Hazardous Waste Generators).                   household waste. A MSWLF may also receive other
                                                         types of nonhazardous wastes, such as commercial
                                                         solid waste, nonhazardous sludge, conditionally
    Technical Criteria for Municipal Solid               exempt small quantity generator (CESQG) waste,
    Waste Landfills (MSWLFs)                             and industrial nonhazardous solid waste. In 2006,
                                                         there were approximately 1,754 MSWLFs in the
    Protection of human health and the environment
                                                         continental United States.
from the risks posed by solid waste disposal
facilities was an ongoing concern of Congress after          The revised criteria in 40 CFR Part 258 address
RCRA was passed in 1976. As a result, the 1984           seven major aspects of MSWLFs (see Figure II-5):
Hazardous and Solid Waste Amendments (HSWA)
                                                         •   Location
required EPA to report on the adequacy of existing
                                                         •   Operation
solid waste disposal facility criteria and gather
                                                         •   Design
detailed data on the characteristics and quantities of
                                                         •   Ground-water monitoring
nonhazardous municipal solid wastes.
                                                         •   Corrective action
Report to Congress on Solid Waste Disposal               •   Closure and post-closure activities
                                                         •   Financial assurance.
     In October 1988, EPA submitted a Report to
                                                              The location criteria restrict where a MSWLF
Congress indicating that the United States was
                                                         may be located. New landfills must meet minimum
generating an increasing amount of municipal solid
                                                         standards for placement in or near flood plains,
waste. The Report revealed that approximately 160
                                                         wetlands, fault areas, seismic impact zones, and
million tons of municipal solid waste were generated
                                                         other unstable areas. Because some bird species are
each year, 131 million tons of which were landfilled
                                                         attracted to landfills, the criteria also restrict the
in just over 6,500 MSWLFs. EPA also reported that
                                                         placement of landfills near airports to reduce the bird
although these landfills used a wide variety of
                                                         hazards (i.e., collisions between birds and aircraft
environmental controls, they may pose significant
                                                         that may cause damage to the aircraft or injury to the
threats to ground water and surface water resources.
For instance, rain water percolating through the

                                                                                 Managing Nonhazardous Solid Waste

                            Figure II-5: Cross-Section of a Municipal Solid Waste Landfill
                    Ground Water         Liner             Leachate Collection      Explosive Gas
                    Monitoring Well                             System              Monitoring Well

     The operating criteria establish daily operating        procedures for properly closing the facility to ensure
standards for running and maintaining a landfill.            that the landfill does not endanger human health and
The standards dictate sound management practices             the environment in the future. The closure activities
that ensure protection of human health and the               at the end of a facility’s use are often expensive, and
environment. The provisions require covering the             the owner and operator must have the ability to pay
landfill daily, controlling disease vectors, and             for them. To this end, the criteria require each
controlling explosive gases. They also prohibit the          owner and operator to prove that they have the
open burning of solid waste and require the owner            financial resources to perform these closure and
and operator of the landfill to control unauthorized         post-closure activities, as well as any known
access to the unit.                                          corrective action.
     Leachate is formed when rain water filters
through wastes placed in a landfill. When this liquid            Bioreactor Landfills
comes in contact with buried wastes, it leaches, or
                                                                 EPA is investigating the feasibility of improving
draws out, chemicals or constituents from those
                                                             how waste is managed in MSWLFs. Projects are
wastes. The design criteria require each new landfill
                                                             being conducted to assess bioreactor landfill
to have a liner consisting of a flexible membrane and
                                                             technology. A bioreactor landfill operates to more
a minimum of two feet of compacted soil, as well as
                                                             rapidly transform and degrade organic waste. The
a leachate collection system. The liner and
                                                             increase in waste degradation and stabilization is
collection system prevent the potentially harmful
                                                             accomplished through the addition of liquid and air
leachate from contaminating the soil and ground
                                                             to enhance microbial processes. This bioreactor
water below the landfill. States with EPA-approved
                                                             concept differs from the traditional “dry tomb”
MSWLF permit programs can allow the use of an
                                                             municipal landfill approach. Thus, decomposition
alternative liner design that controls ground-water
                                                             and biological stabilization of the waste in a
                                                             bioreactor landfill can occur in a shorter time frame
    In order to check the performance of system              than occurs in a traditional landfill. This provides a
design, MSWLF facility managers must also                    potential decrease in long-term environmental risks
establish a ground-water monitoring program.                 and landfill operating and post-closure costs.
Through a series of monitoring wells, the facility
                                                                 Additional information about bioreactor landfills
owner and operator is alerted if the landfill is leaking
                                                             can be found at www.epa.gov/epaoswer/non-hw/
and causing contamination. If contamination is
detected, the owner and operator of the landfill must
perform corrective action (i.e., clean up the
contamination caused by the landfill).
    When landfills reach their capacity and can no
longer accept additional waste, the criteria stipulate

Chapter II: Managing Nonhazardous Solid Waste

ASSISTANCE TO NATIVE                                    is working to coordinate federal assistance for tribal
                                                        solid waste management programs. The cleanup
                                                        project’s specific goals include assisting tribes with
     EPA developed a municipal solid waste strategy     1) proposals to characterize/assess open dumps; 2)
to assist Native American tribes in the establishment   proposals to develop Integrated Solid Waste
of healthy, environmentally protective, integrated      Management (ISWM) Plans and Tribal Codes and
solid waste management practices on tribal lands.       regulations; 3) proposals to develop and implement
The initial strategy was based on input from tribal     alternative solid waste management activities/
focus groups convened by the National Tribal            facilities; and 4) proposals to develop and implement
Environmental Council and discussions with tribal       closure and post-closure programs.
organizations, EPA Regional Indian Program
                                                             Outreach and educational materials are two
Coordinators, other EPA offices, and other federal
                                                        other tools EPA provides to tribes to support
agencies with trust responsibilities on Native
                                                        environmentally sound integrated solid waste
American lands. The strategy emphasizes building
                                                        management practices. The Agency’s outreach
tribal municipal solid waste management capacity,
                                                        support helps tribes connect and learn from each
developing tribal organizational infrastructure, and
                                                        other’s experiences. Educational resources help
building partnerships among tribes, states, and local
                                                        tribal leadership as well as the general tribal
governments. Direct EPA support of these goals
                                                        community understand the importance of good
includes technical assistance, grant funding,
                                                        municipal solid waste management. Better
education, and outreach.
                                                        understanding ensures that tribal municipal solid
     Solid waste managers on Native American lands      waste programs are assigned a high priority and
face unique challenges. To address issues such as       facilitates the communities’ adoption of new and
jurisdiction, funding, and staffing, EPA offers         improved waste disposal practices.
several resource guides featuring in-depth
information specific to Native American lands. The      OTHER SOLID WASTE
Agency recognizes that every solid waste
management program needs funding to survive and         MANAGEMENT INITIATIVES
that, in an era of tightening budgets, it may be             Along with the Resource Conservation
difficult to find necessary resources. One of EPA’s     Challenge (which is discussed in Chapter IV), EPA
ongoing priorities is to make current information       has developed a number of solid waste management
available to help tribes locate the funding they need   initiatives to help facilitate and promote proper
to develop and implement safe and effective solid       waste management, and encourage source reduction
waste programs.                                         by both industry and the public. Several such
    One such initiative is the Tribal Waste Journal.    initiatives are described below.
The journal contains in-depth information on a
variety of solid and hazardous waste topics including       Jobs Through Recycling Program
interviews with representatives from Native
American Tribes and Alaskan Native Villages. Each           The Jobs Through Recycling (JTR) program was
issue focuses on a single topic and presents ideas,     developed in 1994 with the intent to foster recycling
approaches, and activities that other Native            market development through assistance to state
American Tribes and Alaskan Native Villages have        agencies, tribal authorities, and regional nonprofit
successfully employed.                                  organizations. However, due to funding cutbacks,
                                                        JTR now operates exclusively by facilitating
    Additionally, EPA has initiated the Tribal Open     information exchange and providing networking
Dump Cleanup Project to assist tribes with closure      opportunities via a Web site and e-mail list server.
or upgrade of open dump sites. The project is part of   The list server, called JTRnet, allows market
a Tribal Solid Waste Interagency Workgroup, which       development officials to share insights and seek

                                                                             Managing Nonhazardous Solid Waste

advice on problems and issues facing recycling            the program serves a population of 75 million today.
programs in their states and regions. The Web site is     Based on greenhouse gas calculations, PAYT is
available at www.epa.gov/jtr, and includes                attributed with reducing an equivalent of over 10
information on commodities, financing, business           million metric tons of carbon dioxide annually.
assistance, and profiles of the past JTR grants. It has
information on the economic benefits of recycling             Additional information about unit pricing or
and market development information for all 50             pay-as-you-throw programs is available at
states. The Web site also provides information on         www.epa.gov/payt.
how to participate in the e-mail list server.
                                                              Full Cost Accounting for Municipal
     Between 1994 and 1999, the JTR program
provided “seed” funding totaling approximately $8
                                                              Solid Waste
million through grants to states, tribes, and                 Full cost accounting is an additional financial
territories. These grants were awarded through a          management tool that communities can use to
national competitive process, managed by a joint          improve solid waste management. Full cost
EPA Headquarters and regions team. Based on               accounting is an accounting approach that helps
reported results, JTR funding helped create more          local governments identify all direct and indirect
than 8,500 new jobs, $640.5 million in capital            costs, as well as the past and future costs, of a MSW
investments, and 14 million tons of recovered             management program. Full cost accounting helps
materials. One job was created for every $1,000 of        solid waste managers account for all monetary costs
grant money invested.                                     of resources used or committed, thereby providing
                                                          the complete picture of solid waste management
    Pay-As-You-Throw (PAYT)                               costs on an ongoing basis. Full cost accounting can
                                                          help managers identify high-cost activities and
     Some communities are using economic                  operations and seek ways to make them more cost-
incentives to encourage the public to reduce solid        effective.
waste sent to landfills. One of the most successful
economic incentive programs used to achieve source            EPA is continually studying these and other
reduction and recycling is variable rate refuse           programs in order to assist communities in deciding
pricing, or unit pricing. Unit pricing programs,          whether one of these programs is right for them. In
sometimes referred to as pay-as-you-throw (PAYT)          addition to these initiatives, EPA has published
systems, have one primary goal: customers who             numerous guidance documents designed to educate
place more solid waste at the curb for disposal pay       both industry and the public on the benefits of
more for the collection and disposal service. Thus,       source reduction, to guide communities in
customers who recycle more have less solid waste          developing recycling programs, and to educate
for disposal and pay less. There are a few different      students on the benefits and elements of source
types of unit pricing systems. Most require               reduction and recycling.
customers to pay a per-can or per-bag fee for refuse          Additional information about full cost
collection and require the purchase of a special bag      accounting can be found at www.epa.gov/fullcost.
or tag to place on bags or cans. Other systems allow
customers to choose between different size
containers and charge more for collection of larger           Construction and Demolition
containers. EPA’s role in the further development of          Materials
unit pricing systems has been to study effective
systems in use and to disseminate documentation to           Under its Resource Conservation Challenge,
inform other communities about the environmental          EPA’s Industrial Materials Recycling Program is
and economic benefits that unit pricing may have for      supporting projects to reduce, reuse, and recycle
their community. The number of PAYT                       materials generated from construction, renovation,
communities grew to more than 7,133 in 2007, and          deconstruction, and demolition of buildings and

Chapter II: Managing Nonhazardous Solid Waste

transportation structures, such as roads and bridges.     waste). Management of nonhazardous solid waste is
Construction and demolition materials commonly            regulated by the states.
include concrete, asphalt, wood, glass, brick, metal,
insulation, and furniture. From incorporating used            Municipal solid waste, a subset of solid waste, is
or environmentally friendly materials into a              waste generated by businesses and households. EPA
building’s construction or renovation to                  recommends an integrated, hierarchical approach to
disassembling structures for the reuse and recycling      managing solid waste that includes, in descending
of their components, each phase of a building’s life      order of preference:
cycle offers opportunities to reduce waste.               •   Source reduction
                                                          •   Recycling
    Additional information about construction and         •   Disposal by combustion and/or landfilling.
demolition materials is available at www.epa.gov/
epaoswer/non-hw/debris-new/index.htm. The                     As part of Subtitle D, EPA has developed
Resource Conservation Challenge is discussed              detailed technical criteria for solid waste disposal
further in Chapter IV and at www.epa.gov/rcc.             facilities (40 CFR Part 257) and specific criteria for
                                                          MSWLFs (40 CFR Part 258):
                                                          •   Location
    Industrial Ecology
                                                          •   Operation
     The study of material and energy flows and their     •   Design
transformations into products, by-products, and           •   Ground water monitoring
waste throughout industrial and ecological systems        •   Corrective action
is the primary concept of industrial ecology. This        •   Closure and post-closure
initiative urges industry to seek opportunities for the   •   Financial assurance (i.e., responsibility).
continual reuse and recycling of materials through a           In addition, other solid waste management
system in which processes are designed to consume         initiatives have been developed by EPA to help
only available waste streams and to produce only          facilitate proper waste management. These
usable waste. Wastes from producers and consumers         initiatives focus on the environmental and economic
become inputs for other producers and consumers,          benefits of source reduction and recycling. These
and resources are cycled through the system to            initiatives include:
sustain future generations. Individual processes and
                                                          •   Jobs through Recycling
products become part of an interconnected industrial
                                                          •   Pay-As-You-Throw
system in which new products or processes evolve
                                                          •   Full cost accounting
out of or consume available waste streams, water,
                                                          •   Construction and demolition materials
and energy; in turn, processes are developed to
                                                          •   Industrial ecology.
produce usable resources.

                                                          ADDITIONAL RESOURCES
                                                              Additional information about municipal
    The term “solid waste” includes garbage, refuse,      solid waste management can be found at
sludges, nonhazardous industrial wastes, hazardous        www.epa.gov/msw. Additional information on
wastes, and other discarded materials. RCRA               EPA’s Resource Conservation Challenge is available
Subtitle C regulations distinguish those solid wastes     at www.epa.gov/rcc.
which are deemed hazardous and subject to the
hazardous waste regulatory program described in
Chapter III. Subtitle D addresses primarily
nonhazardous solid waste. Subtitle D also
addresses hazardous wastes that are excluded from
Subtitle C regulation (e.g., household hazardous

                               CHAPTER III
                            MANAGING HAZARDOUS WASTE –
                                 RCRA SUBTITLE C

                                                                                      accidents or spills of hazardous waste that close
  In this chapter…                                                                    highways, or illegal midnight dumping that
                                                                                      contaminates property, are familiar. Yet, even when
  Overview ................................................................ III-1     hazardous waste is managed or disposed of in a
  Hazardous Waste Identification ............................. III-3                  careful manner, it may still pose a threat to human
  Hazardous Waste Recycling and Universal                                             health and the environment. For example, toxic
  Wastes .................................................................. III-31    hazardous wastes can leak from a hazardous waste
  Regulations Governing Hazardous Waste                                               landfill that is poorly constructed, improperly
  Generators ........................................................... III-41       maintained, or structurally compromised. Such
  Regulations Governing Hazardous Waste                                               waste contamination can severely, and sometimes
  Transporters ......................................................... III-51       irreversibly, pollute ground water, the primary
  Regulations Governing Treatment, Storage, and                                       source of drinking water for half the nation.
  Disposal Facilities ................................................ III-55
  Land Disposal Restrictions .................................. III-91                     Ground water pollution is not the only problem
  Hazardous Waste Combustion .......................... III-101                       posed by hazardous waste mismanagement. The
  Permitting of Treatment, Storage, and Disposal                                      improper disposal of hazardous waste has polluted
  Facilities .............................................................. III-111   streams, rivers, lakes, and other surface waters,
  Corrective Action to Clean Up Hazardous Waste                                       killing aquatic life, destroying wildlife, and stripping
  Contamination .................................................... III-123          areas of vegetation. In other cases, careless waste
  Enforcement of Hazardous Waste                                                      disposal has been linked to respiratory illnesses, skin
  Regulations ........................................................ III-129        diseases (including skin cancer), and elevated levels
  Authorizing States to Implement RCRA ............. III-139                          of toxic materials in the blood and tissue of humans
                                                                                      and domestic livestock. In still other cases, the
                                                                                      mismanagement of hazardous waste has resulted in
                                                                                      fires, explosions, or the generation of toxic gases
OVERVIEW                                                                              that have killed or seriously injured workers and
     The improper management of hazardous waste
poses a serious threat to human health and the                                            Since 1980, under RCRA Subtitle C, EPA has
environment. When EPA began developing the                                            developed a comprehensive program to ensure that
hazardous waste management regulations in the late                                    hazardous waste is managed safely: from the
1970s, the Agency estimated that only 10 percent of                                   moment it is generated; while it is transported,
all hazardous waste was managed in an                                                 treated, or stored; until the moment it is finally
environmentally sound manner.                                                         disposed (see Figure III-1). This cradle-to-grave
                                                                                      management system establishes requirements for
    Some threats posed by the mismanagement of                                        each of the following:
hazardous waste are obvious. Reports of chemical

Chapter III: Managing Hazardous Waste – RCRA Subtitle C

•       Hazardous Waste Identification — To                      waste, this program requires effective and
        facilitate the proper identification and                 expeditious hazardous waste treatment.
        classification of hazardous waste, RCRA begins       •   Combustion — To minimize the hazards posed
        with hazardous waste identification procedures.          by the burning of hazardous waste, RCRA
•       Hazardous Waste Recycling and Universal                  imposes strict standards on units conducting
        Wastes — To provide for the safe recycling of            such combustion.
        hazardous wastes, and facilitate the management      •   Permitting — To ensure that only facilities
        of commonly recycled materials, RCRA                     meeting the TSDF standards are treating,
        includes provisions for hazardous waste                  storing, and disposing of hazardous waste, and
        recycling and universal wastes.                          to provide each TSDF facility with a record of
•       Hazardous Waste Generators — To ensure                   the specific requirements applicable to each part
        proper and safe waste management, the RCRA               of its operation, RCRA requires owners and
        regulations provide management standards for             operators of these facilities to obtain a permit.
        those facilities that produce hazardous waste,       •   Corrective Action — Since hazardous waste
        and provide reduced regulations for facilities           management may result in spills or releases into
        that produce less waste.                                 the environment, the corrective action program
•       Hazardous Waste Transporters — To govern                 is designed to guide the cleanup of any
        the transport of hazardous waste between                 contaminated air, ground water, or soil resulting
        management facilities, RCRA regulates                    from such management.
        hazardous waste transporters.                        •   Enforcement — To ensure that RCRA-
•       Treatment, Storage, and Disposal Facilities              regulated facilities, from generators to TSDFs,
        (TSDF) — To fully protect human health and               comply with these regulations, RCRA provides
        the environment from hazardous waste                     EPA with the authority to enforce provisions of
        treatment, storage, and disposal, the TSDF               the Act.
        requirements establish generic facility              •   State Authorization — To empower states and
        management standards, specific provisions                make enforcement more efficient, RCRA also
        governing hazardous waste management units,              allows EPA to authorize state governments to
        and additional precautions designed to protect           administer various parts of the RCRA program.
        soil, ground water, and air resources.
•       Land Disposal Restrictions — To reduce the               Each of these aspects of the RCRA Subtitle C
        hazards posed by permanently land disposed           program is carefully detailed in this chapter.

                      Figure III-1: RCRA’s Cradle-to-Grave Hazardous Waste Management System

           Hazardous Waste                     Hazardous Waste                            Hazardous Waste
             Generation                         Transporation                                 Disposal

                                    HAZARDOUS WASTE

Overview ........................................................... III-3
Hazardous Waste Identification Process .......... III-4                            What is a hazardous waste? Simply defined, a
Is the Material a Solid Waste? .......................... III-4               hazardous waste is a waste with properties that
- Recycled Materials ........................................ III-5           make it dangerous or capable of having a harmful
- Secondary Materials ..................................... III-7             effect on human health or the environment.
- Sham Recycling ............................................ III-9           Unfortunately, in order to develop a regulatory
Is the Waste Excluded? .................................... III-9             framework capable of ensuring adequate protection,
- Solid Waste Exclusions ............................... III-10               this simple narrative definition is not enough.
- Hazardous Waste Exclusions ...................... III-13                    Determining what is a hazardous waste is
- Raw Material, Product Storage, and Process                                  paramount, because only those wastes that have
   Unit Waste Exclusions ................................ III-16              specific attributes are subject to Subtitle C
- Sample and Treatability Study Exclusions .. III-16                          regulation.
- Dredge Materials Exclusion ........................ III-17
Is the Waste a Listed Hazardous Waste? ....... III-17                              Making this determination is a complex task
- Listing Criteria ............................................. III-17       that is a central component of the hazardous waste
- Hazardous Waste Listings ........................... III-18                 management regulations. Hazardous waste is
- Waste Listed Solely for Exhibiting the                                      generated from many sources, ranging from
  Characteristic of Ignitability, Corrosivity,                                industrial manufacturing process wastes, to
  and/or Reactivity .......................................... III-21         batteries, to fluorescent light bulbs. Hazardous
- Delistings ..................................................... III-21     waste may come in many forms, including liquids,
Is the Waste a Characteristic Hazardous                                       solids, gases, and sludges. To cover this wide range,
Waste? ........................................................... III-22     EPA has developed a system to identify specific
- Ignitability .................................................... III-22    substances known to be hazardous and provide
- Corrosivity ................................................... III-23      objective criteria for including other materials in
- Reactivity ..................................................... III-23     this universe. The regulations contain guidelines for
- Toxicity ......................................................... III-23   determining what exactly is a waste (called a solid
Special Regulatory Conventions .................... III-24                    waste) and what is excluded from the hazardous
- Mixture Rule ................................................ III-24        waste regulations, even though it otherwise is a
- Derived-From Rule ...................................... III-26             solid and hazardous waste. Finally, to promote
- Contained-In Policy ..................................... III-26            recycling and the reduction of the amount of waste
Mixed Waste ................................................... III-27        entering the RCRA system, EPA provides
Summary ........................................................ III-27       exemptions for certain wastes when they are
                                                                              recycled in certain ways.

Chapter III: RCRA Subtitle C - Managing Hazardous Waste

    This chapter introduces the hazardous waste                    3. Is the waste a listed or characteristic hazardous
identification process, describes how to determine if                 waste?
a waste is a solid waste, and provides the regulatory
definition for hazardous waste. It also discusses                  4. Is the waste delisted?
those wastes specifically excluded from Subtitle C                     This chapter will examine these key questions.
regulation and those wastes exempted when
                                                                   IS THE MATERIAL A SOLID
HAZARDOUS WASTE                                                    WASTE?
IDENTIFICATION PROCESS                                                 The Subtitle C program uses the term solid
                                                                   waste to denote something that is a waste. In order
     Proper hazardous waste identification is                      for a material to be classified as a hazardous waste,
essential to the success of the RCRA program. This                 it must first be a solid waste. Therefore, the first
identification process can be a very complex task.                 step in the hazardous waste identification process is
Therefore, it is best to approach the issue by asking a            determining if a material is a solid waste.
series of questions in a step-wise manner (see Figure
III-2). If facility owners and operators answer the                     The statutory definition points out that whether a
following questions, they can determine if they are                material is a solid waste is not based on the physical
producing a hazardous waste:                                       form of the material (i.e., whether or not it is a solid
                                                                   as opposed to a liquid or gas), but rather that the
1. Is the material in question a solid waste?                      material is a waste. The regulations further define
2. Is the material excluded from the definition of                 solid waste as any material that is discarded by
   solid waste or hazardous waste?                                 being either abandoned, inherently waste-like, a
                                                                   certain military munition, or recycled (see Figure

                                   Figure III-2: Hazardous Waste Identification Process

                            1.    Is material a
                                 solid waste?


                         2. Is waste excluded from
                            the definition of solid or
                            hazardous waste?                 Yes

                                        No                                    MATERIAL IS NOT
                                                                                SUBJECT TO
                                                                              RCRA SUBTITLE C
                                                             No                 REGULATION
                  3.   Is waste a listed or characteristic
                       hazardous waste?


                                                             No           WASTE IS SUBJECT TO RCRA
                           4. Is waste delisted?
                                                                           SUBTITLE C REGULATION

                                                                                          Hazardous Waste Identification

•   Abandoned — The term abandoned simply                            Chapter III, Hazardous Waste Recycling and
    means thrown away. A material is abandoned if                    Universal Wastes.)
    it is disposed of, burned, or incinerated.
•   Inherently Waste-Like — Some materials pose                      Recycled Materials
    such a threat to human health and the
                                                                      Materials that are recycled are a special subset
    environment that they are always considered
                                                                 of the solid waste universe. When recycled, some
    solid wastes; these materials are considered to be
                                                                 materials are not solid wastes and, therefore, not
    inherently waste-like. Examples of inherently
                                                                 hazardous wastes, while others are solid and
    waste-like materials include certain dioxin-
                                                                 hazardous waste, but are subject to less-stringent
    containing wastes.
                                                                 regulatory controls. The level of regulation that
•   Military Munition — Military munitions are all               applies to recycled materials depends on the material
    ammunition products and components produced                  and the type of recycling (see Figure III-4). Because
    for or used by the U.S. Department of Defense                some types of recycling pose threats to human health
    (DOD) or U.S. Armed Services for national                    and the environment, RCRA does not exempt all
    defense and security. Unused or defective                    recycled materials from the definition of solid waste.
    munitions are solid wastes when abandoned (i.e.,             As a result, the manner in which a material is
    disposed of, burned, incinerated) or treated prior           recycled will determine whether or not the material
    to disposal; rendered nonrecyclable or                       is a solid waste and, therefore, potentially regulated
    nonuseable through deterioration; or declared a              as a hazardous waste. In order to encourage waste
    waste by an authorized military official. Used               recycling, RCRA exempts three types of wastes from
    (i.e., fired or detonated) munitions may also be             the definition of solid waste:
    solid wastes if collected for storage, recycling,
                                                                 •   Waste Used as an Ingredient — If a material is
    treatment, or disposal.
                                                                     directly used as an ingredient in a production
•   Recycled — A material is recycled if it is used                  process without first being reclaimed, then that
    or reused (e.g., as an ingredient in a process),                 material is not a solid waste.
    reclaimed, or used in certain ways (used in a
                                                                 •   Waste Used as a Product Substitute — If a
    manner constituting disposal, burned for energy
                                                                     material is directly used as an effective
    recovery, or accumulated speculatively).
                                                                     substitute for a commercial product (without
    (Recycled materials are fully discussed in

                                             Figure III-3: Is It a Solid Waste?

                        Is material discarded by being either:                     MATERIAL IS NOT A
                   1) Abandoned;                                       No         SOLID WASTE AND IS
                   2) Inherently waste-like;                                        NOT SUBJECT TO
                   3) A discarded military munition; or                            RCRA SUBTITLE C
                   4) Recycled?                                                      REGULATION


                             MATERIAL IS A SOLID WASTE
                             AND MAY BE A HAZARDOUS
                              WASTE SUBJECT TO RCRA
                              SUBTITLE C REGULATION

Chapter III: RCRA Subtitle C - Managing Hazardous Waste

        first being reclaimed), it is exempt from the               wastes or products containing wastes (e.g.,
        definition of solid waste.                                  asphalt with petroleum-refining wastes as an
                                                                    ingredient) on the land.
•       Wastes Returned to the Production Process —
        When a material is returned directly to the            •    Burned for Energy Recovery, Used to Produce a
        production process (without first being                     Fuel, or Contained in Fuels — Burning
        reclaimed) for use as a feedstock or raw                    hazardous waste for fuel (e.g., burning for
        material, it is not a solid waste.                          energy recovery) and using wastes to produce
                                                                    fuels are regulated activities. Conversely,
    Conversely, materials are solid wastes, and are                 commercial products intended to be burned as
not exempt, if they are recycled in certain ways. If                fuels are not considered solid wastes. For
these materials are used in a manner constituting                   example, off-specification jet fuel (e.g., a fuel
disposal; burned for energy recovery, used to                       with minor chemical impurities) is not a solid
produce a fuel, or contained in fuels; accumulated                  waste when it is burned for energy recovery
speculatively; or are dioxin-containing wastes                      because it is itself a fuel.
considered inherently waste-like; then they are
defined as solid wastes.                                       •    Accumulated Speculatively — In order to
                                                                    encourage recycling of wastes as well as ensure
•       Used in a Manner Constituting Disposal — Use                that materials are actually recycled, and not
        constituting disposal is the direct placement of            simply stored to avoid regulation, EPA

                                  Figure III-4: Are All Recycled Wastes Hazardous Wastes?

                        Is waste recycled by being:

                  1) Used as an ingredient;
                  2) Used as a product substitute; or
                  3) Returned to the production process?


                           Is waste reclaimed?


                            Is recycled waste:
                1) Used in a manner constituting disposal;
                2) Burned for energy recovery, used to
                   produce a fuel, or contained in fuels;                   WASTE IS A SOLID WASTE
                3) Accumulated speculatively; or              Yes
                4) A dioxin-containing waste considered
                   inherently waste-like?

                                                                          Facility must determine if waste is a:
                    WASTE IS NOT A SOLID WASTE                       1)   Spent material;
                                                                     2)   Sludge;
                                                                     3)   By-product;
                                                                     4)   Commercial chemical product; or
                                                                     5)   Scrap metal

                                                                                                          Hazardous Waste Identification

      established a provision to encourage facilities to                a waste to recover valuable metal constituents), or if
      recycle sufficient amounts in a timely manner.                    it is regenerated through processing to remove
      This provision designates as solid wastes those                   contaminants in a way that restores them to their
      materials that are accumulated speculatively. A                   usable condition (e.g., distilling dirty spent solvents
      material is accumulated speculatively (e.g.,                      to produce clean solvents). If secondary materials
      stored in lieu of expeditious recycling) if it has                are reclaimed before use, their regulatory status
      no viable market or if the person accumulating                    depends on the type of material. For this solid waste
      the material cannot demonstrate that at least 75                  determination process, EPA groups all materials into
      percent of the material is recycled in a calendar                 five categories. These secondary materials consist
      year, commencing on January 1 (see Figure                         of spent materials, sludges, by-products, commercial
      III-5).                                                           chemical products (CCPs), and scrap metal.
•     Dioxin-Containing Wastes Considered                               Spent Materials
      Inherently Waste-Like — Dioxin-containing
      wastes are considered inherently waste-like                            Spent materials are materials that have been
      because they pose significant threats to human                    used and can no longer serve the purpose for which
      health and the environment if released or                         they were produced without processing. For
      mismanaged. As a result, RCRA does not                            example, a solvent used to degrease metal parts will
      exempt such wastes from the definition of solid                   eventually become contaminated such that it cannot
      waste even if they are recycled through direct                    be used as a solvent until it is regenerated. If a spent
      use or reuse without prior reclamation. This is                   material must be reclaimed, it is a solid waste and is
      to ensure that such wastes are subject to the most                subject to hazardous waste regulation. Spent
      protective regulatory controls.                                   materials are also regulated as solid wastes when
                                                                        used in a manner constituting disposal; burned for
                                                                        energy recovery, used to produce a fuel, or contained
      Secondary Materials                                               in fuels; or accumulated speculatively (see Figure
    Not all materials can be directly used or reused
without reclamation. A material is reclaimed if it is
processed to recover a usable product (e.g., smelting

                                             Figure III-5: Materials Accumulated Speculatively

                                        January 2001                                December 2001
                            11     22   33    44   55   66   77           11 22 33 44 55 66 77
                                 11 22 33 44 55 66 77                       1   2   3    44 5     6     7
                            8      19 2   11 4
                                       10 3   12 513 6
                                                     14 7                 8 119 2210 3311 412 5513 66 77
                            15     16   17    18   19   20   21           15   16    17   18   19   20   21
                            22     23   24    25   26   27   28           22   23    24   25   26   27   28
                            29 30       31                                29 30      31
                             29                                            29
                               29                                           29
                                29                                            29

                            200 lbs. of recyclable material in              150 lbs. of the same recyclable
                                         storage                                material still in storage

    On January 1, 2001, a facility has 200 lbs. of a material that it wants to re-insert directly into its production process. Such a
    material is technically exempt from the definition of solid waste because it is being recycled through direct reuse without prior
    reclamation. However, by the end of the calendar year (December 31, 2001), less than 75 percent (i.e., less than 150 lbs.) of the
    material has been reclaimed or sent off site for reclamation. Therefore, the material has been speculatively accumulated and is
    no longer exempt from the definition of solid waste. The material may then be regulated as a hazardous waste.

Chapter III: RCRA Subtitle C - Managing Hazardous Waste

Sludges                                                             By-Products

     Sludges are any solid, semisolid, or liquid                         By-products are materials that are not one of
wastes generated from a wastewater treatment plant,                 the intended products of a production process. An
water supply treatment plant, or air pollution control              example is the sediment remaining at the bottom of a
device (e.g., filters or baghouse dust). Sludges from               distillation column. By-product is a catch-all term
specific industrial processes or sources (known as                  and includes most wastes that are not spent materials
listed sludges) are solid wastes when reclaimed;                    or sludges. Listed by-products are solid wastes
used in a manner constituting disposal; burned for                  when reclaimed; used in a manner constituting
energy recovery, used to produce a fuel, or contained               disposal; burned for energy recovery, used to
in fuels; or accumulated speculatively. On the other                produce a fuel, or contained in fuels; or accumulated
hand, characteristic sludges (which are sludges that                speculatively. On the other hand, characteristic by-
exhibit certain physical or chemical properties) are                products are not solid wastes when reclaimed, unless
not solid wastes when reclaimed, unless they are                    they are used in a manner constituting disposal;
used in a manner constituting disposal; burned for                  burned for energy recovery, used to produce a fuel,
energy recovery, used to produce a fuel, or contained               or contained in fuels; or accumulated speculatively
in fuels; or accumulated speculatively (see Figure                  (see Figure III-6).
III-6). (Listings and characteristics are fully
discussed later in this chapter.)

                                 Figure III-6: Regulatory Status of Secondary Materials

                                                 These materials are solid wastes when...

                                                             Used in a manner      Burned for energy
                                             Reclaimed          constituting   recovery, used to produce
                                                                 disposal     a fuel, or contained in fuels

        Spent Materials                         √                   √                       √                       √
        Listed Sludges
                                                √                   √                       √                       √
        Characteristic Sludges
                                                                    √                       √                       √
        Listed By-products                      √                  √                        √                       √
        Characteristic By-products
                                                                    √                       √                       √
        Commercial Chemical Products
                                                                    √*                      √*
        Scrap Metal
                                                √                   √                       √                       √
        * If such management is consistent with the product’s normal use, then commercial chemical products used in a
          manner constituting disposal or burned for energy recovery, used to produce a fuel, or contained in fuels are not
          solid wastes.

        √ Material is a solid waste

                                                                                   Hazardous Waste Identification

Commercial Chemical Products                                  Sham Recycling
    Commercial chemical products (CCPS) are                    For all recycling activities, the above rules are
unused or off-specification chemicals (e.g.,              based on the premise that legitimate reclamation or
chemicals that have exceeded their shelf life), spill     reuse is taking place. EPA rewards facilities
or container residues, and other unused                   recycling some wastes by exempting them from
manufactured products that are not typically              regulation, or by subjecting them to lesser
considered chemicals. CCPs are not solid wastes           regulation. Some facilities, however, may claim that
when reclaimed, unless they are used in a manner          they are recycling a material in order to avoid being
constituting disposal; or burned for energy recovery,     subject to RCRA regulation, when in fact the activity
used to produce a fuel, or contained in fuels (see        is not legitimate recycling. EPA has established
Figure III-6).                                            guidelines for what constitutes legitimate recycling
                                                          and has described activities it considers to be
Scrap Metal
                                                          illegitimate or sham recycling. Considerations in
    Scrap metal is worn or extra bits and pieces of       making this determination include whether the
metal parts, such as scrap piping and wire, or worn       secondary material is effective for the claimed use, if
metal items, such as scrap automobile parts and           the secondary material is used in excess of the
radiators. If scrap metal is reclaimed, it is a solid     amount necessary, and whether or not the facility has
waste and is subject to hazardous waste regulation        maintained records of the recycling transactions.
(see also Chapter III, Hazardous Waste Recycling
and Universal Wastes). Scrap metal is also regulated
                                                          IS THE WASTE EXCLUDED?
as a solid waste when used in a manner constituting
disposal; burned for energy recovery, used to                 Not all RCRA solid wastes qualify as hazardous
produce a fuel, or contained in fuels; or accumulated     wastes. Other factors must be considered before
speculatively. This does not apply to processed           deciding whether a solid waste should be regulated
scrap metal, which is excluded from hazardous             as a hazardous waste. Regulation of certain wastes
waste generation entirely (as discussed later in this     may be impractical or otherwise undesirable,
chapter).                                                 regardless of the hazards that the waste might pose.
                                                          For instance, household waste can contain dangerous
                                                          chemicals, such as solvents and pesticides, but
                  SHAM RECYCLING                          subjecting households to the strict RCRA waste
 Sham recycling may include situations when a             management regulations would create a number of
 secondary material is:                                   practical problems. As a result, Congress and EPA
                                                          exempted or excluded certain wastes, such as
 • Ineffective or only marginally effective for the
   claimed use (e.g., using certain heavy metal sludges   household wastes, from the hazardous waste
   in concrete when such sludges do not contribute any    definition and regulations. Determining whether or
   significant element to the concrete’s properties)      not a waste is excluded or exempted from hazardous
 • Used in excess of the amount necessary (e.g., using    waste regulation is the second step in the RCRA
   materials containing chlorine as an ingredient in a    hazardous waste identification process. There are
   process requiring chlorine, but in excess of the       five categories of exclusions:
   required chlorine levels)
                                                          •   Exclusions from the definition of solid waste
 • Handled in a manner inconsistent with its use as a
   raw material or commercial product substitute (e.g.,
                                                          •   Exclusions from the definition of hazardous
   storing materials in a leaking surface impoundment
   as compared to a tank in good condition that is            waste
   intended for storing raw materials).
                                                          •   Exclusions for waste generated in raw material,
                                                              product storage, or manufacturing units
                                                          •   Exclusions for laboratory samples and waste
                                                              treatability studies

Chapter III: RCRA Subtitle C - Managing Hazardous Waste

•   Exclusions for dredged material regulated under        Industrial Wastewater Discharges (Point Source
    the Marine Protection Research and Sanctuaries         Discharges)
    Act or the Clean Water Act.
                                                                Another exclusion from RCRA designed to
    If the waste fits one of these categories, it is not   avoid overlap with CWA regulations applies to point
regulated as a RCRA hazardous waste, and the               source discharges. Point source discharges are
hazardous waste requirements do not apply.                 discharges of pollutants (e.g., from a pipe, sewer, or
                                                           pond) directly into a lake, river, stream, or other
                                                           water body. CWA regulates such discharges under
    Solid Waste Exclusions                                 the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System
    A material cannot be a hazardous waste if it does      (NPDES) permitting program. Under this exclusion
not meet the definition of a solid waste. Thus,            from the definition of solid waste, wastewaters that
wastes that are excluded from the definition of solid      are subject to CWA regulations are exempt from
waste are not subject to RCRA Subtitle C hazardous         Subtitle C regulation at the point of discharge. Any
waste regulation. There are 22 exclusions from the         hazardous waste generation, treatment, or storage
definition of solid waste.                                 prior to the discharge is subject to RCRA regulation.
                                                           Many industrial facilities that treat wastewater on
Domestic Sewage and Mixtures of Domestic                   site utilize this point source discharge exclusion.

    Domestic sewage, or sanitary waste, comes from
households, office buildings, factories, and any other
place where people live and work. These wastes are
carried by sewer to a municipal wastewater
treatment plant (called a publicly owned treatment
works (POTW)). The treatment of these wastes is
regulated under the Clean Water Act (CWA).
Mixtures of sanitary wastes and other wastes
(including hazardous industrial wastes) that pass
through a sewer system to a POTW are also
excluded from Subtitle C regulation once they enter
the sewer. In certain circumstances, this exclusion
may be applied to domestic sewage and mixtures of
domestic sewage that pass through a federally              Irrigation Return Flows
owned treatment works (FOTW).                                   When farmers irrigate agricultural land, water
                                                           not absorbed into the ground can flow into reservoirs
                                                           for reuse. This return flow often picks up pesticide
                                                           or fertilizer constituents, potentially rendering it
                                                           hazardous. Because this water may be reused on the
                                                           fields, it is excluded from the definition of solid

                                                           Radioactive Waste

                                                               Radioactive waste is regulated by either the
                                                           Nuclear Regulatory Commission or the U.S.
                                                           Department of Energy (DOE) under the Atomic
                                                           Energy Act (AEA). To avoid duplicative regulation
                                                           under RCRA and AEA, RCRA excludes certain
                                                           radioactive materials from the definition of solid

                                                                                  Hazardous Waste Identification

waste. However, RCRA excludes only the                   •   Only tank storage is involved, and the entire
radioactive components of the waste. If a                    process, through reclamation, is closed to the air
radioactive waste is mixed with a hazardous waste,           (i.e., enclosed)
the resultant mixture is regulated by both AEA and
RCRA as a mixed waste. Similarly, if a facility          •   Reclamation does not involve controlled flame
generates a hazardous waste that is also radioactive,        combustion, such as that which occurs in boilers,
the material is a mixed waste and is subject to              industrial furnaces, or incinerators
regulation under both RCRA and AEA (the                  •   Waste materials are never accumulated in tanks
regulatory status of mixed waste is fully discussed          for more than 12 months without being
later in this chapter).                                      reclaimed
In-Situ Mining Waste                                     •   Reclaimed materials are not used to produce a
                                                             fuel, or used to produce products that are used in
     In-situ (in-place) mining of certain minerals may
                                                             a manner constituting disposal.
involve the application of solvent solutions directly
to a mineral deposit in the ground. The solvent               An example of such a closed-loop system might
passes through the ground, collecting the mineral as     include a closed solvent recovery system in which
it moves. The mineral and solvent mixtures are then      the dirty solvents are piped from the degreasing unit
collected in underground wells where the solution is     to a solvent still where the solvent is cleaned, and
removed. Such solvent-contaminated earth, or any         then piped back to the degreasing unit.
nonrecovered solvent, is excluded from the
definition of solid waste when left in place.            Spent Wood Preservatives

Pulping Liquors                                              Many wood preserving plants recycle their
                                                         wastewaters and spent wood preserving solutions.
    Pulping liquor, also called black liquor, is a       These materials are collected on drip pads and
corrosive material used to dissolve wood chips for       sumps, and are in many cases returned directly to the
manufacturing of paper and other materials. To           beginning of the wood preserving process where
promote waste minimization and recycling, EPA            they are reused in the same manner. While the
excluded pulping liquors from the definition of solid    process resembles a closed-loop recycling process,
waste if they are reclaimed in a recovery furnace and    the closed-loop recycling exclusion does not apply
then reused in the pulping process. If the liquors are   because drip pads are open to the air. Consistent
recycled in another way, or are accumulated              with their objective to encourage recycling
speculatively, they are not excluded.                    hazardous waste, EPA developed a specific
                                                         exclusion for spent wood preserving solutions and
Spent Sulfuric Acid
                                                         wastewaters containing spent preservatives,
    Spent sulfuric acid may be recycled to produce       provided that the materials have been reclaimed and
virgin sulfuric acid. To promote waste reduction and     are reused for their original purpose. In addition,
recycling, such recycled spent sulfuric acid is          wood preserving solutions and wastewaters are
excluded from the definition of solid waste, unless      excluded from the definition of solid waste prior to
the facility accumulates the material speculatively.     reclamation. To use this exclusion, a facility is
                                                         required to reuse the materials for their intended
Closed-Loop Recycling                                    purpose and manage them in a way that prevents
                                                         releases to the environment.
    To further promote waste reduction and
recycling, spent materials that are reclaimed and        Coke By-Product Wastes
returned to the original process in an enclosed
system of pipes and tanks are excluded from the              Coke, used in the production of iron, is made by
definition of solid waste, provided that:                heating coal in high temperature ovens. Throughout
                                                         the production process many by-products are

Chapter III: RCRA Subtitle C - Managing Hazardous Waste

created. The refinement of these coke by-products
generates several listed and characteristic
wastestreams. However, to promote recycling of
these wastes, EPA provided an exclusion from the
definition of solid waste for certain coke by-product
wastes that are recycled into new products.

Splash Condenser Dross Residue

    The treatment of steel production pollution
control sludge generates a zinc-laden residue, called
a dross. This material, generated from a splash
condenser in a high temperature metal recovery
process, is known as a splash condenser dross
residue. Because this material contains 50 to 60
percent zinc, it is often reclaimed, reused, or
processed as a valuable recyclable material. Since
facilities commonly handle this material as a
valuable commodity by managing it in a way that is
protective of human health and the environment,           burned as fuels are excluded from the definition of
EPA excluded this residue from the definition of          solid waste, provided that they meet certain
solid waste.                                              specifications (i.e., are of a certain degree of purity).
                                                          This is to ensure that the material does not exceed
Hazardous Oil-Bearing Secondary Materials and             certain levels of toxic constituents and physical
Recovered Oil from Petroleum Refining                     properties that might impede burning or are harmful
Operations                                                to human health and the environment. Materials that
                                                          meet this specification are considered comparable to
      Petroleum refining facilities sometimes recover
                                                          pure or virgin fuels.
oil from oily wastewaters and reuse this oil in the
refining process. In order to encourage waste             Processed Scrap Metal
minimization and recycling, EPA excluded such
recovered oil from the definition of solid waste when          Scrap metal includes, but is not limited to, pipes,
it is returned to the refinery. Oil-bearing hazardous     containers, equipment, wire, and other metal items
wastes which are recycled back into the petroleum         that are no longer of use. To facilitate recycling,
refining process are also excluded.                       scrap metal that has been processed to make it easier
                                                          to handle or transport and is sent for metals recovery
Condensates from Kraft Mill Steam Strippers               is excluded from the definition of solid waste.
                                                          Unprocessed scrap metal is still eligible for an
     The kraft process, the most commonly used
                                                          exemption from hazardous waste regulation when
pulping process today, utilizes various chemicals to
                                                          recycled (as discussed in Chapter III, Hazardous
break down wood into pulp. This process generates
                                                          Waste Recycling and Universal Wastes).
overhead gases that are condensed and often
recycled as fuel. To encourage the recycling of these     Shredded Circuit Boards
condensates, EPA excluded them from the definition
of solid waste provided the condensate is combusted           Circuit boards are metal boards that hold
at the mill that generated it.                            computer chips, thermostats, batteries, and other
                                                          electronic components. Circuit boards can be found
Comparable Fuels                                          in computers, televisions, radios, and other
                                                          electronic equipment. When this equipment is
    In order to promote the recycling of materials
                                                          thrown away, these boards can be removed and
with high fuel values, certain materials that are
                                                          recycled. Whole circuit boards meet the definition

                                                                                    Hazardous Waste Identification

of scrap metal and are, therefore, exempt from             specifications. Spent liquid treating caustics from
hazardous waste regulation when recycled (as               petroleum refineries are excluded from the definition
discussed in Chapter III, Hazardous Waste Recycling        of solid waste if they are used as a feedstock in the
and Universal Wastes).                                     manufacture of napthenic and cresylic acid products.
                                                           EPA believes that spent caustic, when used in this
     On the other hand, some recycling processes           manner, is a valuable commercial feedstock in the
involve shredding the board. Such shredded boards          production of these particular products and is,
do not meet the exclusion for recycled scrap metal.        therefore, not a solid waste.
In order to facilitate the recycling of such materials,
EPA excluded recycled shredded circuit boards from         Zinc Fertilizers Made from Recycled Hazardous
the definition of solid waste, provided that they are      Secondary Materials
stored in containers sufficient to prevent release to
the environment and are free of potentially                     EPA promulgated a conditional exclusion from
dangerous components, such as mercury switches,            the definition of solid waste for hazardous secondary
mercury relays, nickel-cadmium batteries, and              materials that are recycled to make zinc fertilizers or
lithium batteries.                                         zinc fertilizer ingredients. Zinc, an important
                                                           micronutrient for plants and animals, can be
Mineral Processing Spent Materials                         removed from zinc-rich manufacturing residue and
                                                           used to produce zinc micronutrient fertilizer. A
     Mineral processing generates spent materials          second conditional exclusion applies to the zinc
that may exhibit hazardous waste characteristics.          fertilizer products made from these secondary
Common industry practice is to recycle these               materials.
mineral processing wastes back into the processing
operations to recover mineral values. EPA created a        Recycling of Cathode Ray Tubes
conditional exclusion from the definition of solid
waste for these spent materials when recycled in the           EPA provides a conditional exclusion from the
mineral processing industry, provided the materials        definition of solid waste for cathode ray tubes
are stored in certain types of units and are not           (CRTs) and CRT glass destined for recycling. EPA
accumulated speculatively.                                 promulgated reduced standards to increase the
                                                           collection and recycling of CRTs, and to reduce the
Petrochemical Recovered Oil                                amount of lead in landfills by allowing lead to be
                                                           reused to make new CRT glass or sent to a lead
     Organic chemical manufacturing facilities             smelter. Under this exclusion, used, unbroken CRTs
sometimes recover oil from their organic chemical          are not regulated as solid waste unless they are
industry operations. EPA excluded petrochemical            stored for more than one year. EPA set simplified
recovered oil from the definition of solid waste when      standards for unbroken CRTs because the risk of
the facility inserts the material into the petroleum       lead releases from them is very low. Used, broken
refining process of an associated or adjacent              CRTs are also not regulated as solid waste as long as
petroleum refinery. Only petrochemical recovered           the conditions of the exclusion are met. In addition,
oil that is hazardous because it exhibits the              glass removed from CRTs remain unregulated when
characteristic of ignitability or exhibits the toxicity    destined for recycling at a CRT glass manufacturer
characteristic for benzene (or both) is eligible for the   or a lead smelter when the conditions of the
exclusion.                                                 exclusion are met.
Spent Caustic Solutions from Petroleum
Refining                                                       Hazardous Waste Exclusions
    Petroleum refineries use caustics to remove                EPA also excludes certain solid wastes from the
acidic compounds like mercaptans from liquid               definition of hazardous waste. If a material meets an
petroleum streams to reduce product odor and               exclusion from the definition of hazardous waste, it
corrosivity as well as to meet product sulfur              cannot be a hazardous waste, even if the material

Chapter III: RCRA Subtitle C - Managing Hazardous Waste

technically meets a listing or exhibits a                 wastes; and cement kiln dust wastes (Bevill wastes)
characteristic. There are currently 18 exclusions         from the definition of hazardous waste pending
from the definition of hazardous waste.                   further study by EPA. These wastes were
                                                          temporarily exempted because they were produced
Household Hazardous Waste                                 in very large volumes, were thought to pose less of a
     Households often generate solid wastes that          hazard than other wastes, and were generally not
could technically be hazardous wastes (e.g., old          amenable to the management practices required
solvents, paints, pesticides, fertilizers, or poisons).   under RCRA. The following paragraphs describe
However, it would be impossible to regulate every         these exclusions in detail.
house in the United States that occasionally threw
                                                              Fossil Fuel Combustion Waste
away a can of paint thinner or a bottle of rat poison.
Therefore, EPA developed the household waste                   In order to accommodate effective study, fossil
exclusion. Under this exclusion, wastes generated         fuel combustion wastes were divided into two
by normal household activities (e.g., routine house       categories, large-volume coal-fired utility wastes and
and yard maintenance) are excluded from the               remaining wastes. After studying these wastes, in
definition of hazardous waste. EPA has expanded           1993, EPA decided to permanently exclude large-
the exclusion to include household-like areas, such       volume coal-fired utility wastes, including fly ash,
as bunkhouses, ranger stations, crew quarters,            bottom ash, boiler slag, and flue gas emission
campgrounds, picnic grounds, and day-use                  control waste from the definition of hazardous
recreation areas. While household hazardous waste         waste. Further study by EPA, in 2000, indicated that
is excluded from Subtitle C, it is regulated under        all remaining fossil fuel combustion wastes need not
Subtitle D as a solid waste (as discussed in Chapter      be regulated under RCRA Subtitle C. However, EPA
II).                                                      determined that national non-hazardous waste
                                                          regulations under RCRA Subtitle D are appropriate
Agricultural Waste                                        for coal combustion wastes (CCW) disposed in
    To prevent overregulation of farms and promote        surface impoundments and landfills and used as
waste recycling, solid wastes generated by crop or        minefill. EPA published a Notice of Data
animal farming are excluded from the definition of        Availability (NODA) regarding CCW and will use
hazardous waste provided that the wastes are              comments and information received in response to
returned to the ground as fertilizers or soil             the NODA as the Agency follows up on the
conditioners. Examples of such wastes are crop            regulatory determination.
residues and manures.
                                                              Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Wastes
Mining Overburden                                              Certain wastes from the
    After an area of a surface mine has been              exploration and production of
depleted, it is common practice to return to the mine     oil, gas, and geothermal
the earth and rocks (overburden) that were removed        energy are excluded from the
to gain access to ore deposits. When the material is      definition of hazardous waste.
returned to the mine site, it is not a hazardous waste    These wastes include those
under RCRA.                                               that have been brought to the
                                                          surface during oil and gas
Bevill and Bentsen Wastes                                 exploration and production
                                                          operations, and other wastes
    In the Solid Waste Disposal Act Amendments of         that have come into contact with the
1980, Congress amended RCRA by exempting oil,             oil and gas production stream (e.g., during
gas, and geothermal exploration, development, and         removal of waters injected into the drill well to cool
production wastes (Bentsen wastes); fossil fuel           the drill bit).
combustion wastes; mining and mineral processing

                                                                                  Hazardous Waste Identification

    Mining and Mineral Processing Wastes                 When these tanks leak, the UST program under
                                                         RCRA Subtitle I provides requirements for cleaning
     Certain wastes from the mining, refining, and
                                                         up such spills. To facilitate the corrective action
processing of ores and minerals are excluded from
                                                         process under the UST regulations, contaminated
the definition of hazardous waste.
                                                         media (soils and ground water) and debris (tanks and
    Cement Kiln Dust                                     equipment) at sites undergoing UST cleanup that are
                                                         hazardous only because they exhibit certain toxic
    Cement kiln dust is a fine-grained solid by-         characteristics (e.g., contain specific concentrations
product generated during the cement manufacturing        of leachable organic constituents) are excluded from
process and captured in a facility’s air pollution       the definition of hazardous waste.
control system. After study, EPA decided to develop
specific regulatory provisions for cement kiln dust.     Spent Chlorofluorocarbon Refrigerants
Until EPA promulgates these new regulatory
                                                              Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) released to the
controls, however, cement kiln dust will generally
                                                         atmosphere damage the stratospheric ozone layer.
remain excluded from the definition of hazardous
                                                         To promote recycling and discourage the practice of
                                                         venting used CFCs to the atmosphere as a means of
Trivalent Chromium Wastes                                avoiding Subtitle C regulation, EPA excluded
                                                         recycled CFCs from the definition of hazardous
     The element chromium exists in two forms,           waste since the refrigerants are generally reclaimed
hexavalent and trivalent. EPA determined that while      for reuse.
hexavalent chromium poses enough of a threat to
merit regulation as a characteristic hazardous waste,    Used Oil Filters
trivalent chromium does not. Therefore, to prevent
                                                             In order to promote the recycling and recovery
unnecessary regulation, EPA excluded, from the
                                                         of metals and other products from used oil filters,
definition of hazardous waste, trivalent chromium-
                                                         EPA exempted used oil filters that have been
bearing hazardous wastes from certain leather
                                                         properly drained to remove the used oil.
tanning, shoe manufacturing, and leather
manufacturing industries.                                Used Oil Distillation Bottoms
Arsenically Treated Wood                                     When used oil is recycled, residues (called
                                                         distillation bottoms) form at the bottom of the
    Discarded arsenically treated wood or wood
                                                         recycling unit. To promote used oil recycling and
products that are hazardous only because they
                                                         the beneficial reuse of waste materials, EPA
exhibit certain toxic characteristics (e.g., contain
                                                         excluded these residues from the definition of
certain concentrations of leachable metal, pesticide,
                                                         hazardous waste when the bottoms are used as
or organic constituents) are excluded from the
                                                         ingredients in asphalt paving and roofing materials.
definition of hazardous waste. Once such treated
wood is used, it may be disposed of by the user          Landfill Leachate or Gas Condensate Derived
(commercial or residential) without being subject to     from Certain Listed Wastes
hazardous waste regulation. This exclusion is based
on the fact that the use of such wood products on the        Landfill leachate and landfill gas condensate
land is similar to the common disposal method,           derived from previously disposed wastes, where
which is landfilling. This exclusion applies only to     such wastes now meet the listing description of one
end-users and not to manufacturers.                      or more of the following listed wastes: K169, K170,
                                                         K171, K172, K176, K177, K178, and K181, would
Petroleum-Contaminated Media and Debris from             be regulated as a listed hazardous waste. However,
Underground Storage Tanks (USTs)                         EPA temporarily deferred such landfill leachate and
                                                         gas condensate from the definition of hazardous
     USTs are used to store petroleum (e.g., gasoline,
                                                         waste provided their discharge is regulated under
oil) and hazardous substances (e.g., ammonia).

Chapter III: RCRA Subtitle C - Managing Hazardous Waste

CWA. The exclusion will remain effective while            Waste Characterization Samples
EPA studies how the landfill leachate and landfill
                                                               Samples sent to a lab to determine whether or
gas condensate are currently managed, and the effect
                                                          not a waste is hazardous are exempt from regulation.
of future CWA effluent limitation guidelines for
                                                          Such samples (typically less than one gallon of
landfill wastewaters.
                                                          waste) are excluded from Subtitle C regulation,
Project XL Pilot Project Exclusions                       provided that
                                                          these samples are
     EPA has provided three facilities with site-         collected and
specific hazardous waste exclusions pursuant to the       shipped for the
Project XL pilot program. The waste generated from        sole purpose of
the copper metalization process at the IBM Vermont        determining
XL project is excluded from the F006 listing. By-         hazardous waste
products resulting from the production of automobile      characteristics or
air bag gas generants at the Autoliv ASP Inc. XL          composition.
project in Utah are exempt from regulation as D003        Storage,
hazardous waste. In addition, EPA approved a site-        transportation, and
specific exclusion for mixed wastes generated at the      testing of the sample are excluded from RCRA
Ortho-McNeil Pharmaceutical, Inc. facility in Spring      regulation even when the lab testing is complete,
House, Pennsylvania.                                      provided the sample is returned to the generator, and
                                                          other specific provisions are met. When shipping
    Raw Material, Product Storage, and                    the sample to or from the laboratory, the sample
                                                          collector must comply with certain labeling
    Process Unit Waste Exclusions
                                                          requirements, as well as any applicable U.S. Postal
     Hazardous wastes generated in raw material,          Service (USPS) or U.S. Department of
product storage, or process (e.g., manufacturing)         Transportation (DOT) shipping requirements.
units are exempt from Subtitle C hazardous waste
regulation while the waste remains in such units.         Treatability Study Samples
These units include tanks, pipelines, vehicles, and           To determine if a particular treatment method
vessels used either in the manufacturing process or       will be effective on a given waste or what types of
for storing raw materials or products, but specifically   wastes remain after the treatment is complete,
do not include surface impoundments. Once the             facilities send samples of waste to a lab for testing.
waste is removed from the unit, or when a unit            EPA conditionally exempts those who generate or
temporarily or permanently ceases operation for 90        collect samples for the sole purpose of conducting
days, the waste is considered generated and is            treatability studies from the hazardous waste
subject to regulation.                                    regulations, provided that certain requirements,
                                                          including packaging, labeling, and recordkeeping
    Sample and Treatability Study                         provisions, are met. In addition, under specific
    Exclusions                                            conditions, laboratories conducting such treatability
                                                          studies may also be exempt from Subtitle C
    Hazardous waste samples are small, discrete           regulation.
amounts of hazardous waste that are essential to
ensure accurate characterization and proper
hazardous waste treatment. In order to facilitate the
analysis of these materials, RCRA exempts
characterization samples and treatability study
samples from Subtitle C hazardous waste regulation.

                                                                                       Hazardous Waste Identification

                                                             waste is a listed hazardous waste. The hazardous
                                                             waste listings consist of four lists:
 In RCRA §1004(5), Congress defined hazardous waste
 as a solid waste, or combination of solid wastes, which     •   The F list           • The P list
 because of its quantity, concentration, or physical,        •   The K list           • The U list
 chemical, or infectious characteristics may:
                                                                 Listed wastes are wastes from generic industrial
 (a) Cause, or significantly contribute to, an increase in   processes, wastes from certain sectors of industry,
     mortality or an increase in serious irreversible, or    and unused pure chemical products and
     incapacitating reversible, illness; or                  formulations. Because these wastes are dangerous
                                                             enough to warrant full Subtitle C regulation based on
 (b) Pose a substantial present or potential hazard to
     human health or the environment when improperly         their origin, any waste fitting a narrative listing
     treated, stored, transported, or disposed of, or        description is considered a listed hazardous waste.
     otherwise managed.

 Based on this broad definition, Congress instructed             Listing Criteria
 EPA to develop more specific criteria for defining solid
 and hazardous waste. Congress believed that EPA                  Before developing each hazardous waste listing,
 should define hazardous waste using two different           EPA thoroughly studies a particular wastestream and
 mechanisms: by listing certain specific solid wastes as
                                                             the threats that it can pose to human health and the
 hazardous (i.e., wastes from certain industrial
 processes or sources), and by identifying                   environment. If the waste poses sufficient threat,
 characteristics (i.e., physical or chemical properties)     EPA includes a precise description of that waste on
 which, when exhibited by a solid waste, make it             one of four hazardous waste lists within the
 hazardous. Taking Congress’ lead, EPA proceeded to          regulations.
 develop an elaborate definition of hazardous waste
 that included both of these mechanisms.                          In order to determine whether a waste should be
                                                             listed in the first place, the Agency developed a set
    Dredge Materials Exclusions                              of criteria to use as a guide and a consistent frame of
                                                             reference when considering listing a wastestream.
    Dredge materials subject to the permitting               These criteria were developed by EPA to use in
requirements of 404 of the Federal Water Pollution           evaluating whether a waste warranted being listed as
Control Act of                                               a hazardous waste. These listing criteria cannot be
Section 103 of                                               used by waste handlers for waste identification
the Marine                                                   purposes. Waste handlers must instead consult the
Protection,                                                  actual listings to determine if their waste is regulated
Research, and                                                as a listed hazardous waste.
Sanctuaries Act
of 1972 are not                                                  There are three different criteria EPA uses to
considered                                                   decide whether or not to list a waste as hazardous.
hazardous                                                    The three criteria are:
wastes.                                                      •   The waste typically contains toxic chemicals at
                                                                 levels that could pose a threat to human health
IS THE WASTE A LISTED                                            and the environment if improperly managed.
                                                                 Such wastes are known as toxic listed wastes.
                                                             •   The waste contains such dangerous chemicals
    After a facility determines that its waste is a              that it could pose a threat to human health and
solid waste and is not excluded from the definitions             the environment even when properly managed.
of solid or hazardous waste, the owner and operator              These wastes are fatal to humans and animals
must determine if the waste is a hazardous waste.                even in low doses. Such wastes are known as
The first step in this process is determining if the             acute hazardous wastes.

Chapter III: RCRA Subtitle C - Managing Hazardous Waste

                       HAZARD CODES
                                                                    known as wastes from specific sources. The K
                                                                    list is found in 40 CFR §261.32.
    To indicate its reason for listing a waste, EPA assigns a
    hazard code to each waste listed on the F, K, P, and U      •   The P list and the U list — These two lists
    lists. The last four hazard codes in the table below            include pure or commercial grade formulations
    apply to wastes that have been listed because they              of specific unused chemicals. Chemicals are
    typically exhibit one of the four regulatory                    included on the P list if they are acutely toxic. A
    characteristics of hazardous waste. The first two
    hazard codes apply to listed wastes whose                       chemical is acutely toxic if it is fatal to humans
    constituents pose additional threats to human health            in low doses, if scientific studies have shown
    and the environment. The hazard codes indicating the            that it has lethal effects on experimental
    basis for listing a waste are:                                  organisms, or if it causes serious irreversible or
    Toxic Waste                          (T)
                                                                    incapacitating illness. The U list is generally
    Acute Hazardous Waste                (H)                        comprised of chemicals that are toxic, but also
    Ignitable Waste                      (I)                        includes chemicals that display other
    Corrosive Waste                      (C)                        characteristics, such as ignitability or reactivity.
    Reactive Waste                       (R)                        Both the P list and U list are codified in 40 CFR
    Toxicity Characteristic Waste        (E)
    The hazard codes assigned to listed wastes affect the
    regulations that apply to handling the waste. For               Each list includes anywhere from 30 to a few
    instance, acute hazardous wastes accompanied by the         hundred listed hazardous wastestreams. All of the
    hazard code (H) are subject to stricter management          wastes on these lists are assigned an identification
    standards than most other wastes.                           number (i.e., a waste code) consisting of the letter
                                                                associated with the list (i.e., F, K, P, or U) followed
•     The waste typically exhibits one of the four              by three numbers. For example, wastes on the F list
      characteristics of hazardous waste: ignitability,         may be assigned a waste code ranging from F001 to
      corrosivity, reactivity, and toxicity.                    F039, while wastes on the K list may be assigned a
    In addition, EPA may list a waste as hazardous, if          waste code ranging from K001 to K181. These
it has cause to believe that, for some other reason,            waste codes are an important part of the RCRA
the waste typically fits within the statutory definition        regulatory system since waste code assignment has
of hazardous waste developed by Congress.                       important implications for the future management
                                                                standards that will apply to the waste.

      Hazardous Waste Listings                                  The F List: Wastes From Nonspecific Sources

    EPA has applied the listing criteria to hundreds                The F list designates hazardous wastes from
of specific industrial wastestreams. These wastes               common industrial and manufacturing processes.
are grouped into the four lists located at 40 CFR Part          The F list wastes can be divided into seven groups,
261, Subpart D. Listed wastes are organized as                  depending on the type of manufacturing or industrial
follows:                                                        operation that creates them:

•     The F list — The F list includes wastes from              •   Spent solvent wastes (waste codes F001 through
      certain common industrial and manufacturing                   F005)
      processes. Because the processes generating
                                                                •   Electroplating and other metal finishing wastes
      these wastes can occur in different sectors of
                                                                    (F006 through F012 and F019)
      industry, the F list wastes are known as wastes
      from nonspecific sources. The F list is codified          •   Dioxin-bearing wastes (F020 through F023 and
      in the regulations in 40 CFR §261.31.                         F026 through F028)
•     The K list — The K list includes wastes from              •   Chlorinated aliphatic hydrocarbons production
      specific industries. As a result, K list wastes are           wastes (F024 and F025)

                                                                                   Hazardous Waste Identification

•   Wood preserving wastes (F032, F034, and F035)          specific chemicals used in the production of
                                                           pesticides. With the exception of F028, all of the
•   Petroleum refinery wastewater treatment sludges        dioxin-bearing wastes are considered acutely
    (F037 and F038)                                        hazardous wastes and are designated with the hazard
•   Multisource leachate (F039).                           code (H). These wastes are therefore subject to
                                                           stricter management standards than other hazardous
    Spent Solvent Wastes                                   wastes.

    The spent solvent waste listings (F001 through             Chlorinated Aliphatic Hydrocarbon Production
F005) apply to wastestreams that are generated from            Wastes
the use of certain common organic solvents.
Solvents are commonly used in various industries,              The F024 and F025 listings apply to specific
such as mechanical repair, dry cleaning, and               chlorinated aliphatic production wastes (exclusive of
electronics manufacturing, for degreasing and              wastewaters and wastewater treatment sludges).
cleaning in addition to other functions. While             K174 and K175 listings apply to certain wastewater
solvents are chemicals with many uses, these listings      treatment sludges associated with chlorinated
only apply to solvents that are used as solvents for       aliphatic production. Chlorinated aliphatic
their solvent properties (e.g., to solubilize, dissolve,   chemicals are produced for use in the manufacture of
or mobilize other constituents) and are spent (e.g.,       other chemical products, most notably to make vinyl
cannot be used further without reprocessing). In           chloride, the main ingredient in PVC, a widely-used
addition, these listings only apply to solvents that       plastic.
contain one or more of the specific organic solvent
                                                               Wood Preserving Wastes
constituents found in the F001-F005 narrative
descriptions. Lastly, these listings only cover                The wood preserving waste listings (F032, F034,
solvents that were above a certain concentration           and F035) apply to certain wastes from wood
before use.                                                preserving operations. Wood used for certain
                                                           applications is chemically treated to slow the
    Electroplating and Other Metal Finishing Wastes        deterioration caused by decay and insects. For
    The electroplating and other metal finishing           example, telephone poles, railroad cross ties, and
waste listings (F006 through F012 and F019) apply          other wood products are treated to withstand the
to wastestreams that are commonly produced during          rigors of outdoor use.
electroplating and other metal finishing operations.           Wood preservation typically involves pressure-
Diverse industries use electroplating and other            treating lumber with pentachlorophenol, creosote, or
methods to change the surface of metal objects in          preservatives containing arsenic or chromium. The
order to enhance the appearance of the objects, make       wood preserving process creates wastestreams
them more resistant to corrosion, or impart some           containing these chemicals, such as excess
other desirable property to them. Industries involved      preservative solution that drips from wood products
in plating and metal finishing range from jewelry          after treatment. Waste from wood preservation
manufacture to automobile production.                      using pentachlorophenol is F032, waste from use of
                                                           creosote is F034, and waste from treating wood with
    Dioxin-Bearing Wastes
                                                           arsenic or chromium is F035.
     The dioxin-bearing waste listings (F020 through
                                                               Another listing, K001, applies to bottom
F023 and F026 through F028) describe a number of
                                                           sediment sludges from treating wastewaters
wastestreams that EPA believes are likely to contain
                                                           associated with wood preserving using creosote and/
dioxins, which are allegedly among the most
                                                           or pentachlorophenol.
dangerous known chemical compounds. The dioxin
listings apply primarily to manufacturing process
wastes from the production of specific pesticides or

Chapter III: RCRA Subtitle C - Managing Hazardous Waste

    Petroleum Refinery Wastewater Treatment                 The K List: Wastes From Specific Sources
                                                                 The K list designates hazardous wastes from
    The petroleum refinery wastewater treatment             specific sectors of industry and manufacturing. Like
sludge listings apply to specific wastestreams from         F list wastes, K list wastes are manufacturing
petroleum refineries. The petroleum refining                process wastes.
process typically creates large quantities of
contaminated wastewater. Before this wastewater                  To determine whether a waste qualifies as K-
can be discharged to a river or sewer, it must be           listed, a facility must first determine whether the
treated to remove oil, solid material, and chemical         waste fits within one of the 13 different industrial or
pollutants.                                                 manufacturing categories on the list. Second, a
                                                            facility must determine if this waste matches one of
     To remove these hydrocarbons from the                  the detailed K list waste descriptions in 40 CFR
wastewater, refineries typically use two methods. In        §261.32. The 13 industries that generate K list
the first step, gravity separates the pollutants from       wastes are:
the wastewater. The solids and heavier pollutants
sink to the bottom of a tank, forming a sludge, while       •   Wood preservation
the lighter materials (called float) float to the surface   •   Organic chemicals manufacturing
of the wastewater, where they can be skimmed off.           •   Pesticides manufacturing
The second step uses physical (stirring or agitating)       •   Petroleum refining
and chemical means to separate remaining pollutants         •   Veterinary pharmaceuticals manufacturing
from the wastewater into sludge and float. Most of          •   Inorganic pigment manufacturing
these various wastewater treatment residues are             •   Inorganic chemicals manufacturing
listed hazardous wastes (K048-K051, F037, F038)             •   Explosives manufacturing
either when generated in specific types of units (e.g.,     •   Iron and steel production
K048 from DAF units, or K049 from API separators,           •   Primary aluminum production
etc.) or more generically based upon the type of            •   Secondary lead processing
wastewater treatment process (e.g., F037 for sludges        •   Ink formulation
generated by gravitational separation, F038 sludges         •   Coking (processing of coal to produce coke, a
and/or floats generated by other physical or chemical           material used in iron and steel production).
means).                                                         Previously, the K list also included waste codes
    Other petroleum listings that are not directly          for 17 different industries. However, due to various
associated with wastewater treatment residuals              court actions taken, EPA withdrew the K waste
include K171 and K172 (spent hydroprocessing                codes applicable to wastestreams in the primary
catalysts), K052 and K169 (tank bottoms from                copper, primary lead, primary zinc, and ferroalloys
leaded gasoline storage and crude oil storage tanks,        industries.
respectively), and K170 (sediment from clarified
                                                            The P and U Lists: Discarded Commercial
slurry oil storage and/or filtration).                      Chemical Products
    Multisource Leachate                                         The P and U lists designate as hazardous waste
                                                            pure and commercial grade formulations of certain
     The F039 listing applies to multisource leachate,
                                                            unused chemicals that are being disposed. Unused
the liquid material that accumulates at the bottom of
                                                            chemicals may become wastes for a number of
a hazardous waste landfill. The leachate that
                                                            reasons. For example, some unused chemicals are
percolates through landfills, particularly hazardous
                                                            spilled by accident. Others are intentionally
waste landfills, usually contains high concentrations
                                                            discarded because they are off-specification and
of chemicals and is often collected to minimize the
                                                            cannot serve the purpose for which they were
potential for it to enter and contaminate the soil or
                                                            originally produced. For a waste to qualify as P- or
ground water below the unit.

                                                                                    Hazardous Waste Identification

U-listed, the waste must meet the following three         characteristic of ignitability, corrosivity, and/or
criteria:                                                 reactivity, the waste is not hazardous if it does not
                                                          exhibit that characterisitic at the point of generation.
•   The waste must contain one of the chemicals           For example, F003 is listed for the characteristic of
    listed on the P or U list                             ignitability. If a waste is generated and meets the
•   The chemical in the waste must be unused              listing description for F003 but does not exhibit the
                                                          characteristic of ignitability, it is not regulated as a
•   The chemical in the waste must be in the form of      hazardous waste.
    a commercial chemical product (CCP).
    For purposes of the P and U lists, a CCP is               Delistings
defined as a chemical that is one of the following:
                                                               The RCRA regulations provide a form of relief
•   100 percent pure                                      for listed wastes with low concentrations of
                                                          hazardous constituents. Through a site-specific
•   Technical (e.g., commercial) grade                    process known as delisting, a waste handler can
•   The sole active ingredient in a chemical              submit to an EPA region or authorized state a
    formulation.                                          petition demonstrating that, even though a particular
                                                          wastestream generated at its facility is a listed
     While 100 percent pure means that the chemical       hazardous waste, it does not pose sufficient hazard
is the only chemical constituent in the product,          to merit RCRA regulation. For example, a waste
technical grade means that the formulation is not         generated at a specific facility may meet a listing
100 percent pure, but is of a grade of purity that is     description even though the process uses different
either marketed or recognized in general usage by         raw materials than EPA assumed were used when
the chemical industry. Sole active ingredient means       listing the waste; thus the waste may not contain the
that the chemical is the only ingredient serving the      contaminants for which it was listed. Similarly, after
function of the formulation. For instance, a pesticide    treatment of a listed waste, the residue may no
made for killing insects may contain a poison such        longer pose a threat to human health and the
as heptachlor, as well as various solvent ingredients     environment.
that act as carriers or lend other desirable properties
to the poison. Although all of these chemicals may            Specifically, the petition must demonstrate that
be capable of killing insects, only the heptachlor        the waste does not:
serves the primary purpose of the insecticide             •   Meet the criteria for which it was listed
product. The other chemicals involved are present
for other reasons, not because they are poisonous.        •   Exhibit any hazardous waste characteristics (as
Therefore, heptachlor is the sole active ingredient in        discussed later in this chapter)
such a formulation even though it may be present in
                                                          •   Pose a threat to human health and the
low concentrations.
                                                              environment by being hazardous for any other
                                                              reason (e.g., does not contain additional
    Wastes Listed Solely for Exhibiting                       constituents that could pose a threat).
    the Characteristic of Ignitability,
                                                              If the EPA region or state grants a delisting
    Corrosivity, and/or Reactivity
                                                          petition, the particular wastestream at that facility
     Hazardous wastes listed solely for exhibiting the    will not be regulated as a listed hazardous waste.
characteristic of ignitability, corrosivity, and/or
reactivity are not regulated the same way that other
listed hazardous wastes are regulated under RCRA.
When a waste meets a listing description for one of
the 29 wastes listed solely for exhibiting the

Chapter III: RCRA Subtitle C - Managing Hazardous Waste

IS THE WASTE A                                              wastes do exhibit a characteristic, the waste poses an
                                                            additional hazard to human health and the
                                                            environment, and may necessitate additional
WASTE?                                                      regulatory precautions. For example, wastes that are
                                                            both listed and characteristic may have more
     After a facility determines its waste is a solid
                                                            extensive land disposal restrictions (LDR)
waste and is not excluded from the definitions of
                                                            requirements than those that are only listed (the LDR
solid or hazardous waste, it must determine if the
                                                            program is fully discussed in Chapter III, Land
waste is a hazardous waste. This entails determining
                                                            Disposal Restrictions).
if the waste is listed and also if the waste is
characteristic. Even if a waste is a listed hazardous
waste, the facility must also determine if the waste                 DETERMINING BOTH LISTINGS AND
exhibits a hazardous characteristic by testing or
applying knowledge of the waste.                             A facility must determine both listings and
                                                             characteristics. Even if a waste is a listed hazardous
     Characteristic wastes are wastes that exhibit           waste, the facility must then still determine if the waste
measurable properties which indicate that a waste            exhibits a characteristic because waste generators are
poses enough of a threat to warrant regulation as            required to fully characterize their listings. While some
hazardous waste. EPA tried to identify                       wastes may not meet any listing description because
                                                             they do not originate from specific industrial or process
characteristics that, when present in a waste, can           sources, the waste may still pose threats to human
cause death or injury to humans or lead to ecological        health and the environment. As a result, a facility is
damage. The characteristics identify both acute              also required to determine whether such a waste
(near-term) and chronic (long-term) hazards, and are         possesses a hazardous property (i.e., exhibits a
                                                             hazardous waste characteristic).
an essential supplement to the hazardous waste
listings. For example, some wastes may not meet
any listing description because they do not originate
                                                                 EPA decided that the characteristics of
from specific industrial or process sources, but the
                                                            hazardous waste should be detectable by using a
waste may still pose threats to human health and the
                                                            standardized test method or by applying general
environment. Therefore, a facility is also required to
                                                            knowledge of the waste’s properties. Given these
determine whether such a waste possesses a
                                                            criteria, EPA established four hazardous waste
hazardous property (i.e., exhibits a hazardous waste
characteristic). The characteristics are applied to
any RCRA solid waste from any industry.                     • Ignitability             • Reactivity
                                                            • Corrosivity              • Toxicity.
     Even if a waste does meet a hazardous waste
listing description, the facility must still determine if
the waste exhibits a characteristic. If such listed             Ignitability
                                                                 The ignitability characteristic identifies wastes
                                                            that can readily catch fire and sustain combustion.
                                                            Many paints, cleaners, and other
                                                            industrial wastes pose such a
                                                                                                  The ignitability
                                                            hazard. Liquid and nonliquid          characteristic
                                                            wastes are treated differently by     identifies wastes
                                                            the ignitability characteristic.      that can readily
                                                                                                     catch fire and
                                                                Most ignitable wastes are      sustain
                                                            liquid in physical form. EPA       combustion.
                                                            selected a flash point test as the
                                                            method for determining whether a liquid waste is
                                                            combustible enough to deserve regulation as

                                                                                     Hazardous Waste Identification

hazardous. The flash point test determines the                 Reactivity                       The reactivity
lowest temperature at which the fumes above a                                                   characteristic
waste will ignite when exposed to flame. Liquid                 The reactivity                  identifies wastes
wastes with a flash point of less than 60°C (140°F)        characteristic identifies wastes     that readily
in closed-cup test are ignitable.                          that readily explode or undergo      explode or
                                                           violent reactions or react to        undergo violent
    Many wastes in solid or nonliquid physical form                                             reactions.
                                                           release toxic gases or fumes.
(e.g., wood or paper) can also readily catch fire and      Common examples are
sustain combustion, but EPA did not intend to              discarded munitions or explosives. In many cases,
regulate most of these nonliquid materials as              there is no reliable test method to evaluate a waste’s
ignitable wastes. A nonliquid waste is considered          potential to explode, react violently, or release toxic
ignitable only if it can spontaneously catch fire or       gas under common waste handling conditions.
catch fire through friction or absorption of moisture      Therefore, EPA uses narrative criteria to define most
under normal handling conditions and can burn so           reactive wastes. The narrative criteria, along with
vigorously that it creates a hazard. Certain               knowledge or information about the waste
compressed gases are also classified as ignitable.         properties, are used to classify waste as reactive.
Finally, substances meeting the DOT’s definition of
oxidizer are classified as ignitable wastes. Ignitable         A waste is reactive if it meets any of the
wastes carry the waste code D001 and are among             following criteria:
some of the most common hazardous wastes. The              •   It can explode or violently react when exposed
regulations describing the characteristic of                   to water or under normal handling conditions
ignitability are codified in 40 CFR §261.21.
                                                           •   It can create toxic fumes or gases at hazardous
                                                               levels when exposed to water or under normal
                                                               waste handling conditions
     The corrosivity characteristic identifies wastes
                                                           •   It can explode if heated under confinement or
that are acidic or alkaline (basic). Such wastes can
                                                               exposed to a strong igniting source, or it meets
readily corrode or dissolve flesh, metal, or other
                                                               the criteria for classification as an explosive
materials. They are also among some of the most
                                                               under DOT rules
                        common hazardous wastes.
  The corrosivity       An example is waste sulfuric       •   It generates toxic levels of sulfide or cyanide gas
  characteristic        acid from automotive batteries.        when exposed to a pH range of 2 through 12.5.
  identifies wastes
                        EPA uses two criteria to
  that are acidic or
                        identify liquid and aqueous            Wastes exhibiting the characteristic of reactivity
  alkaline (basic)
  and can readily       corrosive hazardous wastes.        are assigned the waste code D003. The reactivity
  corrode or            The first is a pH test. Aqueous    characteristic is described in the regulations in 40
  dissolve flesh,       wastes with a pH greater than      CFR §261.23.
  metal, or other
                        or equal to 12.5 or less than or
                        equal to 2 are corrosive. A            Toxicity
                        liquid waste may also be
corrosive if it has the ability to corrode steel under         When hazardous waste is
specific conditions. Physically solid, nonaqueous          disposed of in a land disposal
                                                                                                The toxicity
wastes are not evaluated for corrosivity. Corrosive        unit, toxic compounds or             characteristic
wastes carry the waste code D002. The regulations          elements can leach into              identifies wastes
describing the corrosivity characteristic are found in     underground drinking water           that are likely to
40 CFR §261.22.                                            supplies and expose users of         leach dangerous
                                                                                                concentrations of
                                                           the water to hazardous
                                                                                                toxic chemicals
                                                           chemicals and constituents.          into ground
                                                           EPA developed the toxicity           water.

Chapter III: RCRA Subtitle C - Managing Hazardous Waste

                                                                by a landfill containing a mixture of household and
          Figure III-7: TCLP Regulatory Levels
                                                                industrial wastes. Once this leachate is created via
  Waste Code           Contaminant              Concentration   the TCLP, the waste generator must determine
     D004       Arsenic                              5.0
                                                                whether it contains any of 40 different toxic
     D005       Barium                            100.0         chemicals in amounts above the specified regulatory
     D018       Benzene                              0.5
     D006       Cadmium                              1.0
                                                                levels (see Figure III-7). These regulatory levels are
     D019       Carbon tetrachloride                 0.5        based on ground water modeling studies and toxicity
     D020       Chlordane                            0.03       data that calculate the limit above which these
     D021       Chlorobenzene                     100.0
     D022       Chloroform                           6.0        common toxic compounds and elements will
     D007       Chromium                             5.0        threaten human health and the environment by
     D023       o-Cresol*                         200.0
     D024       m-Cresol*                         200.0         contaminating drinking water. If the leachate sample
     D025       p-Cresol*                         200.0         contains a concentration above the regulatory limit
     D026       Total Cresols*                    200.0
     D016       2,4-D                               10.0        for one of the specified chemicals, the waste exhibits
     D027       1,4-Dichlorobenzene                  7.5        the toxicity characteristic and carries the waste code
     D028       1,2-Dichloroethane                   0.5
     D029       1,1-Dichloroethylene                 0.7        associated with that compound or element. The
     D030       2,4-Dinitrotoluene                   0.13       TCLP may not be used however, for determining
     D012       Endrin                               0.02
     D031       Heptachlor (and its epoxide)         0.008      whether remediation waste from manufactured gas
     D032       Hexachlorobenzene                    0.13       plants (MGP) is hazardous under RCRA. Therefore,
     D033       Hexachlorobutadiene                  0.5
     D034       Hexachloroethane                     3.0
                                                                MGP remediation wastes are exempt from TC
     D008       Lead                                 5.0        regulation. The regulations describing the toxicity
     D013       Lindane                              0.4
     D009       Mercury                              0.2
                                                                characteristic are codified in 40 CFR §261.24, and
     D014       Methoxychlor                        10.0        the TC regulatory levels appear in Table 1 of that
     D035       Methyl ethyl ketone               200.0         same section.
     D036       Nitrobenzene                         2.0
     D037       Pentachlorophenol                 100.0
     D038       Pyridine                             5.0
     D010       Selenium                             1.0        SPECIAL REGULATORY
     D011       Silver                               5.0
     D039       Tetrachloroethylene                  0.7        CONVENTIONS
     D015       Toxaphene                            0.5
     D040       Trichloroethylene                    0.5
     D041       2,4,5-Trichlorophenol             400.0             Once a facility generates a hazardous waste, the
     D042       2,4,6-Trichlorophenol                2.0        waste may become mixed with other wastes, be
     D017       2,4,5-TP (Silvex)                    1.0
     D043       Vinyl chloride                       0.2        treated and produce residues, or even be spilled.
  *if o-, m-, and p-cresols cannot be individually measured,    RCRA provides special regulatory provisions to
    the regulatory level for total cresols is used.             address the regulatory status of hazardous wastes in
                                                                these situations.
characteristic (TC) to identify wastes likely to
leach dangerous concentrations of toxic chemicals                   Mixture Rule
into ground water.
                                                                    The mixture rule is intended to ensure that
     In order to predict whether any particular waste           mixtures of listed wastes with nonhazardous solid
is likely to leach chemicals into ground water at               wastes are regulated in a manner that minimizes
dangerous levels, EPA designed a lab procedure to               threats to human health and the environment.
estimate the leaching potential of waste when
disposed in a municipal solid waste landfill. This              Listed Wastes
lab procedure is known as the Toxicity
                                                                     The mixture rule regulates a combination of any
Characteristic Leaching Procedure (TCLP).
                                                                amount of a nonhazardous solid waste and any
    The TCLP requires a generator to create a liquid            amount of a listed hazardous waste as a listed
leachate from its hazardous waste samples. This                 hazardous waste (see Figure III-8). Even if a small
leachate would be similar to the leachate generated             vial of listed waste is mixed with a large quantity of
                                                                nonhazardous waste, the resulting mixture bears the

                                                                                             Hazardous Waste Identification

                                                                                       hazardous waste characteristics.
                         Figure III-8: The Mixture Rule
                                                                                       For example, EPA listed the F003
                                                                                       spent solvents as hazardous
     Any amount of                                                 Listed
                                                                                       because these wastes typically
      solid waste
                     +      Any amount of listed
                             hazardous waste              =      hazardous
                                                                                       display the ignitability
                                                                                       characteristic. If F003 waste is
                                                                                       treated by mixing it with another
                              Any amount of listed              Nonhazardous           waste, and the resulting mixture
     Any amount of
      solid waste
                     +     hazardous waste that is
                          listed solely for exhibiting
                                                          =    waste if mixture
                                                               does not exhibit
                                                                                       does not exhibit a characteristic,
                              the characteristic of           any characteristic       the F003 listing no longer applies.
                             ignitability, corrosivity,
                                and/or reactivity                                      Exemptions

                                                                                              There are several exemptions
                                                                    from the mixture rule. One exemption applies to
same waste code and regulatory status as the original               certain listed hazardous wastes that are discharged to
listed component of the mixture, unless the generator               wastewater treatment facilities in very small or de
obtains a delisting. This is intended to prevent a                  minimis amounts. Many industrial facilities
facility from mixing a listed waste with a                          produce large quantities of nonhazardous
nonhazardous waste in order to escape having to                     wastewaters as their primary wastestreams. These
manage the waste as hazardous.                                      wastewaters are typically discharged to a water body
                                                                    or local sewer system after being treated to remove
Characteristic Wastes
                                                                    pollutants, as required by CWA. At many of these
     The mixture rule applies differently to listed and             large facilities, on-site cleaning, chemical spills, or
characteristic wastes. A mixture involving                          laboratory operations create relatively small amounts
characteristic wastes is hazardous only if the mixture              of hazardous waste. For example, a textile plant
itself exhibits a characteristic. Characteristic wastes             producing large quantities of nonhazardous
are hazardous because they possess one of four                      wastewater can generate a secondary wastestream of
unique and measurable properties. Once a                            listed spent solvents from cleaning equipment.
characteristic waste no longer exhibits one of these                Routing such secondary hazardous wastestreams to
four dangerous properties, it no longer deserves                    the facility’s wastewater treatment system is a
regulation as hazardous. Thus, a characteristic waste               practical way of treating and disposing of these
can be made nonhazardous by treating it to remove                   wastes. This management option triggers the
its hazardous property; however, EPA places certain                 mixture rule, since even a very small amount of a
restrictions on the manner in which a waste can be                  listed wastestream combined with very large
treated. (These restrictions will be discussed in                   volumes of nonhazardous wastewater causes the
Chapter III, Land Disposal Restrictions).                           entire mixture to be listed. EPA provided an
                                                                    exemption from the mixture rule for situations where
Wastes Listed Solely for Exhibiting the                             relatively small quantities of listed hazardous wastes
Characteristic of Ignitabilty, Corrosivity, and/or                  are routed to large-volume wastewater treatment
Reactivity                                                          systems.
    All wastes listed solely for exhibiting the
                                                                        Other exemptions apply to mixtures of listed and
characteristic of ignitability, corrosivity and/or
                                                                    characteristic wastes with mining and mineral
reactivity characteristic are not regulated as
                                                                    processing wastes that are excluded from the
hazardous wastes once they no longer exhibit a
                                                                    definition of hazardous waste under the Bevill
characteristic. If a hazardous waste listed only for a
                                                                    exemption. Wastes that are hazardous via the
characteristic is mixed with a solid waste, the
                                                                    mixture rule can also exit Subtitle C regulation
original listing does not carry through to the
                                                                    through the delisting process.
resulting mixture if that mixture does not exhibit any

Chapter III: RCRA Subtitle C - Managing Hazardous Waste

                                                               Characteristic Wastes
          Figure III-9: The Derived-From Rule
                                                                   Treatment residues and materials derived from
                 Listed Hazardous Waste
                                                               characteristic wastes are hazardous only if they
              Any residue from the treatment,                  themselves exhibit a characteristic.
          storage, or disposal or a listed waste...
                                                               Wastes Listed Solely for Exhibiting the
               ...is still a hazardous waste...                Characteristic of Ignitability, Corrosivity, and/or
      ...unless the residue is derived-from a hazardous
                                                                   If a waste derived from the treatment, storage, or
           waste that is listed solely for exhibiting the
         characteristic of ignitability, corrosivity, and/or   disposal of a hazardous waste listed for the
       reactivity and does not exhibit a characteristic of     characteristics of ignitability, corrosivity, and/or
                        hazardous waste                        reactivity, no longer exhibits one of those
                                 or                            characteristics, it is not a hazardous waste. For
   ...unless the waste is recycled to make new products        example, if a sludge is generated from the treatment
         or processed to recover usable materials with
  economic value (provided that product is not used in a
                                                               of F003, and that sludge does not exhibit the
     manner constituting disposal or burned for energy         characteristic of ignitability, corrosivity, or
                             recovery)                         reactivity, the F003 listing will not apply to the

    Derived-From Rule                                               There are several regulatory exemptions from
                                                               the derived-from rule. The first exemption applies
     Hazardous waste treatment, storage, and
                                                               to products reclaimed from hazardous wastes. Many
disposal processes often generate residues that may
                                                               listed hazardous wastes can be recycled to make new
contain high concentrations of hazardous
                                                               products or processed to recover usable materials
constituents. In order to adequately protect human
                                                               with economic value. Such products derived from
health and the environment from the threats posed
                                                               recycled hazardous wastes are no longer solid
by these potentially harmful wastes, the derived-
                                                               wastes, provided that they are not used in a manner
from rule governs the regulatory status of such
                                                               constituting disposal or burned for energy recovery
listed waste residues.
                                                               (see Figure III-9). The other exemptions from the
Listed Wastes                                                  derived-from rule apply to residues from specific
                                                               treatment operations. Wastes that are hazardous via
     Residues produced from the treatment of listed            the derived-from rule can also exit Subtitle C
hazardous wastes may pose a significant threat to              regulation through the delisting process.
human health and the environment. If not captured
by the waste’s listing description, such waste could
                                                                   Contained-In Policy
escape regulation. To close this potential regulatory
gap, EPA created the derived-from rule which states                 Sometimes listed and characteristic wastes are
that any material derived from a listed hazardous              spilled onto soil or contaminate equipment,
waste is also a listed hazardous waste (see Figure             buildings, or other structures. The mixture and
III-9). For example, ash created by burning a                  derived-from rules do not apply to such
hazardous waste is considered derived-from that                contaminated soil and materials because these
hazardous waste. Thus, such ash bears the same                 materials are not actually wastes. Soil is considered
waste code and regulatory status as the original               environmental media (e.g., soil, ground water,
listed waste, regardless of the ash’s actual properties.       sediment), while the equipment, buildings, and
This principle applies regardless of the actual health         structures are considered debris (e.g., a broad
threat posed by the waste residue or the residue’s             category of larger manufactured and naturally
chemical composition.

                                                                                   Hazardous Waste Identification

occurring objects that are commonly discarded).           RCRA Subtitle C. However, under certain
Examples of debris include:                               circumstances, the RCRA LDR requirements might
                                                          continue to apply.
•   Dismantled construction materials, such as used
    bricks, wood beams, and chunks of concrete
                                                          MIXED WASTE
•   Decommissioned industrial equipment, such as
    pipes, pumps, and dismantled tanks                         RCRA specifically exempts certain radioactive
                                                          mixed materials from the definition of solid waste.
•   Other discarded manufactured objects, such as         However, some radioactive material may be mixed
    personal protective equipment (e.g., gloves,          with hazardous wastes that are regulated under
    coveralls, eyewear)                                   RCRA. In addition, a facility may generate a
•   Large, naturally occurring objects, such as tree      hazardous waste that is also radioactive. Because
    trunks and boulders.                                  the material in both of these situations contains both
                                                          radioactive material and RCRA hazardous waste, it
    Environmental media and debris are                    is referred to as mixed waste under RCRA. RCRA
contaminated with hazardous waste in a number of          and AEA regulate these mixed wastes jointly. AEA
ways. Environmental media become contaminated             regulates the RCRA-exempt radioactive portion and
through accidental spills of hazardous waste or spills    RCRA regulates the hazardous waste portion.
of product chemicals which, when spilled, become          Mixed waste generators include DOE, power plants,
hazardous wastes. Debris can also be contaminated         labs, hospitals, and universities using radioactive
through spills. Most debris in the form of industrial     materials.
equipment and personal protective gear becomes
contaminated with waste or product chemicals                  EPA has provided increased flexibility to
during normal industrial operations.                      generators and facilities that manage low-level
                                                          mixed waste (LLMW) and technologically enhanced
    In order to address such contaminated media and       naturally occurring and/or accelerator-produced
debris, EPA created the contained-in policy to            radioactive material (NARM) containing hazardous
determine when contaminated media and debris              waste. The Agency is exempting LLMW from some
must be managed as RCRA hazardous wastes.                 RCRA storage and treatment regulations, and
                                                          LLMW or eligible NARM from RCRA hazardous
     Environmental media are not, in and of
                                                          waste transportation and disposal regulations. These
themselves, waste, but are regulated as hazardous
                                                          wastes are exempt from RCRA Subtitle C
waste when they contain (are contaminated by) a
                                                          requirements, including permitting, provided they
RCRA listed hazardous waste or exhibit a
                                                          meet specific conditions. The exempt wastes must
characteristic. In these cases, the media and debris
                                                          then be managed as radioactive waste according to
must be managed as if they were hazardous waste.
                                                          Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) regulations.
EPA considers contaminated media or debris to no
longer contain hazardous waste when it no longer
exhibits a characteristic of hazardous waste. This        SUMMARY
applies when the hazardous waste contained within
the media or debris is either a characteristic waste or       In order to determine if a facility is subject to
a waste listed solely for a characteristic. Otherwise,    RCRA Subtitle C, the owner and operator must
when dealing with listed waste contamination, EPA         determine if they have a hazardous waste. This
or states can determine that media and debris no          determination must be made by using the following
longer contain hazardous waste by determining that        methodology:
the media or debris no longer poses a sufficient
                                                          •   Is the material a solid waste?
health threat to deserve RCRA regulation. Once this
                                                          •   Is the waste excluded?
contained-out determination is made, the media and
                                                          •   Is the waste a listed hazardous waste?
debris are generally no longer regulated under
                                                          •   Is the waste a characteristic waste?

Chapter III: RCRA Subtitle C - Managing Hazardous Waste

     A waste must first be a solid waste before it can    •   Scrap metal is a solid waste when reclaimed;
be a hazardous waste. A solid waste is a waste that           used in a manner constituting disposal; burned
is abandoned, inherently waste-like, a military               for energy recovery, used to produce a fuel, or
munition, or recycled. On the other hand, if a                contained in fuels; or accumulated speculatively.
material is directly reused without prior reclamation
by being either used as an ingredient, used as a              Regardless of the type of recycling that takes
product substitute, or returned to the production         place, it must be legitimate and not sham recycling.
process, then the material is not regulated as a waste        Some kinds of materials are excluded from the
at all. If such reused materials, however, are used in    Subtitle C hazardous waste regulations. There are
a manner constituting disposal; burned for energy         five categories of exclusions:
recovery, used to produce a fuel, or contained in
fuels; accumulated speculatively; or are dioxin-          •   Exclusions from the definition of solid waste
containing wastes considered inherently waste like;
then they are regulated as solid wastes. If a recycled    •   Exclusions from the definition of hazardous
material needs reclamation prior to direct use or             waste
reuse, its regulatory status is determined by the type    •   Exclusions for waste generated in raw material,
of material that it is:                                       product storage, or manufacturing units
•   Spent materials are regulated as solid wastes         •   Exclusions for laboratory samples and waste
    when reclaimed; used in a manner constituting             treatability studies
    disposal; burned for energy recovery, used to
    produce a fuel, or contained in fuels; or             •   Exclusion for dredged material.
    accumulated speculatively.
                                                              If the waste fits one of these categories, it is not
•   Listed sludges are solid wastes when reclaimed;       regulated as a RCRA hazardous waste, and the
    used in a manner constituting disposal; burned        hazardous waste requirements do not apply.
    for energy recovery, used to produce a fuel, or
                                                               If the waste is a solid waste and is not excluded,
    contained in fuels; or accumulated speculatively.
                                                          a facility must determine if it is a listed hazardous
•   Characteristic sludges are not solid wastes when      waste. The F, K, P, and U lists provide narrative
    reclaimed, unless they are used in a manner           descriptions of wastes from specific industrial
    constituting disposal; burned for energy              processes and sources. Wastes meeting any of these
    recovery, used to produce a fuel, or contained in     descriptions are listed hazardous wastes. However,
    fuels; or accumulated speculatively.                  through the delisting process, facilities can
                                                          demonstrate that their wastes does not pose
•   Listed by-products are solid wastes when              sufficient hazard to warrant Subtitle C regulation as
    reclaimed; used in a manner constituting              a listed hazardous waste.
    disposal; burned for energy recovery, used to
    produce a fuel, or contained in fuels; or                 Wastes may also be hazardous if they exhibit a
    accumulated speculatively.                            characteristic. Even if a facility’s waste is listed, the
                                                          owner and operator must still determine if it exhibits
•   Characteristic by-products are not solid wastes       a characteristic. The four characteristics are:
    when reclaimed, unless they are used in a
    manner constituting disposal; burned for energy       •   Ignitability
    recovery, used to produce a fuel, or contained in     •   Corrosivity
    fuels; or accumulated speculatively.                  •   Reactivity
                                                          •   Toxicity.
•   CCPs are not solid wastes when reclaimed,
    unless they are used in a manner constituting             There are special regulatory conventions or
    disposal; or burned for energy recovery, used to      provisions that apply to hazardous waste mixtures;
    produce a fuel, or contained in fuels.

                                                           Hazardous Waste Identification

treatment, storage, and disposal residues; and
contaminated media and debris. These provisions
are known as the mixture rule, the derived-from rule,
and the contained-in policy.
    RCRA and AEA jointly regulate mixed waste, or
waste that is radioactive, and listed or characteristic.
EPA provided a conditional exemption for LLMW
storage, treatment, transportation, and disposal of
mixed wastes.

Chapter III: RCRA Subtitle C - Managing Hazardous Waste


                                                                                  over assuring the proper management of hazardous
 Overview ...........................................................    III-31   waste.
 Hazardous Waste Recycling ............................                  III-31
 - Full Regulation ..............................................        III-32       EPA has tried, to the extent possible, to develop
 - Exemptions ....................................................       III-32   regulations for hazardous waste management that
 - Special Standards .........................................           III-33   foster environmentally sound recycling and
 Used Oil ............................................................   III-33   conservation of resources, but at the same time
 - Used Oil Regulation ......................................            III-34   provide adequate protection of human health and the
 - What is Used Oil? ..........................................          III-34   environment. This chapter outlines the regulations
 - Used Oil Handlers .........................................           III-35   governing recycling of hazardous wastes, and
 - Used Oil Management Standards .................                       III-35   describes special management standards for two
 Universal Waste ...............................................         III-37   commonly recycled wastestreams: used oil and
 - Universal Waste Handlers .............................                III-38   universal wastes.
 - Universal Waste Transporters .......................                  III-39
 - Universal Waste Destination Facilities ..........                     III-39
 - Exports of Universal Waste ...........................                III-39
                                                                                  HAZARDOUS WASTE RECYCLING
 State Universal Waste ......................................            III-39         The hazardous waste identification process (as
 Summary ..........................................................      III-39   discussed in Chapter III, Hazardous Waste
                                                                                  Identification) describes how to determine whether
                                                                                  a material is a solid and hazardous waste. How a
OVERVIEW                                                                          material is regulated under RCRA (i.e., whether or
                                                                                  not it is a solid and potentially a hazardous waste)
     RCRA hazardous wastes do not cease to be                                     when it is recycled depends on what type of material
dangerous simply because they are being reused,                                   it is, and what type of recycling is occurring. If the
recycled, or reclaimed. Many hazardous waste
recycling operations may pose serious health and
environmental hazards and should be subject to                                              THE RECYCLING GOAL OF RCRA
Subtitle C regulation. Reuse, recycling, and
                                                                                   Reuse, recycling, and reclamation are ways of
reclamation should be viewed instead as ways of                                    managing hazardous wastes which, if properly
managing hazardous wastes which, if properly                                       conducted, can avoid environmental hazards, protect
conducted, can avoid environmental hazards, protect                                scarce natural resources, and reduce the nation’s
scarce natural resources, and reduce the nation’s                                  reliance on raw materials and energy. While promoting
                                                                                   reuse and recovery is certainly one of the goals of
reliance on raw materials and energy. Promoting                                    RCRA, this goal does not take precedence over
reuse and recovery is certainly one of the goals of                                assuring the proper management of hazardous waste.
RCRA; however, this goal does not take precedence

Chapter III: Managing Hazardous Waste – RCRA Subtitle C

recycled material is not a solid waste, then it is not a       Exemptions
hazardous waste and is not subject to RCRA Subtitle
C requirements. However, if the material qualifies             Not all hazardous wastes pose the same degree
as a solid and hazardous waste, it is subject to RCRA      of hazard when recycled. EPA believes wastes that
Subtitle C jurisdiction.                                   may be recycled in a protective manner, or that are
                                                           addressed under other environmental regulations,
    Many hazardous wastes can be recycled safely           warrant exemptions from RCRA Subtitle C.
and effectively. To address the goal of encouraging        Consequently, handlers of these materials are not
recycling while protecting human health and the            subject to any hazardous waste regulations. These
environment, EPA has tried to tailor the level of          exempt recyclable hazardous wastes are:
regulation to reflect the actual hazard of the
recycling activity. In this approach to regulation,        •   Industrial ethyl alcohol
recycling standards range from full regulation to          •   Scrap metal
specialized standards to exemptions from regulation.
Handlers of hazardous waste slated for recycling           •   Waste-derived fuels from refining processes
must determine what type of regulation they fall
under based on the recycling activity being                •   Unrefined waste-derived fuels and oils from
conducted and the type of material being managed.              petroleum refineries.

                                                           Industrial Ethyl Alcohol
    Full Regulation
                                                               Industrial ethyl alcohol that is reclaimed is
     Most recycled hazardous wastes are subject to         exempt from RCRA Subtitle C because the U.S.
full hazardous waste regulation. This means that           Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (BATF)
handlers of these recyclable materials (i.e., persons      already regulates it from the point of generation to
who generate, transport, or store prior to recycling)      redistillation.
are subject to the same regulations as handlers who
are managing hazardous wastes prior to disposal.           Scrap Metal

    While management of the hazardous wastes                   Scrap metal that is disposed of or recycled is a
prior to recycling is subject to regulation, the           solid waste; however, it is exempt from Subtitle C
recycling process itself is exempt from RCRA               regulation when it is reclaimed (i.e., recycled to
(except for some air emissions standards as                recover metal content). This does not apply to
discussed in Chapter III, Regulations Governing            processed scrap metal which is excluded from
Treatment, Storage, and Disposal Facilities). For          hazardous waste regulation entirely (as discussed in
example, if a facility receives hazardous spent            Chapter III, Hazardous Waste Identification).
solvents from another facility for redistillation
                                                           Waste-Derived Fuels from Refining Processes
(heating a mixture to separate it into several pure
components), the recycling units themselves are not            Fuels produced by refining oil-bearing
subject to RCRA design and operating standards for         hazardous wastes with normal process streams at
hazardous waste units. However, the owners and             petroleum refining facilities are exempt if such
operators of the recycling facility must follow all        wastes resulted from normal petroleum refining,
applicable Subtitle C requirements (including the          production, and transportation practices. For these
requirement to obtain a permit) for container or tank      wastes to be considered refined, they must be
storage areas used to store such wastes prior to           inserted into a part of the process designed to
recycling.                                                 remove contaminants. This would typically mean
                                                           insertion prior to distillation.

                                                                   Hazardous Waste Recycling and Universal Wastes

Unrefined Waste-Derived Fuels and Oils                      Precious Metals Reclamation

     Fuels produced at a petroleum refinery from oil-           Precious metals reclamation is the recycling
bearing hazardous wastes that are introduced into the       and recovery of precious metals (i.e., gold, silver,
refining process after the distillation step, or that are   platinum, palladium, iridium, osmium, rhodium, and
reintroduced in a process that does not include             ruthenium) from hazardous waste. Because EPA
distillation, are exempt if the resulting fuel meets the    found that these materials will be handled
specifications under the federal recycled used oil          protectively as valuable commodities with
standards in 40 CFR §279.11 (as discussed later in          significant economic value, generators, transporters,
this chapter). Oil that is recovered from hazardous         and storers of such
waste at a petroleum refinery and burned as a fuel is       recyclable materials are
also exempt provided it meets the used oil                  subject to reduced
specifications.                                             requirements.

                                                            Spent Lead-Acid
    Special Standards                                       Battery Reclamation
    While RCRA specifically exempts some wastes                 Persons who
when recycled, some recycling processes may still           generate, transport,
pose enough of a hazard to warrant some degree of           regenerate, collect, and
regulation. However, due to the nature of the               store spent lead-acid batteries prior to reclamation,
recycling process itself or the nature of the materials     but do not perform the actual reclamation, are not
being recycled, these processes may require a               subject to hazardous waste regulation. EPA
specialized set of standards. These processes are:          established those provisions to encourage the
                                                            recycling of these batteries. However, owners and
•   Use constituting disposal
                                                            operators of facilities that store spent batteries before
•   Precious metals reclamation                             reclamation, other than spent batteries that are
                                                            regenerated (processed to remove contaminants and
•   Spent lead-acid battery reclamation                     restore the product to a useable condition), are
                                                            subject to regulation in a manner similar to
•   Burning for energy recovery.
                                                            hazardous waste treatment, storage, and disposal
Use Constituting Disposal                                   facilities (TSDFs). Handlers of lead-acid batteries
                                                            may also choose to manage them under the universal
     Use constituting disposal refers to the practice of    waste provisions discussed later in this chapter.
recycling hazardous wastes by placing them on the
land or using them as ingredients in a product that         Burning For Energy Recovery
will be placed on the land. To be placed on the land,
                                                                 The process of recycling hazardous waste by
waste-derived products must: (1) be made for the
                                                            burning it for energy recovery may pose significant
general public’s use; (2) have undergone a chemical
                                                            air emission hazards. Therefore, EPA established
reaction so as to be inseparable by physical means;
                                                            specific operating standards for units burning
and (3) meet applicable land disposal restrictions
                                                            hazardous wastes for energy recovery. These units
(LDR) treatment standards (as discussed in Chapter
                                                            are known as boilers or industrial furnaces (BIFs) (as
III, Land Disposal Restrictions). Once these waste-
                                                            discussed in Chapter III, Hazardous Waste
derived products meet these standards, they are no
longer restricted from placement on the land.
Materials that do not meet these criteria remain
regulated. There are also special standards for             USED OIL
hazardous wastes used to make zinc micronutrient
fertilizers.                                                    In developing a hazardous waste regulatory
                                                            program to facilitate and encourage recycling,

Chapter III: Managing Hazardous Waste – RCRA Subtitle C

Congress felt that certain commonly recycled              all used oil that is generated will be recycled. The
materials warranted a regulatory program of their         recycling presumption simplifies the used oil
own. As a result, Congress and EPA created special        management system by enabling handlers to only
management standards for used oil. Under these            comply with the used oil regulations, instead of the
standards, recycled used oil is not subject to the        hazardous waste regulations. Only when the used
hazardous waste regulatory program applicable to          oil is actually disposed of or sent for disposal must
other recycled materials, but rather to its own           handlers determine whether or not the used oil
management provisions.                                    exhibits a characteristic of hazardous waste and
                                                          manage it in accordance with hazardous waste
     Used oil has certain unique properties that make     regulations.
it distinct from most hazardous wastestreams. First
of all, used oil is generated by a wide range of             Additional information about used oil
entities, including, but not limited to, large            management can be found at www.epa.gov/
manufacturing facilities, industrial operations,          epaoswer/hazwaste/usedoil/index.htm.
service stations, quick-lube shops, and even
households. Every year privately owned automobile
                                                              What is Used Oil?
and light trucks generate over 300 million gallons of
used crank case oil. Secondly, used oil is an easily           Used oil is any oil that has been refined from
recyclable material. For example, just one gallon of      crude oil or any synthetic oil that has been used and,
used oil provides the same 2.5 quarts of lubricating      as a result of such use, is contaminated by physical
oil as 42 gallons of crude oil. However, even used        or chemical impurities. In other words, used oil
oil that does not exhibit any characteristics of          must meet each of the following three criteria:
hazardous waste can have harmful effects if spilled                                                 origin, use,
or released into the environment.                                                                   and
    Used Oil Regulation                                                                             First, the used
                                                                                                    oil must be
     In an effort to encourage the recycling of used                                                derived from
oil, and in recognition of the unique properties and                                                crude oil or
potential hazards posed by used oil, Congress passed                                                synthetic oil
the Used Oil Recycling Act in 1980. This Act                                                        (i.e., derived
amended RCRA by requiring EPA to study the                                                          from coal,
hazards posed by used oil and to develop used oil                                                   shale, or
management standards to protect human health and                                                    polymers).
the environment. As a result, EPA developed special                                                 Second, the
recycling regulations for used oil that are completely    oil must have been used as a lubricant, hydraulic
separate from the hazardous waste recycling               fluid, heat transfer fluid, or other similar uses.
standards. First, in November 1985, EPA                   Unused oil such as cleanout tank bottoms from
promulgated restrictions on the burning of used oil       virgin product fuel oil storage is not used oil because
for energy recovery. Second, in September 1992,           it has not been used. Finally, the used oil must be
EPA developed a more comprehensive used oil               contaminated by physical or chemical impurities as a
recycling program, codified in 40 CFR Part 279, that      result of such use. Physical impurities could include
incorporated the existing burning restrictions and        contamination by metal shavings, sawdust, or dirt.
added used oil management standards for all               Chemical impurities could include contamination by
facilities that handle used oil.                          water or benzene, or degradation of lubricating
    Since EPA’s used oil program is designed to
encourage used oil recycling, Part 279 includes a
recycling presumption. This is an assumption that

                                                                    Hazardous Waste Recycling and Universal Wastes

    Used Oil Handlers                                        Transfer Facilities

    Persons who handle used oil are subject to                    Used oil transfer facilities are any structures or
specific management requirements depending on the            areas (such as loading docks or parking areas) where
extent of their used oil recycling activities. The           used oil is held for longer than 24 hours, but not
following handlers are subject to used oil                   longer than 35 days, during the normal course of
management standards:                                        transportation.

•   Generators                                               Processors and Rerefiners
•   Collection centers and aggregation points                     Used oil processors and rerefiners are facilities
•   Transporters                                             that process used oil so that it can be burned for
                                                             energy recovery or reused. Processing generally
•   Transfer facilities
                                                             includes such activities as: blending used oil with
•   Processors and rerefiners                                virgin petroleum products, blending used oils to
•   Marketers.                                               meet the fuel specification, filtration, simple
                                                             distillation, or any other activity that changes the
Generators                                                   chemical or physical condition of the used oil.
     Used oil generators are persons whose act or            Burners
process produces used oil, or first causes used oil to
be subject to regulation. Examples of common                     Used oil burners are handlers who burn used oil
generators include car repair shops, service stations,       for energy recovery in boilers, industrial furnaces, or
and metalworking industries. Individuals who                 hazardous waste incinerators.
generate used oil through the maintenance of their
own personal vehicles and equipment, known as                Marketers
used oil do-it-yourselfers, are not considered used              Used oil marketers are handlers who either: (1)
oil generators.                                              direct shipments of used oil to be burned as fuel in
                                                             regulated devices (i.e., boilers, industrial furnaces,
Collection Centers and Aggregation Points
                                                             and incinerators); or (2) claim that used oil to be
     Used oil collection centers and aggregation             burned for energy recovery is on-specification. A
points are facilities that accept small amounts (less        marketer must already be a used oil generator,
than 55 gallons) of used oil and store it until enough       transporter, processor, rerefiner, or burner.
is collected to ship it elsewhere for recycling. Used
oil collection centers typically accept used oil from            Used Oil Management Standards
multiple sources that include both businesses and
private citizens. Used oil aggregation points collect            The used oil management standards apply to a
oil from places run by the same owner and operator           wide variety of facilities with very different business
as the aggregation point, and also from private              practices. These standards are designed to establish
citizens.                                                    minimum regulations for all facilities, addressing
                                                             such practices as proper storage, transportation,
Transporters                                                 recordkeeping, and burning. These standards vary
    Used oil transporters are persons who haul               by facility type. The most stringent requirements
used oil in quantities greater than 55 gallons and           apply to facilities that process or rerefine used oil.
deliver it to transfer facilities, rerefiners, processors,   Used oil transporters, transfer facilities, and used oil
or burners.                                                  burners are subject to a reduced set of standards.
                                                             Generators have the fewest requirements.

Chapter III: Managing Hazardous Waste – RCRA Subtitle C

Used Oil as a Hazardous Waste                                  The principle for mixtures of used oil and
                                                          characteristic hazardous waste is somewhat
    Because used oil mixed with hazardous wastes
                                                          different. First, if used oil is mixed with a waste that
increases the risk to human health and the
                                                          only exhibits the characteristic of ignitability, or is
environment, all handlers are encouraged to keep
                                                          listed solely for ignitability, and the resultant mixture
used oil from becoming contaminated with
                                                          is no longer ignitable, then the mixture can be
hazardous wastes. To prevent intentional mixing,
                                                          managed as used oil, despite the inherent
EPA subjects mixtures of used oil and listed
                                                          characteristics that the used oil may bring to the
hazardous waste to all applicable hazardous waste
                                                          mixture. EPA believes that materials that are
                                                          ignitable-only should not affect the chemical
     From an enforcement point of view, however,          constituent or other properties of used oil when
the Agency cannot always determine if used oil has        mixed and, therefore, should not add additional risks
been mixed with a listed hazardous waste. As a            to human health and the environment when burned.
result, EPA decided to use an objective test that         However, used oil mixed with a waste that is
focused on the halogen level in used oil (listed spent    hazardous because it exhibits one or more
halogenated solvents were often found to be mixed         characteristics of hazardous waste (other than just
with used oil). This objective test is known as the       ignitability), must no longer exhibit any
rebuttable presumption. According to this test,           characteristics if it is going to be managed as used
used oil that contains more than 1,000 parts per          oil.
million (ppm) of total halogens is presumed to have
been mixed with a listed hazardous waste and is,          Used Oil Contaminated with PCBs
therefore, subject to applicable hazardous waste               The use and disposal of polychlorinated
regulations. A person may rebut this presumption by       biphenyls (PCBs) are regulated by the Toxic
demonstrating, through analysis or other                  Substances Control Act (TSCA); however, under
documentation, that the used oil has not been mixed       certain circumstances, used oil containing PCBs may
with listed hazardous waste. Nevertheless, used oil       also be regulated by RCRA. In general, used oil
that is known to have been mixed with a listed            containing 50 parts per million (ppm) or greater
hazardous waste is considered a listed hazardous          PCBs is not subject to RCRA used oil standards, but
waste, regardless of the halogen level.                   is regulated under TSCA. Used oil being burned for
                                                          energy recovery and containing less than 50 ppm
         THE REBUTTABLE PRESUMPTION                       PCBs is regulated both under the RCRA used oil
                                                          management standards and the TSCA regulations.
 EPA presumes that used oil that contains more than
                                                          Used oil containing less than 50 ppm PCBs that is
 1,000 ppm of total halogens has been mixed with a
 listed hazardous waste and, is therefore, subject to     recycled in any manner other than being burned for
 applicable hazardous waste regulations, unless the       energy recovery is generally excluded from TSCA
 presumption can be successfully rebutted. A person       requirements, but it remains subject to the used oil
 may rebut this presumption by demonstrating, through     standards in Part 279.
 analysis or other documentation, that the used oil has
 not been mixed with listed hazardous waste. For
 example, a generator has a drum of used oil
 containing 2,000 ppm of halogens. Even though the
                                                              Although different used oil handlers may have
 used oil was not mixed with a listed hazardous waste,
 EPA will presume that is the case. The generator,        specific management requirements for their oil, all
 however, can rebut this presumption by demonstrating     handlers must:
 that the high halogen level is due to mixing with
 household hazardous wastes, which are not                •   Store used oil in tanks and containers.
 considered hazardous under RCRA. As a result, the            Storage of used oil in lagoons, pits, or surface
 drum of oil is regulated as used oil, and not as             impoundments is prohibited, unless these units
 hazardous waste.
                                                              are subject to hazardous waste TSDF standards
                                                              (as discussed in Chapter III, Regulations

                                                                 Hazardous Waste Recycling and Universal Wastes

    Governing Treatment, Storage, and Disposal            oil, is not subject to any restrictions when burned for
    Facilities)                                           energy recovery. In fact, on-specification used oil is
                                                          comparable to product fuel in terms of regulation.
•   Clearly mark containers and tanks with the            Once the specification determination is made, and
    words “Used Oil”                                      certain recordkeeping requirements are complied
•   Keep containers and tanks in good condition and       with, the on-specification oil is no longer subject to
    free of leaks                                         used oil management standards.

•   Respond to releases of used oil from their            Recordkeeping and Reporting
    storage units.
                                                               Used oil transporters, transfer facilities,
    Transfer facilities, processors and rerefiners, and   processors and rerefiners, burners, and marketers are
burners must also have secondary containment              required to obtain an EPA identification (EPA ID)
systems to prevent oil from reaching the                  number. While generators, collection centers,
environment in the event of a spill or leak.              aggregation points, and those who transport their
Secondary containment consists of an oil-impervious       own used oil in shipments of less than 55 gallons do
dike, berm, or retaining wall to contain releases, as     not need an EPA ID number, they may still need a
well as an oil-impervious floor to prevent migration.     state or local permit.

Burning Restrictions
                                                              Used oil transporters, processors, burners, and
                                                          marketers must also track each acceptance and
    Levels of contamination in used oils may vary         delivery of used oil shipments. Records can take the
widely, depending on different types of uses or           form of a log, invoice, or other shipping document
length of use. Recognizing this fact, EPA has             and must be maintained for three years.
established a set of criteria, called used oil
specifications, to evaluate the potential hazards            In addition, used oil processors and rerefiners
posed by used oil when burned for energy recovery.        must:
Used oil that is tested and is not within these set       •   File a biennial report of used oil activity
parameters is termed off-specification used oil.
                                                          •   Prepare a contingency plan detailing how
    Parameter             Allowable Level                     releases will be addressed
    Arsenic               5 ppm maximum
    Cadmium               2 ppm maximum                   •   Prepare an analysis plan describing testing
    Chromium              10 ppm maximum                      protocols at the facility
    Flash point           100° F minimum                  •   Maintain records of shipment and deliveries of
    Lead                  100 ppm maximum                     used oil
    Total Halogens        4,000 ppm maximum
                                                          •   Maintain an operating record at the facility.
    Off-specification used oil may be burned for
energy recovery, but it is strictly regulated. Such
used oil may only be burned in:                           UNIVERSAL WASTE
•   Boilers                                                    The special management provisions for used oil
                                                          clearly eased the management burden and facilitated
•   Industrial furnaces                                   the recycling of such material. EPA also discovered
•   Hazardous waste incinerators                          that subjecting other commonly recycled materials to
                                                          hazardous waste regulation was burdensome on
•   Generator space heaters that meet certain             many handlers of these wastes. This burden has the
    operating conditions.                                 potential of discouraging waste recycling by
                                                          facilities who are otherwise willing to engage in
    Conversely, used oil that meets all specification     such activity. In response to these concerns, EPA
levels, otherwise known as on-specification used

Chapter III: Managing Hazardous Waste – RCRA Subtitle C

promulgated the universal waste program in May                   Universal Waste Handlers
1995. These requirements are codified in 40 CFR
Part 273.                                                          There are two different types of activities that
                                                             can make a person a handler of universal waste.
    The universal waste program promotes the                 First, a handler can be a person who generates, or
collection and recycling of certain widely generated         creates, universal waste. For example, this may
                                                             include a person who uses batteries, pesticides,
                                                             mercury-containing equipment, or lamps and who
                                                             eventually decides that they are no longer usable.
 Universal wastes are subject to special management          Second, a handler can be a person who receives
 provisions intended to ease the management burden           universal waste from other handlers, accumulates the
 and facilitate the recycling or proper treatment and        waste, and then sends it on to other handlers,
 disposal of such materials. Four types of waste are         recyclers, or treatment or disposal facilities without
 currently covered under the universal waste
 regulations: hazardous waste batteries, hazardous           performing the actual treatment, recycling, or
 waste pesticides that are either recalled or collected in   disposal. This may include a person who collects
 waste pesticide collection programs, hazardous waste        batteries, pesticides, lamps, or mercury-containing
 mercury-containing equipment, and hazardous waste           equipment from small businesses and sends the
 lamps. More wastes may be added to the universal
                                                             waste to a recycling facility. The universal waste
 waste regulations in the future, but presently only
 these wastes are included.                                  handler requirements depend on how much universal
                                                             waste a handler accumulates at any one time. All
hazardous wastes, known as universal wastes.                 universal waste handlers may not accumulate
Through this program, EPA intends to ease the                universal waste for longer than one year from when
regulatory burden on the facilities that manage              it is generated or received (unless the handler can
universal wastes, particularly by allowing more time         prove that a longer accumulation time is necessary to
for accumulation of these wastes in order to facilitate      facilitate proper recovery, treatment, or disposal).
appropriate recycling or disposal. Three types of
waste were originally covered under the universal            Small Quantity Handlers of Universal Waste
waste regulations: hazardous waste batteries,
                                                                  Small quantity handlers of universal waste
hazardous waste pesticides that are either recalled or
                                                             accumulate less than 5,000 kilograms (kg)
collected in waste pesticide collection programs, and
                                                             (approximately 11,000 pounds (lbs)) of all universal
hazardous waste thermostats. In July 1999, EPA
                                                             waste categories combined at their location at any
added hazardous waste lamps to the universal waste
                                                             time. SQHUW are required to manage universal
regulations. In August 2005, EPA added mercury-
                                                             waste in a way that prevents releases to the
containing equipment. Other similar wastes may be
                                                             environment. SQHUW must also immediately
added to the universal waste regulations in the
                                                             respond to releases of universal waste. SQHUW
future. The regulated community may also petition
                                                             must distribute basic waste handling and emergency
the Agency to include additional wastes in the
                                                             information to their employees to ensure that their
universal waste program.
                                                             staff are aware of proper handling and emergency
    There are four types of regulated participants in        procedures.
the universal waste system: small quantity handlers
of universal waste (SQHUW), large quantity                   Large Quantity Handlers of Universal Waste
handlers of universal waste (LQHUW), universal                   Large quantity handlers of universal waste
waste transporters, and universal waste destination          accumulate a total of 5,000 kg or more of universal
facilities.                                                  waste at any time. The designation as a LQHUW is
                                                             retained for the remainder of the calendar year in
    A complete overview of the universal waste
                                                             which the 5,000-kg threshold was exceeded and may
regulations can be found at www.epa.gov/epaoswer/
                                                             be reevaluated in the following calendar year.
                                                             LQHUW must comply with the same requirements

                                                                    Hazardous Waste Recycling and Universal Wastes

as SQHUW, as well as maintain basic records                  United States. This written consent must be attached
documenting shipments received at the facility and           to each shipment, so the universal waste handlers are
shipments sent from the facility, must obtain an EPA         required to provide a copy of the consent to the
ID number, and must comply with stricter employee            transporter transporting the shipment for export.
training requirements.                                       Lastly, handlers that export universal waste to
                                                             another country must submit annual reports
                                                             summarizing the actual shipments made during the
    Universal Waste Transporters
                                                             preceding calendar year by March 1.
    Universal waste transporters are persons who
transport universal waste from handlers of universal
                                                             STATE UNIVERSAL WASTE
waste to other handlers, destination facilities, or
foreign destinations. These wastes do not need to be              States authorized for the RCRA petition process
accompanied by a RCRA hazardous waste manifest               may add additional universal wastes to the state’s
during transport, but transporters must comply with          universal waste program. In order for a state to add
applicable DOT requirements.                                 waste to the universal waste program, the waste
                                                             must be generated by a wide variety of generators,
    Transporters may store universal waste for up to
                                                             the waste cannot be exclusive to a specific industry,
10 days at a transfer facility during the course of
                                                             and the waste must be hazardous. In addition, the
transportation. Transfer facilities are transportation
                                                             state must have a collection system in place and
related facilities such as loading docks, parking
                                                             ensure that the universal waste program will increase
areas, and storage areas. If a transporter keeps
                                                             the likelihood that the waste will be recycled. State
universal waste for more than 10 days at one
                                                             universal waste is only regulated as universal waste
location, the transporter is subject to all applicable
                                                             in that state and other states that have the same waste
SQHUW or LQHUW regulations.
                                                             added to their universal waste programs.

    Universal Waste Destination Facilities                       An example of a universal waste added to
                                                             individual state programs is cathode ray tubes, which
    Universal waste destination facilities are               are vacuum tubes made primarily of glass that
facilities that treat, dispose of, or recycle a particular   constitute the video display component of televisions
category of universal waste. These facilities are            and computer monitors.
subject to the same requirements as fully regulated
hazardous waste TSDFs. Full regulation includes
permit requirements, general facility standards, and         SUMMARY
unit-specific standards (as discussed in Chapter III,            EPA developed a regulatory approach to regulate
Regulations Governing Treatment, Storage, and                different hazardous waste recycling activities in
Disposal Facilities). The universal waste program            accordance with the degree of hazard they pose. The
includes only two additional specific universal waste        three types of regulation are: full regulation,
requirements for destination facilities. These               exemptions, and special standards.
requirements are procedures for rejecting shipments
of universal waste and the documentation of the                  Persons who generate, transport, and store
receipt of universal waste.                                  hazardous wastes prior to recycling must manage
                                                             them in the same manner as persons who handle
                                                             hazardous wastes prior to disposal. The recycling
    Exports of Universal Waste
                                                             process itself is exempt from regulation.
    All universal waste handlers are required to
                                                                 Certain hazardous wastes, based on the manner
submit a notification of intent to export to EPA and
                                                             in which they are recycled, or based on regulation by
obtain written consent from the receiving country
                                                             other environmental statutes, are exempt from
prior to shipping any universal waste out of the             hazardous waste regulation. Those wastes are:

Chapter III: Managing Hazardous Waste – RCRA Subtitle C

•   Industrial ethyl alcohol                              •   Mercury-containing equipment
•   Scrap metal                                           •   Hazardous waste lamps.
•   Waste-derived fuels from refining processes               The universal waste program includes regulatory
•   Unrefined waste-derived fuels and oils from           provisions for universal waste handlers, transporters,
    petroleum refineries.                                 and destination facilities.
     Some recycling processes are not fully exempt
from hazardous waste regulation, but are instead
subject to specialized standards. These processes
•   Use constituting disposal
•   Precious metal reclamation
•   Lead-acid battery reclamation (regenerated
    batteries are exempt from hazardous waste
    regulation entirely)
•   Burning for energy recovery.
     Certain commonly recycled materials are subject
to streamlined hazardous waste regulation. One type
of material, used oil, is regulated under its own
recycling program. Used oil is defined as any oil that
has been refined from crude oil or any synthetic oil
that has been used and as a result of such use is
contaminated by physical or chemical impurities.
   The used oil recycling provisions include
management standards for used oil:
•   Generators
•   Collection centers and aggregation points
•   Transporters
•   Transfer facilities
•   Processors and rerefiners
•   Burners
•   Marketers.
    Another type of material, universal waste, is also
subject to streamlined management provisions. The
universal waste program is designed to encourage
the recycling of certain widely generated hazardous
wastes by easing the regulatory burden on persons
who handle, transport, and collect them. Universal
wastes consist of:
•   Hazardous waste batteries
•   Hazardous waste pesticides that are either
    recalled or collected in waste pesticide
    collection programs

                   REGULATIONS GOVERNING
                      HAZARDOUS WASTE

Overview ...........................................................   III-41        Under RCRA, hazardous waste generators are
Who Are The Regulated Generators? ..............                       III-42   the first link in the cradle-to-grave hazardous waste
- Large Quantity Generators ............................               III-42   management system. All generators must determine
- Small Quantity Generators ............................               III-42   if their waste is hazardous and must oversee the
- Conditionally Exempt Small Quantity                                           ultimate fate of the waste. RCRA Subtitle C
   Generators ....................................................     III-43   requires generators to ensure and fully document
- Episodic Generation ......................................           III-43   that the
- State Regulations ..........................................         III-43   hazardous
Large and Small Quantity Generator                                              waste they
Regulatory Requirements .................................              III-43   produce is
- Waste Identification and Counting .................                  III-44   properly
- EPA Identification Numbers ...........................               III-44   identified,
- Accumulation of Waste ..................................             III-44   managed,
- Preparation for Transport Regulations ..........                     III-45   and treated
- The Manifest ..................................................      III-45   prior to
- Recordkeeping and Reporting ......................                   III-46   recycling or
Conditionally Exempt Small Quantity                                             disposal.
Generators ........................................................    III-47   The
Quantity and Time Limits ..................................            III-47   regulations
International Shipments ....................................           III-47   applicable to
- Hazardous Waste Imports .............................                III-48   generators of
- Hazardous Waste Exports .............................                III-48   hazardous waste are located in 40 CFR Part 261 and
- International Treaties .....................................         III-48   Part 262. (Generators may also be subject to land
Farmer Exclusion ..............................................        III-49   disposal restrictions (LDR) requirements as
Summary ..........................................................     III-49   discussed in Chapter III, Land Disposal
Additional Resources .......................................           III-50   Restrictions). The degree of regulation to which
                                                                                each generator is subject depends to a large extent
                                                                                on how much waste each generator produces every
                                                                                calendar month. This chapter summarizes who is
                                                                                considered a generator and which standards apply
                                                                                based on waste generation rates.

Chapter III: Managing Hazardous Waste – RCRA Subtitle C

WHO ARE THE REGULATED                                     that posed the greatest threat to human health and
                                                          the environment, EPA focused on those generators
                                                          that produced the greatest volumes of hazardous
    The Subtitle C regulations broadly define the         waste by establishing standards for large quantity
term generator to include any person, by site, who:       generators.

•   First creates or produces a hazardous waste (e.g.,        Large quantity generators are defined as those
    from an industrial process)                           facilities that generate:
                         OR                               •   1,000 kg or more of hazardous waste per
•   First brings a hazardous waste into the RCRA              calendar month (approximately 2,200 lbs)
    Subtitle C system (e.g., imports a hazardous                                  OR
    waste into the United States).
                                                          •   1 kg or more of acutely hazardous waste per
    Because generators are the first step in the              calendar month (approximately 2.2 lbs).
RCRA Subtitle C system, it is important that they
                                                              In 2005, there were approximately 15,000
properly classify and identify their waste to ensure
proper handling later in the hazardous waste
management process. As a result, generators of
waste must make the following determinations:                 Small Quantity Generators
•   Is the waste a solid waste?                               The LQG regulations focused on generators
•   Is the waste excluded?                                whose volume of waste posed the greatest threat to
                                                          human health and the environment. All other
•   Is the waste a listed hazardous waste?                generators that produced less than 1,000 kg of
•   Is the waste a characteristic hazardous waste?        hazardous waste per month (or less than 1 kg of
                                                          acutely hazardous waste per month) were initially
    Hazardous waste generators may include various        exempted from the RCRA generator requirements.
types of facilities and businesses ranging from large
manufacturing operations, universities, and hospitals
to small businesses and laboratories. Because these
different types of facilities generate different
volumes of wastes resulting in varying degrees of
environmental risk, RCRA regulates generators
based on the amount of waste that they generate in a
calendar month. As a result, there are three
categories of hazardous waste generators:
•   Large quantity generators (LQGs)
•   Small quantity generators (SQGs)
•   Conditionally exempt small quantity generators
                                                              Because of the concern that such exempt
                                                          hazardous waste could cause environmental harm,
    Large Quantity Generators                             Congress (through the Hazardous and Solid Waste
                                                          Amendments (HSWA)) required that EPA also
    Early in the development of the RCRA program
                                                          regulate those small quantity generators who
in 1980, EPA recognized that a relatively small
                                                          produced more than 100 kg of hazardous waste per
number of large scale hazardous waste management
                                                          month. SQGs are defined as those facilities that:
facilities generated the majority of the nation’s
hazardous waste. In order to address the facilities

                                                              Regulations Governing Hazardous Waste Generators

•   Generate between 100 kg (approximately 220                State Regulations
    lbs) and 1,000 kg of hazardous waste per
    calendar month                                             State classification of generator categories may
                                                          be different from those outlined above. Some states
                                                          regulate all generators of hazardous waste (i.e., there
•   Accumulate less than 6,000 kg (approximately          is no exempt category), while other states classify
    13,200 lbs) of hazardous waste at any time.           generators by waste type rather than by generated
                                                          volume. Therefore, it is imperative that generators
    In 2001, there were approximately 200,000
                                                          contact their respective state agency to determine if
                                                          state generator regulations differ from these federal
    Conditionally Exempt Small Quantity
                                                          LARGE AND SMALL QUANTITY
    Until HSWA, facilities generating waste below         GENERATOR REGULATORY
the 100-kg cut-off point were exempt from RCRA            REQUIREMENTS
regulatory requirements. HSWA resulted in a third
category of generators, conditionally exempt small            LQGs and SQGs are subject to regulations
quantity generators (CESQGs). These generators            contained in 40 CFR Part 262 that require each
are defined as those facilities that produce:             generator to:
•   100 kg or less of hazardous waste per calendar        •   Identify and count waste
                                                          •   Obtain an
                            OR                                EPA ID
•   1 kg or less of acutely hazardous waste per               number
    calendar month.
                                                          •   Comply with
    Beyond the monthly generation limits, the                 accumulation
CESQG requirements additionally limit the facility’s          and storage
total waste accumulation quantities to 1,000 kg of            requirements
hazardous waste, 1 kg of acute hazardous waste, or            (including
100 kg of any residue from the cleanup of a spill of          requirements
acute hazardous waste at any time.                            for training
    In 1997, there were between 400,000 and
700,000 CESQGs.

    Episodic Generation                                   •   Prepare the waste for transportation
                                                          •   Track the shipment and receipt of such waste
     Because generator status is determined on a
monthly basis, it is possible that a generator’s status   •   Meet recordkeeping and reporting requirements.
can change from one month to the next, depending
on the amount of waste generated in a particular               Because SQGs produce a smaller portion of the
month. This is referred to as episodic generation.        nation’s hazardous waste, Congress was concerned
If a generator’s status does in fact change, the          that full regulation might be economically
generator is required to comply with the respective       burdensome and inappropriate. Consequently,
regulatory requirements for that class of generators      Congress authorized EPA to reduce the regulatory
for the waste generated in that particular month.         requirements applicable to SQGs provided that such
                                                          requirements were still protective of human health
                                                          and the environment. This chapter fully discusses

Chapter III: Managing Hazardous Waste – RCRA Subtitle C

these regulatory requirements and notes the                EPA on a case-by-case basis. LQGs storing
differences between LQG and SQG regulatory                 wastewater treatment sludges from electroplating
provisions.                                                operations (F006) may store that waste for 180 or
                                                           270 days if the waste is to be recycled.
    Waste Identification and Counting                          LQGs must comply with the following
     In order to determine which generator standards
a facility must comply with, generators are required       •   Proper Management — The waste is properly
to identify each waste that they generate and                  accumulated in containers, tanks, drip pads, or
determine all applicable listings and characteristics.         containment buildings. Hazardous waste
After determining which wastes are hazardous, each             containers must be kept closed and marked with
month, generators are responsible for totaling (or             the date on which accumulation began. Tanks
counting) the weight of all hazardous wastes                   and containers are required to be marked with
generated in that month in order to determine if they          the words “Hazardous Waste.” The generator
will be regulated as an LQG, SQG, or CESQG for                 must ensure and document that waste is shipped
that particular month.                                         off site within the allowable 90-day period.
                                                           •   Preparedness and Prevention — LQGs are
    EPA Identification Numbers                                 required to have an emergency coordinator, and
     One way that EPA monitors and tracks                      to test and maintain emergency equipment.
generators is by assigning each LQG and SQG a              •   Emergency Plan — LQGs are required to have
unique EPA Identification (ID) number. If you                  formal written contingency plans and emergency
generate, treat, store, dispose, transport, or offer for       procedures in the event of a spill or release.
transportation hazardous waste, you must have an
ID number. Furthermore, the generator is forbidden         •   Personnel Training — Facility personnel must
from offering hazardous waste to any transporter or            be trained in the proper handling of hazardous
treatment, storage, and disposal facility (TSDF) that          waste through an established training program.
does not also have an EPA ID number. ID numbers
are issued to each generator for each individual site          Considering the lesser risks posed by the
or facility property where hazardous waste is              generation of smaller quantities of hazardous waste,
generated. In most cases, generators request EPA ID        SQGs are subject to less extensive facility waste
numbers from the state implementing agency. Some           management provisions. An SQG may accumulate
states use the federal application form (EPA Form          hazardous waste on site for 180 days or less. SQGs
8700-12) while other states use their own state            transporting hazardous waste for off-site treatment,
forms.                                                     storage, or disposal over distances greater than 200
                                                           miles may accumulate waste for up to 270 days.
    Additional information regarding EPA ID                SQGs must comply with the following requirements:
numbers, including the forms and instructions can be
found at www.epa.gov/epaoswer/hazwaste/data/               •   Proper Management — The waste is properly
form8700/forms.htm.                                            accumulated in either tanks or containers
                                                               marked with the words “Hazardous Waste.”
                                                               Containers must also be kept closed and marked
    Accumulation of Waste                                      with the date on which accumulation began.
     LQGs and SQGs are also subject to facility            •   Emergency Plan — The SQG requirements
waste management standards. An LQG may                         include specified emergency responses;
accumulate hazardous waste on site for 90 days or              however, SQGs are not required to have written
less. Under temporary, unforeseen, and                         contingency plans. They are required to ensure
uncontrollable circumstances, this 90-day period               that an emergency coordinator is on the
may be extended for up to 30 days by the state or

                                                            Regulations Governing Hazardous Waste Generators

    premises, or on-call at all times, and have basic   manifest contains the following federally required
    facility safety information readily accessible.     information:
•   Personnel Training — SQGs are not required to       •   Name, address, and EPA ID number of the
    have an established training program but must           hazardous waste generator, transporter(s), and
    ensure that employees handling hazardous waste          designated facility
    are familiar with proper handling and emergency
    procedures.                                         •   DOT description of the waste’s hazards
                                                        •   Quantities of the wastes transported and
    Preparation for Transport                               container type.
    Regulations                                              Each manifest also contains a certification that
    Pre-transport regulations are designed to ensure    states:
safe transportation of hazardous waste from the         •   The shipment has been accurately described and
point of origin to the ultimate disposal site. In           is in proper condition for transport
developing hazardous waste pre-transport
regulations, EPA adopted the Department of              •   The generator has a waste minimization program
Transportation’s (DOT) regulations for packaging,           in place at its facility to reduce the volume and
labeling, marking, and placarding. These DOT                toxicity of hazardous waste to the degree
regulations can be found at 49 CFR Parts 172, 173,          economically practicable, as determined by the
178, and 179. DOT regulations require:                      generator
•   Proper packaging to prevent leakage of              •   The treatment, storage, or disposal method
    hazardous waste during both normal transport            chosen by the generator is the most practicable
    conditions and potentially dangerous situations         method currently available that minimizes the
    (e.g., if a drum falls off of a truck)                  risk to human health and the environment.
•   Labeling, marking, and placarding of the                 Each time a waste is transferred (e.g., from a
    packaged waste to identify the characteristics      transporter to the designated facility or from a
    and dangers associated with its transport.          transporter to another transporter), the manifest must
                                                        be signed to acknowledge receipt of the waste. A
    These pre-transport regulations only apply to       copy of the manifest is retained by each individual in
generators shipping waste off site for treatment,       the transportation chain. Once the waste is delivered
storage, or disposal. Transportation on site is not     to the designated facility, the owner and operator of
subject to these pre-transport requirements.            that facility must sign and return a copy of the
                                                        manifest to the generator. This system ensures that
    The Manifest                                        the generator has documentation that the hazardous
                                                        waste has arrived at its ultimate destination. To
    As previously discussed, the Subtitle C program     further ensure the safe transport of hazardous waste,
is designed to manage hazardous waste from cradle       a generator may not offer waste for transport unless
to grave. The Uniform Hazardous Waste Manifest          that transporter has an EPA ID number.
(EPA Form 8700-22) plays a crucial part in this
management system. (A sample of the manifest can            In March 2005, EPA finalized revisions to the
be found in Appendix A.) The manifest allows all        manifest form and regulations. EPA standardized
parties involved in hazardous waste management          the content and format of the current manifest form
(e.g., generators, transporters, TSDFs, EPA, state      and the continuation sheet so that the same form
agencies) to track the movement of hazardous waste      could be used by waste handlers nationwide. EPA
from the generator’s site to the site where the waste   also improved tracking procedures for hazardous
will be treated, stored, or disposed. A RCRA            waste shipments that destination facilities (i.e.,
                                                        TSDFs) reject, wastes consisting of residues from

Chapter III: Managing Hazardous Waste – RCRA Subtitle C

non-empty hazardous waste containers, and wastes              and the regulated community, primarily through
entering or leaving the United States. Finally, EPA           publication of the National Biennial RCRA
established a new acquisition process for obtaining           Hazardous Waste Reports.
the new manifest form. Waste handlers may obtain
new forms from any source that has registered with            For more information, please go to the National
EPA to print and distribute the form.                     Biennial RCRA Hazardous Waste Report, available
                                                          at www.epa.gov/epaoswer/hazwaste/data/
    Recordkeeping and Reporting
                                                          Information Collection Requests
    The recordkeeping and reporting requirements
for LQGs and SQGs provide EPA and the states with              In order to collect the information that OSW
a method to track the quantities of hazardous waste       needs to develop, implement, and enforce the RCRA
generated and the movement of hazardous wastes.           program, and to assess its success, OSW requires
The generator regulations in 40 CFR Part 262              members of the regulated community to submit data.
contain four primary recordkeeping and reporting          In order for EPA to legally enforce such a
requirements:                                             requirement, the forms used to collect the data must
                                                          be approved by the President’s Office of
•   Biennial reporting                                    Management and Budget (OMB) through the
•   Information collection requests                       Information Collection Request (ICR) process.
•   Exception reporting                                   ICRs are usually approved for only three years, after
•   Three-year record retention.                          which EPA must apply to renew them. This process,
                                                          laid out in the Paperwork Reduction Act, requires an
Biennial Reporting
                                                          ICR before collecting the same or similar
     The Office of Solid Waste (OSW) relies on data       information from ten or more members of the public.
to determine the best ways to develop, implement,         An ICR:
and enforce the RCRA program, and to assess its
                                                          •   Describes the information to be collected
success. EPA, in partnership with the states,
biennially collects information about the generation,     •   Gives the reason the information is needed, and
management, and final disposition of hazardous
wastes regulated under RCRA. When regulated               •   Estimates the time and cost “burden” for the
parties provide their data, the state or EPA regional         public to answer the request.
office enters the data into a computer database.
                                                          Exception Reporting
After review to ensure the quality of the data, OSW
enters it into a data system called RCRAInfo, where           The RCRA regulations ensure that the transport
states and EPA can access it. EPA uses the                of hazardous waste from its point of generation to its
information collected to:                                 point of treatment, storage, or disposal is
                                                          documented through a manifest system. This system
•   Provide EPA and the states with an
                                                          requires the designated facility to return a signed and
    understanding of hazardous waste generation
                                                          dated copy of the manifest to the generator in order
    and management in the United States
                                                          to acknowledge receipt of the waste. If the generator
•   Help EPA measure the quality of the                   does not receive this paperwork, additional steps
    environment, such as monitoring industry              need to be taken in order to locate the waste. As a
    compliance with the regulations and evaluating        result, LQGs who transport waste off site but do not
    waste minimization efforts taken by industry,         receive a signed and dated copy of the manifest from
    and                                                   the designated facility within 45 days from the date
                                                          on which the initial transporter accepted the waste,
•   Communicate national hazardous waste                  must submit an exception report to the EPA
    information to the public, government agencies,       Regional Administrator. The exception report must

                                                               Regulations Governing Hazardous Waste Generators

describe efforts made to locate the waste and the         • Permitted or interim status hazardous waste
results of those efforts.                                   TSDF
    SQGs who do not receive a signed and dated            • State hazardous waste facility
copy of the manifest from the designated facility
within 60 days must send a copy of the original           • State permitted, licensed, or registered solid
manifest to the EPA Regional Administrator with a           waste disposal facility
note indicating that they have not received a return      • State MSWLF
                                                          • Recycling facility
Record Retention
                                                          • Universal waste facility.
    Generators must keep a copy of each biennial
report and any exception reports for at least three
years from the due date of the report. Generators are     QUANTITY AND TIME LIMITS
also required to keep copies of all manifests for three
                                                              LQGs, SQGs, and CESQGs are subject to
years, or until a signed and dated copy of the
                                                          specific quantity and time limits that restrict the
manifest is received from the designated facility.
                                                          amount of waste that may be stored on site at any
The manifest received from the designated facility
                                                                  one time, and the length of such storage.
must be kept for at least three years from
                                                                        For example, SQGs may not store more
the date on which the hazardous waste
                                                                           than 6,000 kg of hazardous waste on
was accepted by the initial transporter.
                                                                             site at any one time, and CESQGs
Finally, records of waste analyses and
                                                                              may not store more than 1,000 kg
determinations performed by the
                                                                               of hazardous waste on site at any
generator must be kept for at least
                                                                               one time. LQGs must move all of
three years from the date the waste
                                                                               the waste that they generate off
was last sent to an on-site or off-site
                                                                             site within 90 days, while SQGs
TSDF. These retention periods may be
                                                                            have 180 days to move all waste off
extended automatically during the
                                                                          site. If SQGs or CESQGs exceed
course of any unresolved enforcement
                                                                         their respective storage quantity limits,
action regarding the regulated activity, or as
                                                                 or if LQGs or SQGs exceed their respective
requested by the EPA Administrator.
                                                          accumulation time limits, the facility becomes a
                                                          storage facility subject to all applicable requirements
CONDITIONALLY EXEMPT SMALL                                for TSDFs (including permitting) unless they have
QUANTITY GENERATORS                                       received an accumulation time limit extension from
                                                          EPA or their state.
    While CESQGs are not subject to the
                                                              Recently, EPA promulgated less stringent
requirement to obtain an EPA ID number, comply
                                                          regulations for generators of F006 waste in order to
with accumulation and storage requirements, follow
                                                          promote legitimate recycling of metal-bearing
the manifest system, or meet recordkeeping and
                                                          electroplating sludges. As a result, large quantity
reporting requirements, they are subject to limited
                                                          generators are allowed to accumulate F006 sludges
generator waste management standards. CESQGs
                                                          up to 180 or 270 days without a permit provided
may also be subject to DOT requirements. CESQGs
                                                          they meet certain conditions.
must identify their hazardous waste, comply with
storage limit requirements, and ensure waste
treatment or disposal in an on-site or off-site:          INTERNATIONAL SHIPMENTS
                                                             Not all hazardous wastes that are managed in the
                                                          United States originate in this country. Similarly,

Chapter III: Managing Hazardous Waste – RCRA Subtitle C

not all wastes generated in the United States are         hazardous wastes that prohibit the export of
managed exclusively in this country. To ensure that       hazardous waste unless the exporter obtains written
such international shipments are handled in a             consent from the receiving country prior to
manner that protects human health and the                 shipment. This written consent must be attached to
environment, RCRA contains management                     the manifest accompanying each waste shipment.
provisions for both hazardous waste imports and
exports. Because such shipments are also governed             To export a hazardous waste, the exporter must
by various international treaties and agreements, the     notify the EPA Administrator 60 days prior to when
RCRA regulations include provisions which                 the waste is scheduled to leave the United States.
implement these treaties and agreements.                  This notification may cover export activities
                                                          extending over a 12-month period, unless
                                                          information in the notification changes. If the
    Hazardous Waste Imports                               importing country agrees to accept the hazardous
                                                          waste, EPA will send an Acknowledgment of
     Under RCRA, any person importing a hazardous
                                                          Consent to the exporter, who may then export the
waste into the United States from a foreign country
                                                          waste to the accepting country.
is subject to the hazardous waste generator
standards. As a result, an importer is subject to all          Subpart E of Part 262 contains the detailed
generator requirements, including the completion of       export requirements for hazardous waste shipments
a hazardous waste manifest. Subpart F of Part 262         that would not be governed by the OECD
contains special instructions for importers               multilateral agreement (as discussed later in this
completing the manifest.                                  chapter). Subpart H of Part 262 contains the export
                                                          requirements for shipments destined for an OECD
     In addition, any TSDFs, or interim status
                                                          country, with the exception of Canada and Mexico.
TSDFs, that intend to receive imported hazardous
waste from a foreign source must notify the EPA
Regional Administrator in writing at least four               International Treaties
weeks prior to receiving the first shipment of
hazardous waste. Any subsequent shipments of the               Two international treaties may affect U.S.
same waste from the same foreign source do not            hazardous waste import and export practices. They
require this notification. Once the TSDF receives         are the Basel Convention and the OECD Council
import shipments of hazardous waste, the site must        Decision.
send a copy of each shipment’s manifest to EPA
                                                          Basel Convention
within 30 days of shipment delivery, and include
details on the foreign generators and imported                 The Basel Convention establishes standards for
wastes in their normal Biennial Report submission.        the transboundary movement of hazardous waste,
If the import shipment is from an Organization for        solid waste, and municipal incinerator ash, including
Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)               notice to and written confirmation from the
country (except Canada or Mexico), under 262              receiving country prior to export. As of September
Subpart H, the TSDF would also have to send a copy        2007, approximately 170 countries were party to the
of the OECD tracking document to EPA and to the           Convention. Although the United States is not
competent authorities of all other concerned              currently a party to the Basel Convention, the
countries within three working days of shipment           Convention still affects U.S. importers and exporters
delivery.                                                 in the following manner. Parties to the Basel
                                                          Convention cannot trade Basel-covered wastes with
                                                          nonparties in the absence of a bilateral or
     Hazardous Waste Exports
                                                          multilateral agreement (in this case, a separate
    RCRA also contains specific requirements for          agreement between countries or groups of countries
hazardous waste exports. For example, there are           to govern the transboundary movement of waste).
specific notification requirements for exports of

                                                            Regulations Governing Hazardous Waste Generators

As a result, U.S. businesses, as a practical matter,    waste management requirements, including the
can only import such wastes from and export such        disposal instructions on the pesticide label, are not
wastes to those Basel countries with which the U.S.     subject to the generator requirements. This
government has negotiated a separate waste trade        exclusion is intended to prevent the double
agreement. Those countries with which the United        regulation of farmers under both RCRA and the
States has entered into such bilateral agreements for   Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act
import and export include Canada and Mexico.            (FIFRA).
Those countries with which the United States has
entered into a bilateral agreement for import include
Malaysia, Costa Rica, and the Philippines.              SUMMARY
                                                           Hazardous waste generators regulated under
Organization for Economic Cooperation
and Development Council Decision
                                                        RCRA fall into three categories, based on the
                                                        amount of hazardous waste generated per calendar
     The OECD Council Decision is another               month:
multilateral agreement that establishes procedural
and substantive controls for the import and export of   •   LQGs
hazardous waste recyclables between OECD                •   SQGs
member nations. The agreement is intended to ease       •   CESQGs.
the trade of such recyclables and minimize the          LQGs and SQGs must:
possibility that such wastes will be abandoned or
handled illegally. As of 2006, there were 30 member     •   Identify and count waste
countries in the OECD. Since the United States is a     •   Obtain an EPA ID number
member of OECD and is a party to the Decision,
U.S. businesses can trade recyclables with other        •   Comply with accumulation and storage
member OECD nations (including those that are also          requirements (including requirements for
party to the Basel Convention). However,                    training and emergency arrangements)
transboundary movement between the United States        •   Prepare the waste for transportation
and the countries of Canada, Mexico, Costa Rica,        •   Track the shipment and receipt of such waste
Malaysia, and the Philippines is still governed by
each individual bilateral agreement and not by the      •   Meet recordkeeping and reporting requirements.
OECD Decision.                                              LQGs and SQGs may also be subject to LDR
    In May 2002, OECD published a decision that         requirements.
made revisions to the controls of transboundary             CESQGs are not subject to most of the generator
movements of waste destined for recovery                requirements applicable to LQGs and SQGs, but
operations. Because OECD council decisions are          they must identify their hazardous waste, comply
legally binding for member countries, this decision     with storage limit requirements, and ensure waste
has to be implemented in all member countries           treatment or disposal in an on-site or off-site:
through the enactment of national legislation. As a
result, EPA is in the process of making changes to      •   Permitted or interim status hazardous waste
the existing regulations in 40 CFR Part 262,                TSDF
Subpart H.
                                                        •   State hazardous waste facility

FARMER EXCLUSION                                        •   State permitted, licensed, or registered solid
                                                            waste disposal facility
    Although a farmer may be a generator of
                                                        •   State municipal solid waste landfill
hazardous waste, waste pesticides disposed of on a
farmer’s own property in compliance with specified

Chapter III: Managing Hazardous Waste – RCRA Subtitle C

•   Recycling facility
•   Universal waste facility.
    Any person importing hazardous waste into the
United States from a foreign country is subject to
hazardous waste generator standards. RCRA also
contains specific requirements for hazardous waste
exports. Importers and exporters must also comply
with the provisions of international trade treaties,
such as the Basel Convention and the OECD
Council Decision.
    Because farmers disposing of certain pesticide
wastes on their own land are subject to regulation
under both RCRA and FIFRA, RCRA specifically
excludes such farmers from the generator

   Additional information about hazardous waste
generators can be found at www.epa.gov/epaoswer/


                                                                                  WHO ARE THE REGULATED
  Overview ...........................................................   III-51
  Who Are the Regulated Transporters? .............                      III-51
  Regulatory Requirements for Transporters ......                        III-52       A hazardous waste transporter under Subtitle
  - EPA Identification Number .............................              III-52   C is any person engaged in the off-site
  - The Manifest ..................................................      III-52   transportation of hazardous waste within the United
  - Handling Hazardous Waste Discharges ........                         III-53   States, if such transportation requires a manifest.
  Transfer Facilities .............................................      III-53   Off-site transportation of hazardous waste includes
  Additional Regulatory Requirements ................                    III-53   shipments from a hazardous waste generator's
  Summary ..........................................................     III-54
                                                                                  facility property to another facility for treatment,
                                                                                  storage, or disposal. Regulated off-site
                                                                                  transportation includes shipments of hazardous
OVERVIEW                                                                          waste by air, rail, highway, or water.
     Hazardous waste transporters play an integral                                     Transporter regulations only apply to the off-site
role in the cradle-to-grave hazardous waste                                       transportation of hazardous waste. The transporter
management system by delivering hazardous waste                                   regulations do not apply to the on-site transportation
from its point of generation to its ultimate                                      of hazardous waste within a facility’s property or
destination. Since such transporters are moving                                   boundary. Examples of such on-site transportation
regulated wastes on public roads and highways,                                    include generators and TSDFs transporting waste
rails, and waterways, they are regulated not only by                              within their facilities, or on their own property. On
RCRA, but by the Department of Transportation                                     site also
(DOT) standards as well. To avoid regulatory                                      refers to
discrepancies and redundant regulations, the                                      geographically
hazardous waste transporter regulations were                                      contiguous
developed jointly by EPA and DOT. Although the                                    properties,
regulations are integrated, they are not located in the                           even if the
same part of the CFR. DOT’s Hazardous Materials                                   properties are
Transportation Act regulations are found in 49 CFR                                separated by
Parts 171-179, while the RCRA Subtitle C                                          a public road.
transporter requirements are located in 40 CFR Part                               Consequently,
263. This chapter summarizes only the RCRA                                        a facility may
Subtitle C transporter regulations. Please consult the                            ship wastes
DOT regulations for a complete understanding of                                   between two
hazardous waste transporter requirements.                                         properties

Chapter III: Managing Hazardous Waste – RCRA Subtitle C

becoming subject to the hazardous waste transporter        over to another transporter or to the designated
regulations, provided that the properties are              facility, the transporter is required to have the
contiguous. Transporter requirements do apply to           manifest signed and dated by the recipient. All
shipments between noncontiguous properties that            transporters are required to keep a signed copy of the
require travel on public roads.                            manifest for three years from the date the initial
                                                           transporter accepted the waste. If the waste cannot
                                                           be delivered as the manifest directs, the transporter
REGULATORY REQUIREMENTS                                    must contact the generator and receive further
FOR TRANSPORTERS                                           instructions on whether to return the waste or take it
                                                           to another facility.
    A transporter of hazardous waste is subject to
several regulations under RCRA and must:                        If a waste is rejected by the TSDF designated on
                                                           the manifest to receive the waste, then the
•   Obtain an EPA identification (ID) number               transporter must follow the tracking procedures for
•   Comply with the manifest system                        full load rejections or partial rejections, depending
                                                           on the circumstances of the rejection. The
•   Properly handle hazardous waste discharges.            transporter must also follow the applicable tracking
                                                           procedures for regulated quantities of container
    EPA Identification Number                              residues.
                                                                These manifest requirements are slightly
    One way that EPA keeps track of hazardous
                                                           different for water and rail transporters. Water and
waste transporters is by requiring each transportation
                                                           rail transporters must comply with the directions on
company to obtain an EPA ID number. Without this
                                                           the manifest, obtain an EPA ID number, and must be
ID number, the transporter is forbidden from
                                                           listed on the manifest, but the manifest is not
transporting hazardous waste. Unlike generator EPA
                                                           required to physically accompany the waste
ID numbers, which are site-specific, transporter
                                                           shipment at all times. Instead, both water and rail
numbers are assigned to the transportation company
                                                           transporters can use another shipping document
as a whole. This means that each individual truck
                                                           instead of the manifest, provided that it contains the
does not receive a unique number, but rather, uses
                                                           same information as the manifest (excluding the EPA
the number issued to the company’s headquarters
                                                           ID number, generator certification, and signatures).
                                                           The initial water or rail transporter must sign and
                                                           date the manifest or shipping document and ensure
    The Manifest                                           that it reaches the designated facility, and the final
                                                           water or rail transporter must ensure that the owner
     With the exception of water and rail shipments
                                                           and operator of the designated facility signs the
and the transport of certain small quantity generators
                                                           manifest or shipping paper. Intermediate water and
(SQG) recycling wastes, a transporter may not
accept hazardous waste from a generator unless the
waste is accompanied by a properly prepared
manifest. Upon receiving the waste, the transporter
must sign and date the manifest to acknowledge
receipt and return a copy to the generator before
leaving the generator’s property. A copy of the
manifest must accompany the shipment of the waste
at all times. Once a transporter has accepted a
waste, the transporter is required to deliver the entire
quantity of waste to the next designated transporter
or to the designated facility. Upon turning the waste

                                                             Regulations Governing Hazardous Waste Transporters

rail transporters are not required to sign the manifest       Handling Hazardous Waste
or shipping paper.                                            Discharges
    Because one of the primary goals of RCRA is to             Even though the regulations are designed to
foster resource recovery and recycling, the               ensure that hazardous waste shipments are
transporter regulations contain a special exemption       conducted safely, the transportation of hazardous
from the manifest requirements for transporters who       waste can still be dangerous as there is always the
handle certain recycled (or reclaimed) wastes             possibility that an accident may occur. To address
generated by SQGs. This exemption is intended to          this possibility, the regulations require transporters
facilitate the recycling of small quantities of           to take immediate action to protect human health and
hazardous wastes that are transported in a protective     the environment if a release occurs (e.g., notifying
manner. To qualify for this exemption, the waste          local authorities and diking the discharge area).
must be reclaimed under a contractual agreement           When a serious accident or spill occurs, the
between the SQG and a recycling facility. The             transporter must notify the National Response
agreement must specify the type of waste reclaimed        Center (NRC) by phone. The Centers for Disease
and the frequency of shipments. In addition, the          Control (CDC) must also be informed if the spill
vehicle used to transport the waste must be owned         involves disease-causing agents.
and operated by the recycling facility. Both the
generator and transporter are responsible for keeping          The regulations also authorize certain federal,
a copy of the reclamation agreement on file for three     state, or local officials to handle transportation
years after the agreement ends.                           accidents. Specifically, if immediate removal of
                                                          waste is necessary to protect human health or the
     On March 4, 2005, EPA established new                environment, one of these officials may authorize a
requirements revising the Uniform Hazardous Waste         nonmanifested removal of the waste by a transporter
Manifest regulations and the manifest and                 without an EPA ID number.
continuation sheet forms (70 FR 10776). The
revisions announced in the March 2005 final rule
standardize the content and appearance of the             TRANSFER FACILITIES
manifest form and continuation sheet (Forms 8700-
                                                               Transporters accepting hazardous waste from a
22 and 22a) and make the forms available from a
                                                          generator or another transporter may need to hold
greater number of sources. The final rule also
                                                          waste temporarily during the normal course of
establishes new procedures for tracking certain types
                                                          transportation. A transfer facility is defined as any
of hazardous waste shipments with the manifest.
                                                          transportation-related facility, such as loading docks,
These types of shipments include non-empty
                                                          parking areas, storage areas, and other similar areas
hazardous waste containers and hazardous wastes
                                                          where shipments are held during the normal course
that enter or leave the United States. In the case of
                                                          of transportation. A transporter may hold waste at a
rejected shipments or container residues, the new
                                                          transfer facility for up to 10 days.
manifest provides new data fields in the existing
“Discrepancy” block on the manifest (Item 18 on the
new form) to record information for these shipments.      ADDITIONAL REGULATORY
The new manifest form also contains a new block           REQUIREMENTS
(entitled “International Shipments”), which
hazardous waste transporters and other hazardous              Even though transporters are regulated under
waste handlers will use to record information for         Part 263 of the RCRA regulations and DOT
hazardous waste import and export shipments.              provisions, there are certain situations when a
                                                          transporter may be subject to additional RCRA
                                                          regulatory requirements. For example, if a
                                                          transporter stores waste at a transfer facility for more
                                                          than 10 days, the transfer facility becomes a storage

Chapter III: Managing Hazardous Waste – RCRA Subtitle C

facility subject to all applicable requirements for
treatment, storage, and disposal facilities (TSDFs)
(including permitting).
     In other situations, a transporter may be subject
to RCRA hazardous waste generator requirements.
For example, transporters may import hazardous
waste into the United States, thus causing the waste
to become subject to the RCRA regulations. Also,
transporters may mix separate hazardous wastes with
different DOT shipping descriptions into a single
container, thus physically producing a hazardous
waste. In these instances, transporters are
responsible for complying with the RCRA hazardous
waste generator provisions (as discussed in Chapter
III, Regulations Governing Hazardous Waste

    A regulated transporter is defined under Subtitle
C as any person engaged in the off-site
transportation of hazardous waste, if such
transportation requires a manifest. The transporter
regulations do not apply to the on-site transportation
of hazardous waste within a facility’s property
    Transporters of hazardous waste must comply
with both EPA and DOT regulations. The RCRA
Subtitle C regulations require a transporter to:
•   Obtain an EPA ID number
•   Comply with the manifest system
•   Properly handle hazardous waste discharges.
    During the normal course of transportation,
transporters may hold waste temporarily (for up to
10 days) at a transfer facility.
    Transporters of hazardous waste may also be
subject to Subtitle C generator or storage facility
requirements (e.g., if the transporter stores waste at a
transfer facility for more than 10 days or imports
hazardous waste into the United States).

                   REGULATIONS GOVERNING
                   TREATMENT, STORAGE, AND

Overview ...........................................................    III-55    - Miscellaneous Units ......................................            III-75
What is a TSDF? ..............................................          III-56    Closure .............................................................   III-77
- Permits and Interim Status ...........................                III-56    - Closure Requirements ..................................               III-78
- Exemptions ...................................................        III-57    - Post-Closure Requirements ..........................                  III-79
General Facility Standards ...............................              III-58    Financial Assurance .........................................           III-80
- EPA Identification Numbers ..........................                 III-59    - Financial Assurance for Closure/
- Waste Analysis ..............................................         III-59      Post-Closure Care ........................................            III-81
- Security .........................................................    III-59    - Accident Liability Requirements ....................                  III-81
- Inspection Requirements ..............................                III-59    - Financial Assurance Mechanisms ................                       III-82
- Personnel Training ........................................           III-60    Ground Water Monitoring .................................               III-83
- Requirements for Ignitable, Reactive, or                                        - General Requirements ..................................               III-83
  Incompatible Waste ......................................             III-60    - Permitted Facilities ........................................         III-84
- Location Standards .......................................            III-60    - Interim Status Facilities .................................           III-87
Preparedness and Prevention ..........................                  III-60    Air Emission Standards ....................................             III-88
Contingency Plans and Emergency                                                   - Process Vents ...............................................         III-88
Procedures .......................................................      III-60    - Equipment Leaks ..........................................            III-88
- Contingency Plan ..........................................           III-60    - Tanks, Surface Impoundments, and
- Emergency Coordinator ................................                III-61      Containers .....................................................      III-89
- Emergency Procedures ................................                 III-61    - Other Requirements .....................................              III-89
Manifest, Recordkeeping, and Reporting .........                        III-61    Summary ..........................................................      III-89
- Manifest ........................................................     III-61
- Operating Record .........................................            III-61
- Biennial Report .............................................         III-62   OVERVIEW
- Import Notification .........................................         III-62
- Additional Reports ........................................           III-62       Treatment, storage, and disposal facilities
Standards for Hazardous Waste Treatment                                          (TSDF) are the last link in the cradle-to-grave
Storage, and Disposal Units .............................               III-62   hazardous waste management system. The
- Containers .....................................................      III-63   requirements for TSDFs, located in 40 CFR Parts
- Containment Buildings ..................................              III-63   264 and 265, are more extensive than the standards
- Drip Pads ......................................................      III-65   for generators and transporters. They include
- Land Treatment Units ...................................              III-66   general facility operating standards, as well as
- Landfills .........................................................   III-67   standards for the various types of units in which
- Surface Impoundments .................................                III-69   hazardous waste is managed. General facility
- Tanks .............................................................   III-71   standards address good management practices for
- Waste Piles ...................................................       III-74   any facility engaged in hazardous waste

Chapter III: Managing Hazardous Waste – RCRA Subtitle C

management. The technical standards go beyond              new and existing facilities differ only where
these requirements to ensure that all elements of the      absolutely necessary.
TSDF are constructed and operated to prevent leaks
of hazardous waste into the environment. The                    New TSDFs, those facilities constructed after
technical standards also address the diversity of          the regulations were promulgated, must be designed
hazardous waste operations being conducted around          and built to meet the standards EPA deemed
the country by guiding facilities in the proper design,    necessary to protect human health and the
construction, operation, maintenance, and closure of       environment. To handle hazardous waste, a new
a variety of hazardous waste treatment, storage, and       facility must obtain a permit, in accordance with
disposal units. These unit standards include               provisions in 40 CFR Part 270, before it begins
requirements for a wide range of hazardous waste           operation. These facilities are called permitted
management units, from containers (e.g., 55-gallon         facilities. (Permitting is fully discussed in Chapter
drums) to landfills, in order to ensure that these units   III, Permitting of Treatment, Storage, and Disposal
handle waste safely and effectively.                       Facilities). The permit lays out the standards and
                                                           requirements applicable to the specific activities
                                                           conducted at that facility, including both the general
WHAT IS A TSDF?                                            facility standards and the standards applicable to
                                                           each type of unit at the facility. The requirements
   With some exceptions, a TSDF is a facility              for permitted facilities are located in 40 CFR Part
engaged in one or more of the following activities:        264.
•   Treatment – Any method, technique, or process               On the other hand, facilities already in existence
    designed to physically, chemically, or                 and operating may not immediately be able to meet
    biologically change the nature of a hazardous          the design and operating standards for new facilities.
    waste                                                  For example, when RCRA was enacted, existing
•   Storage – Holding hazardous waste for a                hazardous waste management facilities immediately
    temporary period, after which the hazardous            became subject to regulation, while other existing
    waste is treated, disposed of, or stored elsewhere     facilities managing nonhazardous waste were
                                                           brought into RCRA by regulatory changes that made
•   Disposal – The discharge, deposit, injection,          these wastes hazardous. For both sets of TSDFs,
    dumping, spilling, leaking, or placing of any          EPA created a special category of regulations to
    solid or hazardous waste on or in the land or          allow these facilities to gradually come up to speed
    water. A disposal facility is any site where           with the standards for permitted facilities. These
    hazardous waste is intentionally placed and            facilities are called interim status facilities. While
    where the waste will remain after a TSDF stops         in interim status, facilities must comply with these
    operation.                                             separate standards, which are often less stringent
                                                           than the standards for permitted facilities and are not
    To help owners and operators of new and                tailored to individual sites, until they receive their
existing TSDFs comply with new RCRA                        permit. The requirements for interim status facilities
regulations, RCRA divides them into two categories:        are located in 40 CFR Part 265.
permitted (new) and interim status (existing).
                                                               While the standards for permitted facilities are
                                                           often similar to those for interim status facilities,
    Permits and Interim Status
                                                           there are circumstances where the standards for new
     When Congress enacted RCRA in 1976, it                facilities would be impracticable for existing
directed EPA to develop standards for new TSDFs            facilities to implement immediately. This chapter
(those built after the standards were established) and     will focus primarily on the standards for permitted
for facilities that were already in operation.             facilities, contrasting them with the standards for
Congress further required that the standards for both      interim status facilities where appropriate.

                                                     Regulations Governing Treatment, Storage, and Disposal Facilities

    Exemptions                                              requirements. These reduced provisions apply to
                                                            facilities recycling:
     In order to promote certain beneficial activities
or to avoid overlapping with the requirements of            •    Precious metals
other parts of RCRA or other environmental laws,
                                                            •    Lead-acid batteries
RCRA exempts certain types of facilities or
operations from the standards for permitted and             •    Used oil
interim status TSDFs.
                                                            •    Hazardous waste burned in boilers and industrial
Permits-by-Rule                                                  furnaces.
     Facilities that have permits for certain activities         For other recyclable materials, there are no
under other environmental laws may qualify for a            special requirements. For example, facilities
special form of a RCRA permit, known as a permit-           recycling the following materials are exempt from
by-rule. These activities include ocean disposal of         all TSDF standards:
hazardous wastes regulated under the Marine
Protection, Research, and Sanctuaries Act                   •    Industrial ethyl alcohol
(MPRSA); underground injection of hazardous
                                                            •    Used batteries returned to the manufacturer for
wastes regulated under the Safe Drinking Water Act
(SDWA); and treatment of hazardous wastewaters in
a publicly owned treatment works (POTW)                     •    Scrap metal
regulated under the Clean Water Act (CWA). Under
this exemption, the facility’s non-RCRA permit              •    Fuels produced from refining oil-bearing
serves in place of a RCRA permit, provided the                   hazardous wastes
facility is in compliance with that permit and other        •    Oil reclaimed from hazardous waste.
basic RCRA administrative requirements. (Permits-
by-rule are fully discussed in Chapter III, Permitting         (Recyclable materials are fully discussed in
of Treatment, Storage, and Disposal Facilities).            Chapter III, Hazardous Waste Recycling and
                                                            Universal Wastes).
Conditionally Exempt Small Quantity Generator
Waste                                                       Generators
    Facilities that treat (including recycle), store, or        Generators accumulating waste on site in
dispose of only hazardous waste generated by                accordance with the generator regulations do not
conditionally exempt small quantity generators              need a permit and do not have to comply with the
(CESQGs) are excluded from the TSDF standards.              permitted TSDF standards. They must comply with
RCRA requires that such facilities be permitted,            only those interim status standards specified in the
licensed, or registered by the state to handle              generator regulations. On the other hand, if small
nonhazardous industrial or municipal solid waste, or        quantity generators (SQGs) or CESQGs exceed their
qualify as a recycling facility. (CESQGs are fully          respective storage limits, or if large quantity
discussed in Chapter III, Regulations Governing             generators (LQGs) or SQGs exceed their respective
Hazardous Waste Generators).                                accumulation time limits, the facility becomes a
                                                            storage facility subject to all applicable requirements
Recyclable Materials                                        for TSDFs (including permitting). (Generators are
    RCRA provides separate, reduced regulations             fully discussed in Chapter III, Regulations
for TSDFs recycling certain materials. These                Governing Hazardous Waste Generators).
recycling facilities are generally exempt from the
TSDF standards, but may be required to comply
with streamlined hazardous waste management                    Farmers disposing of pesticide wastes on their
                                                            own property in compliance with the disposal

Chapter III: Managing Hazardous Waste – RCRA Subtitle C

instructions on the pesticide label are also not          Transfer Facilities
subject to the TSDF standards. Congress did not
                                                               A transfer facility is a transportation-related
want to regulate farmers under both RCRA and the
                                                          facility, including loading docks and parking and
Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act
                                                          storage areas, where shipments of hazardous waste
(FIFRA). Therefore, farmers meeting these
                                                          are temporarily held during the normal course of
management conditions are exempt from the TSDF
                                                          transportation. A transfer facility temporarily storing
                                                          a manifested shipment of hazardous waste for less
Totally Enclosed Treatment Units                          than 10 days before transfer to the next designated
                                                          facility is not subject to the TSDF standards. On the
    Totally enclosed treatment units (TETUs) are          other hand, if transporter storage at a transfer facility
designed and constructed to eliminate the potential       exceeds 10 days, the transfer facility becomes a
for hazardous wastes to escape into the environment       storage facility subject to all applicable requirements
during treatment. If directly connected to an             for TSDFs (including permitting). (Transfer
industrial production process, and treatment prevents     facilities are fully discussed in Chapter III,
the release of hazardous constituents into the            Regulations Governing Hazardous Waste
environment, TETUs are exempt from the TSDF               Transporters).
                                                          Adding Absorbent
Elementary Neutralization Units
                                                               Because liquid hazardous wastes are not allowed
    Elementary neutralization units (ENUs) are            in a landfill, absorbents must be added to the
containers, tanks, tank systems, transportation           container to remove the visible liquids. Adding
vehicles, or vessels that neutralize wastes that are      absorbent to hazardous waste may be considered
hazardous only for exhibiting the characteristic of       hazardous waste treatment, thus triggering the TSDF
corrosivity (D003). Neutralization in such units is       standards. However, to promote the reduction of the
exempt from the TSDF standards. However,                  amount of liquid hazardous waste sent to landfills,
neutralization in other types of units is regulated.      the regulations for hazardous waste treatment do not
                                                          apply to a facility adding absorbent to waste when
Wastewater Treatment Units                                the waste is first put into a container. Subsequent
    Wastewater treatment units (WWTUs) are                addition of absorbent is not covered under this
tanks or tanks systems that treat hazardous               exemption and may be considered treatment subject
wastewaters and discharge them pursuant to CWA            to the TSDF standards.
(e.g., the discharge is sent to a POTW or to surface
                                                          Universal Waste Handlers
water under a NPDES permit). Such units are
exempt from the TSDF regulations.                             Handlers and transporters of recycled batteries,
                                                          pesticides, mercury-containing equipment, and
Emergency Response                                        lamps are exempt from the TSDF standards.
    Treatment, storage, and disposal activities that      (Universal wastes are fully discussed in Chapter III,
are part of an emergency response action taken to         Hazardous Waste Recycling and Universal Wastes).
immediately contain or treat a spill of hazardous
waste are exempt from TSDF standards. On the              GENERAL FACILITY STANDARDS
other hand, any treatment, storage, or disposal after
the emergency situation has passed is subject to full          If a TSDF is not exempt under any of these
regulation. Likewise, any hazardous waste                 provisions, then it must comply with the standards
generated during an emergency action must be              for fully regulated TSDFs. These standards cover
managed in accordance with the generator standards.       good management practices, including keeping track
                                                          of the amount and type of wastes entering the
                                                          facility, training employees to safely manage

                                                     Regulations Governing Treatment, Storage, and Disposal Facilities

hazardous waste, and preparing to avoid hazardous           match the information on the accompanying
waste emergencies.                                          manifest.

    EPA Identification Numbers                                   Security
     As with generators and transporters of hazardous           Security provisions are intended to prevent
waste, TSDF owners and operators are required to            accidental or unauthorized entry into the active
notify EPA of the types of hazardous waste they plan        portion of a facility (i.e., where hazardous waste is
to treat, store, or dispose of by applying for an EPA       treated, stored, or disposed). Unless the TSDF
identification (ID) number.                                 owner and operator demonstrates to the
                                                            implementing agency that livestock or unauthorized
                                                            persons who enter the facility will not be harmed
    Waste Analysis
                                                            and will not interfere with compliance with the
     To keep track of the wastes being sent for             regulations, the facility must install the following
treatment, storage, or disposal, TSDF owners and            security measures:
operators must analyze waste shipments. The
                                                            •    A 24-hour surveillance system that continuously
TSDF’s permit will list the types of hazardous waste
                                                                 monitors and controls entry onto the active
that a facility is allowed to treat, store, or dispose.
                                                                 portion of the facility (e.g., television
Analyzing the waste received ensures that the
                                                                 monitoring, guards)
facility only handles wastes they are permitted to
handle, and ensures that the wastes are treated,                                       OR
stored, or disposed properly. A waste analysis plan
outlines the procedures necessary to ensure proper          •    An artificial or natural barrier (e.g., a fence) that
treatment, storage, or disposal. The plan must be                completely surrounds the active portion of the
written, kept on site, and answer six basic questions:           facility and serves as a means to control entry to
                                                                 the active portion of the facility at all times
•   How will the TSDF know if the waste received                 through gates or entrances
    is the same as that described on the manifest?
                                                            •    A sign reading: “Danger — Unauthorized
•   Which waste constituents should the TSDF                     Personnel Keep Out” at each entrance to the
    analyze?                                                     active portion of the facility. The sign must be
                                                                 written in English and any other language that is
•   How should samples be taken?
                                                                 predominant in the area surrounding the facility.
•   What type of testing and analytical methods                  Alternative language conveying the same
    should the facility use?                                     message may also be used.

•   How often should the waste be retested?
                                                                 Inspection Requirements
•   What are the acceptance and rejection criteria
    for each wastestream?                                       To make sure that the facility is operating
                                                            properly, the TSDF owner and operator must
    The waste analysis must be repeated periodically        visually inspect the facility for malfunction,
to ensure that the information on a given waste is          deterioration, operator errors, and leaks. The
accurate and current. At a minimum, the waste               inspections should follow a written inspection
analysis must be repeated when the TSDF is notified         schedule developed and followed by the owner and
or has reason to believe that the process or operation      operator. The schedule identifies the types of
generating the hazardous waste has changed. Waste           problems to be checked and how often inspections
analysis must also be repeated when inspection              should be conducted. Areas where spills are more
indicates that the hazardous waste received does not        likely to occur, such as loading and unloading areas,
                                                            must be inspected daily when in use. Unit-specific

Chapter III: Managing Hazardous Waste – RCRA Subtitle C

inspections or requirements also must be included in      can be built. The location standards for building
the schedule. The owner and operator must record          new TSDFs include restrictions on siting TSDFs in
inspections in a log or summary and must remedy           floodplains or earthquake-sensitive areas.
any problems identified during inspections.               Additionally, TSDF owners and operators may not
                                                          place noncontainerized or bulk liquid hazardous
                                                          waste in a salt dome, salt bed formation, or
    Personnel Training
                                                          underground mine or cave. Congress has granted
     TSDF owners and operators must provide               one exception to this rule: DOE’s Waste Isolation
training to ensure that employees at the facility         Pilot Project (WIPP) in New Mexico.
understand the risks posed by management of
hazardous waste and are prepared to respond in the
                                                          PREPAREDNESS AND
case of an emergency. The training program must be
completed six months from the date the facility is        PREVENTION
subject to the TSDF standards, or six months after
                                                              The preparedness and prevention standards are
the date a worker is newly employed. This training
                                                          intended to minimize and prevent emergency
program must be reviewed annually.
                                                          situations at TSDFs, such as a fire, an explosion, or
                                                          any unplanned release of hazardous waste or
    Requirements For Ignitable, Reactive,                 hazardous waste constituents to the air, soil, or
    or Incompatible Waste                                 surface water. These regulations require
                                                          maintenance and routine testing of emergency
     To avoid dangerous accidents, fires, or              equipment, alarms, minimum aisle space (to
explosions, special care must be taken in handling        accommodate movement of personnel and
ignitable, reactive, or incompatible wastes. TSDF         equipment during emergencies), and provisions for
owners and operators handling ignitable and reactive      contacting local authorities (police, fire department,
wastes must be able to demonstrate that these wastes      hospitals, and emergency response teams) involved
are protected from ignition sources. Such protection      in emergency responses at the facility.
includes “No Smoking” signs placed where ignitable
and reactive wastes are stored, designation of
separate smoking areas, and additional handling           CONTINGENCY PLANS AND
requirements. Similarly, owners and operators must        EMERGENCY PROCEDURES
take precautions against the combined storage of
wastes that might react dangerously with one                  A TSDF must be prepared to respond to
another, or with the unit in which they are stored.       unavoidable emergencies. Contingency plans and
Such a reaction might be a fire or explosion, or the      emergency procedures provide the owner and
release of toxic dusts, gases, or fumes. To determine     operator with mechanisms to respond effectively to
if particular wastes or storage units are compatible,     emergencies. The goal of these requirements is to
the RCRA regulations list some common potentially         minimize hazards resulting from fires, explosions, or
incompatible wastes (40 CFR Part 264, Appendix            any unplanned release of hazardous waste or
V). For compatibility of wastes not listed in the         constituents to air, soil, or surface water. To help
regulations, the owner or operator may need to test       guide these activities, the owner and operator must
the waste and the unit for compatibility.                 maintain a written contingency plan at the facility,
                                                          and must carry out that plan immediately in the
                                                          event of an emergency.
    Location Standards
    Certain types of terrain may increase the dangers         Contingency Plan
associated with managing hazardous waste. To
protect people and the environment around these               The contingency plan describes emergency
areas, RCRA imposes restrictions on where TSDFs           response arrangements with local authorities and

                                                    Regulations Governing Treatment, Storage, and Disposal Facilities

lists the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of       authorities, and either the designated government
all facility personnel qualified to work with local        official for the area or the National Response Center.
authorities as emergency coordinators. Where
applicable, the plan might also include a list of
emergency equipment and evacuation plans. If the           MANIFEST, RECORDKEEPING,
owner and operator has already prepared an                 AND REPORTING
emergency or contingency plan in accordance with
other regulations (e.g., the Spill Prevention, Control,        To keep track of hazardous waste activities,
and Countermeasures (SPCC) rules as discussed in           TSDF owners and operators must keep records and
Chapter VI, Legislative Framework for Addressing           make reports to EPA. The manifest system tracks
Hazardous Waste Problems), they can amend the              each off-site shipment of hazardous waste. The
existing plan to incorporate hazardous waste               operating record and biennial report detail facility
management provisions.                                     and waste management over time.

    The contingency plan must be reviewed and
amended when the applicable regulations or facility
permits are revised, if the plan fails in an emergency,         When a waste shipment is received from off site,
or when there are changes to the facility, the list of     the TSDF owner and operator must sign and date all
emergency coordinators, or the list of emergency           copies of the manifest to verify that the waste has
equipment. A copy of the contingency plan (and any         reached the appropriate designated facility. The
revisions) must be maintained at the facility and          TSDF must keep a copy for its records and send a
provided to all local authorities who may have to          copy to the generator within 30 days to verify that
respond to emergencies.                                    the waste has been accepted. If the off-site shipment
                                                           originated in a foreign country, the TSDF owner and
    Emergency Coordinator                                  operator must send a copy of the signed and dated
                                                           manifest to EPA in Washington, D.C. within 30 days
     The TSDF owner and operator must designate            of shipment delivery. If the owner and operator of a
an emergency coordinator to guide emergency                TSDF must send the waste to an additional TSDF
response activities. The emergency coordinator is          for further treatment or disposal, they must initiate a
responsible for assessing emergency situations and         new manifest.
making decisions on how to respond. There must be
at least one employee either on the facility premises          A new manifest must also be used for rejected
or on call with the authority to commit the resources      shipments or container residues that are forwarded to
needed to carry out the contingency plan.                  an additional TSDF or are returned to the actual
                                                           generator. If, however, the TSDF rejects the entire
                                                           waste shipment before the delivering transporter
    Emergency Procedures                                   leaves the TSDF’s facility, then the TSDF may use
                                                           the original manifest.
    During an emergency, measures must be taken to
ensure that fires, explosions, and releases do not
occur, recur, or spread. In the event of an imminent            Operating Record
or actual emergency situation, the emergency
coordinator must immediately activate internal                  To keep track of hazardous waste activity at the
facility alarms or communication systems and notify        facility, the owner and operator is required to keep,
appropriate state and local authorities. If the            until the facility closes, a written operating record on
coordinator determines that the emergency threatens        site describing all waste received; methods and dates
human health or the environment outside of the             of treatment, storage, and disposal; and the wastes’
facility and finds that evacuation of local areas may      location within the facility. All information should
be advisable, the coordinator must notify appropriate      be cross-referenced with the manifest number. Other

Chapter III: Managing Hazardous Waste – RCRA Subtitle C

information that the TSDF must keep in its operating          Additional Reports
record includes:
                                                              Other reports that must be supplied to the
•   Waste analysis results                                implementing agency include, but are not limited to,
                                                          reports of releases, fires and explosions, ground
•   Details of emergencies requiring contingency
                                                          water contamination and monitoring data, and
    plan implementation
                                                          facility closure information. Spills may also trigger
•   Inspection results (required to be kept for three     reporting requirements under the Comprehensive
    years).                                               Environmental Response, Compensation, and
                                                          Liability Act (CERCLA), the Emergency Planning
     While most records may be kept in computer           and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA), and
files, the TSDF owner and operator must keep              the Clean Water Act (CWA). (CERCLA and EPCRA
original, signed copies of all manifests for inspection   are fully discussed in Chapter VI.)
purposes. All records and plans must be available
for inspection.
                                                          STANDARDS FOR HAZARDOUS
    Biennial Report
                                                          WASTE TREATMENT, STORAGE,
                                                          AND DISPOSAL UNITS
     To track hazardous waste activity nationwide,
RCRA requires TSDFs to report to EPA the types                Hazardous waste managed at TSDFs may be
and amounts of hazardous wastes generated,                treated, stored, or disposed of in several different
received, treated, stored, and disposed. TSDFs that       types of units. In order to ensure that hazardous
generate hazardous waste through the course of on-        wastes are managed properly and in a safe manner,
site treatment, storage, or disposal must also            RCRA imposes design, construction, operation,
describe waste minimization efforts taken to reduce       maintenance, closure, and financial assurance
the volume and toxicity of wastes generated, as well      requirements on hazardous waste management units.
as describe the changes in volume or toxicity
                                                              Some of these units treat, store, or dispose of
actually achieved, compared with those achieved in
                                                          hazardous waste in or on the ground. Because these
previous years. Reports are due to the EPA Regional
                                                          land-based units (i.e., land treatment units, landfills,
Administrator on March 1 of each even-numbered
                                                          surface impoundments, and waste piles) manage
year, and must detail the waste managed during the
                                                          waste directly on the land, they have the potential to
previous (odd-numbered) year. For example, the
                                                          generate hazardous leachate that can pose a serious
biennial report covering 2003 activities would be
                                                          threat to soil, surface water, ground water, and
due March 1, 2004. Additionally, some states may
                                                          human health and the environment.
require submission of such reports annually. Each
owner and operator should consult their state agency          To minimize the potential for leachate to
for more specific biennial reporting information.         threaten human health and the environment, EPA
                                                          developed design and operating standards that use a
    Import Notification                                   combination of different technologies and good
                                                          operating practices to detect, contain, and clean up
    If a TSDF, or interim status TSDF, expects to         any leaks that might occur.
receive hazardous waste from a foreign source, the
TSDF owner or operator must notify the EPA                     Waste management has the potential to threaten
Regional Administrator in writing at least four           air as well. In order to minimize the risks that
weeks prior to the date they would receive the first      hazardous waste management poses to air, RCRA
shipment. Subsequent shipments of the same waste          includes standards to control air emissions from
from the same source would not require this               certain hazardous waste management operations and
notification.                                             units.

                                                   Regulations Governing Treatment, Storage, and Disposal Facilities

    Containers                                            containment system for containers is a sloped
                                                          concrete pad that drains leaked waste into a tank.
     Containers are one of the most commonly used         The secondary containment system must be free of
and diverse forms of hazardous waste storage units.       cracks, able to contain the spill, and emptied quickly.
A container is any portable device in which a             Containers at interim status facilities do not have
material is stored, transported, treated, or otherwise    secondary containment requirements.
handled. Examples of hazardous waste containers
include, but are not limited to: 55-gallon drums,         Special Wastes
large tanker trucks, railroad cars, small buckets, and
test tubes. When EPA promulgated the unit-specific            When handled improperly, some wastes can
requirements for hazardous waste containers, the          ignite or explode. To protect communities near the
Agency emphasized that although mismanagement             facility from these dangers, containers holding
of containers has caused severe contamination in the      ignitable or reactive wastes must be located at least
past, relatively few regulations would be needed to       50 feet from the facility’s property line.
ensure proper management. As a result, the
                                                          Other Requirements
container standards consist of very streamlined and
basic management requirements.                                In addition to the provisions above, containers
                                                          storing or treating certain hazardous wastes are
Design Standards                                          subject to RCRA air emission control requirements
    Containers must be in good condition.                 (as discussed later in this chapter). LQGs and SQGs
Containers that are deteriorating (e.g., cracked,         accumulating waste in containers are subject to the
rusted, or leaking) cannot be used. Waste stored in       interim status TSDF standards for these units.
defective containers must be transferred to               SQGs, however, are not subject to the air emission
containers in good condition or managed in another        control requirements. (Generator requirements are
type of unit.                                             fully discussed in Chapter III, Regulations
                                                          Governing Hazardous Waste Generators).
Operating Requirements

    Containers holding hazardous waste must be                 Containment Buildings
kept closed, except when adding or removing waste,
                                                              A containment building is a completely
to prevent their contents from spilling. In addition,
                                                          enclosed self-supporting structure (i.e., with four
containers must not be handled, opened, or stored in
                                                          walls, a roof, and a floor) used to store or treat
a way that might cause them to leak.
                                                          noncontainerized waste. Containment buildings are
                                                          generally used for the management of hazardous
                                                          waste debris and other bulky and high volume
    In order to ensure that containers are being          hazardous wastes, but may be employed for the
managed in compliance with these regulations,             management of any nonliquid hazardous waste.
owners and operators must visually inspect container
storage areas periodically for leaking and                Design Standards
deteriorating containers.
                                                              The design standards for containment buildings
Release Prevention and Response
                                                          stress structural soundness and hazardous waste leak
                                                          prevention. To ensure that a containment building
    To further prevent releases of hazardous waste        meets these standards, a professional engineer must
into the environment, containers holding liquid           certify that the unit is designed and installed
hazardous wastes at a permitted TSDF must have a          according to the following specifications:
secondary containment system. Secondary
containment is emergency short-term storage               •    The containment building must be completely
designed to hold leaks from hazardous waste                    enclosed with four walls, a floor, and a roof.
management units. An example of a secondary

Chapter III: Managing Hazardous Waste – RCRA Subtitle C

•   The walls, floor, and roof must be constructed of     Operating Requirements
    man-made materials with enough strength to
                                                               Containment building operating requirements
    withstand movement of wastes, personnel, and
                                                          focus primarily on maintenance and inspection of
    heavy equipment within the building.
                                                          the unit, recordkeeping requirements, and provisions
•   Dust control devices, such as air-lock doors or       for response to releases of hazardous waste. Among
    negative air pressure systems (that pull air into     other requirements, owners and operators must:
    the containment building) must also be used as
                                                          •   Maintain the floor so that it is free of significant
    necessary to prevent hazardous waste dust from
                                                              cracks, corrosion, or deterioration
    escaping through these building exits.
                                                          •   Repair or replace surface coatings or liners that
•   All surfaces in the containment building that
                                                              are subject to wear from movement of waste,
    come into contact with wastes during treatment
                                                              personnel, or equipment as often as needed
    or storage must be chemically compatible with
    such wastes. Incompatible wastes that might           •   Limit the height of wastes piled within the unit
    cause unit failure cannot be placed in
    containment buildings.                                •   Maintain dust control devices at all openings to
                                                              prevent emissions from the unit
    If the containment building is used to manage
hazardous waste with visible liquids, or if waste         •   Provide a decontamination area within the
treatment being conducted in the building requires            containment building (e.g., an area for washing
the addition of liquids to the waste, the owner and           vehicles and equipment prior to leaving the
operator must equip the unit with the following:              building) to prevent the tracking of waste out of
                                                              the unit.
•   A primary barrier constructed of materials to
    prevent migration of the waste into the barrier       Inspections

•   A liquid collection system to minimize standing           Containment buildings must be inspected at least
    liquids in the containment building and to            once every seven days, with all activities and results
    facilitate liquid removal                             recorded in the operating log. During inspection, the
                                                          owner and operator should evaluate the unit’s
•   A leak detection system located immediately           integrity and assess nearby soils and surface waters
    beneath the floor to indicate any weakness in the     to detect any signs of waste release. For purposes of
    floor and leaks of hazardous waste from the unit      these inspections, the owner and operator should
                                                          also consider information from monitoring or leak
•   A secondary barrier, such as a liner, constructed
                                                          detection equipment.
    around the unit to contain any leaks and to
    facilitate cleanup before they reach nearby soils,    Release Prevention and Response
    surface water, or ground water. As with the unit
    floor, the secondary barrier must be structurally         If a release is discovered during an inspection or
    sound and chemically resistant to wastes and          at any time, the owner and operator must take the
    liquids managed in the containment building.          leaking portion of the unit out of service and take all
                                                          appropriate steps to repair the leak and contain the
     Some containment buildings designate certain         released waste. The owner and operator must also
areas (known as wet areas) for the management of          notify the EPA Regional Administrator of the release
liquid-containing wastes. Such buildings only need        and of the proposed schedule for repair of the unit.
secondary containment for these wet areas, provided       Upon completion of all necessary repairs and
that waste liquids cannot migrate to the dry areas of     cleanup, a qualified, registered, professional
the containment building.                                 engineer must verify, to the EPA Regional
                                                          Administrator, that the facility complied with the

                                                   Regulations Governing Treatment, Storage, and Disposal Facilities

Other Requirements                                             Pad

    LQGs accumulating waste in containment                     The owner and operator of the drip pad must
buildings are subject to the interim status TSDF          construct the pad of nonearthen materials (e.g.,
standards for these units. (Generator requirements        concrete or metal) and ensure that the pad is strong
are fully discussed in Chapter III, Regulations           enough to prevent collapse, cracking, or other
Governing Hazardous Waste Generators).                    failure. The surface of the pad must have a raised
                                                          barrier (called a berm) around the perimeter to
                                                          prevent waste from running off the pad. It must be
    Drip Pads
                                                          sloped to help the drippage flow into the collection
      Drip pads are engineering structures consisting     unit, and must either be treated with impermeable
of a curbed, free-draining base, constructed of           sealers, coatings, or covers to prevent liquid from
nonearthen materials, and designed to convey wood         seeping into the base, or have a liner with a leak
preservative chemical drippage from treated wood,         detection and collection system.
precipitation, and surface water run-on to an
associated collection system at wood preserving                Liquid Collection System
plants. In the wood preserving process, preservative           The liquid collection system must be designed to
solutions are commonly applied to wood products           prevent overflow, allow facility personnel to easily
using a pressure treating process. Once the               remove waste from the unit, and comply with the
preservative solution has been applied to the wood,       hazardous waste tank standards. Where applicable,
it is removed from the process unit and excess            the liquid collection system must also be protected
solution is allowed to drip from the wood onto drip       from rain water running into and out of the unit.
pads. The pads collect the drippage (along with
rainwater and surface water that has entered the pad)          Liner and Leak Detection System
and convey it to a tank, container, or other such unit
until the waste may be recycled, treated, or disposed         The liners and leak detection system for drip
of (see Figure III-10).                                   pads do not have specific technical design criteria,
                                                          but must be structurally sound and chemically
Design Standards                                          compatible with the preservative drippage, and must
                                                          be able to signal releases from the drip pad at the
    The various elements of a drip pad must be            earliest practicable time.
designed and constructed to handle the wastes
managed on the unit and prevent those wastes from
leaking into the environment.

                                   Figure III-10: Cross-Section of a Drip Pad

              Drip Pad                                                       Wood Products
                                                                              Treated With


Chapter III: Managing Hazardous Waste – RCRA Subtitle C

Operating Requirements                                    units because they utilize biodegradation as a
                                                          method of hazardous waste treatment, thus
     Generally, a drip pad must be free of cracks and
                                                          necessitating certain operating and waste
show no signs of corrosion or other types of
                                                          management conditions.
deterioration. Drip pads must be cleaned frequently
to allow for inspections of the entire drip pad surface   Design Standards
without interference from accumulated wastes and
residues. In addition to occasional cleaning,                 Land treatment units must be equipped with run-
drippage and precipitation from the liquid collection     on, run-off, and wind dispersion controls. Run-on
system must be emptied as often as necessary to           and run-off controls prevent rain water and other
prevent the waste from flowing over the curb around       liquids from running onto the unit (and creating
the unit. All collection tanks must also be emptied       leachate) and stop this leachate from running off the
as soon as possible after storms to ensure that they      unit, thus carrying contaminants into surrounding
do not overflow back onto the pad. Lastly, owners         soils, surface waters, and ground water. Wind
and operators must minimize the tracking of               dispersal controls prevent wind gusts from blowing
hazardous waste by personnel and vehicles.                small particles of hazardous waste off a land
                                                          treatment unit into the air and surrounding soils and
Inspections                                               surface water. To prevent wind dispersal, owners
                                                          and operators of land treatment units must apply a
    Drip pads must be inspected weekly and after
                                                          wind dispersal control, such as a cover, to the unit.
storms to ensure that the pad and the liquid
collection systems are functioning properly and to        Operating Requirements
check for deterioration of or leaks from the units. If,
upon inspection, a drip pad shows any deterioration,          The operating requirements for land treatment
the owner and operator must take the affected             units are intended to promote and maintain the
portion of the unit out of service for repairs before     biodegradation of hazardous wastes placed in the
returning it to service.                                  unit. Maintenance of proper soil pH, careful
                                                          management of waste application rate, and control of
Other Requirements                                        surface water run-off are all key to the operation of a
                                                          land treatment unit. The operation requirements
    LQGs accumulating waste on drip pads are
subject to the interim status TSDF standards for
these units. (Generator requirements are fully            •   Controls on the rate and method of waste
discussed in Chapter III, Regulations Governing               application
Hazardous Waste Generators).
                                                          •   Measures to control soil acidity

    Land Treatment Units                                  •   Measures to enhance microbial and chemical
     Land treatment units, or land farms, are
seldom-used land disposal units. Land treatment           •   Measures to control the moisture content of the
involves the application of waste on the soil surface,        area where wastes are treated.
or the incorporation of waste into the upper layers of
the soil in order to degrade, transform, or immobilize        Treatment Program and Demonstration
hazardous constituents present in hazardous waste.            In order to guarantee that these waste treatment
The waste is placed in the portion of the surface soil    practices will be conducted to properly degrade the
above the water table (or the highest point of the        waste, owners and operators of land treatment units
ground water flow) to let the soil microbes and           must design a treatment program that takes into
sunlight degrade the hazardous waste. The design          account the characteristics of the site and the wastes
and operating requirements for land treatment units       to be handled. The owner and operator must then
are quite different from other waste management           demonstrate to EPA the effectiveness of this

                                                     Regulations Governing Treatment, Storage, and Disposal Facilities

program. A treatment demonstration may involve               sufficient treatment of hazardous constituents within
field testing on a sample soil plot or laboratory            the treatment zone.
testing. Interim status land treatment units are not
required to establish a treatment program, but               Special Wastes
owners and operators can only place hazardous                     Certain types of hazardous wastes pose such a
waste in the land treatment unit if the waste will be        threat to human health and the environment that their
rendered nonhazardous or less hazardous.                     management requires additional regulatory
                                                             precautions. Considering the risks associated with
    Food Chain Crops
                                                             the treatment, storage, and disposal of certain
    In some cases, an owner and operator may grow            dioxin-containing hazardous wastes (F020, F021,
food-chain crops (crops grown for human                      F022, F023, F026, and F027), the RCRA regulations
consumption) in a land treatment unit. The Agency            restrict the management of these wastes in land
believes that this can be done safely if the owner and       treatment units. As a result, owners and operators
operator can demonstrate that hazardous constituents         can only manage these wastes in a permitted land
are not present in the crop in abnormally high levels.       treatment unit in accordance with a special
Additionally, if cadmium is present in the unit, the         management plan approved by the EPA Regional
owner and operator must comply with additional               Administrator. These wastes may not be handled in
management standards.                                        interim status land treatment units because these
                                                             units do not meet the strict construction standards
Inspections                                                  and, thus, may not be sufficiently protective.
     The owner and operator must inspect the
treatment area weekly and after storms to ensure that            Landfills
the unit is in compliance with the operating criteria.
In addition, the owner and operator must establish a             A landfill is a disposal unit where nonliquid
soil monitoring program. If there is significant             hazardous waste is placed in or on the land.
evidence that the wastes in the unit are not                 Landfills are the final disposal site, the ultimate
responding to treatment and are sinking towards the          grave, for a significant portion of the hazardous
water table, the owner and operator must notify the          waste that is generated in the United States.
EPA Regional Administrator within seven days and
modify the treatment program to ensure the

                                      Figure III-11: Cross-Section of a Landfill

    Ground Water       Double Liner                                      Double Leachate    Run-on/Run-off
    Monitoring Well                                                       Collection and       Control
                                                                         Removal System

Chapter III: Managing Hazardous Waste – RCRA Subtitle C

Design Standards                                          installed within the leachate collection and removal
                                                          system. This system must be able to detect when the
    To minimize the potential for leachate to leak
                                                          flow rate into the leachate collection and removal
from a landfill, EPA developed the following design
                                                          system is above a normal operating range, and warn
standards (see Figure III-11):
                                                          the owner and operator that the top liner may be
•   Double liner                                          leaking.
•   Double leachate collection and removal system             Run-On, Run-Off, and Wind Dispersal Controls
•   Leak detection system
                                                              The run-on, run-off, and wind dispersal
•   Run-on, run-off, and wind dispersal controls          requirements are identical to those for land treatment
•   Construction quality assurance.                       units.

    Double Liner                                              Construction Quality Assurance

    The double liner system has two components: a              None of these technologies are effective if the
top liner and a composite bottom liner. The top           landfill is installed improperly or constructed of
liner, usually a synthetic material, keeps the liquid     inferior materials. To ensure that a landfill meets all
waste in the unit and prevents migration of               the technological requirements, EPA requires a
hazardous leachate and waste into the liner. The          construction quality assurance program. The
composite bottom liner, consisting of a synthetic         program mandates a construction quality assurance
liner (made of a special kind of plastic) on top of       plan that identifies how construction materials and
three feet of compacted soil material, is designed to     their installation will be monitored and tested and
prevent any liquids that have leaked through the top      how the results will be documented. The program
liner from reaching underlying soils and ground           must be developed and implemented under the
water.                                                    direction of a registered professional engineer, who
                                                          must also certify that the construction quality
    Double Leachate Collection and Removal                assurance plan has been successfully carried out and
    System                                                that the unit meets all specifications before any
     Landfills must also be equipped with two             waste is placed into the unit.
leachate collection and removal systems. The first
                                                          Operating Requirements
rests on the top liner, and the second between the top
liner and the bottom composite liner. The top                  In order to prevent the formation and migration
system collects any leachate that has filtered down       of leachate in landfills, owners and operators may
through the waste in the unit and pumps it out to a       not place liquid hazardous wastes in a landfill,
collection tank, where it may be collected and            unless the wastes are in:
disposed. The bottom system collects any leachate
that has leaked through the top liner and similarly       •   Very small containers, such as ampules
pumps it out to a collection tank, where it may           •   Containers, such as batteries, that contain small
similarly be collected and disposed.                          amounts of liquid for purposes other than
    Leak Detection System
                                                          •   Lab packs which consist of drums filled with
    While the lower leachate collection and removal
                                                              many small containers packed in
system will continually remove the small amounts of
                                                              nonbiodegradable absorbent materials.
liquid that might seep through the top liner, it may
not be capable of handling a larger leak. Larger              Owners and operators may add
leaks can apply strong pressure on the bottom liner,      nonbiodegradable absorbents to containers of liquid
potentially causing it to fail. To avoid this problem,    hazardous waste to remove any visible liquids. After
RCRA requires that a leak detection system be

                                                   Regulations Governing Treatment, Storage, and Disposal Facilities

all visible liquids have been removed, the owner and      Administrator. These wastes cannot be managed in
operator may then place the waste in a landfill.          interim status landfills.

Inspections                                               Special Requirements for Certain Containers in
    To ensure that the liners and leachate collection
and removal systems are working properly, landfill            Over time, the hazardous waste containers
owners and operators must:                                placed in a landfill will decompose and collapse,
                                                          creating air pockets under the landfill cover. When
•   Inspect liners for any problems after                 the wastes surrounding the container settle to fill the
    construction or installation and continue             void, the liner may also settle. Such settling may
    inspections weekly and after storms to monitor        cause the liner to stretch or tear. To prevent
    for evidence of deterioration or damage               significant voids that could cause collapse of final
•   Monitor leachate collection and removal system        covers and tearing of liners when containers erode
    sumps at least weekly to measure the amount of        and to maintain and extend available capacity in
    liquid in the sumps and determine whether the         hazardous waste landfills, containers placed in a
    upper liner might be leaking. This is designed to     landfill must either be:
    verify both the integrity of the liner and the        •    At least 90 percent full
    efficiency of the leachate pump. If the level
    indicates a substantial leak, the owner and                                      OR
    operator must notify EPA and respond in
                                                          •    Crushed, shredded, or in some other way
    accordance with the facility’s response action
                                                               reduced in volume (unless they are very small
                                                               containers, such as ampules).
Release Prevention and Response

     In order to prepare for a leak from a landfill,           Surface Impoundments
RCRA requires that owners and operators of                     A surface impoundment is a natural
hazardous waste landfills develop a response action       topographic depression, man-made excavation, or
plan. The response action plan outlines the short-        diked area formed primarily of earthen materials
and long-term actions to be taken in the event of a       (although it must be lined with man-made materials)
leak. A short-term action might involve shutting off      that is used to treat, store, or dispose of liquid
the flow of hazardous waste into the landfill. A          hazardous waste. Examples include holding ponds,
long-term action might involve emptying the unit          storage pits, and settling lagoons.
and repairing or replacing the damaged liner or
leachate collection and removal systems. As part of       Design Standards
the plan, in the event of a leak, the owner and
operator must notify the EPA Regional                         To minimize the potential for leachate to leak
Administrator, determine what short-term actions          from a surface impoundment, EPA developed the
must be taken, determine the location, size, and          following design standards (see Figure III-12):
cause of any leak, and report the findings to the EPA     •    Double liner
regional office.
                                                          •    Leachate collection and removal system
Special Wastes                                            •    Leak detection system
    Similar to land treatment units, permitted            •    Dikes, berms, and freeboard
landfills can only treat, store, or dispose of certain    •    Construction quality assurance.
dioxin-containing hazardous wastes (F020, F021,
F022, F023, F026, and F027) if the unit has a special
management plan approved by the EPA Regional

Chapter III: Managing Hazardous Waste – RCRA Subtitle C

                             Figure III-12: Cross-Section of a Surface Impoundment

   Ground Water             Double Liner              Leachate Collection               Dike or Berm
   Monitoring Well                                   and Removal System

    Double Liner                                                Construction Quality Assurance

    The double liner system requirements are                   The construction quality assurance program
identical to those for hazardous waste landfills.          requirements are identical to those for hazardous
                                                           waste landfills.
    Leachate Collection and Removal System
     The unit must be equipped with a leachate
collection and removal system between the top liner            To ensure that the liners and leachate collection
and the bottom composite liner. The system collects        and removal system are working properly, owners
any leachate that has leaked through the top liner         and operators of hazardous waste surface
and pumps it out to a collection tank. The system          impoundments must:
features a pump system and drainage layers to slow
the flow of the leak. The system must be designed          •    Inspect liners and dikes or berms for any
with a minimum bottom slope to help drainage, be                problems after construction or installation, and
made of materials that will not chemically react with           continue inspections weekly and after storms to
the wastes placed in the unit, and be able to remove            monitor for evidence of deterioration, sudden
the liquids at a specified minimum rate.                        drops in the level of the impoundment contents,
                                                                and severe erosions of dikes and other
    Leak Detection System                                       containment devices

    The leak detection system requirements are             •    Monitor leachate collection and removal system
identical to those for hazardous waste landfills.               sumps at least weekly to measure the amount of
                                                                liquid in the sump and determine whether the
    Dikes, Berms, and Freeboard                                 upper liner might be leaking. This is designed to
                                                                verify both the integrity of the liner and the
    A surface impoundment must also be designed
                                                                efficiency of the leachate pump. If the level
to prevent the flow of liquids over the top of an
                                                                indicates a substantial leak, the owner and
impoundment (overtopping). This is accomplished
                                                                operator must notify EPA and respond in
by constructing and maintaining dikes or berms
                                                                accordance with the facility’s response action
(walls or man-made hills surrounding the unit) and
ensuring a minimum distance (called freeboard)
between the surface of the waste and the top of the
impoundment to prevent overflow during high winds
or rainstorms.

                                                    Regulations Governing Treatment, Storage, and Disposal Facilities

Release Prevention and Response                            will be no migration of hazardous constituents into
                                                           ground water or surface water at any time.
    The release prevention and response
                                                           Furthermore, the impoundment may contain only
requirements are identical to those for hazardous
                                                           characteristic TC wastes. The implementing agency
waste landfills.
                                                           will determine on a site-specific basis whether a
Special Wastes                                             waiver from the retrofitting requirement is protective
                                                           of human health and the environment.
    Similar to land treatment units and landfills,
permitted surface impoundments can only treat,                  Air Emissions
store, or dispose of certain dioxin-containing
                                                                In addition to these requirements, surface
hazardous wastes (F020, F021, F022, F023, F026,
                                                           impoundments storing, treating, or disposing of
and F027) if the unit has a special management plan
                                                           certain hazardous wastes are subject to RCRA air
approved by the EPA Regional Administrator. These
                                                           emission control requirements (as discussed later in
wastes cannot be managed in interim status surface
                                                           this chapter).

Other Requirements                                              Tanks
    Other surface impoundment requirements                      Tanks are stationary devices (as opposed to
include retrofitting provisions and air emissions          portable containers) used to store or treat hazardous
requirements.                                              waste. They are widely used for storage or
                                                           accumulation of hazardous waste because they can
    Surface Impoundment Retrofitting
                                                           accommodate huge volumes of material, sometimes
     Surface impoundments handling nonhazardous            in the tens of thousands of gallons. Tanks are used
wastes are not subject to these extensive hazardous        for the treatment of hazardous waste because of their
waste surface impoundment design and operating             structural strength and versatility. In order to ensure
requirements. However, such impoundments may               that a tank system can hold hazardous waste for its
become subject to RCRA if the waste being handled          intended lifetime, a TSDF owner and operator must
in the unit becomes a hazardous waste as a result of       ensure that the tank is properly designed. RCRA
a new hazardous waste listing or characteristic. In        requires that the tank system or components be
these cases, the owner and operator of the                 designed with an adequate foundation, structural
impoundment must retrofit the unit to meet the             support, and protection from corrosion to prevent it
standards described above, or cease receipt of the         from collapsing or leaking. In order to ensure that a
hazardous waste and begin the closure process.             tank is properly designed, an independent, qualified,
Owners and operators have four years from the day          registered, professional engineer must certify that
that the listing or characteristic is finalized (in the    the unit meets these requirements.
Federal Register) to retrofit or close. For example,
owners and operators of surface impoundments that          Design Standards
became subject to RCRA as the result of the                    Hazardous waste tanks must be installed
promulgation of the toxicity characteristic waste          properly and designed to protect against corrosion.
codes on March 29, 1990, were required to retrofit
those units to meet the design and operating                    Installation
standards, or cease receipt of hazardous waste and
begin closure by March 29, 1994.                               Because even the most flawlessly designed tanks
                                                           can fail if installed improperly, new tank systems
    These retrofitting requirements may be waived          must be inspected by an independent qualified
by the implementing agency under special                   expert prior to use to ensure that the tank was not
circumstances. The impoundment must be designed,           damaged during installation. The owner and
operated, and located in such a manner that there          operator must repair any damage before the

Chapter III: Managing Hazardous Waste – RCRA Subtitle C

installation is complete or the system is in use. All      environment, such spills or overflows from the tank
new tanks and ancillary equipment must be tested to        system must also be prevented by using, at a
make sure that there are no leaks, and any leaks           minimum:
discovered must be fixed before the tanks are
covered, enclosed, or placed in use.                       •   Spill prevention controls, such as valves
                                                               designed to prevent the backflow of waste while
    Corrosion Protection                                       a tank is being filled

     When metal tanks are in contact with soil or          •   Overfill prevention controls, such as alarms that
water, they can corrode and leak. To prevent leaks             sound when the waste level in the tank gets too
from corroded tanks, RCRA requires tanks made                  high, and valve systems that automatically close
wholly or partly of metal to be designed and                   when overfill is likely
installed with adequate corrosion protection. To
                                                           •   Sufficient room within an uncovered tank
ensure that a tank is properly protected, an owner
                                                               between the surface of the waste and the top of
and operator must develop a written design plan.
                                                               the tank (minimum freeboard).
The design should take into account information
specific to the site, such as soil moisture and acidity,   Inspections
that can affect the corrosion rate of the tank. The
unit must have one or more of the following                     To verify that hazardous waste tanks and
corrosion protection methods:                              components are operated and maintained in
                                                           satisfactory condition, owners and operators must
•   Construction materials that are corrosion-             inspect their tanks daily. To meet these objectives,
    resistant (e.g., fiberglass)                           inspections must thoroughly identify leaks,
•   Corrosion-resistant coating in combination with        deterioration, corrosion, or structural fatigue in any
    cathodic protection (cathodic protection prevents      portion of the tank or system components. In
    tanks from corroding by reversing the naturally        addition to visual inspections, owners and operators
    occurring electric current in the ground that can      must also take into account any data received from
    degrade tank walls)                                    leak detection monitors and other tests.

•   Electrical isolation devices.                          Release Prevention and Response

    Existing tanks do not have to meet these                   The release response requirements require leak
requirements because of the high cost of installing        detection systems to detect leaks, and secondary
corrosion protection on tanks that are already in the      containment devices to contain any leaks that might
ground. However, owners and operators of existing          occur from the tank or ancillary equipment (see
tanks must assess the structural integrity of the units    Figure III-13). All new hazardous waste tank
to ensure that they are designed and maintained to         systems must have leak detection and secondary
contain the wastes stored or treated within them           containment before being placed in service. Existing
without failing, collapsing, or rupturing. Such            systems must be equipped with secondary
assessments must be certified by an independent,           containment by different deadlines, based on a
qualified, registered, professional engineer.              phased-in schedule determined by the age of the
Operating Requirements

    Hazardous waste tanks must be operated in a
manner that minimizes or eliminates releases.
Chemicals that may cause any part of the tank’s
system to fail may not be placed in the unit.
    Because the loading or filling of tanks brings the
potential for spills or releases of waste into the

                                                     Regulations Governing Treatment, Storage, and Disposal Facilities

                                                                Owners and operators must meet these
    Figure III-13: Secondary Containment for Tanks
                                                            requirements by using one of the following
                       Secondary                            secondary containment devices:
         Hazardous      System       Ancillary
         Waste Tank                                         •    An external liner that completely surrounds the
                                                                 unit with an impermeable material
                                                            •    A vault (the tank rests in an underground
                                                                 chamber usually constructed with concrete
                                                                 floors and walls and an impermeable cover)
                                                            •    A double-walled tank (the tank is completely
                                                                 enclosed inside another tank with a leak
                                                                 detection monitoring system installed between
                                                                 the two)
                                                            •    An EPA-approved alternative design.

    Leak Detection                                               In addition to the tank itself, all ancillary
                                                            equipment (e.g., pipes, valves, trenches connected to
    Hazardous waste tanks must be equipped with a           the tank or tank system) must have full secondary
leak detection system. The leak detection system            containment. Examples of secondary containment
must be able to detect failure in either the main tank      for ancillary equipment include lined trenches, and
or secondary containment system generally within            jacketed or double-walled piping. When inspected
24 hours. Thermal conductivity sensors, electrical          daily, however, the following equipment is exempt
resistivity sensors, and vapor detectors are                from this requirement:
commonly used leak detection devices. Daily visual
inspections may also be used where tanks and tank           •    Aboveground piping (not including flanges,
components are physically accessible.                            joints, valves, and connections)

    Secondary Containment                                   •    Welded flanges, welded joints, and welded
    To make sure the tank system will perform
properly, secondary containment systems must be             •    Seal-less or magnetic coupling pumps
designed, installed, and operated to ensure that:
                                                            •    Aboveground pressurized piping systems with
•   No waste is released to the surrounding soil,                automatic shut-off devices.
    ground water, or surface water
                                                                 Despite these precautions, occasionally a tank
•   Construction materials or liners are compatible         system or secondary containment system will leak or
    with the waste to be stored or treated in the tank      spill hazardous waste. When this happens, the
                                                            owner and operator must immediately take the tank
•   The tank is capable of containing accumulated           out of operation and determine the cause of the
    material until it is promptly removed (generally        release. To prevent the spill from moving further
    within 24 hours)                                        away from the tank, the owner and operator must
•   The tank has sufficient structural strength to          also remove and properly dispose of any
    prevent failure                                         contaminated soil, ground water, or surface water.
                                                            In addition, the owner and operator must notify the
•   The foundation can resist failure due to normal         EPA Regional Administrator or National Response
    movement of the surrounding soils (settlement,          Center, and submit a follow-up written report to the
    compression, or uplift).                                EPA Regional Administrator within 30 days. The
                                                            tank must then either be repaired or closed.

Chapter III: Managing Hazardous Waste – RCRA Subtitle C

Other Requirements                                               Double Liner

     In addition to these requirements, tanks storing            The double liner system requirements are
or treating certain hazardous wastes are also subject        identical to those for hazardous waste landfills and
to RCRA air emission control requirements (as                surface impoundments.
discussed later in this chapter). LQGs and SQGs
accumulating waste on site in tanks are subject to the           Double Leachate Collection and Removal
interim status TSDF standards for these units.                   System
(Generator requirements are fully discussed in                   The double leachate collection and removal
Chapter III, Regulations Governing Hazardous                 system requirements are identical to those for
Waste Generators). SQGs, however, are not subject            hazardous waste landfills.
to the air emission control requirements.
                                                                 Leak Detection System
    Waste Piles                                                  The leak detection system requirements are
                                                             identical to those for hazardous waste landfills and
     A waste pile is an open pile used for treating or
                                                             surface impoundments.
storing nonliquid hazardous waste. The standards
for these units are very similar to those for landfills,         Run-On, Run-Off, and Wind Dispersal Controls
but the difference is that waste piles may be used for
temporary storage and treatment only, not disposal.               The run-on, run-off, and wind dispersal control
                                                             requirements for permitted waste piles are identical
Design Standards                                             to those for hazardous waste landfills. However,
                                                             interim status waste piles are not subject to the storm
    To minimize the potential for leachate to leak
                                                             water controls, but are subject to wind dispersal
from a waste pile, EPA developed the following
design standards (see Figure III-14):
•   Double liner                                                 Construction Quality Assurance

•   Double leachate collection and removal system                The construction quality assurance program
                                                             requirements are identical to those for hazardous
•   Leak detection system
                                                             waste landfills and surface impoundments.
•   Run-on, run-off, and wind dispersal controls
•   Construction quality assurance.

                                     Figure III-14: Cross-Section of a Waste Pile

                               Double Liner

         Double Leachate
          Collection and
         Removal System                                                                          Dike or Berm

                                                    Regulations Governing Treatment, Storage, and Disposal Facilities

Operating Requirements                                     piles can prevent hazardous leachate from forming
                                                           or leaking into the environment.
     Under no circumstances can an owner and
operator place liquid hazardous waste in a waste
pile.                                                           Miscellaneous Units

Inspections                                                     When RCRA was enacted in 1976, there was a
                                                           diverse universe of hazardous waste management
    The liner and leachate collection and removal          units in existence. Some of these units did not fit the
system inspection requirements are identical to those      definition of any of the typical hazardous waste
for hazardous waste landfills.                             management practices described earlier in this
                                                           chapter. These include physical, chemical, and
Release Prevention and Response
                                                           biological treatment units; thermal treatment units;
    The release prevention and response                    and underground injection control (UIC) wells. As a
requirements are identical to those for hazardous          result, EPA established interim status standards for
waste landfills.                                           these units. When EPA established final permitted
                                                           TSDF standards for all hazardous waste
Special Wastes                                             management units, the Agency did not establish final
                                                           standards for physical, chemical, and biological
    Similar to land treatment units, landfills, and
                                                           treatment units or thermal treatment units, but rather
surface impoundments, permitted waste piles can
                                                           grouped them together and permitted them as
only treat, store, or dispose of certain dioxin-
                                                           miscellaneous units. EPA did not include UIC wells
containing hazardous wastes (F020, F021, F022,
                                                           in this miscellaneous unit category because such
F023, F026, and F027) if the unit has a special
                                                           wells were later addressed under SDWA.
management plan approved by the EPA Regional
Administrator. These wastes cannot be managed in               At present, all new hazardous waste
interim status waste piles.                                management units that do not fit the definition of
                                                           one of the types of units discussed earlier in this
Other Requirements                                         chapter or an incinerator or boiler and industrial
     Owners and operators of permitted waste piles         furnace (BIF) (as discussed in Chapter III,
that are located indoors and meet special                  Hazardous Waste Combustion) are permitted as
requirements are subject to reduced regulation.            miscellaneous units. This section of the chapter will
Specifically, the waste pile must:                         present the management standards for such units.
                                                           For historical purposes, this section of the chapter
•   Be located inside or under a structure
                                                           will also present the interim status standards for
•   Not receive liquid wastes                              physical, chemical, and biological treatment units;
•   Be protected from surface water run-on                 thermal treatment units; and UIC wells.
•   Be designed and operated to control dispersal of            Because the standards for miscellaneous units
    waste                                                  address treatment, storage, and disposal processes
•   Be managed to prevent the generation of                that are not addressed by other unit-specific
    leachate.                                              standards, the following management standards
                                                           consist of general operating requirements that may
    If these standards are met, the owner and              be modified and amended based on site-specific
operator of the permitted waste pile is exempt from        considerations.
ground water monitoring requirements as well as the
design and operation requirements for waste piles.         Permitted Miscellaneous Units
RCRA provides this exemption because when
                                                               Since some TSDFs treat, store, or dispose of
properly designed and maintained, indoor waste
                                                           waste in units that are different from the previously
                                                           described hazardous waste management units,

Chapter III: Managing Hazardous Waste – RCRA Subtitle C

RCRA established broad and protective management          •   Units for the open burning or detonation of
provisions for miscellaneous units to allow for the           waste explosives
use of new and innovative waste management
technologies. The RCRA standards are designed to          •   Chemical, physical, or biological treatment
give the implementing agency the flexibility to tailor        units.
permit standards, on a case-by-case basis, to these           Since miscellaneous units are subject to site-
unique waste management practices.                        specific design and operating requirements, RCRA
    Miscellaneous units are defined as treatment,         requires that owners and operators applying for a
storage, or disposal units other than:                    permit provide the implementing agency with
                                                          detailed information on unit design and potential
•   Containers, containment buildings, drip pads,         environmental impacts. The owner and operator
    land treatment units, landfills, surface              must provide detailed plans and engineering reports
    impoundments, tanks, or waste piles (as               describing the unit location, design, construction,
    discussed earlier in this chapter)                    operation, maintenance, monitoring plans, and
                                                          inspection plans.
•   Incinerators or BIFs (as discussed in Chapter III,
    Hazardous Waste Combustion)                               Owners and operators must also provide detailed
                                                          information on the potential pathways of human or
•   Corrective action management units (CAMUs)            environmental exposure to hazardous waste or
    (as discussed in Chapter III, Corrective Action to    hazardous constituents. Under these provisions,
    Cleanup Hazardous Waste Contamination)                owners and operators must evaluate the potential
•   Units permitted for research, development, and        magnitude and nature of potential human and
    demonstration (RD&D) (as discussed in Chapter         environmental exposure to air, surface water
    III, Permitting of Treatment, Storage, and            (including wetlands), ground water, and soil. Owner
    Disposal Facilities)                                  and operators of miscellaneous units are required to
                                                          conduct monitoring, testing, data analysis,
•   UIC wells.                                            inspections, and response actions (if necessary) in
                                                          order to ensure that the unit is in compliance with its
    Miscellaneous units may include, but are not
                                                          general performance standards, and that waste
limited to:
                                                          management has not threatened any of these
•   Geologic repositories (e.g., underground caves)       environmental mediums.

•   Deactivated missile silos                             Interim Status Chemical, Physical, and Biological
                                                          Treatment Units
•   Thermal treatment units
                                                               When RCRA was first enacted in 1976, some of
                                                          the diverse hazardous waste management units in
                                                          existence were chemical, physical, and biological
                                                          treatment units. Such units employed unique
                                                          treatment processes, such as distillation,
                                                          centrifugation, reverse osmosis, ion exchange, and
                                                          filtration. The Agency established interim status
                                                          standards for such units to address the safe
                                                          containment of hazardous waste, hazardous waste
                                                          constituents, and treatment by-products.
                                                              The operating standards for these units require
                                                          •   Waste is compatible with treatment equipment

                                                    Regulations Governing Treatment, Storage, and Disposal Facilities

•   Ignitable and reactive wastes are decharacterized      furnace standards due to the similarities between the
    immediately before or after placement in the           units.
    treatment process or equipment
                                                           Interim Status Underground Injection Control
•   Waste analysis and trial treatment tests verify        Wells
    that treatment will meet applicable requirements
                                                                Underground injection control wells are units
•   Owners and operators inspect discharge control,        into which hazardous waste is permanently disposed
    safety, and monitoring equipment daily; and            of by injection 1/4 mile below an aquifer with an
    inspect construction materials of treatment            underground source of drinking water (as defined
    processes and confinement structures weekly.           under SDWA). EPA originally intended to regulate
                                                           UIC wells disposing of hazardous waste under
Interim Status Thermal Treatment Units                     SDWA. At the inception of the RCRA program,
    After the enactment of RCRA, another set of            however, many states did not yet have a SDWA-
diverse hazardous waste management units in                approved UIC program. As a result, EPA imposed
existence were thermal treatment units. EPA                RCRA requirements on such units until states gained
established interim status standards for these units to    SDWA approval for their UIC programs. Because
allow for the development of alternative treatment         UIC wells were not addressed by the unit-specific
processes in units that did not meet the definition of     hazardous waste management standards, RCRA
an incinerator or BIF (as discussed in Chapter III,        initially regulated such UIC wells as interim status
Hazardous Waste Combustion).                               units. These standards required UIC wells to
                                                           comply with interim status general facility standards,
     Thermal treatment is defined as the treatment         with the exception of closure and financial
of hazardous waste in a device that uses elevated          assurance.
temperatures as the primary means to change the
chemical, physical, or biological character or                 After states gained SDWA approval for their
composition of the hazardous waste. Thermal                UIC programs, such wells became regulated jointly
treatment units include carbon regeneration units and      by SDWA and RCRA. SDWA regulates the design,
other devices employing processes, such as molten          operating, and closure standards for the well itself,
salt pyrolysis, calcination, wet-air oxidation, and        while RCRA regulates any other hazardous waste-
microwave destruction.                                     related activities at that facility up until the point of
                                                           injection. While such wells are no longer subject to
    The operating standards for these units require:       RCRA interim status standards, they would need a
                                                           RCRA permit-by-rule, requiring compliance with
•   The establishment of steady, normal conditions         only certain RCRA administrative requirements.
    of operation or readiness
                                                               As an alternative to receiving a SDWA UIC well
•   Waste analysis to determine the heating value of       permit (accompanied by a RCRA permit-by-rule),
    the waste, and concentrations of halogens,             UIC well owners and operators could also choose to
    sulfur, lead, and mercury                              apply for a full RCRA permit as a miscellaneous
•   Monitoring and inspections of temperature and          unit.
    emission-control instruments, the stack plume,
    and all process and ancillary equipment.               CLOSURE
    The implementing agency also has the flexibility           All hazardous waste TSDFs will eventually stop
to develop standards for these units on a case-by-         receiving waste for treatment, storage, or disposal.
case basis when considering the technology-specific        After these facilities are closed, the owner and
data submitted by the applicant. It is probable that       operator must either remove all waste that has
the regulations for specific thermal treatment units       accumulated in units at the facility, or leave the
will reference the incinerator, boiler, and industrial     waste in place while maintaining the units in a way

Chapter III: Managing Hazardous Waste – RCRA Subtitle C

that ensures they will not pose a future threat to              implementing agency for approval. Permitted
human health and the environment. RCRA Subtitle                 facilities are required to submit a closure plan to
C’s closure and post-closure standards are designed             their implementing agency at the time of permit
to achieve this goal.                                           application. The approved closure plan then
                                                                becomes an enforceable component of their permit.
     The closure and post-closure regulations are               Interim status facilities must have a written closure
divided into two parts: the general standards                   plan on the premises six months after they become
applicable to all TSDFs, and the technical standards            subject to RCRA. The closure plan must contain:
for specific types of hazardous waste management
units. These combined requirements ensure that a                •    A description of how the owner and operator
specific unit or facility will not pose a future threat              will close each hazardous waste management
to human health or the environment after a TSDF                      unit
closes. This discussion will focus on the general
closure standards applicable to all TSDFs.                      •    A description of how and when the owner and
                                                                     operator will achieve final closure of the whole
    Closure Requirements
                                                                •    An estimate of the maximum amount of
     Closure is the period directly after a TSDF stops               hazardous waste kept on site over the life of the
its normal operations. During this period, a TSDF                    facility
stops accepting hazardous waste; completes
treatment, storage, and disposal of any wastes left on          •    A detailed description of closure methods,
site; and disposes or decontaminates equipment,                      including the actions necessary to remove and
structures, and soils. Some owners and operators                     manage waste and decontaminate the site
will completely remove all waste that was treated,
                                                                •    A description of any other steps necessary to
stored, or disposed in their unit. This operation is
                                                                     comply with the closure standards, such as
known as clean closure. In order to demonstrate
                                                                     ground water monitoring or leachate collection
clean closure, an owner and operator must show that
                                                                     (depending on the type of unit).
levels of hazardous contaminants at the facility do
not exceed EPA-recommended exposure levels.                         When there is a change in the design or
                                                                operation of the facility, a change in the expected
Closure Plan                                                    closure date, or an unexpected event (e.g.,
    To ensure that a TSDF is closed properly, the               discovering more contaminated soil than originally
owner and operator must prepare a closure plan that             anticipated), the owner and operator or the
details exactly how and when facility closure will              implementing agency must amend the closure plan
take place, and must submit the plan to their                   to address the additional steps necessary to safely
                                                                close the facility. In such instances, permitted

                                     Figure III-15: Timetable of Closure Activities

                                     60 days

                                                 45 days                                       60 days

    Notify for Closure      Notify for                0          30          90       180                Certify
    of a Land-Based       Closure of           Final Receipt    Begin     Remove    Complete             Closure
            Unit         All Other Units       of Hazardous    Closure   All Wastes  Closure

                                                    Regulations Governing Treatment, Storage, and Disposal Facilities

facilities must submit an application to modify their      Delay of Closure
permit, while interim status facilities must submit
                                                                The closure timetable is designed to guarantee
the proposed modification to the implementing
                                                           that closure is completed as soon as practicable after
agency for approval.
                                                           the final receipt of hazardous waste in order to
Closure Timetable                                          minimize risks posed to human health and the
                                                           environment. On the other hand, owners and
     To ensure that facility closure is begun and          operators of landfills, surface impoundments, and
completed in a timely manner, the closure                  land treatment units may have room to accept
regulations establish specific timetables for the          nonhazardous waste at the time of closure. To
initiation and completion of closure activities (see       enable these TSDFs to continue operation, RCRA
Figure III-15). An owner and operator of a closing         allows these facilities to delay closure of such units.
TSDF must:                                                 This delay is not available to any other units. Those
                                                           units for which owners and operators choose to
•   Notify the implementing agency that they expect
                                                           delay closure are still subject to all applicable RCRA
    to begin closure activities (notification must take
                                                           hazardous waste requirements and must meet special
    place at least 60 days before for surface
                                                           requirements designed to ensure that the disposal of
    impoundments, landfills, waste piles, and land
                                                           both the nonhazardous and hazardous waste will in
    treatment units, and at least 45 days before for
                                                           no way endanger human health and the environment.
    all other units)
•   Begin closure activities within 30 days of             Survey Plat
    receiving the final shipment of hazardous waste            After a TSDF ceases hazardous waste activity
                                                           and closes all units, it still may be important to know
•   Remove all hazardous wastes from the TSDF or
                                                           exactly where hazardous wastes were handled
    dispose of the wastes on site within 90 days of
                                                           (especially for purposes of future sale of the
    beginning closure
                                                           property). To preserve this information, the owner
•   Complete all closure activities within 180 days        and operator must submit to the implementing
    of beginning closure                                   agency or local zoning authority a survey plat
                                                           indicating the location and dimensions of the closed
•   Certify that closure has been completed in             hazardous waste units. The survey plat must be
    accordance with the specifications in the              submitted no later than the submission of
    approved closure plan within 60 days of                certification of closure for each hazardous waste
    completing closure. The certification must be          disposal unit.
    signed by the owner and operator and by an
    independent, registered, professional engineer.
                                                                Post-Closure Requirements
     The implementing agency may grant extensions,
if required closure activities will take more time, or         Some TSDFs are intended for the final disposal
if the facility or unit has the capacity to accept more    of hazardous waste. Land treatment units, landfills,
hazardous or nonhazardous waste.                           and surface impoundments are the only units where
                                                           an owner and operator may permanently dispose of
    During closure, all contaminated equipment,            hazardous waste. Because such permanent land
structures, and soils must be properly disposed or         disposal brings the potential for releases from the
decontaminated. During this process, an owner and          unit over a long-term period, these owners and
operator may become a generator of hazardous               operators must conduct post-closure monitoring and
waste and must, therefore, comply with the                 maintenance activities. Other TSDFs may not be
generator requirements.                                    able to remove all hazardous wastes and
                                                           decontaminate all equipment. Since these owners
                                                           and operators cannot clean close, they must close

Chapter III: Managing Hazardous Waste – RCRA Subtitle C

such units as landfills and comply with the post-         Post-Closure Notices
closure requirements for landfills.
                                                               As with the survey plat for closure, owners and
    Post-closure is the period after closure during       operators of TSDFs required to perform post-closure
which owners and operators conduct monitoring and         activities must, within 60 days after the facility
maintenance activities to preserve the integrity of the   originally certified closure, provide the local zoning
disposal system and continue to prevent or control        or land use authority and the EPA Regional
releases from the disposal units. Post-closure care       Administrator with a record of the type, location,
consists of two primary responsibilities: ground          and quantity of hazardous wastes in each disposal
water monitoring and maintaining the waste                unit at the facility. Also, a notice must be placed in
containment system (e.g., covers, caps, and liners).      the property deed and recorded. This notice must
Such activities include:                                  state that the land was used for hazardous waste
                                                          management, that the use of the land is restricted,
•   Maintaining the final cover, the leak detection       and that the survey plat and record of closure were
    system, and the ground water monitoring               submitted to the local zoning authority and the EPA
    systems                                               Regional Administrator.
•   Providing long-term protection from liquids
                                                          Certification of Completion of Post-Closure Care
    migrating into the closed unit, promoting
    drainage of liquid, and accommodating settling            No later than 60 days after completion of the
    of waste in the unit                                  established post-closure care period for each
                                                          hazardous waste disposal unit, the owner and
•   Making sure that the final cover, liners, or other
                                                          operator must submit to the EPA Regional
    containment or monitoring systems are not
                                                          Administrator a certification that the post-closure
                                                          care period was performed in accordance with the
•   Monitoring ground water to detect any releases        specifications established in the approved closure
    of hazardous constituents.                            plan.

    The post-closure period normally lasts for 30
years after closure is completed, but may be either       FINANCIAL ASSURANCE
extended or shortened by the EPA Regional
                                                               The RCRA closure and post-closure
                                                          requirements are designed to protect human health
Post-Closure Plan                                         and the environment from the long-term threats
                                                          associated with hazardous waste management and
    In order to ensure that the post-closure care of      permanent disposal. Many of these detailed
the facility is properly carried out, the owner and       requirements apply at the end of a facility’s waste
operator must design and implement a post-closure         management operations and can be very expensive.
plan. The owner and operator must submit the plan         To prevent a facility from ceasing operations and
with the post-closure permit application. The plan        failing to provide for the potentially costly closure
must include:                                             and post-closure care requirements, EPA
                                                          promulgated regulations requiring TSDFs to
•   A description of planned ground water
                                                          demonstrate that they have the financial resources to
    monitoring activities
                                                          properly conduct closure and post-closure in a
•   A description of planned maintenance activities       manner that protects human health and the
•   The name, address, and telephone number of the
    facility contact person or office.                        The TSDF general facility standards include
                                                          precautions to prepare a facility for accidents, spills,
                                                          and any resulting emergency responses. Such
                                                          unexpected events could damage third parties by

                                                    Regulations Governing Treatment, Storage, and Disposal Facilities

impacting human health or property outside the             decontamination at closure. The closure and post-
facility. In order to compensate third parties for         closure estimates must be recalculated to reflect the
injury or damage that might result from such events        additional expenses.
(known as liabilities), the RCRA regulations require
TSDF owners and operators to demonstrate that they         Period of Coverage
have the financial resources to pay for bodily injury           TSDF owners and operators must maintain
or property damage that might result from waste            financial assurance until closure and post-closure are
management. The closure, post-closure, and liability       complete. Within 60 days after receiving the owner
financial resource requirements are called financial       or operator’s and an independent registered
assurance.                                                 professional engineer’s certification of final closure,
     In addition to requiring facilities to set aside      the implementing agency will notify the owner and
funds for closure, post-closure, and liabilities, the      operator that financial assurance for final closure is
RCRA regulations specify the financial mechanisms          no longer required. Similarly, within 60 days after
that TSDF owners and operators must use to ensure          receiving these certifications of completion of post-
that the financial resources are available in the event    closure care, the implementing agency will notify
that they are needed.                                      the owner and operator that financial assurance for
                                                           post-closure is no longer required.

    Financial Assurance for Closure/
    Post-Closure Care                                           Accident Liability Requirements

     After a TSDF owner and operator prepares the              TSDF owners and operators must also be able to
required written closure and post-closure plans for        compensate third parties for bodily injury or
their facility, they must prepare a cost estimate that     property damage that might result from hazardous
reflects how much it would cost to hire a third-party      waste management at a facility. This coverage
contractor to close the facility. These estimates          ensures that, in the event of an accidental release of
provide the base figure for the amount of financial        hazardous constituents, money will be available to
assurance a facility must provide.                         compensate affected third parties suffering bodily
                                                           injury or property damage. All TSDFs must
Cost Estimates                                             demonstrate liability coverage for sudden accidents.
                                                           In addition, TSDFs with land-based units (e.g.,
    Cost estimates must reflect the cost of hiring a       landfills) must also demonstrate liability coverage
third party to conduct all activities outlined in the      for nonsudden accidents.
closure and post-closure plans. Closure cost
estimates are based on the point in the facility’s         Sudden Accidental Occurrences
operating life when closure would be the most
expensive. Post-closure cost estimates are based on            The inherent risks posed by hazardous waste
projected costs for an entire post-closure period of       management at all TSDFs bring the possibility of
30 years, unless reduced or extended by the                sudden accidents. These sudden accidental
implementing agency.                                       occurrences are defined as events that are not
                                                           continuous or repeated. Examples of sudden
Cost Adjustments                                           accidental occurrences are fires and explosions. The
                                                           minimum financial requirements include at least $1
    Closure and post-closure cost estimates must be        million per occurrence, and an annual total (known
adjusted annually for inflation until closure is           as annual aggregate) of at least $2 million.
completed. Owners and operators must also adjust
cost estimates following any changes to their closure      Nonsudden Accidental Occurrences
or post-closure plans that would raise the costs
involved. For example, the addition of treatment                Because land-based units are located directly on
units would mean that they will require                    the land, they bring an increased risk of slow, long-

Chapter III: Managing Hazardous Waste – RCRA Subtitle C

term nonsudden leaks to soil and ground water, and            -   Payment bond
exposure to human health and the environment.                 -   Performance bond
These nonsudden accidental occurrences are                •   Letter of credit
defined as events that take place over time and
involve continuous or repeated exposure to                •   Insurance
hazardous waste. An example of a nonsudden                •   Financial test
accidental occurrence is a leaking surface                •   Corporate guarantee.
impoundment that contaminates a drinking water
source over time. The minimum financial                   Trust Fund
requirements include at least $3 million per
occurrence, and an annual aggregate of at least $6             A trust fund allows a facility to set aside money
million.                                                  in increments, according to a phased-in schedule
                                                          (known as a pay-in period). At the end of this pay-in
    These liability financial assurance coverage          period, the facility will have enough money set aside
amounts apply on an owner and operator basis, not         to cover its financial assurance costs and will have
on a per facility basis. Consequently, owners and         funds specifically earmarked for closure, post-
operators must provide $1 million per occurrence          closure, and liability requirements.
and $2 million annual aggregate for sudden
accidental occurrences, and $3 million per                    Under some of the other mechanisms (surety
occurrence and $6 million annual aggregate for            bonds and letters of credit), owners and operators
nonsudden accidental occurrences (if applicable),         must establish a standby trust fund into which any
regardless of the number of facilities owned and          payments made by the mechanism will be deposited.
operated.                                                 EPA will then use this trust fund to cover the
                                                          respective costs.
Period of Coverage
                                                          Surety Bonds
     TSDF owners and operators must maintain
financial liability coverage until closure is complete.       A surety bond is a guarantee by a surety
Within 60 days after receiving a TSDF’s certification     company that specifies that closure, post-closure,
of final closure, the implementing agency must            and liability obligations will be fulfilled. If the
notify the owner and operator that liability financial    owner and operator fail to pay the costs specified in
assurance is no longer required. Liability coverage       a bond, the surety company is liable for the costs.
is not required during the post-closure period. The       There are two types of surety bonds:
implementing agency may, however, require liability       •   Payment bond — A payment bond will, in the
coverage if closure was not completed in accordance           event an owner and operator fail to fulfill their
with the facility’s closure plan.                             financial assurance closure and post-closure
                                                              obligations, fund a standby trust fund in the
    Financial Assurance Mechanisms                            amount equal to the value of the bond. Payment
                                                              bonds can also be used for liability.
    Financial assurance mechanisms are the
different ways an owner and operator can show that        •   Performance bond — A performance bond
funds are available to pay for closure, post-closure,         guarantees that the owner and operator will
and liability requirements. An owner and operator             comply with their closure and post-closure
may demonstrate financial assurance through one or            requirements. Performance bonds can also be
more of the following financial assurance                     paid into a standby trust fund. Interim status
mechanisms:                                                   facilities may not use performance bonds.
•   Trust fund
•   Surety bond (two types)

                                                    Regulations Governing Treatment, Storage, and Disposal Facilities

Letter of Credit                                           provides a significant amount of ground water to
                                                           drinking wells and springs.
    A letter of credit is a credit document issued to
a TSDF by a financial institution, covering the cost            Ground water serves as a very important
of closure, post-closure, or liability activities.         resource by providing drinking water and municipal
                                                           water supplies for approximately 50 percent of all
Insurance                                                  Americans. In some areas, ground water supplies
     The owner or operator of a TSDF may take out          100 percent of the water supply for all uses. Ground
an insurance policy to cover the cost of closure,          water is also a very critical resource in agriculture.
post-closure, and liability requirements in the event      Farmers rely on this resource to irrigate the crops
that the owner and operator is unable to satisfy these     that are later sold at markets across the country.
                                                               The importance of ground water is highlighted
Financial Test
                                                           by that fact that it is very difficult and expensive to
                                                           clean once contaminated. Cleanup can take decades,
    Some companies are of such size and financial          and in certain cases cannot restore ground water to
strength that they have the assets to absorb the costs     usable conditions.
of closure, post-closure, and liability obligations. As
a result, owners and operators can demonstrate and
                                                                General Requirements
document their financial strength by using the
financial test to satisfy the TSDF financial                   In order to protect this valuable resource and
assurance requirements.                                    avoid costly cleanups, RCRA requires TSDF owners
                                                           and operators of land-based treatment, storage, or
Corporate Guarantee
                                                           disposal units (i.e., land treatment units, landfills,
     While not all companies will be able to meet the      surface impoundments, and waste piles) to monitor
financial test requirements, they may be owned by a        the ground water passing under their facilities to
company (or have a sibling company) that has the           ensure that their hazardous waste management
financial standing and ability to meet the financial       activities are not contaminating the ground water.
test requirements. In these cases, a TSDF owner and
operator may arrange a corporate guarantee by              Waivers and Exemptions
demonstrating and documenting that its corporate                Some land-based units are designed or managed
parent, corporate grandparent, sibling corporation, or     in a way that does not bring the potential for ground
a firm with a substantial business relationship with       water contamination. Such waivers or exemptions
the owner or operator meets the financial test             from the ground water monitoring requirements
requirements on its behalf.                                apply to:
                                                           •    Man-made structures that do not receive liquid
GROUND WATER MONITORING                                         wastes, have inner and outer containment layers
                                                                and a leak detection system between the
    The treatment, storage, or disposal of hazardous            containment layers, and are designed to prevent
waste directly on the land creates the potential to             the entry of rain water
generate hazardous waste leachate that can carry
                                                           •    Land treatment units that do not release
hazardous contaminants into the environment. Such
                                                                hazardous constituents into the environment
contaminants can pose a serious threat to ground
                                                                during the post-closure period
water resources.
                                                           •    Indoor waste piles
    Ground water is water found below the land
                                                           •    Units that do not have the potential to leak
surface in the part of the earth’s crust in which all
                                                                hazardous waste into the environment
voids are filled with water. This water accumulates
in an aquifer, an underground rock formation, that         •    Units that have been clean closed.

Chapter III: Managing Hazardous Waste – RCRA Subtitle C

Ground Water Monitoring Provisions                        •   Compliance monitoring, to determine if an
                                                              established ground water protection standard has
    The purpose of the ground water monitoring
                                                              been exceeded once a leak has occurred
requirements is to require owners and operators of
land-based units to monitor the ground water that         •   Corrective action, to clean up contamination
passes beneath their TSDF in order to detect leaks of         caused by the leak.
hazardous waste, and facilitate cleanup as soon as
possible. As a result, owners and operators must              Because different TSDFs handle different types
install monitoring wells to detect contamination in       of wastes and will have units of different age and
the aquifer nearest the ground surface. In order to       design, each TSDF’s program is unique and site-
ensure that the information received from the             specific.
monitoring wells is accurate, TSDF owners and
                                                          Detection Monitoring Program
operators must have:
                                                              Detection monitoring is the first step of ground
•   Enough wells installed in the right places to
                                                          water monitoring. The goal is to detect and
    accurately represent the ground water activity
                                                          characterize any leaks of hazardous waste from the
    under the facility
                                                          unit. The owner and operator compares the results
•   Properly installed wells (poorly installed wells      from the sampling wells to the background
    may give false results)                               groundwater levels to determine if there is any
                                                          evidence of an increase over background levels (see
•   Lined or cased wells to prevent the collapse of       Figure III-16). An increase from the background
    monitoring well bore holes                            levels might indicate a leak from the unit. If
                                                          evidence indicates that the unit is leaking, the owner
•   Consistent sampling and analysis procedures
                                                          and operator must:
•   Statistical methods to avoid false evidence of a
                                                          •   Notify the EPA Regional Administrator within
                                                              seven days
•   Accurate records containing any information
                                                          •   Immediately sample all wells for hazardous
    The ground water monitoring requirements vary
                                                          •   Determine which hazardous constituents are
for permitted and interim status TSDFs. The interim
                                                              present and at what levels
status ground water monitoring requirements are
designed to generate information about ground water       •   Submit an application to modify the facility’s
quality for use in developing the facility’s permit, as       permit to move into the second phase of the
well as detect and clean up releases.                         ground water monitoring program (compliance
    Permitted Facilities                                  •   Submit a cleanup feasibility plan.
    Facilities with permitted land treatment units,           If the owner and operator can prove that the
landfills, surface impoundments, or waste piles must      contamination did not result from their facility, they
develop a ground water monitoring program. This           can continue detection monitoring.
ground water monitoring program consists of three
phases:                                                   Compliance Monitoring Program
•   Detection monitoring, to detect if a leak has              Once the owner and operator has established that
    occurred                                              a release has occurred, they must develop and
                                                          implement a compliance monitoring program (see
                                                          Figure III-17). The goal of compliance monitoring
                                                          is to ensure that the amount of hazardous waste that

                                                         Regulations Governing Treatment, Storage, and Disposal Facilities

                                          Figure III-16: Detection Monitoring

                                                                       Normal              Adjusted Water
                                                                      Water Table            Table After
                                                                                         Installation of Wells

                                                                     Ground Water
                                                        Bedrock       Monitoring

      In detection monitoring, owners and operators compare the sample results from the ground water monitoring wells to the
      background water quality levels. A change from background levels might indicate a leak from the unit.

                                        Figure III-17: Compliance Monitoring

                                   Limit of the Waste                    Regulated Unit
                                   Management Area

                              Uppermost               Direction of Ground               Two-Dimensional
                               Aquifer                    Water Flow                   Point of Compliance

During the compliance monitoring program, an owner and operator must ensure that the amount of hazardous waste that
has leaked into the uppermost aquifer does not exceed acceptable levels. To achieve this, an owner and operator must
establish a ground water protection standard, which includes identification of hazardous constituents, identification of
concentration levels for each constituent, establishment of a point of compliance, and determination of a compliance period.

Chapter III: Managing Hazardous Waste – RCRA Subtitle C

has leaked into the uppermost aquifer does not            exceeded. The specifics of the GWPS will be listed
exceed acceptable levels. In order to determine what      in the TSDF’s permit.
these acceptable levels are, RCRA requires the
owner and operator to establish a ground water                 During the compliance period, the owner and
protection standard (GWPS). The GWPS has four             operator must determine whether there is any
parts: identification of hazardous constituents;          evidence of increased contamination for any of the
identification of concentration levels for each           hazardous constituents specified in the GWPS. This
constituent; establishment of a compliance point;         is accomplished by comparing information collected
and determination of a compliance period during           at the point of compliance to the concentration limits
which the GWPS applies.                                   set in the GWPS. The owner and operator must also
                                                          analyze the samples from compliance wells for all
    Hazardous Constituents                                RCRA hazardous constituents at least annually to
                                                          determine if any additional constituents are present
    For purposes of compliance monitoring,                that are not specified in the GWPS. If additional
hazardous constituents are those constituents that        constituents are found, they must be added to the list
have been detected in the uppermost aquifer and are       of constituents in the GWPS.
reasonably expected to be in or derived from the
waste contained in the unit.                                  If the GWPS is exceeded, the owner and
                                                          operator must:
    Concentration Limits
                                                          •   Notify the EPA Regional Administrator in
    Concentration limits are the maximum levels               writing within seven days
of hazardous waste or hazardous constituents
                                                          •   Submit an application to modify the facility’s
allowed to be present in the ground water. The
                                                              permit to move into the third phase of the
concentration levels can be:
                                                              ground water monitoring program (corrective
•   Background levels                                         action)
                                                          •   Continue to monitor in accordance with the
•   Maximum contaminant levels (MCLs)
                                                              compliance monitoring program.
    borrowed from SDWA
                                                              If the owner and operator can prove that the
•   Alternative concentration limits (ACLs)
                                                          increased contamination resulted from a source other
    established by the EPA Regional Administrator.
                                                          than their facility, or that the increase was due to an
    Point of Compliance                                   error in analyzing the sample or natural variations in
                                                          ground water, they must notify the EPA Regional
    The point of compliance is the vertical point         Administrator in writing within seven days. On the
where the owner and operator must monitor the             other hand, if the contamination is found to have
uppermost aquifer to determine if the leak exceeds        resulted from a unit at the TSDF, the owner and
the GWPS.                                                 operator must initiate cleanup.
    Compliance Period                                     Corrective Action Program
    The compliance period is the length of time               The goal of ground water corrective action
during which an owner and operator must conduct           (cleanup) is to clean the ground water to meet the
compliance monitoring or perform cleanup.                 GWPS. To clean up the contamination, the owner
Generally, this period will cover the rest of the         and operator must either remove the hazardous
TSDF’s operating life and may extend into the post-       constituents from the ground water or treat them in
closure period.                                           place. The specific measures undertaken to clean
                                                          the ground water will vary with each facility (see
   The owner and operator must monitor at least
                                                          Figure III-18).
semiannually to determine if the GWPS has been

                                                            Regulations Governing Treatment, Storage, and Disposal Facilities

                                       Figure III-18: Ground Water Corrective Action

                                               Re-Injection of
                 Injection of Water             Clean Water             Treatment System
                 and Solvents into
                   Ground Water

                                                                    Water Table

                 Aquifer              Contaminant Plume


                                                            Ground Water Flow
   An example of ground water corrective action is a ground water pump and treat system. In order to remediate
   contamination that has leaked from a disposal site into the uppermost aquifer, the owner and operator injects water and
   solvents into the ground. The groundwater flow carries the water and solvents to the contaminant plume, flushes the plume
   of the contamination, and carries the contaminants to a recovery well where the contaminated water is pumped to the
   surface and treated. Clean water is then re-injected into the ground water for reuse in the pump and treat process.

    Effectiveness                                                   post-closure period has elapsed, the TSDF has
                                                                    completed its requirements under RCRA ground
    To make sure the owner’s and operator’s                         water monitoring.
corrective action program is working properly, they
must monitor the ground water under the TSDF, and
then report semiannually on the effectiveness of the                       Interim Status Facilities
corrective action program.                                               The requirements for interim status facilities
                                                                    were designed to supply background data on these
    Time Period
                                                                    facilities before permitting, and to act as a warning
    Once the ground water has been treated to meet                  system to detect any releases to ground water prior
the GWPS, the owner and operator may stop                           to issuing a permit to the facility. The interim status
corrective action and return to compliance                          program is similar to the permitted ground water
monitoring. During the compliance period, facilities                monitoring program, but does not include cleanup
may move between compliance monitoring and                          provisions. If cleanup is required at an interim status
corrective action as necessary to respond to new                    facility, it will be addressed under RCRA §3008(h)
releases from the unit.                                             or §7003 corrective action authorities (as discussed
                                                                    in Chapter III, Corrective Action to Clean Up
    If the compliance period ends and corrective                    Hazardous Waste Contamination), or in the facility
action is still being conducted, corrective action                  permit when issued. The interim status ground
must continue as long as necessary to achieve the                   water monitoring program is comprised of two
GWPS. Only after the owner and operator has met
the GWPS for three consecutive years may they stop
corrective action. If the unit is still in the post-
closure period, the owner and operator may then
reinstate a detection monitoring program. If the

Chapter III: Managing Hazardous Waste – RCRA Subtitle C

phases: an indicator evaluation and a ground water        disposal, hazardous constituents can escape into the
quality assessment.                                       air.

Indicator Evaluation                                           One particular class of these constituents,
                                                          volatile organics, evaporate easily and have been
    To determine if the units at a TSDF are leaking,      linked to several adverse health effects. In order to
the owner and operator must monitor the ground            control the release of these emissions from
water under the facility. The information collected       hazardous waste management processes, RCRA
from the monitoring wells is compared to data on          imposes air emission control requirements on units
background water quality to determine if any              that commonly manage hazardous waste with
contamination of the uppermost aquifer has                organics.
occurred. If the information indicates that there may
be a release from the facility, the owner and operator
must then begin the second phase, the ground water            Process Vents
quality assessment. If an owner and operator
                                                              Certain types of hazardous waste units are
assumes or already knows that contamination of the
                                                          commonly used to manage wastes with high levels
uppermost aquifer has occurred, they may initiate
                                                          of volatile organics. As a result, the first set of air
the ground water quality assessment instead of an
                                                          emission requirements addresses process vents
indicator evaluation program.
                                                          associated with the distillation, fractionation, thin-
Ground Water Quality Assessment Program                   film evaporation, solvent extraction, and air and
                                                          steam stripping of hazardous waste with an annual
     Once the owner and operator has determined           average total organic concentration of 10 parts per
that there may have been a release from the unit, the     million by weight (ppmw). Owners and operators of
ground water quality assessment helps to determine        TSDFs with these treatment processes must reduce
the extent of the release. If an owner and operator       organic emissions from affected process vents at
must perform a ground water quality assessment,           their entire facility. To meet this standard, the owner
they must notify the EPA Regional Administrator           and operator may either modify the treatment
within seven days, and prepare and submit a plan on       process or install a device to control organic
how to conduct a ground water quality assessment to       emissions.
the EPA Regional Administrator within 15 days. In
the ground water quality assessment, the owner and
                                                              Equipment Leaks
operator must establish how fast the unit is leaking,
how far the leak has spread, and the concentrations           Volatile organics can also escape into the air
of constituents in the contamination. The owner and       through gaps between connections of hazardous
operator must repeat this assessment at least             waste management equipment, or other leaks from
quarterly until final closure of the facility, and must   such equipment. As a result, the second set of air
keep records of all required analyses and evaluations     emission regulations establishes specific leak
on site. They must also submit an annual report to        detection and repair programs for equipment (e.g.,
the EPA Regional Administrator detailing the status       valves, pumps, and compressors) that contains or
of the ground water quality assessment program.           contacts hazardous waste with at least 10 percent by
                                                          weight organics. These programs require leak
AIR EMISSION STANDARDS                                    detection monitoring and inspection. In addition,
                                                          once a leak has been detected, the equipment must
    While many hazardous waste TSDF standards             be repaired.
are designed to protect ground water, potential
contamination of air resources also represents a
threat to human health and the environment. During
the process of hazardous waste treatment, storage, or

                                                  Regulations Governing Treatment, Storage, and Disposal Facilities

    Tanks, Surface Impoundments,                         storing waste with a low vapor pressure (known as
    and Containers                                       Level 1 containers) must either comply with DOT
                                                         requirements, be equipped with a closed cover, or be
    In order to further protect human health and the     fitted with a vapor suppressing barrier. Large
environment from the risks posed by volatile             containers storing waste with a high vapor pressure
organics, the final set of RCRA air emission             (known as Level 2 containers) may either meet DOT
standards require TSDF owners and operators to           specifications, operate with no detectable emissions,
control organic air emissions from hazardous waste       or be vapor tight (i.e., no vapors can escape the unit).
tanks, surface impoundments, and containers.             The last category of containers (Level 3 containers)
RCRA requires these controls if the units manage         are those units conducting waste stabilization. These
waste with an average volatile organic concentration     containers must be vented through a closed-vent
above 500 ppmw. These air emission controls              system to a control device.
prevent the release of organic constituents through
installation of a control device (e.g., a flare), or
prevention of emissions.                                      Other Requirements
                                                             The air emission standards require owners and
                                                         operators to keep certain records demonstrating
    TSDF tank owners and operators are subject to        compliance with these standards in the facility’s
one of two different sets of requirements depending      operating log.
on the vapor pressure of the waste being managed in
the unit. Tanks which store hazardous waste below            LQGs are subject to the interim status air
certain vapor pressures (known as Level 1 tanks),        emission control requirements for process vents,
must be equipped with, at a minimum, a fixed roof.       equipment leaks, containers, and tanks. SQGs,
Those tanks that store waste with higher vapor           however, are not subject to these air emission control
pressures (known as Level 2 tanks), have five            requirements.
compliance options that range from putting the tank
in an enclosure vented to a control device to using a    SUMMARY
closed-vent system that vents emissions from the
unit to a control device.                                    The RCRA Subtitle C TSDF standards impose
                                                         requirements on units that treat, store, or dispose
Surface Impoundments                                     hazardous waste. These standards include full
                                                         operation and management requirements for
    TSDF surface impoundment owners and
                                                         permitted facilities (those built after the standards
operators must either install a cover (e.g., an air-
                                                         were established) and less stringent provisions for
supported structure or a rigid cover) over the
                                                         interim status facilities (those that were already in
impoundment, which must be vented through a
closed-vent system to a control device, or equip the
surface impoundment with a floating membrane                 The TSDF standards require facilities to comply
cover.                                                   with:
Containers                                               •    General facility standards
    TSDF owners and operators are subject to one of      •    Preparedness and prevention requirements
three different sets of requirements for containers
depending on the size of the container, the organic      •    Contingency plans and emergency procedure
content of hazardous waste placed in the container,           provisions
and whether or not waste stabilization (as discussed
                                                         •    Manifest, recordkeeping, and reporting
in Chapter III, Land Disposal Restrictions) occurs in
the container. Small containers (between 0.1m3 and
0.46m3) and large containers (greater than 0.46m3)

Chapter III: Managing Hazardous Waste – RCRA Subtitle C

     TSDF owners and operators can treat, store, or       hazardous waste contamination. RCRA requires
dispose of waste in a variety of units. Each unit has     owners and operators of land-based units (i.e., land
its own specific standards governing unit design,         treatment units, landfills, surface impoundments, and
construction, operation, and maintenance. Owners          waste piles) to monitor the ground water below their
and operators can manage their waste in any of the        TSDF for possible contamination, and clean up any
following units:                                          discovered contamination.
•   Containers                                                In order to protect air resources, TSDFs are
•   Containment buildings                                 required to install unit controls to prevent organic
                                                          emissions from escaping into the air. The air
•   Drip pads                                             emissions controls apply to process vents, equipment
•   Land treatment units                                  leaks, containers, surface impoundments, and tanks.
•   Landfills
•   Surface impoundments
•   Tanks
•   Waste piles
•   Miscellaneous units.
     LQGs accumulating waste in containers,
containment buildings, drips pads, and tanks are
subject to the interim status TSDF standards for
these units. SQGs accumulating waste in containers
and tanks are subject to the interim status standards
for these units.
    The TSDF standards also establish requirements
to ensure that hazardous waste management units are
closed in a manner that protects human health and
the environment. The closure provisions require the
facility to stop accepting waste; remove all waste
from management units; and decontaminate all soils,
structures, and equipment. Some units (i.e., land
treatment units, landfills, and surface
impoundments) serve as places for the final disposal
of hazardous waste. These land disposal units must
comply with additional post-closure requirements to
ensure proper long-term unit maintenance.
    Because closure and post-closure activities can
be very expensive, the TSDF standards require
owners and operators to demonstrate financial
assurance. These provisions also require all TSDFs
to set aside funds in order to compensate third
parties for bodily injury and property damage that
might result from hazardous waste management
    RCRA’s TSDF standards also include provisions
to protect ground water and air resources from


                                                                                      The LDR program approaches ground water
  Overview ........................................................... III-91    protection differently from unit-specific technical
  Applicability ....................................................... III-91   standards. This program does not mandate physical
  LDR Prohibitions .............................................. III-93         barriers to protect ground water, but instead requires
  - Disposal Prohibition ...................................... III-93           that hazardous wastes undergo fundamental
  - Dilution Prohibition ........................................ III-98         physical or chemical changes so that they pose less
  - Storage Prohibition ........................................ III-98          of a threat to ground water, surface water, and air
  History of LDR .................................................. III-99       when disposed. The obvious advantage of such
  Summary ........................................................ III-100       hazardous waste treatment is that it provides a
  Additional Resources ..................................... III-100             longer lasting form of protection than does simple
                                                                                 hazardous waste containment. While synthetic
                                                                                 barriers designed to prevent the migration of
OVERVIEW                                                                         leachate can break down and fail over time,
                                                                                 physical and chemical changes to the waste itself
     A common hazardous waste management                                         provide a more permanent type of protection.
practice is to place hazardous waste in land-based
units (i.e., land treatment units, landfills, surface                                 When directing EPA to establish the LDR
impoundments, or waste piles). In 1999,                                          program, Congress called for regulations that
approximately 69 percent of hazardous                                            specified concentrations of hazardous constituents
nonwastewaters generated under RCRA were                                         or methods of treatment that would substantially
permanently disposed on the land. The permanent                                  decrease the toxicity of hazardous waste or decrease
disposal of hazardous waste in land-based units has                              the likelihood that contaminants in such wastes
the potential to threaten human health and the                                   would leach. EPA responded to these requirements
environment through ground water contamination.                                  by establishing waste-specific treatment standards
As a result, the RCRA program contains extensive                                 that dictate to what extent waste must be treated.
technical requirements to ensure that land-based                                 All hazardous wastes, except under certain
units prevent hazardous leachate from escaping into                              circumstances, must meet a specific treatment
the environment. To complement the unit-specific                                 standard before they can be disposed.
standards, which alone do not fully protect human
health and the environment from the potential risks                              APPLICABILITY
of land-based hazardous waste management, RCRA
includes the land disposal restrictions (LDR)                                        Wastes must be a RCRA hazardous waste in
program.                                                                         order to be subject to the LDR program. In other
                                                                                 words, unless a waste meets the definition of a solid
                                                                                 and hazardous waste, its disposal is not regulated

Chapter III: Managing Hazardous Waste – RCRA Subtitle C

under the LDR program. Once a generator identifies                    following wastes are not subject to the LDR
its waste as hazardous (either listed, characteristic,                program:
or both), the waste is assigned a waste code. When
EPA establishes a treatment standard for the waste                    •       Waste generated by conditionally exempt small
code, the waste will then become restricted (i.e.,                            quantity generators (CESQGs)
subject to the LDR requirements). RCRA requires                       •       Waste pesticides and container residues disposed
that EPA establish treatment standards for hazardous                          of by farmers on their own land
wastes within six months of promulgating a new
listing or characteristic. Until EPA establishes a                    •       Newly identified or newly listed hazardous
treatment standard for a waste, this newly identified                         wastes for which EPA has yet to promulgate
or newly listed waste (i.e., waste for which EPA has                          treatment standards
yet to establish a treatment standard) can continue to
be land disposed without treatment. When EPA                          •       Certain waste releases that are mixed with a
promulgates a final treatment standard for a waste,                           facility’s wastewater and discharged pursuant to
handlers of the waste must manage it in accordance                            the Clean Water Act (CWA).
with all the LDR requirements and cannot dispose of                       Wastes meeting any of these descriptions may
it on the land until it meets all applicable treatment                continue to be land disposed without being subject to
standards (see Figure III-19).                                        the LDR program.
    While the LDR program generally applies to all                        The LDR requirements attach to a hazardous
persons who generate, transport, treat, store, or                     waste at its point of generation. In other words,
dispose of restricted hazardous wastes, there are                     once a waste has been generated, identified, and
exclusions from the LDR requirements. The                             assigned a waste code, it must be treated in

                                   Figure III-19: Land Disposal Restrictions Applicability

                        Is material a solid waste?


            Is waste a listed or characteristic hazardous waste?

                                  Is waste:
  1) Generated by a CESQG; or
  2) A pesticide/container residue disposed by a farmer on his own land; or       Yes        WASTE IS NOT SUBJECT
  3) A low-volume release mixed with facility wastewater and discharged                             TO LDR
     under CWA?

                  Does waste have a treatment standard?


                    WASTE IS SUBJECT TO LDR

                                                                                        Land Disposal Restrictions

accordance with LDR requirements before being             technologies that must
                                                                                     DISPOSAL PROHIBITION
disposed. As a general principle, a hazardous waste       be performed on the
must meet all applicable treatment standards to be        waste before it can be     The disposal prohibition
eligible for land disposal. For purposes of the LDR       disposed.                  prohibits the land disposal
program, a generator of a listed hazardous waste                                     of hazardous waste that
                                                              EPA bases the          has not been adequately
must determine if the waste also exhibits any                                        treated to reduce the threat
hazardous waste characteristics. If it does, then the     LDR treatment
                                                                                     posed by such waste.
waste must be treated to meet both the listed and         standards on the
characteristic treatment standards before land            performance of
disposal.                                                 available technologies. EPA conducts extensive
                                                          research into available treatment technologies to
                                                          determine which proven, available technology is the
LDR PROHIBITIONS                                          best at treating the waste in question. The
                                                          technology that best minimizes the mobility or
     The LDR program consists of three main               toxicity (or both) of the hazardous constituents is
components: the disposal prohibition, the dilution        designated as the Best Demonstrated Available
prohibition, and the storage prohibition. This series     Technology (BDAT) for that waste. The treatment
of prohibitions restricts how wastes subject to LDR       standards are based on the performance of this
requirements are handled. The most visible aspect         BDAT.
of the LDR program is the disposal prohibition,
which includes treatment standards, variances,                 When treatment standards are set as
alternative treatment standards, and notification         concentration levels, the regulated community may
requirements. Land disposal means placement in            use any method or technology (except dilution, as
or on the land, except in a corrective action unit, and   discussed later in this chapter) to meet that
includes, but is not limited to, placement in a           concentration level. The concentration level is
landfill, surface impoundment, waste pile, injection      based on the performance of the BDAT, but the
well, land treatment facility, salt dome formation,       regulated community does not need to use this
salt bed formation, underground mine or cave, or          technology to meet the treatment standard. EPA
placement in a concrete vault, or bunker intended for     prefers to use concentration-based standards because
disposal purposes. The dilution and storage               they stimulate innovation and the development of
prohibitions work in tandem with the disposal             alternative treatment technologies. However, when
prohibition to guide the regulated community in           EPA feels that the waste will only be effectively
proper hazardous waste management. The dilution           treated by the BDAT or when there is no way to
prohibition ensures that wastes are properly treated,     measure hazardous constituent levels, the Agency
and the storage prohibition ensures that waste will       will designate a technology as the treatment
not be stored indefinitely to avoid treatment.            standard. This means that the regulated community
                                                          must treat the waste with that specific technology in
                                                          order to meet the treatment standard.
    Disposal Prohibition
                                                              The treatment standards are found in the
     The first component of the LDR program, the
                                                          regulations in a table arranged by hazardous waste
disposal prohibition, prohibits the land disposal of
                                                          code (40 CFR §268.40). Concentration-based
hazardous waste that has not been adequately treated
                                                          treatment standards appear in the table as numeric
to reduce the threat posed to human health and the
                                                          values. The treatment standards that require the use
environment. The criteria that hazardous wastes
                                                          of a specific technology are expressed as a five-letter
must meet before being disposed of are known as
                                                          code representing the technology (see Figure III-20).
treatment standards. These treatment standards
                                                          There are 31 such codes representing specific
can be either concentration levels for hazardous
                                                          technology-based standards. Descriptions of these
constituents that the waste must meet or treatment
                                                          codes and the technologies that they require are

Chapter III: Managing Hazardous Waste – RCRA Subtitle C

found in the regulations in a separate table in 40          referred to as the universal treatment standards
CFR §268.42 (see Figure III-21).                            (UTS), and are listed in a table in the RCRA
                                                            regulations (40 CFR §268.48). This is why some
Characteristic Hazardous Wastes                             characteristic wastes that no longer exhibit a
    Both listed and characteristic hazardous wastes         characteristic must still be treated to meet additional
must meet the LDR treatment standards before they           LDR requirements. Once such characteristic
are eligible for land disposal. There are, however,         hazardous wastes have been decharacterized and
some unique situations that arise when dealing with         treated for underlying constituents, they can be
characteristic wastes (those with the letter “D” waste      disposed of in a nonhazardous waste landfill.
code designation) under the LDR program.
                                                            Variances, Extensions, and Exemptions
    The treatment standards for most characteristic             If a restricted waste does not meet its applicable
hazardous wastes entail rendering the waste                 treatment standard, it is prohibited from land
nonhazardous (i.e., decharacterizing the waste or           disposal. Although most wastes become eligible for
removing the characteristic). However, some                 disposal by meeting the treatment standards, in some
characteristic waste treatment standards have               instances this may not be possible. For example,
additional requirements. The regulated community            there may not be enough treatment capacity to treat
must examine these wastes for underlying                    a waste, or the concentration level may not be
hazardous constituents. These constituents are not          achievable. To address these situations, EPA
what causes the waste to exhibit a characteristic, but      established procedures that allow wastes to be
they can pose hazards nonetheless. The underlying           disposed of under special circumstances. The
hazardous constituents must be treated in order to          following exemptions, variances, and extensions
meet contaminant-specific levels. These levels are          allow wastes to be disposed of without meeting their

                   Figure III-20: Excerpts from the 40 CFR §268.40 Treatment Standards Table


                                         TREATMENT STANDARDS FOR HAZARDOUS WASTES
                                              REGULATED HAZARDOUS
                                                  CONSTITUENT          WASTEWATERS             NONWASTEWATERS
                  WASTE DESCRIPTION
         WASTE                                Common        CAS        Concentration in        Concentration in mg/kg
         CODE                                  Name        Number          mg/l; or         unless notes as “mg/l TCLP”;
                                                                       Technology Code          or Technology Code

                  Distillation bottoms from
         K009     the production of           Chloroform   67-66-3          0.046                       6.0
                  acetaldehyde from
                 Stripping still tails from
         K026    the production                  NA         NA            CMBST                       CMBST
                 of methyl ethyl pyridines


                                                                                                      Land Disposal Restrictions

                    Figure III-21: Summary of Selected Technologies from the 40 CFR §268.42
                                       Technology-Based Standards Table

     Code               Technology                                             Description

    BIODG    Biodegradation                        Biodegradation uses microorganisms to break down organic compounds
                                                   to make a waste less toxic.

    CHRED    Chemical reduction                    Chemical reduction converts metal and inorganic constituents in
                                                   wastewater into insoluble precipitates that are later settled out of the
                                                   wastewater, leaving a lower concentration of metals and inorganics in the

    CMBST    Combustion                            Combustion destroys organic wastes or makes them less hazardous
                                                   through burning in boilers, industrial furnaces, or incinerators.

    DEACT    Deactivation                          Deactivation is treatment of a waste to remove the characteristic of
                                                   ignitability, corrosivity, or reactivity. Deactivation can be achieved using
                                                   many of the treatment technologies in 40 CFR §268.42, Table 1. Part 268,
                                                   Appendix VI recommends technologies that can be used to deactivate
                                                   specific wastestreams.

    MACRO    Macroencapsulation                    Macroencapsulation is the application of a surface coating material to
                                                   seal hazardous constituents in place and prevent them from leaching or

    NEUTR    Neutralization                        Neutralization makes certain wastes less acidic or certain substances
                                                   less alkaline.

    PRECP    Precipitation                         Precipitation removes metal and inorganic solids from liquid wastes to
                                                   allow for safe disposal.

    REMTL    Recovery of Metals                    Recovery of organics uses direct physical removal methods to extract
                                                   metal or inorganic constituents from a waste.

    RORGS    Recovery of Organics                  Recovery of organics uses direct physical removal methods (e.g.,
                                                   distillation, steam stripping) to extract organic constituents from a waste.

    STABL    Stabilization                         Stabilization (also referred to as solidification) involves the addition of
                                                   stabilizing agents (e.g., Portland cement) to a waste to reduce the
                                                   leachability of metal constituents.

respective treatment standards, or to be treated to a              National Capacity Variances
different standard:
                                                                   When developing a treatment standard, EPA
•   National capacity variances                               examines the available treatment capacity to
                                                              determine whether it is sufficient to handle current
•   Case-by-case extensions
                                                              and future waste management needs. If the Agency
•   No-migration variances                                    determines that nationally there is not enough
•   Variances from a treatment standard                       capacity to treat a waste, EPA can automatically
                                                              extend the effective date of the waste’s treatment
•   Equivalent treatment method variances
                                                              standard. Such an extension to the effective date is
•   Surface impoundment treatment exemptions.                 intended to give the waste treatment industry more
                                                              time to develop the capacity to handle the waste.
    While national capacity variances, when needed,
                                                              Wastes under a national capacity variance can be
are automatically granted to all affected hazardous
                                                              disposed of, without meeting the treatment
waste management facilities, the other five
                                                              standards, in landfills and surface impoundments
exemptions, variances, and extensions require a
                                                              that meet minimum technical requirements (e.g.,
facility to specifically petition the Agency.
                                                              liners, leachate collection and removal systems, and
                                                              leak detection systems). (These technical

Chapter III: Managing Hazardous Waste – RCRA Subtitle C


 A facility generates an industrial nonwastewater that contains benzene, acetone, and methanol. The generator
 determines that their waste is not listed based on its origin, but upon testing the waste, determines that it fails the
 TCLP for benzene. As a result, the waste is identified as D018. According to the LDR treatment standard for D018,
 the benzene in the waste must be treated to a standard of 10 mg/kg, and the waste must also be treated for acetone
 and methanol underlying hazardous constituents. The generator decides to treat the waste in containers at the
 facility. After treatment, the benzene meets the 10 mg/kg standard and no longer exhibits a characteristic. Although
 the waste is technically no longer a hazardous waste, it must be treated for the acetone and methanol underlying
 hazardous constituents before it can be land disposed.

requirements are fully discussed in Chapter III,               standard is not achievable. If a variance is granted,
Regulations Governing Treatment, Storage, and                  EPA will specify an alternative standard to meet.
Disposal Facilities).
                                                                    Determinations of Equivalent Treatment
    Case-by-Case Extensions
                                                                    Determinations of equivalent treatment allow the
     A facility may petition EPA for a case-by-case            regulated community to petition EPA and
extension to delay the effective date of a waste’s             demonstrate that a technology different from the
treatment standard, upon showing that capacity does            required LDR treatment technology can achieve the
not exist for that particular waste. Similar to                same results. If approved, the applicant can use the
national capacity variances, wastes granted case-by-           alternative technology in place of the required
case extensions can be disposed of without meeting             technology.
the treatment standards in landfills and surface
impoundments that meet minimum technical                            Surface Impoundment Treatment Exemptions
requirements. However, these extensions are no                       Surface impoundment treatment exemptions
longer available for most wastes because they may              allow the regulated community to petition EPA for
only be granted within four years of the                       permission to treat hazardous waste in surface
promulgation of the LDR treatment standard.                    impoundments (surface impoundments are fully
                                                               discussed in Chapter III, Regulations Governing
    No-Migration Variances
                                                               Treatment, Storage, and Disposal Facilities). Under
    No-migration variances differ from capacity                normal circumstances, owners and operators cannot
variances in that they apply to the disposal unit              place untreated hazardous waste on the land, even if
instead of to the waste, and allow wastes to be                it is in a land-based unit for treatment. Since many
disposed of in the unit without meeting the treatment          facilities use surface impoundments as a means of
standards. To obtain a no-migration variance for a             treating waste, the surface impoundment treatment
disposal unit, a facility must petition EPA and                exemption allows owners and operators to conduct
demonstrate that there will be no migration of                 such treatment under certain conditions. Surface
hazardous constituents from the unit (i.e., the waste          impoundments treating waste under this exemption
will not leak or escape from the unit) for as long as          must comply with double liner and minimum
the wastes remain hazardous.                                   technical requirements, and provisions for the
                                                               removal of sludges and treatment residues.
    Variances from a Treatment Standard
                                                               Alternative Treatment Standards
    Variances from a treatment standard allow the
regulated community to petition EPA and show that                  In establishing treatment standards, the Agency
the required LDR treatment standard is not                     applied the BDAT methodology to the typical forms
appropriate for their waste, or that the treatment             of waste generated by industry. Some forms of
                                                               hazardous waste are unique and were not taken into

                                                                                       Land Disposal Restrictions

account by the BDAT process when treatment                   Soil
standards were established. As a result, EPA created
                                                              Cleanup, or remediation, of hazardous waste
a number of broad, alternative treatment standards
                                                         sites will often produce contaminated soil.
for special types of waste.
                                                         Contaminated soil must be handled as hazardous
    Lab Packs                                            waste if it contains a listed hazardous waste or if it
                                                         exhibits a characteristic of hazardous waste (see
     Laboratories commonly generate small volumes        discussion of the contained-in policy in Chapter III,
of many different listed hazardous wastes. Rather        Hazardous Waste Identification). As with hazardous
than manage all these wastes separately, labs often      waste, land disposal of hazardous soil is prohibited
consolidate these small containers into lab packs.       until the soil has been treated to meet LDR
Trying to meet the individual treatment standards for    standards. These contaminated soils, due to either
every waste contained in a lab pack would be             their large volume or unique properties, are not
impractical. To ease the compliance burden, EPA          always amenable to the waste code-specific
established an alternative treatment standard for lab    treatment standards found in §268.40. Because of
packs that allows the whole lab pack to be               this, EPA promulgated alternative soil treatment
incinerated, followed by treatment for any metal in      standards in §268.49.
the residues (§268.42(c)). Treatment using this
alternative standard satisfies the LDR requirements           The alternative soil treatment standards mandate
for all individual wastes in the lab pack. However,      reduction of hazardous constituents in the soil by 90
there are limits on the types of wastes that may be      percent or ten times UTS, whichever is higher.
included in lab packs.                                   Removal of the characteristic is also required if the
                                                         soil is ignitable, corrosive, or reactive.
                                                         Notification, Certification, and Recordkeeping
     Debris can become contaminated with
hazardous waste accidental releases or spills. While          In order to properly track the hazardous waste
such contaminated debris is typically regulated          that is generated, transported, treated, stored, and
under the contained-in policy (as discussed in           disposed of, EPA imposes certain LDR notification,
Chapter III, Hazardous Waste Identification), it may     certification, and recordkeeping requirements on
also be subject to LDR treatment standards. The          generators and treatment, storage, and disposal
physical characteristics of such debris may make it      facilities (TSDFs). LDR notifications inform the
difficult to meet the LDR treatment standard for the     next waste handler how the waste must be treated to
waste that is contaminating it. For example,             meet the treatment standard or if it can be disposed
incinerating a solvent-saturated brick wall might not    of without treatment. When wastes do not need to
be possible without damaging the rotating                meet a treatment standard, or already meet the
combustion chamber in an incinerator. Instead of         standard, EPA requires the handler to sign a
requiring debris to meet these sometimes                 statement certifying such a claim.
inappropriate and difficult standards, EPA
                                                              Generators must send a notification with the
established a set of alternative standards that can be
                                                         initial shipment of every waste and keep a copy in
used to treat hazardous debris (40 CFR §268.45,
                                                         their on-site files. If the waste, process, or receiving
Table 1). The alternative standards range from
                                                         facility changes, another notification is required.
removing all contaminants with high pressure
                                                         The information that the notification must include
washing, to encapsulating the debris in order to
                                                         varies according to the status of the waste. For
prevent hazardous constituents from leaching.
                                                         example, the notification requirements will differ
Debris treated with these alternative treatment
                                                         slightly if the waste meets its treatment standard or
standards meets the LDR requirements, and in many
                                                         is subject to a national capacity variance.
cases, can be disposed of as nonhazardous waste.
                                                             Treatment facilities have to send similar
                                                         notifications along with the shipment of treated

Chapter III: Managing Hazardous Waste – RCRA Subtitle C

wastes to disposal facilities and keep a copy in their     standard is expressed as a numeric concentration
on-site files. A certification normally accompanies        level, it is often easier and less expensive to dilute
this notification stating that the waste meets its         the waste in water or soil in order to reduce the
treatment standards and may be land disposed.              concentration of the hazardous constituents. This
Disposal facilities are the final link in the waste        type of activity does not reduce the overall or mass
management chain. As a result, they have to test the       load of toxic chemicals that could be released to the
waste residue that they receive to ensure that it          environment, and is inconsistent with the goals of
meets the treatment standards.                             the LDR program. To prevent this activity from
                                                           being practiced, EPA established the dilution
     Each hazardous waste handler must comply with         prohibition. The dilution prohibition states that it is
certain recordkeeping requirements for LDR                 impermissible to dilute hazardous waste to
notifications and paperwork. Generators, treatment         circumvent proper treatment. Adding water or soil
facilities, and disposal facilities must keep copies of    to a waste to dilute it, combining wastes not
all LDR paperwork associated with the waste they           amenable to the same type of treatment, and
ship or receive in their facility files for three years.   incinerating metal wastes are all examples of
    Characteristic wastes that are decharacterized         impermissible dilution.
subsequent to the point of generation (i.e., they
become nonhazardous) are handled differently.                  Storage Prohibition
Once a waste is decharacterized and has met its full
LDR treatment standards, it can go to a RCRA                     The final component of the LDR program is the
Subtitle D nonhazardous waste facility. Copies of          storage prohibition. Before a waste can be treated,
these LDR notifications and certifications are sent to     it is usually stored in units, such as containers and
the EPA Region or authorized state and placed in the       tanks. These storage units are not intended for the
facility’s files and sent to the EPA Region or             long-term management of waste, and therefore, are
authorized state rather than to the receiving Subtitle     not required to provide
D facility. This is intended to protect Subtitle D         the same level of
                                                                                         STORAGE PROHIBITION
facilities from the burden of hazardous waste              protective measures as
paperwork.                                                 disposal units. To             The storage prohibition
                                                           prevent indefinite             prevents the indefinite
                                                           storage, EPA                   storage of untreated
    Dilution Prohibition                                   regulations state that if      hazardous waste for
                                                                                          reasons other than the
    The second component of the LDR program is             waste storage exceeds          accumulation of
the dilution prohibition. When a waste’s treatment         one year, the facility         quantities necessary for
                                                           has the burden of              effective treatment or
                                                           proving that such              disposal.

               DILUTION PROHIBITION                        storage is being
                                                           maintained in order to accumulate quantities
 The dilution prohibition forbids dilution, such as the    necessary for effective treatment or disposal. For
 addition of soil or water to waste, in order to reduce
                                                           storage less than one year, EPA has the burden of
 the concentrations of hazardous constituents, and can
 prohibit treatment of a waste by ineffective or           proving that such storage is not for the purpose of
 inappropriate treatment methods. Examples of              accumulating quantities necessary for effective
 ineffective or inappropriate treatment include            treatment or disposal. Generators accumulating
 biodegradation, combustion, or incineration of metals,    waste on site within their respective accumulation
 and stabilization of organics. The clearest objective
 indication that proper treatment is being conducted is
                                                           time limits (as discussed in Chapter III, Regulations
 if the treatment is the same type as that on which the    Governing Hazardous Waste Generators), and
 treatment standard is based (i.e., if the treatment       transfer facilities temporarily storing manifested
 method is the same as the BDAT that established the       shipments of hazardous waste for less than 10 days
 waste’s treatment standard) or if the treatment process
                                                           (as discussed in Chapter III, Regulations Governing
 actually destroys or removes hazardous constituents.

                                                                                                                      Land Disposal Restrictions

                                Figure III-22: Significant Land Disposal Restrictions Rulemakings

      November 7,     July 8,       August 17,        June 23,   June 1,    August 18,   September 19,     April 8,       May 12,        May 26,
         1986          1987           1988              1989      1990        1992           1994           1996           1997           1998

 Solvent and Dioxin Rule           First Third Rule          Third Third Rule            Phase II Rule                   Phase IV
     (51 FR 40572)                 (53 FR 31138)              (55 FR 22520)              (59 FR 47980)                  “Mini Rule”
                                                                                                                      (62 FR 25998)

                California List Rule           Second Third Rule             Phase I Rule                Phase III Rule               Phase IV Rule
                  (52 FR 25760)                  (54 FR 26594)              (57 FR 37194)                (61 FR 15565)                (62 FR 28556)

Hazardous Waste Transporters), are not subject to                                   Because EPA’s promulgation of LDR treatment
this burden of proof requirement.                                               standards for the large number of wastes in the
                                                                                Thirds would take considerable time, the Agency
                                                                                established interim treatment standards to ensure
HISTORY OF LDR                                                                  adequate protection of human health and the
    The LDR program has a complicated history.                                  environment. These interim standards are known as
The progression of the LDR program is important in                              the California List. The list, based on a program
understanding how and why the LDR program                                       established by California’s Department of Health
operates the way it does today (see Figure III-22).                             Services, became effective on July 8, 1987. These
                                                                                standards did not target specific waste codes, but
    The Hazardous and Solid Waste Amendments                                    rather wastes containing certain toxic constituents or
(HSWA) established the authority for the LDR                                    exhibiting certain properties. As EPA established
program. When HSWA was enacted, EPA had                                         waste-specific treatment standards in the Thirds, the
already listed and identified a large number of                                 California list provisions were superseded. All of
hazardous wastes. As a result, the Agency had to                                the provisions on the list have now been superseded.
gradually address these wastes by establishing LDR
treatment standards in stages. Congress directed                                     To address the wastes that were to be covered
EPA to address certain high-risk and high-volume                                under the Thirds, EPA ranked the wastes according
wastes first, and established a three-part schedule for                         to hazard and volume generated. Those wastes that
EPA to follow in addressing the remaining wastes.                               posed the greatest potential threat were addressed
The three parts of this schedule are known as the                               first through a rulemaking on August 17, 1988.
Thirds.                                                                         These wastes are known as the First Third wastes.
                                                                                The treatment standards for the Second Third wastes
    Before EPA could address the wastes in the                                  were promulgated on June 23, 1989, and the
Thirds, the Agency was required to address those                                treatment standards for the Third Third wastes were
wastes that were high-risk (dioxins) and those                                  promulgated on June 1, 1990.
wastes that were generated in large amounts
(solvents). The treatment standards for these wastes                                 While EPA was addressing the solvents, dioxins,
were promulgated on November 7, 1986. This                                      and the Thirds, other hazardous wastes were being
rulemaking also established the basic framework for                             listed and identified as part of the Agency’s
the LDR program.                                                                continuing process of hazardous waste
                                                                                identification. These newly listed and identified
                                                                                wastes, which became subject to RCRA after

Chapter III: Managing Hazardous Waste – RCRA Subtitle C

HSWA, were grouped in their own respective                few exceptions) once a treatment standard has been
schedules. These schedules are known as the               established for the waste. These requirements attach
Phases. These schedules not only promulgated              at the point of generation, at which time generators
treatment standards for newly listed and identified       must determine both hazardous waste listings and
wastes, but also made minor modifications and             characteristics. Based on this determination, the
improvements to the LDR regulatory program.               waste must meet all applicable treatment standards
                                                          before disposal. The LDR program consists of
     On August 18, 1992, EPA promulgated Phase I,         prohibitions on:
which finalized treatment standards for the first set
of newly listed wastes and established alternative        •   Disposal
treatment standards for hazardous debris. On              •   Dilution
September 19, 1994, EPA promulgated Phase II,             •   Storage.
which also finalized treatment standards for
additional newly listed wastes and added the UTS               The disposal prohibition requires that hazardous
table (40 CFR §268.48). On April 8, 1996, EPA             wastes be treated to meet waste specific treatment
promulgated Phase III, which not only finalized           standards before disposal. These standards are
treatment standards for a third set of newly listed       based on the BDAT process and requires treatment
wastes, but also prohibited the combustion of metals      to a specific concentration level or treatment by a
(such treatment is ineffective and thus constitutes       specific technology. EPA established a series of
impermissible dilution). On May 12, 1997, EPA             variances, exemptions, and extensions to address
promulgated the first half of Phase IV (called the        those situations where the required treatment
Phase IV “Mini-Rule”), which finalized the last set       standard cannot be achieved. The LDR program
of treatment standards for newly listed wastes and        also includes alternative treatment standards for
modified the LDR notification requirements. The           unique wastestreams, such as lab packs, debris, and
second half of Phase IV, published on May 26, 1998,       soil. To ensure that wastes receive proper treatment
completed the schedule established by the Phases by       and are managed appropriately, EPA also
finalizing treatment standards for newly identified       established notification and recordkeeping
toxicity characteristic metal wastes and formerly         requirements.
exempt mineral processing wastes, and established             The dilution prohibition prevents treatment by
alternative treatment standards for soil contaminated     ineffective or inappropriate methods. The storage
with hazardous waste.                                     prohibition is intended to require expeditious
    With the completion of the four Phases, EPA has       treatment.
promulgated standards for all currently identified            Since 1986, when the first treatment standards
and listed hazardous wastes. EPA now promulgates          were promulgated, the LDR program has continually
the LDR treatment standards for a waste when the          evolved. EPA has finished establishing treatment
waste is initially identified or listed.                  standards for all existing, newly identified, and
                                                          newly listed wastes based on two rulemaking
SUMMARY                                                   schedules (the Thirds and Phases), and the Agency
                                                          now establishes treatment standards for hazardous
    The LDR program is designed to protect ground         wastes when they are either listed or identified.
water from contamination by requiring hazardous
wastes to be physically or chemically altered to
reduce the toxicity or mobility of hazardous
                                                          ADDITIONAL RESOURCES
constituents prior to disposal. The LDR                        Additional information about the topics covered
requirements apply to all hazardous wastes (with a        in this chapter can be found at www.epa.gov/


                                                                                       Combustion is an intricate treatment process.
  Overview ...........................................................   III-101   During burning, organic wastes are converted from
  What are the Regulated Units? ........................                 III-103   solids and liquids into gases. These gases pass
  - Incinerators ....................................................    III-103   through the flame, are heated further, and eventually
  - Boilers and Industrial Furnaces .....................                III-103   become so hot that their organic compounds break
  Regulatory Requirements .................................              III-105   down into the constituent atoms. These atoms
  - Combustion Standards under RCRA ............                         III-105   combine with oxygen and form stable gases that are
  - MACT Standards under the CAA ..................                      III-108   released to the atmosphere after passing through air
  Additional Requirements ..................................             III-109   pollution control devices.
  Summary ..........................................................     III-110
  Additional Resources .......................................           III-110       The stable gases produced by combustion of
                                                                                   organics are primarily carbon dioxide and water
                                                                                   vapor. Depending on waste composition, however,
                                                                                   small quantities of carbon monoxide, nitrogen
                                                                                   oxides, hydrogen chloride, and other gases may
    A large number of TSDFs use combustion, the                                    form. These gases have the potential to cause harm
controlled burning of substances in an enclosed area,                              to human health and the environment. The
as a means of treating and disposing of hazardous                                  regulation of these emissions is the primary focus of
waste. Approximately 11 percent of the hazardous                                   the RCRA combustion unit standards.
nonwastewater generated in the United States in
                                                                                        The management or disposal of metals and ash,
1999 was treated using combustion, and in 2001, 3.6
                                                                                   other by-products of the combustion process, also
percent of hazardous waste managed was treated by
                                                                                   causes concern. Ash is an inert solid material
incineration. As a hazardous waste management
                                                                                   composed primarily of carbon, salts, and metals.
practice, combustion has several unique attributes.
                                                                                   During combustion, most ash collects at the bottom
First, if properly conducted, it permanently destroys
                                                                                   of the combustion chamber (bottom ash). When
toxic organic compounds contained in hazardous
                                                                                   this ash is removed from the combustion chamber, it
waste by breaking their chemical bonds and
                                                                                   may be considered hazardous waste via the derived-
reverting them to their constituent elements, thereby
                                                                                   from rule or because it exhibits a characteristic.
reducing or removing their toxicity. Second,
                                                                                   Small particles of ash (particulate matter that may
combustion reduces the volume of hazardous waste
                                                                                   also have metals attached), however, may be carried
to be disposed of on land by converting solids and
                                                                                   up the stack with the gases (fly ash). These
liquids to ash. Land disposal of ash, as opposed to
                                                                                   particles and associated metals are also regulated by
disposal of untreated hazardous waste, is in many
                                                                                   the combustion regulations, as they may carry
instances both safer and more efficient.
                                                                                   hazardous constituents out of the unit and into the
                                                                                   atmosphere. Since combustion will not destroy

Chapter III: Managing Hazardous Waste – RCRA Subtitle C

inorganic compounds present in hazardous waste,           (i.e., incinerators, cement kilns, and lightweight
such as metals, it is possible that such compounds        aggregate kilns), based on the maximum
may also end up in bottom ash and fly ash at harmful      achievable control technology (MACT) approach
concentrations. Ash residue is subject to applicable      commonly employed under the CAA. This process
RCRA standards and may need to be treated for             develops technology-based, emission limits for
metals or other inorganic constituents prior to land      individual hazardous air pollutants. Much like the
disposal (see Figure III-23).                             BDAT concept for land disposal restrictions (LDR)
                                                          (as discussed in Chapter III, Land Disposal
     In the early years of RCRA, EPA intended for         Restrictions), the MACT emission standards are
facilities to combust as much hazardous waste as          based on the performance of a technology. Research
possible and landfill the resultant ash. This process     is performed that determines the specific pollutants
destroyed the majority of the waste, thus reducing        that need to be treated. The best corresponding
the volume requiring disposal. However, it was            technology is then used to treat those pollutants.
determined that incomplete or improperly conducted
combustion had the potential to present a major               Consistent with EPA’s trend of gradually
public health risk, and therefore, became the topic of    increasing the stringency of standards over time, this
much public outcry. This public concern, coupled          joint rule promulgated more stringent emissions
with EPA’s advancements in assessing potential risks      standards for dioxins, furans, mercury, cadmium,
arising from combustion, caused a shift in EPA’s          lead, particulate matter, hydrogen chloride, chlorine
strategy on combustion. This shift in thinking            gas, hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide, and several
resulted in the increasing stringency of combustion       low-volatile metals. After the promulgation of this
requirements over time.                                   rule, a number of parties representing the interests of
                                                          both industrial sources and the environmental
    In September 1999, EPA issued a joint Clean Air       community, requested judicial review of this rule.
Act (CAA)/RCRA rule that upgraded the emission
standards for Phase I hazardous waste combustors               In July 2001, the United States Court of Appeals
                                                          for the District of Columbia Circuit vacated the
                                                          challenged portions of the rule. When it made its

                                    Figure III-23: The Combustion Process
                                                                                        STABLE GASES
                                                                                    (Carbon Dioxide, Water
                                                                                   Vapor, Carbon Monoxide,
                                                                                   Nitrogen Oxide, Hydrogen
                                                                                    Chloride, and Chlorine)

                                                                                          FLY ASH
                                                                                      (Particulate Matter,
                                                                                      Carbon, Salts, and
                                           AIR POLLUTION
                                          CONTROL DEVICE
                                                                                     Atoms combine with
                                                                                       oxygen to form
                      COMBUSTION CHAMBER                                                stable gases

                                                                                   Gases pass through flame
                                                                                   and break down into atoms

                                                                                      Waste is converted
                                                                                          to gases
                                                                                       BOTTOM ASH
                                                                                  (Carbon, Salts, and Metals)

                                                                                          Hazardous Waste Combustion

decision, the Court invited any of the parties to
request, either that the current standards remain
                                                              Figure III-24: Cross-Section of an Incinerator
intact, or that EPA be allowed time to publish
interim standards. Acting on this initiative, EPA and
the other parties jointly asked the Court for                                                          Auxiliary Fuel
additional time to develop interim standards, and the                                                     and/or
                                                                                                       Liquid Waste
Court granted this request. On February 13, 2002,
                                                                   Auxiliary Fuel
EPA published these interim standards which                           and/or
                                                                   Liquid Waste
temporarily replace the vacated standards. Since the         Air

development of the interim standards, litigation has                                                         Combustion
prevented the promulgation of the final standards. A        Waste

ruling by the DC court on Brick MACT has                                                   Primary
prevented the final rule even further from being
                                                            Feed Ram
                                                                            Ash             Ash
WHAT ARE THE REGULATED                                                  Transfer Ram   Discharge Ram
                                                                                                           Ash Discharge
    Hazardous wastes are combusted for various
purposes. The purpose of combustion is directly
related to the type of unit used. There are two
classes of combustion units, those that burn waste
for destruction and those that burn waste for energy         Boilers and Industrial Furnaces
                                                             The second class of combustion units are boilers
                                                         and industrial furnaces (BIFs). Boilers are used to
                                                         recover energy from hazardous waste, while
    The first class of combustion units are hazardous    industrial furnaces are used primarily to recover
waste incinerators. Incineration is the combustion of    material values.
hazardous waste primarily for destruction (i.e.,
                                                             EPA defines boilers as enclosed devices that use
disposal). Incineration is a method of thermal
                                                         controlled flame combustion to recover and export
destruction of primarily organic hazardous waste
                                                         energy in the form of steam, heated fluid, or heated
using controlled flame combustion (see Figure III-
                                                         gases. A boiler is comprised of two main parts, the
24). This process can reduce large volumes of waste
                                                         combustion chamber used to heat the hazardous
materials to ash and lessen toxic gaseous emissions.
                                                         waste and the tubes or pipes that hold the fluid used
An incinerator is an enclosed device that uses
                                                         to produce energy (see Figure III-25). The
controlled flame combustion and does not meet the
                                                         regulatory definition of boiler requires that these two
more specific criteria for classification as a boiler,
                                                         parts be in close proximity to one another to ensure
industrial furnace, sludge dryer (a unit that
                                                         the effectiveness of the unit’s energy recovery
dehydrates hazardous sludge), or carbon
                                                         system and to maintain a high thermal energy
regeneration unit (a unit that regenerates spent
                                                         recovery efficiency. In addition, the unit must
activated carbon). Incinerators also include infrared
                                                         export or use the majority of the recovered energy
incinerators (a unit that uses electric heat followed
                                                         for a beneficial purpose.
by a controlled flame afterburner) and plasma arc
incinerators (a unit that uses electrical discharge          Industrial furnaces are enclosed units that are
followed by a controlled flame afterburner).             integral parts of a manufacturing process and use
                                                         thermal treatment to recover materials or energy
                                                         from hazardous waste (see Figure III-26). These

Chapter III: Managing Hazardous Waste – RCRA Subtitle C

          Figure III-25: Cross-Section of a Boiler                   Figure III-26: Cross-Section of
                                                                         an Industrial Furnace
          Water To Be    Output

                                            Coal                                           Dust
                        Water              Burner                                         Collector

                                                               After notice and comment, EPA may add other
                                                          devices to this list of industrial furnaces upon
                                                          consideration of factors related to the design and use
                                                          of the unit.
                                                              Not all units that meet the definition of boiler or
                                                          industrial furnace are subject to the 40 CFR Part
                                                          266, Subpart H, boiler and industrial furnace
                                                          standards. Each individual unit must first be
                                                          evaluated against a number of exemptions from the
                                                          BIF requirements. For a variety of reasons (e.g., to
units may use hazardous waste as a fuel to heat raw       avoid duplicative regulation), EPA exempted the
materials to make a commodity (e.g., a cement kiln        following units from the BIF regulations:
making cement) or the unit may recover materials          •   Units burning used oil for energy recovery
from the actual hazardous waste (e.g., a lead smelter
recovering lead values). The following 12 devices         •   Units burning gas recovered from hazardous or
meet the definition of an industrial furnace:                 solid waste landfills for energy recovery
•   Cement kiln                                           •   Units burning hazardous wastes that are exempt
•   Aggregate kiln                                            from RCRA regulation, such as household
                                                              hazardous wastes
•   Coke oven
•   Smelting, melting, and refining furnace               •   Units burning hazardous waste produced by
                                                              conditionally exempt small quantity generators
•   Methane reforming furnace
•   Pulping liquor recovery furnace
                                                          •   Coke ovens burning only K087 decanter tank tar
•   Lime kiln
                                                              sludge from coking operations
•   Phosphate kiln
                                                          •   Certain units engaged in precious metals
•   Blast furnace                                             recovery
•   Titanium dioxide chloride process oxidation
    reactor                                               •   Certain smelting, melting, and refining furnaces
                                                              processing hazardous waste solely for metals
•   Halogen acid furnace (e.g., hydrochloric acid             recovery
    production furnace)
•   Combustion device used in the recovery of             •   Certain other industrial metal recovery furnaces.
    sulfur values from spent sulfuric acid.

                                                                                   Hazardous Waste Combustion

REGULATORY REQUIREMENTS                                  standards that they must meet. For each category or
                                                         type of emission, the regulations establish
    Emissions from hazardous waste combustors are        compliance methods and alternatives.
regulated under two statutory authorities—RCRA
and the Clean Air Act (CAA). Applicable RCRA             Organics
regulations include 40 CFR Part 264, Subpart O, and
                                                              Because the primary purpose of a combustion
Part 265, Subpart O, for incinerators and 40 CFR
                                                         unit is to destroy the organic components found in
Part 266, Subpart H, for BIFs. RCRA permitting
                                                         hazardous waste, it is essential to verify that the unit
requirements for these units are provided in 40 CFR
                                                         is efficiently destroying organics in the waste. This
Part 270. These units are also subject to the general
                                                         is determined based on the unit’s organic destruction
TSDF facility standards under RCRA. Hazardous
                                                         and removal efficiency (DRE) as demonstrated in a
waste incinerators and hazardous waste burning
                                                         trial burn. Since it would be nearly impossible to
cement kilns and lightweight aggregrate kilns
                                                         determine the DRE results for every organic
(LWAKs) are also subject to the CAA MACT
                                                         constituent in the waste, certain principal organic
emission standards. The MACT standards set
                                                         hazardous constituents (POHCs) are selected for
emission limitations for dioxins and furans, metals,
                                                         this demonstration. These POHCs are selected for
particulate matter, hydrogen chloride and chlorine,
                                                         each facility based on their high concentration in the
hydrocarbons/carbon monoxide, and destruction
                                                         wastestream and their greater difficulty to burn. If
and removal efficiency (DRE) for organics. Once a
                                                         the unit achieves the required DRE for the POHCs,
facility has demonstrated compliance with the
                                                         then it is presumed that it will achieve the same (or
MACT standards by conducting its comprehensive
                                                         better) DRE for all other easier-to-burn organics in
performance test and submitting its Notification of
                                                         the wastestream. At least one POHC will be selected
Compliance (NOC), it is no longer subject to the
                                                         from each wastestream that the facility manages.
RCRA emission requirements with few exceptions.
                                                         The facility designates the selected POHCs in their
RCRA permitted facilities, however, must continue
                                                         permit application (the permitting process for
to comply with their permitted emissions
                                                         combustion units is fully discussed in Chapter III,
requirements until they obtain modifications to
                                                         Permitting of Treatment, Storage, and Disposal
remove any duplicative emissions conditions from
their RCRA permits. Also, RCRA permits will
continue to be required for all other aspects of the         The combustion unit must demonstrate a DRE of
combustion unit and the facility that are governed by    99.99 percent for each POHC in the hazardous
RCRA (e.g., corrective action, general facility          wastestream. This means that for every 10,000
standards, other combustion-specific concerns such       molecules of the POHC entering the unit, only one
as materials handling, risk-based emission limits and    molecule can be released to the atmosphere. In
operating requirements, and other hazardous waste        addition, due to an increased threat to human health
management units.) The combustion standards              and the environment posed by certain dioxin-
under RCRA, as well as the MACT standards under          containing wastes (F020, F021, F022, F023, F026,
the CAA, are discussed below.                            and F027), the required DRE for POHCs in these
                                                         units has been established at 99.9999 percent, or one
    Combustion Standards under RCRA                      released molecule for every one million burned (see
                                                         Figure III-27). These DRE standards must be met
    Emissions from combustion units may comprise         by both incinerators and BIFs.
a variety of hazardous pollutants. To minimize
potential harmful effects of these pollutants, EPA
developed performance standards to regulate four
pollutant categories: organics, hydrogen chloride and
chlorine gas, particulate matter, and metals. Boilers
and most industrial furnaces, hereafter referred to as
RCRA combustion units, have performance

Chapter III: Managing Hazardous Waste – RCRA Subtitle C

 Figure III-27: Performance Standards for Organics                      Figure III-28: Performance Standards for
                                                                      Hydrogen Chloride, Chlorine Gas, and Metals
                          1 molecule of
                           the POHC                                        TIER II                     TIER III
      Measurement of
       99.99 percent                                               Tier II monitoring involves   Tier III monitoring
       organic DRE                                                 limiting stack emissions of   involves limiting the
                                                                   hydrogen chloride,            risks that hydrogen
                                                                   chlorine gas, and metals.     chloride, chlorine gas,
    10,000                                                                                       and metals will pose to
  molecules of                                                                                   the surrounding
   POHCs                                                                  TIER I                 environment.

                                                                   Tier I monitoring
                                                                   involves limiting
                                                                   the hourly waste
  WASTE FEED                                                       feed rate of
                                                                   hydrogen chloride,
 POHCs are chosen based on their high concentration in the         chlorine gas, and
 wastestream and their greater difficulty to burn. If the unit     metals.
 demonstrates the required DRE for the POHCs, then it is
 presumed that it will be able to achieve the same (or better)
 DRE for all other easier-to-burn organics in the wastestream.
 For every 10,000 molecules of POHCs that enter a combustion          WASTE FEED
 process, the unit must destroy 9,999 of them.

Hydrogen Chloride and Chlorine Gas                               main distinction between the tiers is the point of
                                                                 compliance. This is the point at which the owner
   Hydrogen chloride and chlorine gases form                     and operator must ensure that chlorine
when chlorinated organic compounds in hazardous                  concentrations will be below EPA’s acceptable
wastes are burned. If uncontrolled, this chlorine can            exposure levels. The owner and operator must
become a human health risk and is a large                        determine if the cost of conducting monitoring and
component in the formation of acid rain. EPA has                 modeling is worth the benefit of possibly
developed different requirements to control the                  combusting waste with a higher concentration of
emissions of chlorine from the different classes of              chlorine (see Figure III-29).
combustion units.
                                                                 Particulate Matter
     Boilers and most industrial furnaces must follow
a tiered system for the regulation of both hydrogen                   The third combustion unit performance standard
chloride and chlorine gas. The owner and operator                is for particulate matter. Particulate matter
determines the allowable feed or emission rate of                consists of small dust-like particles emitted from
total chlorine by selecting one of three approaches,             combustion units. The particles themselves are not
called tiers. Each tier differs in the amount of                 normally toxic, but may become caught in the lungs
monitoring, and in some cases, air dispersion                    (causing respiratory damage) if inhaled, or may enter
modeling (i.e., modeling the air pathways through                into the environment where they can cause either
which pollutants may travel), that the owner and                 ecological damage or, via food chain intake, can
operator is required to conduct (see Figure III-28).             reenter the human health exposure pathway. In
                                                                 addition, particulate matter may provide a point of
    Each facility can select any of the three tiers.             attachment for toxic metals and organic compounds.
Factors that a facility may consider in selecting a tier         To minimize these adverse conditions, RCRA
include the physical characteristics of the facility             combustion units may not emit more than 180
and surrounding terrain, the anticipated waste                   milligrams per dry standard cubic meter (dscm) of
compositions and feed rates, and the level of                    particulate matter.
resources available for conducting the analysis. The

                                                                                                                      Hazardous Waste Combustion

                                                                                            during the combustion unit’s permitting process.
                                    Figure III-29: The Tiered System
                                      of Modeling and Monitoring                            These risk assessments may be used to evaluate the
                                                                                            unit’s impact on the surrounding environment. If a
                Tier II requires increased                  Tier III requires the most      site-specific risk assessment shows that additional
                monitoring to ensure that                   monitoring by using air
                pollutants have been                        dispersion modeling to ensure
                                                                                            protection should be afforded to the surrounding
                eliminated through either                   that pollutant exposure does    environment, EPA will include the necessary permit
                partitioning to bottom ash or               not pose a threat to human
                products, or collected by the               health and the environment.     conditions and limitations in the permit pursuant to
                air pollution control device.                                               the omnibus authority (Omnibus permitting
                                                                                            authority is fully discussed in Chapter III, Permitting
  Feed Rate/Emission Rate

                                                                                Tier III    of Treatment, Storage, and Disposal Facilities).

                                                                                            Operating Requirements
                                                          Tier II
                                                                                                 The goal of setting operating requirements for
                                                                                            hazardous waste combustion units is to ensure that
                             Low    Tier I
                                                                                            the unit will operate in a way that meets the
                                   Low                                               High   performance standards for organics, hydrogen
                                               Level of Monitoring and Modeling
                                                                                            chloride and chlorine gas, particulate matter, and
                            Tier I, which requires the lowest level of monitoring
                            through adjusting waste feed rates, assumes that 100
                                                                                            metal pollutants. The unit’s permit will specify the
                            percent of the pollutants will escape into the environment.     operating conditions that have been shown to meet
                                                                                            the performance standards for organics, chlorine gas,
                            Owners and operators can choose any Tier for their hydrogen
                            chloride, chlorine gas, and metals monitoring; however, the     particulate matter, and metals (permit requirements
                            level of monitoring and modeling increase with each tier.       for combustion units are fully discussed in Chapter
                                                                                            III, Permitting of Treatment, Storage, and Disposal
                                                                                                 A RCRA permit for a hazardous waste
    The final performance standard is for toxic                                             combustion unit sets operating requirements that
metals. For RCRA combustion units, both                                                     specify allowable ranges for, and requires
carcinogenic and noncarcinogenic metals are                                                 continuous monitoring of, certain critical parameters
regulated under the same type of tiered system as                                           that will ensure compliance with the performance
chlorine. The facility determines an appropriate tier                                       standards. Operation within these parameters
for each regulated metal and assures that the facility                                      ensures that combustion is performed in the most
meets these feed rate and emission standards. A                                             protective manner and the performance standards are
different tier may be selected for each metal                                               achieved (see Figure III-30). These parameters, or
pollutant (see Figure III-28).                                                              operating requirements, may include:

Additional Performance Standards                                                            •   Maximum waste feed rates

    EPA may require owners and operators of                                                 •   Control of the firing system
hazardous waste combustion units, including those
                                                                                            •   Allowable ranges for temperature
regulated by the CAA MACT standards, to comply
with additional performance standards by virtue of                                          •   Limits on variations of system design and
the omnibus authority. This authority allows EPA to                                             operating procedures
incorporate additional terms and conditions into a
facility’s permit as necessary to protect human                                             •   Gas flow rate.
health and the environment.
    EPA recommends that site-specific risk
assessments, incorporating direct and indirect
exposures, be considered on a case-by-case basis

Chapter III: Managing Hazardous Waste – RCRA Subtitle C

                                        Figure III-30: Operating Requirements




                 WASTE FEED RATE

                   Combustion facilities must operate in accordance with certain conditions that specify allowable
                   ranges and limits for waste feed rates, temperature, gas velocity, and carbon monoxide emissions.

    MACT Standards under CAA                                     have a required DRE of 99.9999 percent for each
                                                                 POHC designated. Additionally, for dioxins and
    Hazardous waste burning incinerators, cement
                                                                 furans, EPA promulgated more stringent standards
kilns, and LWAKs, hereafter referred to as MACT
                                                                 under MACT. For example, under the final
combustion units, must also comply with emission
                                                                 standards MACT incinerators and cement kilns that
limitations. The MACT emission standards are
                                                                 burn waste with dioxins and furans, must not exceed
found under the CAA regulations, rather than the
                                                                 an emission limitation of either 0.2 nanograms of
Subtitle C requirements. The compliance
                                                                 toxicity equivalence per dry standard cubic meter
framework for these MACT combustion units is
                                                                 (TEQ/dscm) or 0.4 nanograms TEQ/dscm at the
similar to that used to comply with the RCRA
                                                                 inlet to the dry particulate matter control device.
emission standards. Sources are required to
                                                                 This unit of measure is based on a method for
demonstrate compliance with emission standards via
                                                                 assessing risks associated with exposures to dioxins
a comprehensive performance test and establish
                                                                 and furans.
operating limits to ensure compliance on a daily
basis. Generally speaking, sources can use any                   Hydrogen Chloride and Chlorine Gas
combination of control technologies to achieve the
emission standards (e.g., back-end air pollution                     Rather than a tiered system to control hydrogen
controls or front-end pollutant feed controls).                  chloride and chlorine gas emissions, MACT
                                                                 combustion units must meet numerical emission
Organics                                                         limits for total chlorine. Owners and operators of
                                                                 these units must ensure that the total chlorine
     To control the emission of organics, these units
                                                                 emission does not exceed specific limits, expressed
must comply with similar DRE requirements to the
                                                                 in ppmv (parts per million by volume). For
other hazardous waste combustion units. Owners or
                                                                 example, the current allowable limit of total chlorine
operators of MACT combustion units must select
                                                                 for a new incinerator is 21 ppmv. The owner or
POHCs and demonstrate a DRE of 99.99 percent for
                                                                 operator may choose to achieve this level by
each POHC in the hazardous wastestream. Sources
                                                                 controlling the amount of chlorine entering the
that burn hazardous waste F020-F023 or F026-F027
                                                                 incinerator. By achieving the regulatory emission

                                                                                  Hazardous Waste Combustion

limit of chlorine, both hydrogen chloride and            comply with the operating parameter that would
chlorine gas emissions will be reduced.                  otherwise apply.

Particulate Matter
                                                         ADDITIONAL REQUIREMENTS
     EPA developed more stringent standards for
particulate matter in order to control certain metals.       Because hazardous waste combustion units are a
This surrogate is used because particulate matter        type of TSDF, they are subject to the general TSDF
may provide a point of attachment for toxic metals       standards (as discussed in Chapter III, Regulations
that can escape into the atmosphere from a               Governing Treatment, Storage, and Disposal
combustion unit. For instance, a new LWAK cannot         Facilities) in addition to combustion unit
exceed an emission limit of 57 mg/dscm of                performance standards and operating requirements.
particulate matter.                                      Combustion units are also subject to specific waste
                                                         analysis, inspection and monitoring, and residue
Metals                                                   management requirements.
    Hazardous waste burning incinerators, cement              While combusting hazardous waste, the
kilns, and LWAKs do not follow a tiered approach to      combustion process and equipment must be
regulate the release of toxic metals into the            monitored and inspected to avoid potential accidents
atmosphere. The MACT rule finalized numerical            or incomplete combustion. The monitoring and
emission standards for three categories of metals:       inspection requirements for incinerators, cement
mercury, low-volatile metals (arsenic, beryllium, and    kilns, and LWAKs are detailed in the CAA
chromium), and semi-volatile metals (lead and            regulations, while the requirements for BIFs are
cadmium). Units must meet emission standards for         determined on a site-specific basis. Possible
the amount of metals emitted. Currently, a new           inspection and monitoring requirements include:
cement kiln must meet an emission limit of 120 μg/
dscm for mercury, 54 μg/dscm for the low-volatile        •   Monitoring the combustion temperature, and
metals, and 180 μg/dscm for the semi-volatile                hazardous waste feed rate
                                                         •   Sampling and analyzing the waste and exhaust
Operating Requirements                                       emissions to verify that the operating
                                                             requirements established in the permit achieve
     Owners or operators of MACT units must ensure           the performance standards
that the MACT emission standards are not exceeded.
To do this, the unit must operate under parameters       •   Conducting visual inspections of the combustion
that are demonstrated in a comprehensive                     unit and its associated equipment
performance test (CPT). The unit’s operating
                                                         •   Testing the emergency waste feed cut-off system
parameters, such as temperature, pressure, and waste
                                                             and associated alarms
feed are then set based on the result of the
comprehensive performance test and documented in         •   Placing monitoring and inspection data in the
a notification of compliance. Continuous                     operating log.
monitoring systems are used to monitor the
operating parameters.                                         Residues from the combustion of hazardous
                                                         waste are also potentially subject to RCRA
    The facility may also request to use an advanced     regulation. If a combustion unit burns a listed
type of monitoring known as continuous emissions         hazardous waste, the ash could also be considered a
monitoring systems (CEMS). CEMS directly                 listed waste via the derived-from rule. The owner
measure the pollutants that are exiting the              and operator must also determine whether this ash
combustion unit stack at all times. If a facility is     exhibits any hazardous waste characteristics. The
approved to use a CEMS, they do not need to

Chapter III: Managing Hazardous Waste – RCRA Subtitle C

same is true if a unit burns waste that only exhibits a   with strict emission limitations for dioxins, furans,
characteristic. Ash that exhibits a characteristic must   metals, particulate matter, DRE, and total chlorine.
be managed as a hazardous waste.                          To achieve the limits, the facility owner or operator
                                                          may use a single or multiple pollution control
                                                          technologies for the combustion unit. The facility
SUMMARY                                                   also uses a CMS to monitor operating parameters
    Combustion, the controlled burning of                 such as temperature, pressure, waste feed, or CEMS
hazardous substances in an enclosed area, has the         to monitor the pollutants exiting the unit.
potential to adversely affect human health and the            In addition to operating and performance
environment, and it is therefore subject to strict        requirements, all combustion units are subject to
regulation. As a result, the burning of hazardous         specific waste analysis, inspection and monitoring,
waste in incinerators and BIFs is regulated through       and residue management requirements.
stack emission limitations and unit operating
                                                          ADDITIONAL RESOURCES
    Combustion standards are comprised of two
types of regulations: (1) standards under RCRA; and           A complete overview of the MACT standards
(2) MACT standards under the CAA.                         and additional information about hazardous waste
                                                          combustion can be found at www.epa.gov/epaoswer/
    RCRA combustion units must meet performance           hazwaste/combust.htm.
standards, including a demonstration of the unit’s
DRE for certain POHCs, and meet emission
standards for hydrogen chloride, chlorine gas,
metals, and particulate matter. Operating
requirements are intended to ensure that the
combustion unit will operate in a way that meets the
performance standards for these pollutants.
Operating conditions may include:
•   Maximum waste feed rate
•   Control of the firing system
•   Allowable ranges for temperature
•   Limits on variations of system design and
    operating procedures
•   Gas flow rate.
    The MACT standards under the CAA currently
regulate incinerators and two types of industrial
furnaces that burn hazardous waste: cement kilns
and LWAKs. MACT combustion units must comply


Overview ...........................................................    III-111
Applicability .......................................................   III-112        When RCRA was enacted, Congress recognized
Permitting Process ...........................................          III-113   the risks posed by the treatment, storage, and
- Informal Meeting Prior to Application ............                    III-114   disposal of large volumes of hazardous waste at
- Permit Submission ........................................            III-114   treatment, storage, and disposal facilities (TSDFs).
- Permit Review ...............................................         III-114   Considering these risks, Congress felt that TSDF
- Preparation of the Draft Permit .....................                 III-115   management activities needed to be closely
- Taking Public Comment ................................                III-115   regulated to prevent spills, accidents, and
- Finalizing the Permit .....................................           III-115
                                                                                  mechanical failures. In addition, because these
- Duration of the Permit ...................................            III-115
                                                                                  activities involve different units and different waste
- Permit Modifications .....................................            III-116
                                                                                  management methods, they require tailored
- Omnibus Provision ........................................            III-117
                                                                                  standards. For example, land disposal units need
- Permit-as-a-Shield ........................................           III-117
                                                                                  precautions, such as liners and ground water
Interim Status ...................................................      III-117
                                                                                  monitoring, to ensure protection of ground water
- Qualifying for Interim Status .........................               III-118
                                                                                  resources. Similarly, incinerators need special
- Changes During Interim Status .....................                   III-118
- Termination of Interim Status ........................                III-118
                                                                                  provisions, such as emission control requirements,
Special Forms of Hazardous Waste Permits ....                           III-118
                                                                                  to ensure protection of air resources. In response to
- Permits-by-Rule ............................................          III-119
                                                                                  these concerns, EPA promulgated extensive
- Emergency Permits .......................................             III-119   technical standards for the design and safe operation
- Research, Development, and Demonstration                                        of hazardous waste TSDFs (these regulations are
   Permits ..........................................................   III-119   fully discussed in Chapter III, Regulations
- Land Treatment Demonstration Permits .......                          III-119   Governing Treatment, Storage, and Disposal
- Combustion Permits .....................................              III-119   Facilities). However, these design and operating
- Post-Closure Permits ....................................             III-121   standards were not enough. Congress wanted a
- Remedial Action Plans ..................................              III-121   more tangible guarantee that TSDFs would comply
- Standardized Permits ...................................              III-121   with their extensive management standards in a way
Summary ..........................................................      III-121   that would adequately protect human health and the
Additional Resources .......................................            III-122   environment.
                                                                                      TSDFs are unique in that their owners and
                                                                                  operators choose to enter the hazardous waste
                                                                                  industry. Unlike generators who produce hazardous
                                                                                  waste incidental to their normal business operations,
                                                                                  TSDF owners and operators make it their business

Chapter III: Managing Hazardous Waste – RCRA Subtitle C

                WHAT ARE PERMITS?                           APPLICABILITY
 Permits provide TSDF owners and operators with the              All TSDF owners and operators must submit a
 legal authority to treat, store, or dispose of hazardous   comprehensive permit application that covers the
 waste and detail how the facility must comply with the     full range of TSDF standards, including general
 regulations. Compliance with the permit ensures that
 hazardous waste is handled in a controlled manner
                                                            facility provisions, unit-specific requirements,
 that is protective of human health and the                 closure and financial assurance standards, and any
 environment. Permits also serve as an implementation       applicable ground water monitoring and air
 mechanism, and as a means by which EPA can track           emissions provisions. The permit application must
 waste management at facilities that choose to handle       demonstrate that the permittee’s methods of handling
 hazardous waste.
                                                            the waste are consistent with the level of protection
                                                            of human health and the environment required by
to manage hazardous waste. Because these facilities         RCRA.
choose to enter the hazardous waste industry, and
engage in waste management processes that pose                   Some facilities are not required to obtain a
varied and extensive risks to human health and the          RCRA permit when handling hazardous waste
environment, Congress wanted to ensure that these           provided that they meet certain conditions specified
facilities would comply with the TSDF standards.            in the regulations. EPA has determined that the
                                                            requirements of the permit process would place an
    As a result, TSDFs are required to obtain               unnecessary regulatory burden on these facilities
permission, in the form of an operating permit,             because the manner in which they manage the waste
which establishes the administrative and technical          does not pose a significant threat to human health
conditions under which waste at the facility must be        and the environment. These exceptions include:
managed. Specifically, permits provide TSDF
owners and operators with the legal authority to            •   Large quantity generators (LQGs) accumulating
treat, store, or dispose of hazardous waste and detail          waste on site for less than 90 days (as discussed
how the facility must comply with the regulations.              in Chapter III, Regulations Governing
Compliance with the permit ensures that hazardous               Hazardous Waste Generators)
waste is handled in a controlled manner that is
protective of human health and the environment.             •   Small quantity generators (SQGs) accumulating
Permits also serve as an implementation mechanism,              waste on site for less than 180 days (as discussed
and as a means by which EPA can track waste                     in Chapter III, Regulations Governing
management at facilities that choose to handle                  Hazardous Waste Generators)
hazardous waste.                                            •   Farmers disposing of waste pesticides and
     Permits can be issued by EPA, authorized states,           container residues on their own land
or both. The permitting agency has the authority to         •   Owners and operators of elementary
issue or deny permits and is responsible for verifying          neutralization units (ENUs), totally enclosed
that facilities are operating in compliance with the            treatment units (TETUs), and wastewater
conditions set forth in that permit. Owners and                 treatment units (WWTUs) (as discussed in
operators of facilities that do not comply with permit          Chapter III, Regulations Governing Treatment,
provisions are subject to possible RCRA                         Storage, and Disposal Facilities)
enforcement actions, including financial penalties.
                                                            •   Transporters storing manifested wastes at
                                                                transfer facilities for a period of 10 days or less
                                                                (as discussed in Chapter III, Regulations
                                                                Governing Hazardous Waste Transporters)

                                                              Permitting of Treatment, Storage, and Disposal Facilities

•   Owners and operators performing containment
                                                                     Figure III-31: The Permitting Process
    activities during an immediate response to an
•   Universal waste handlers and transporters (as
                                                                                   Applicant holds informal
    discussed in Chapter III, Hazardous Waste                                       meeting with the public
    Recycling and Universal Wastes)                                                prior to permit application

•   Persons adding absorbent material to hazardous
    waste in a container and persons adding waste to
    absorbent material in a container.                                               Applicant submits
                                                                                     Part A and Part B
                                                                                     permit applications
     If any of these facilities treat, store, or dispose of
hazardous waste in a manner not covered by one of
these exclusions, they are subject to the RCRA
permit requirements for that activity. For example,                     Permitting agency announces receipt of permit
                                                                      application, makes application available for public
if a LQG exceeds the 90-day accumulation time                          review and comment, and reviews application to
limit, the facility becomes a storage facility and the                               verify completeness

owner and operator must obtain a RCRA operating
    Recycling units are also exempt from permitting              If application is incomplete,
                                                                                                     If application is complete,
                                                                permitting agency issues as
requirements because the recycling process itself is                                                 permitting agency notifies
                                                                many notices of deficiency as
                                                                                                     permittee of application’s
exempt from RCRA (except for some air emission                  necessary until application is
standards). However, recycling facility owners and
operators must follow all applicable Subtitle C
requirements (including the requirement to obtain a
permit) for any waste management prior to                                      Permitting agency evaluates
                                                                             whether permit satisfies technical
recycling.                                                                       requirements and makes
                                                                              preliminary decision to issue or
                                                                                      deny the permit
    Owners and operators who are subject to the
permitting requirements must submit a permit                      If decision to deny permit,          If decision to issue permit,
                                                                   permitting agency issues            permitting agency prepares
application in accordance with specific permit                       notice of intent to deny                  draft permit
application procedures (see Figure III-31). While
the operator has the duty to obtain the permit, both
the owner and operator must sign it. Once a permit
has been approved for a specified duration, changes                               Permitting agency announces
                                                                                  decision and issues fact sheet
may be necessary and permit modification                                               explaining decision
procedures, which are analogous to the initial permit
application, must be followed. The procedures have
been established to account for facility-specific                                     Public has 45 days to
conditions by providing flexibility and ample                                        comment on the decision

opportunity for public involvement.

                                                                                    FINAL PERMIT DECISION

Chapter III: Managing Hazardous Waste – RCRA Subtitle C

    Informal Meeting Prior to Application                        Figure III-32: Examples of Part A and Part B
                                                                           Information Requirements
    Prior to submitting a permit application, an
applicant must announce and hold an informal
                                                             PART A
meeting with the public. The purpose of this                 • Activities conducted that require a permit
meeting is for the applicant to explain the operating        • Facility name, mailing address, and location
                                                             • Facility North American Industry Classification System
plans for the facility, including the waste the facility       (NAICS) codes
will handle and associated waste management                  • Treatment, storage, and disposal processes
processes, to the public, and for the public to pose         • Design capacity of waste management units
                                                             • Lists of wastes to be managed at facility
questions and make suggestions. This informal                • Permits received or applied for under other regulatory
public meeting is also intended to provide the owner           programs
and operator with issues and concerns to consider            • Topographic map.

when drafting the permit. The permitting agency              PART B
also uses this meeting to compile a mailing list for         • General facility description
                                                             • Analyses of wastes to be managed
future public outreach.                                      • Facility security procedures
                                                             • Inspection schedule
                                                             • Contingency plan
    Permit Submission                                        • Procedures and precautions to prevent release of waste
                                                               into environment
    After the public meeting, the applicant can              • Procedures and precautions to prevent accidental ignition
                                                               or reaction of waste
submit the permit application to the permitting              • Facility location information.
agency. The permit application is divided into two
parts, Part A and Part B. The Part A application is
submitted on a designated form, EPA Form 8700-23,               Permit Review
and requires basic information about the facility,
such as the name of the facility owner and operator,             The permitting agency announces its receipt of
the facility location, the hazardous waste                  the permit application and makes the application
management processes, the design capacity of these          available for public review and comment.
processes, and the hazardous waste that will actually       Simultaneously, the agency reviews the application
be handled at the facility. This form can be                to verify its completeness. If the permitting agency
downloaded from the Internet at www.epa.gov/                determines that the application is incomplete, it
epaoswer/hazwaste/data/form8700/forms.htm.                  issues a notice of deficiency to the permittee
                                                            describing the additional information that is
    The Part B application is submitted in narrative        necessary for a complete application. Such notices
form and provides site-specific information                 can be issued numerous times during the permit
associated with the waste management activities that        review and revision process. Each time the agency
will be conducted at the facility, and includes             receives information, it reviews the content, and if
geologic, hydrologic, and engineering data (see             necessary, issues another notice until the application
Figure III-32). The Part B application covers the           is complete.
details associated with the waste management
activities that will occur at the facility, and therefore       When the application contains all of the
often consists of volumes of documents.                     necessary information, the permitting agency
                                                            notifies the permittee of the application’s
    Owners and operators of new facilities must             completeness and will begin an evaluation to
submit Parts A and B simultaneously. This                   determine whether it satisfies the appropriate
submission must occur at least 180 days prior to the        technical requirements. After the evaluation, the
date on which physical construction is expected to          permitting agency makes a preliminary decision on
begin. An owner and operator cannot begin                   whether to issue or deny the permit. If the
construction of the facility until the application is       permitting agency determines that the application is
reviewed and a final permit is issued.                      complete and satisfies all applicable requirements,

                                                            Permitting of Treatment, Storage, and Disposal Facilities

the agency prepares a draft permit. If the permitting     comment on the decision. Citizens may request a
agency determines that the application does not           public hearing to address concerns by contacting the
demonstrate compliance with the RCRA standards, it        permitting agency. The permitting agency may also
will tentatively deny the permit and issue a notice of    hold a hearing at its own discretion, if deemed
intent to deny.                                           necessary. There is at least a 30-day public notice
                                                          period before the hearing is convened.
    Preparation of the Draft Permit                            If information submitted during the initial
                                                          comment period appears to raise substantial new
    In preparing the draft permit, the implementing
                                                          questions concerning the permit, the permitting
agency incorporates all applicable technical
                                                          agency may reopen or extend the comment period.
requirements and all other conditions associated with
                                                          In this situation, the permitting agency may also
the operations to be conducted at the facility into the
                                                          decide to revise the draft permit or issue a notice of
permit. In addition, general and administrative
                                                          intent to deny.
conditions are placed in all draft permits and require
the permittee, among other things, to:
                                                              Finalizing the Permit
•   Comply with all provisions of the permit
                                                              After the comment period closes, the
•   Provide any relevant information that is              implementing agency prepares a response to all
    requested by the permitting agency                    significant public comments and makes the final
•   Comply with all reporting requirements                permit decision by either issuing or denying the
                                                          permit. The owner and operator may appeal the
•   Allow the facility to be inspected                    decision to EPA’s Environmental Appeals Board.
                                                          When this administrative appeal is exhausted, the
•   Take all reasonable steps to protect human            petitioner may seek judicial review of the final
    health and the environment.                           permit decision.
     In addition, the draft permit includes a statement
of the permitting agency’s right to modify, revoke            Duration of the Permit
and reissue, or terminate the permit as necessary.
The draft permit also includes the term of the permit.         RCRA permits are effective for a fixed term of a
                                                          maximum of 10 years. However, EPA can issue a
    If a facility needs to conduct corrective action,     permit for less than the allowable term. Limiting
but cannot complete the cleanup before the permit is      permit duration assures that facilities are periodically
issued, the permitting agency may include a               reviewed and that their requirements are updated to
schedule of compliance in the permit. This schedule       reflect the current state-of-the-art hazardous waste
establishes interim and final dates for the completion    management practices. Considering the increased
of specific cleanup goals, as well as reporting           risks posed by the management of hazardous waste
requirements.                                             on the land, land disposal unit permits are to be
                                                          reviewed five years after the date of issuance or
    Taking Public Comment                                 reissuance and modified as necessary. An expiring
                                                          permit can be continued when the permittee has
     Once the draft permit is complete, or the notice     submitted a timely application for a new permit by
of intent to deny has been issued, the permitting         the expiration date of the existing permit. Permits
agency announces its decision by sending a letter to      that continue remain fully effective and enforceable.
everyone on the facility mailing list, placing a notice
in a local paper, and broadcasting the decision over
the radio. The permitting agency also issues a fact
sheet to explain the decision. After the
announcement, the public has 45 days or more to

Chapter III: Managing Hazardous Waste – RCRA Subtitle C

                           Figure III-33: Examples of Permit Modification Classifications

                          Class 1                             Class 2                          Class 3

                                                      Changes in frequency
              Adminstrative and informational                                         Addition of corrective action
                                                      or content of inspection
                         changes                                                                program

                 Correction of typographical       Changes to corrective action       Creation of a new landfill as
                           errors                           program                          part of closure

              Changes in names, addresses,                                             Addition of compliance
                 and phone numbers of              Extensions of post-closure         monitoring to ground water
                 emergency coordinators                   care period                   monitoring program

                Changes to waste sampling        Changes to facility training plan    Reduction in post-closure
                 and analysis methods to          that affect the type or amount            care period
                comply with new regulations            of employee training

                   Changes to analytical
               quality assurance and quality      Changes in number, location,          Addition of temporary
              control plan to comply with new    depth, or design of groundwater              incinerator
                         regulations                     monitoring wells                for closure activities

            Note: Permit modifications are classified in more detail in 40 CFR §270.42, Appendix I

    Permit Modifications                                           or frequently occurring changes needed to maintain
                                                                   a facility’s level of safety or a facility’s requirement
     EPA views permits as living documents that can
                                                                   to conform to new regulations. Class 3
be modified to allow facilities to implement
                                                                   modifications cover major changes that substantially
technological improvements, comply with new
                                                                   alter the facility or its operations (see Figure III-33).
environmental standards, respond to changing waste
                                                                   Procedures differ among the three classes of
streams, and generally improve waste management
                                                                   permittee-requested modifications based on the
practices. The permitting agency cannot anticipate
                                                                   degree of change. Class 1 modifications have minor
all of the administrative, technical, or operational
                                                                   administrative requirements and may or may not
changes required over the permit term for the facility
                                                                   need prior Agency approval. Class 2 and 3
to maintain a state-of-the-art operation, and
                                                                   modifications have more substantial administrative
therefore, permit modifications are inevitable. The
                                                                   requirements and require prior Agency approval
regulations governing permit modifications were
                                                                   followed by a process similar to the permitting
developed to provide owners and operators and EPA
with flexibility to change permit conditions, expand
public notification and participation opportunities,                    The permitting agency may request a permit
and allow for expedited approval if no public                      modification if there are substantial alterations or
concerns exist regarding a proposed change. Permit                 additions to the facility, if new information is
modifications can be requested by either the                       received by the permitting agency that was not
permittee or the permitting agency.                                available at the time of permit issuance, or if new
                                                                   regulations or judicial decisions affect the conditions
    The regulations for permittee-requested
                                                                   of the permit. The permitting agency will request
modifications establish three classes of
                                                                   that the facility initiate the modification procedures
modifications. Class 1 modifications cover routine
                                                                   for the type of change being requested. The
changes, such as correcting typographical errors or
                                                                   permitting agency may terminate a permit if the
replacing equipment with functionally equivalent
                                                                   facility fails to comply with any condition of the
equipment. Class 2 modifications address common
                                                                   permit or does not disclose or misrepresents any

                                                           Permitting of Treatment, Storage, and Disposal Facilities

relevant facts, or if the permitted activity endangers   disposal units, and the organic air emissions
human health and the environment.                        provisions.

    Omnibus Provision                                    INTERIM STATUS
     Some hazardous waste management practices               Many TSDFs were already existing and
may pose threats to human health and the                 operating when they became subject to RCRA
environment that are not specifically addressed by       regulatory requirements as a result of a statutory or
the RCRA regulations. To address such instances,         regulatory change. These owners and operators
HSWA increased the authority of EPA when writing         were immediately subject to the RCRA
permits by creating the omnibus provision. This          requirements, including the requirement to obtain an
authority allows EPA to add conditions that are not      operating permit. Many of these facilities were not
specifically described in Part 264 to an operating       able to immediately meet the required TSDF design
permit, where the permit writer demonstrates that the    and operating standards in order to obtain an
additional standards are necessary to protect human      operating permit. Congress recognized that it would
health and the environment. For example, EPA             be virtually impossible for the Agency and
could invoke the omnibus authority to require a          authorized states to issue permits to all existing
TSDF owner and operator to conduct a site-specific       TSDFs before the RCRA Subtitle C program became
risk assessment of the impact on endangered species      effective in November 1980. As a result, Congress
before issuing an operating permit to the facility,      established provisions to give these facilities
even though such risk assessments are not                “interim status.” Interim status allows a facility to
specifically mandated by the RCRA regulations.           operate without a permit as long as it complies with
                                                         certain general facility and unit-specific TSDF
    Permit-as-a-Shield                                   standards until the implementing agency can make a
                                                         final permit determination. These interim status
     In general, compliance with a RCRA permit is
considered compliance with the RCRA regulations
for enforcement purposes. This gives permittees the            HOW DOES INTERIM STATUS OPERATE?
security of knowing that if they comply with their
                                                          Beginning in 1980, XYZ Corporation began treating
permits, they will not be enforced against for            and storing nonhazardous petroleum refinery sludges
violating new requirements that were not established      at one of its facilities. On November 2, 1990, EPA
in the original permit. This is referred to as the        promulgated F037 and F038 hazardous waste listings
permit-as-a-shield provision. EPA believes that the       for such sludges. As a result, the sludges became
                                                          subject to the hazardous waste regulations and XYZ’s
most useful purpose of a permit is to specifically        facility became subject to the RCRA TSDF standards.
prescribe the requirements that a facility has to meet    However, rather than ceasing operations, the facility
to allow that facility to plan and operate with           was allowed to operate under the interim status
knowledge of what rules apply.                            provisions until it received an operating permit. Under
                                                          these provisions, XYZ was required to submit a Part A
     While permit-as-a-shield protects a facility from    permit application six months after the date of
                                                          publication of the regulatory change that subjected it to
having to comply with new regulatory requirements
                                                          the RCRA standards (i.e., by May 2, 1991).
that were not included in the original operating
permit, some regulatory requirements are of such          XYZ’s Part B permit application must be submitted
importance to the protection of human health and the      when requested by the permitting agency. The
environment that EPA feels that TSDFs should have         permitting agency will give the facility at least six
                                                          months from the date of request to submit the Part B.
to comply with them immediately. As a result, the         If XYZ is managing these sludges in land disposal
permit-as-a-shield provision does not apply to some       units, the owner and operator must submit their Part B
types of new regulatory provisions. Examples are          within 12 months of becoming subject to the
the land disposal restrictions (LDR) standards, the       regulations (i.e., by May 2, 1992) or they will lose
                                                          interim status.
liner and leak detection requirements for certain land

Chapter III: Managing Hazardous Waste – RCRA Subtitle C

requirements are self-implementing until the facility      considered reconstruction. This reconstruction
submits its Part B permit application and receives its     prohibition prevents interim status facilities from
final permit.                                              constructing entirely new facilities while operating
                                                           under self-implementing standards, in order to avoid
                                                           the scrutiny of the permitting process that would
    Qualifying for Interim Status
                                                           otherwise apply to new facilities. The reconstruction
   In order to qualify for interim status, the facility    prohibition does not apply if the changes are
must have:                                                 necessary to comply with the LDR regulations, the
                                                           hazardous waste tank regulations, or a corrective
•   Existed (operating or in construction) on the          action order, among other things.
    effective date of the rule that brought the facility
    into the RCRA program
                                                               Termination of Interim Status
•   Submitted a Part A permit application
                                                               Interim status is terminated either when the
•   Notified EPA of hazardous waste activity.              permitting agency makes a final determination on
                                                           the Part B permit application (to either issue or deny
                                                           a permit), or when the facility fails to furnish a Part
    Changes During Interim Status
                                                           B application on time.
     Changes can be made to a facility operating
                                                               An owner and operator of an interim status
under interim status provided that the owner and
                                                           facility may submit the Part B voluntarily or in
operator submits a revised Part A permit application
                                                           response to a request from the state or EPA.
that includes justification for the proposed change
                                                           However, an owner and operator of a facility already
before any changes are made. The following
                                                           in existence must submit the Part B in accordance
changes are permissible:
                                                           with HSWA-mandated deadlines for specific types
•   Management of hazardous wastes not previously          of units. If a permittee fails to submit the Part B
    identified in Part A of the permit application         before the expiration of the specified statutory time
                                                           period, the facility loses interim status immediately.
•   Increases in the design capacity of processes          These deadlines were imposed because Congress
    used at the facility                                   wanted to ensure that hazardous waste management
                                                           units that posed increased threats to human health
•   Changes to, or additions of, hazardous waste
                                                           and the environment would not operate in interim
                                                           status indefinitely.
•   Changes in the ownership or operational control
    of the facility
                                                           SPECIAL FORMS OF HAZARDOUS
•   Changes made in accordance with an interim             WASTE PERMITS
    status corrective action order under §3008(h)
    (corrective action is fully discussed in Chapter           Some hazardous waste management operations
    III, Corrective Action to Clean Up Hazardous           and practices require special permit provisions.
    Waste Contamination)                                   These provisions provide the permitting agency
                                                           flexibility in developing permit conditions and
•   Addition of newly regulated hazardous waste            procedures for permit administration. These special
    units.                                                 forms of permits include:
    Changes to an interim status facility may not be       •   Permits-by-rule
made if they amount to “reconstruction” of the
                                                           •   Emergency permits
facility. Any change that requires a capital
expenditure exceeding 50 percent of the cost of            •   Research, development, and demonstration
construction of a comparable new facility is                   (RD&D) permits

                                                          Permitting of Treatment, Storage, and Disposal Facilities

•   Land treatment demonstration permits                    Research, Development, and
•   Combustion permits                                      Demonstration Permits
•   Post-closure permits                                     Owners and operators who propose to use
•   Remedial Action Plans.                              innovative hazardous waste treatment technologies
                                                        can receive a research, development, and
   Additionally, EPA has developed another special      demonstration (RD&D) permit, provided that permit
type of permit called a “standardized permit.” The      standards for such an activity have not already been
“standardized permit” streamlines the permitting        established by EPA. The RD&D permit
process for hazardous waste generators who              requirements specify that a facility can only receive
subsequently store or non-thermally treat hazardous     those wastes necessary to determine the efficiency of
waste in tanks, containers, or containment buildings.   the treatment technology. RD&D permits provide
                                                        for the construction and operation of the facility for
    Permits-by-Rule                                     up to one year, but may be renewed up to three times
                                                        with each renewal not exceeding one year. In order
    EPA issues permits under different                  to expedite the issuance of RD&D permits, EPA may
environmental statutes. In some instances, the          modify or waive the usual permit application and
RCRA regulations may overlap with the                   issuance requirements, with the exception of
requirements of another statute. In order to avoid      financial responsibility and public participation.
unnecessary duplicative regulation, RCRA allows         When issuing RD&D permits, EPA must maintain
these facilities’ non-RCRA permits to serve in place    consistency with its mandate to protect human health
of a RCRA permit, provided that such facilities are     and the environment.
in compliance with that permit and other basic
RCRA administrative requirements. Permits-by-rule
                                                            Land Treatment Demonstration
are available for:
•   Ocean disposal vessels and barges regulated
    under the Marine Protection, Research, and              Before a land treatment facility can obtain a
    Sanctuaries Act (MPRSA)                             final permit, the owner and operator must
                                                        demonstrate that hazardous constituents in a waste
•   Underground injection control (UIC) wells           can be completely degraded, transformed, or
    regulated under the Safe Drinking Water Act         immobilized in the treatment zone. Land treatment
    (SDWA)                                              demonstration permits allow an owner and operator
                                                        to perform these required treatment demonstrations
•   Publicly owned treatment works (POTWs)              in order to obtain a final TSDF operating permit.
    regulated under the Clean Water Act (CWA).          Such demonstration permits are issued for treatment
                                                        or disposal, and may include field tests or laboratory
    Emergency Permits                                   analysis conditions, unit design criteria, construction
                                                        standards, operation provisions, and maintenance
    In emergency situations, EPA can forego the         requirements (land treatment unit standards are fully
normal permitting process for hazardous waste           discussed in Chapter III, Regulations Governing
management activities. Specifically, when EPA or        Treatment, Storage, and Disposal Facilities).
an authorized state finds there is an imminent and
substantial endangerment to human health and the
environment, it can issue a temporary emergency             Combustion Permits
permit to allow treatment, storage, or disposal of          Combustion permits specify the conditions
hazardous waste by a nonpermitted facility or by a      under which a combustion facility must operate. A
permitted facility that has not been permitted to       facility’s permit specifies the operating conditions,
engage in such activity. The duration of an             such as waste feed rate, unit temperature, gas
emergency permit cannot exceed 90 days.

Chapter III: Managing Hazardous Waste – RCRA Subtitle C

velocity, and carbon monoxide emissions, which                 The permitting agency specifies operating
guarantee that a combustion unit will meet its            conditions for all phases based on a technical
respective performance standards (i.e., pollutant-        evaluation of the combustion unit’s design, the
specific air emissions limitations). The permit also      information contained in the permit application and
specifies combustion unit waste analysis, inspection      trial burn plan, and results of burns from other
and monitoring, and residue management                    combustion units. The operating conditions are
requirements. Additionally, the permit sets               established such that the combustion unit will
conditions for all other hazardous waste storage,         theoretically meet performance standards at all
treatment, and disposal units at the facility.            times. The results from the trial burn are used to
                                                          verify the adequacy of the proposed operating
     Owners and operators must obtain a RCRA              conditions.
operating permit before beginning construction of a
combustion unit. However, it is impossible to             Interim Status Combustion Units
prescribe which specific operating conditions will
limit air emissions without a constructed unit that the       Owners and operators of interim status
owner and operator can actually test to determine if      combustion units must demonstrate that their units
adequate protection of human health and the               meet all applicable performance standards by
environment is being achieved. As a result, the           submitting performance data developed during
permit process for combustion units is comprised of       actual burns. Performance data is used by the
four phases intended to test the unit’s operation prior   permitting agency to determine whether the
to the issuance of the final                              combustion unit meets RCRA performance
permit to ensure that the                                 standards when burning a particular waste under a
unit can operate in                Figure III-34:         specific set of operating conditions.
accordance with its              Combustion Unit
                                     Permitting               While many hazardous waste combustion units
operating conditions (see                                 are subject to RCRA permitting, units subject to
Figure III-34). These                Final Permit
                                                          MACT standards (cement kilns, lightweight
phases include:                                           aggregate kilns, and incinerators) must also obtain a
•   Shake-down period,                                    Clean Air Act (CAA) Title V permit. The CAA
    during which the               Construction of        permitting process is different than the RCRA
                                  Combustion Unit
    combustion unit is                                    process because CAA permits are completed after a
    brought to the level of                               facility has demonstrated compliance with the
    normal operating                Shake-Down            emission standards, while a RCRA permit is issued
    conditions in                     Period              prior to compliance testing.
    preparation for the trial                                 Prior to the compliance date, hazardous waste
    burn                             Trial Burn           combustion facilities that are subject to the MACT
•   Trial burn, during                                    standards must comply with the Title V permit
    which burns are                Post-Trial Burn
                                                          application requirements. Facilities that are
    conducted so that                                     currently permitted under RCRA may need to
    performance can be                                    modify their RCRA permit in order to make design
    tested over a range of         Final Operating        and operational changes to come into compliance
                                       Period             with the MACT standards. These facilities must
                                                          continue to comply with the RCRA permit
•   Post-trial burn, during                               conditions until these conditions either expire or are
    which the data from the trial burn is evaluated       removed; they are not automatically removed upon
    and the facility may operate under conditions         promulgation of the MACT standards.
    specified by the permitting agency
•   Final operating period, which continues
    throughout the life of the permit.

                                                              Permitting of Treatment, Storage, and Disposal Facilities

    Post-Closure Permits                                        Standardized Permits
    Owners and operators of hazardous waste                    On September 8, 2005, in order to increase the
disposal units, and owners and operators of               efficiency and effectiveness of the permitting
hazardous waste management units that cannot clean        process, EPA finalized the implementation of a
close and must close as landfills, must conduct post-     standardized permit for facilities that generate
closure care, including ground water monitoring and       hazardous waste and store or non-thermally treat the
maintenance of an impermeable cap (post-closure is        waste in tanks, containers, and containment
fully discussed in Chapter III, Regulations               buildings on site. The standardized permit
Governing Treatment, Storage, and Disposal                streamlines the permit process by allowing facilities
Facilities). The standards for permitted facilities       to obtain and modify permits more easily while
incorporate post-closure care requirements into the       maintaining the protectiveness currently existing in
facility’s operating permit to ensure that post-closure   the individual RCRA permit process. For example,
care is performed in a protective manner. However,        public participation is still required during the
because interim status facilities do not yet have an      permitting process, but unlike the existing individual
operating permit, the RCRA regulations require that       permit, public notice is not required at the
interim status facilities needing post-closure care       application submittal, though an informal meeting
obtain a post-closure permit or an enforceable            prior to the application is still necessary. In addition,
document containing the same regulatory                   when seeking a standardized permit, the permitting
requirements as a permit. This will ensure that           agency does not need to verify completeness of the
interim status facilities meet all applicable             application. Also, the permit modification
requirements for permitted facilities, including the      procedures are less cumbersome for a standardized
ground water monitoring standards.                        permit.

    Remedial Action Plans                                 SUMMARY
     Remedial Action Plans (RAPs) are a special               The RCRA regulations require hazardous waste
form of RCRA permit that a facility may obtain to         TSDFs to obtain an operating permit that establishes
treat, store, or dispose of hazardous remediation         the administrative and technical conditions under
waste at a remediation waste management site.             which hazardous waste at the facility must be
Often, remedies selected for cleanup sites involve        managed. Such permits cover the full range of
treating, storing or re-disposing of hazardous            TSDF standards, including general facility
remediation waste. Before the existence of RAPs,          provisions, unit-specific requirements, closure and
these activities required the same type of permit as      financial assurance standards, and any applicable
that for as-generated process waste management.           ground water monitoring and air emissions
Traditional RCRA permits, however, are not always         provisions.
well suited to cleanup activities. RAPs allow
additional flexibility in public participation, provide       In order to obtain a permit, a TSDF owner and
for streamlined information requirements during the       operator must comply with specific application
permit application process, and eliminate the             procedures. The permitting process consists of the
requirement to perform facility-wide corrective           following stages:
                                                          •     Informal meeting prior to application
  Additional information on RAPs is found at              •     Permit submission
                                                          •     Permit review
                                                          •     Preparation of the draft permit
                                                          •     Taking public comment
                                                          •     Finalizing the permit.

Chapter III: Managing Hazardous Waste – RCRA Subtitle C

     After issuance, permits may need to be modified
to allow facilities to implement technological
improvements, comply with new environmental
standards, respond to changing waste streams, and
generally improve waste management practices.
These modifications can be initiated by either the
facility or the permitting agency.
    Facilities that were existing and operating on the
effective date of a regulation that required them to
obtain an operating permit are considered interim
status facilities. They are allowed to continue
operating as long as they comply with certain
general facility and unit-specific TSDF standards
until the implementing agency makes a final permit
    Some waste management operations and
practices require special permit provisions. These
special forms of permits include:
•   Permits-by-rule
•   Emergency permits
•   RD&D permits
•   Land treatment demonstration permits
•   Combustion permits
•   Post-closure permits
•   Remedial Action Plans.
   Additionally, EPA has developed another special
type of permit called a “standardized permit.”

    Additional information about RCRA permitting
can be found at www.epa.gov/epaoswer/hazwaste/


                                                                                   corrective action necessary to protect human health
  Overview ...........................................................   III-123   and the environment varies significantly among
  Corrective Action Implementation .....................                 III-124   these facilities.
  - Permitted Corrective Action ...........................              III-124
  - Corrective Action Orders ...............................             III-124
                                                                                        The corrective action program is a unique part of
  - Voluntary Corrective Action ...........................              III-125
                                                                                   RCRA because there are no comprehensive cleanup
  Improving Corrective Action .............................              III-125
  - Special Provisions for Cleanup .....................                 III-125
                                                                                   Instead, EPA
  - Environmental Indicators ...............................             III-126
  - RCRA Cleanup Reforms ...............................                 III-127
                                                                                   corrective action
  - RCRA Brownfields Prevention Initiative ........                      III-127
                                                                                   primarily through
                                                                                   guidance, and
  Traditional Corrective Action Components .......                       III-127
                                                                                   enforces it largely
  - Initial Site Assessment ..................................           III-127
                                                                                   through statutory
  - Site Characterization .....................................          III-127
  - Interim Actions ...............................................      III-127
                                                                                   established by the
  - Evaluation of Remedial Alternatives ..............                   III-128
                                                                                   Hazardous and
  - Remedy Implementation ...............................                III-128
                                                                                   Solid Waste
  Summary ..........................................................     III-128
  Additional Resources .......................................           III-128
                                                                                   (HSWA). Prior to
                                                                                   HSWA, EPA’s
                                                                                   statutory authority
OVERVIEW                                                                           to require cleanup
                                                                                   of hazardous
     Past and present activities at RCRA facilities
                                                                                   releases was
have sometimes resulted in releases of hazardous
                                                                                   limited to situations where the contamination
waste and hazardous constituents into soil, ground
                                                                                   presented an “imminent and substantial
water, surface water, sediments, and air. The
                                                                                   endangerment to health or the environment.”
Resource Conservation and Recovery Act generally
                                                                                   Regulatory authority was limited to releases
mandates that EPA requires the investigation and
                                                                                   identified during ground water monitoring at RCRA-
cleanup, or remediation, of these hazardous releases
                                                                                   regulated land-based hazardous waste units, such as
at RCRA facilities. This program is known as
                                                                                   landfills or surface impoundments. Through HSWA,
corrective action. Approximately 3,800 sites are
                                                                                   Congress substantially expanded EPA’s corrective
undergoing corrective action, three times the number
                                                                                   action authority, allowing the Agency to address any
of sites found on the Superfund National Priorities
                                                                                   releases of hazardous waste or hazardous
List (NPL) (as discussed in Chapter VI, CERCLA).
                                                                                   constituents to all environmental media at both
The degree of investigation and subsequent
                                                                                   RCRA permitted and nonpermitted facilities.

Chapter III: Managing Hazardous Waste – RCRA Subtitle C

     Rather than implementing a rigid regulatory          •   Releases from solid waste management units
framework for corrective action, the Agency                   (SWMUs) – Under the authority of §3004(u) of
developed guidance and policy documents to assist             the Act, EPA requires corrective action for
facilities conducting cleanups. EPA developed a set           releases of hazardous waste or hazardous
of targeted administrative reforms, known as the              constituents from SWMUs in a facility’s permit.
RCRA Cleanup Reforms, to achieve faster, more                 A SWMU is any discernible unit where solid or
efficient cleanups. The RCRA Cleanup Reforms                  hazardous wastes have been placed at any time,
represent a comprehensive effort to address key               or any area where solid wastes have been
impediments to cleanups, maximize program                     routinely and systematically released.
flexibility, and spur progress toward a set of national
cleanup goals.                                            •   Releases beyond the facility boundary –
                                                              §3004(v) of the Act authorizes EPA to impose
                                                              corrective action requirements for releases that
CORRECTIVE ACTION                                             have migrated beyond the facility boundary.
IMPLEMENTATION                                                This corrective action provision can be
                                                              complementary to §3004(u), but it is not
    One of the keys to understanding the RCRA                 expressly limited to releases from SWMUs.
corrective action program is knowing how a facility
becomes subject to corrective action. Facilities          •   Omnibus permitting authority – This provision,
generally are brought into the RCRA corrective                found in §3005(c)(3) of the Act, allows EPA or
action process when there is an identified release of         an authorized state to include any requirements
hazardous waste or hazardous constituents, or when            deemed necessary in a permit, including the
EPA is considering a facility’s RCRA permit                   requirement to perform corrective action. This
application. Additionally, a facility owner or                authority is particularly useful at permitted
operator may volunteer to perform corrective action           facilities when there is a release not associated
by entering an agreement with EPA in order to                 with any particular SWMU. (Omnibus
expedite the process.                                         permitting authority is fully discussed in Chapter
                                                              III, Regulations Governing Treatment, Storage,
                                                              and Disposal Facilities).
    Permitted Corrective Action
    When a facility is seeking a permit, or when a            Corrective Action Orders
permit is already in place, EPA can incorporate
corrective action into the permit requirements.               EPA also possesses additional authorities to
Permitted facilities are required under 40 CFR Part       order corrective action that are not contingent upon a
264, Subpart F, to monitor ground water to detect         facility’s permit. The statutory provisions to issue
and correct any releases from regulated land-based        corrective action orders are:
hazardous waste land disposal units (LDUs) (as
                                                          •   Releases at interim status facilities – §3008(h) of
discussed in Chapter III, Regulations Governing
                                                              the Act authorizes EPA to require corrective
Treatment, Storage, and Disposal Facilities). HSWA
                                                              action or other necessary measures through an
further expanded EPA’s permit authority for
                                                              administrative enforcement order or lawsuit,
corrective action to address all environmental media,
                                                              whenever there is or has been a release of
as well as releases from areas other than regulated
                                                              hazardous waste or constituents from an interim
LDUs, such as tanks or containers. Permits issued to
                                                              status RCRA facility (i.e., a facility that has not
RCRA facilities must, at a minimum, contain
                                                              yet received a RCRA permit).
schedules of compliance to address these releases
and include provisions for financial assurance to         •   Imminent and substantial endangerment – This
cover the cost of implementing those cleanup                  authority, found in §7003 of the Act, allows
measures. The HSWA statutory provisions for                   EPA, upon evidence of past or present handling
addressing corrective action in permits are as                of solid or hazardous waste, to require any

                                                          Corrective Action to Clean Up Hazardous Waste Contamination

    action necessary when a situation may present                  Special Provisions for Cleanup
    an imminent and substantial endangerment to
    health or the environment (i.e., poses significant             Cleaning up RCRA facilities under the
    threat or harm). This authority applies to all            corrective action program may involve the
    facilities subject to RCRA, whether or not they           management of large amounts of waste such as
    have a RCRA permit. EPA can waive other                   contaminated soils, water, debris, and sludges which
    RCRA requirements (e.g., a permit) to expedite            contain a listed waste or exhibit a characteristic of
    the cleanup process under this provision.                 hazardous waste. Such cleanup wastes are referred
                                                              to as remediation wastes. Remediation wastes are
                                                              generally subject to the same management standards
    Voluntary Corrective Action                               as newly generated RCRA hazardous waste,
                                                              including treatment, storage, and disposal facility
     Corrective action does not need to be initiated
                                                              (TSDF) standards, permits, and land disposal
subject to permit requirements or an enforcement
                                                              restrictions (LDR). These management standards
order. Owners and operators of RCRA-regulated
                                                              are sometimes counterproductive when applied to
facilities may also volunteer to perform corrective
                                                              cleanups because they may unnecessarily slow the
action. There are some activities which may be
                                                              corrective action process and increase the cost of
necessary to achieve corrective action goals at a
                                                              corrective action without providing a concomitant
facility; however, these may require formal approval
                                                              level of protection of human health and the
by EPA or the state. EPA, therefore, encourages
                                                              environment. Figure III-35 illustrates potential
owners and operators to work closely with EPA and
                                                              disincentives to the cleanup program and EPA’s
state agencies to obtain sufficient oversight during
voluntary cleanup activities.
                                                                                           Figure III-35

IMPROVING CORRECTIVE ACTION                                           Potential Disincentives            Special Provisions for Cleanup

                                                              Obtaining a traditional RCRA permit for
                                                                                                        Remedial Action Plan (RAP)
     EPA identified several factors that inhibit the          treatment, storage or disposal
efficiency and timeliness of the cleanup program. In                                                    Remediation waste management
some instances, cleanups have suffered from an                LDU minimum technical requirements        units (i.e., CAMUs, TUs, and
                                                                                                        staging piles)
emphasis on process steps, instead of process goals.
                                                                                                        Alternative LDR soil treatment
Thus, EPA seeks to reduce these hindrances by                 LDR treatment standards
allowing more flexibility during the cleanup process.
EPA has reformed the corrective action program by:                 In order to mitigate the impact of these
addressing specific disincentives through regulatory          management standards on the corrective action
changes; focusing on near-term goals; and stressing           program, EPA promulgated streamlined regulations
results-based approaches, instead of a process-based          that allow the use of alternative remediation waste
scheme.                                                       permit and unit standards. These alternative
                                                              standards ensure cleanups are fully protective while
    The Agency finalized provisions to facilitate             eliminating some of the regulatory hurdles
faster, more efficient cleanups. For example, EPA             associated with waste management. For example,
established alternative soil standards for cleanups (as       the Agency promulgated a modified version of a
discussed in Chapter III, Land Disposal                       permit, the Remedial Action Plan (RAP). Unlike the
Restrictions); harmonized the sometimes duplicative           traditional RCRA permit, the RAP is tailored to the
closure and correction action requirements; and               needs of a facility that manages remediation waste.
increased flexibility for “cleanup only” facilities by
developing streamlined RCRA cleanup permits,                      EPA also provided options for increased cleanup
removing the obligation for facility-wide corrective          flexibility by establishing three types of remediation
action, and introducing new units for managing                waste management units: temporary units (TUs),
cleanup wastes.                                               corrective action management units (CAMUs),
                                                              and staging piles.

Chapter III: Managing Hazardous Waste – RCRA Subtitle C

     TUs are tanks or container storage areas that        exposure to pollutants and/or for ground water
EPA designated to be used solely for the treatment or     contamination. EPA identified many of these
storage of remediation wastes during cleanups. EPA        facilities using the National Corrective Action
or authorized states can modify the design,               Prioritization System (NCAPS), a computer-based
operating, and closure standards that normally apply      ranking system that prioritizes the cleanup of the site
to these units in order to facilitate prompt cleanup of   relative to other sites. The relative ranking (i.e.,
contaminated waste sites.                                 high, medium, or low) assigned to each site is based
                                                          on an evaluation of four pathways of actual or
    A CAMU is an area within a facility that is used
                                                          potential contamination (i.e., ground water, surface
only for managing CAMU-eligible wastes for
                                                          water, air, and soil).
implementing corrective action or cleanup at the
facility. A CAMU must be located within the                   The environmental indicators used are Current
contiguous property under the control of the owner        Human Exposures Under Control and Migration of
or operator where wastes to be managed in the             Contaminated Groundwater Under Control. The
CAMU originated. By designating an area as a              Agency and authorized States will verify and
CAMU, EPA exempts that area from LDR and the              document that by the year 2005, 95 percent of the
LDU minimum technological requirements (MTR).             baseline facilities have current human exposures
However, waste must meet minimum treatment                under control and 70 percent have migration of
standards for its principal hazardous constituents        contaminated groundwater under control. These
(PHCs), and CAMUs must meet minimum liner and             environmental indicators will also aid site decision
cap standards similar to the criteria for municipal       makers by clearly showing where risk reduction is
solid waste landfills (MSWLFs) in Part 258 (See           necessary, thereby helping regulators and facility
Chapter II).                                              owner and operators reach agreements earlier on
                                                          which stabilization measures or cleanup remedies
     A staging pile is a unit designated by EPA for
                                                          must be implemented.
the temporary accumulation of solid, non-flowing
remediation waste during cleanups. Staging piles do           Figure III-36 illustrates the progress EPA has
not have to meet MTR, and LDR treatment standards         made in meeting its 2005 goals. Of the high priority
do not apply to the remediation waste managed             baseline facilities, 96 percent have achieved Human
within these units. Owners and operators may not
place any liquids in staging piles and cannot conduct                      Figure III-36
any significant treatment within these units.                     Environmental Indicator Progress
                                                          100                                2005 Goal
    Environmental Indicators                                                                Progress as of
                                                                                            October 2005
    Although the ultimate goal of the corrective           80
action program is completing final site cleanup, EPA
assesses the program using environmental indicators.
EPA developed two environmental indicators to              60
focus efforts on early risk reduction, risk
communication, and resource protection. EPA uses
the environmental indicators to measure progress           40
toward meeting the national cleanup goals
established by the Government Performance Results
Act of 1993 (GPRA). To meet the GPRA objectives,
EPA designated 1,714 RCRA facilities as the cleanup
baseline because of the potential for unacceptable
                                                                   Human           Groundwater EI
                                                                 Exposures EI

                                                        Corrective Action to Clean Up Hazardous Waste Contamination

Exposures Under Control and 78 percent have                 elements should be viewed as evaluations necessary
achieved Groundwater Under Control.                         to make good cleanup decisions, not prescribed steps
                                                            along a path. EPA emphasizes that it does not want
                                                            studies to be undertaken simply for the purpose of
    RCRA Cleanup Reforms                                    completing a perceived step in a perceived process.
     The goals for the RCRA Corrective Action
program remain challenging. To more effectively                 Initial Site Assessment
meet these goals and speed up the pace of cleanups,
EPA introduced RCRA Cleanup Reforms in 1999                      The first element in most cleanup programs is an
and additional Reforms in 2001. The 1999 and 2001           initial site assessment. During the initial site
Reforms build upon actions taken by EPA and states          assessment, information is gathered on site
in recent years to accelerate cleanups. The 1999            conditions, releases, potential releases, and exposure
Reforms outline policies to remove obstacles to             pathways to determine whether a cleanup may be
efficient cleanups, maximize program flexibility, and       needed and to identify areas of potential concern. In
initiate progress toward the GPRA cleanup goals.            the corrective action program, this step is commonly
The RCRA Cleanup Reforms of 2001 highlight                  referred to as RCRA Facility Assessment (RFA).
those activities that EPA believes would best               Overseeing agencies may also use initial site
accelerate program progress and foster creative             assessments to set relative priorities between sites
solutions.                                                  and allocate resources.

    RCRA Brownfields Prevention                                 Site Characterization
                                                                 Before cleanup decisions can be made, some
     A potential RCRA Brownfield facility is a              level of characterization is necessary to ascertain the
facility that is not in full use, where there is            nature and extent of contamination of a site and to
redevelopment potential, and reuse or redevelopment         gather information necessary to support selection
of that site is slowed due to real or perceived             and implementation of appropriate remedies. This
concerns about actual or potential contamination,           step is often referred to as the RCRA Facility
liability, and RCRA requirements. EPA launched the          Investigation (RFI). A successful RFI will identify
RCRA Brownfields Prevention Initiative on June 11,          the presence, movement, fate, and risks associated
1998, with the goal of encouraging the reuse of             with environmental contamination at a site and will
potential RCRA Brownfields so that the land better          elucidate the chemical and physical properties of the
serves the needs of the community either through            site likely to influence contamination migration and
more productive commercial or residential                   cleanup.
development or as greenspace.
                                                                Interim Actions
TRADITIONAL CORRECTIVE                                           While site characterization is underway or
ACTION COMPONENTS                                           before a final remedy is selected, there is often need
                                                            for interim actions at a corrective action site.
    Corrective action typically includes five               Interim actions are used to control or abate ongoing
elements common to most, though not all, cleanup            risks to human health and the environment in
activities: initial site assessment, site                   advance of the final remedy selection. For example,
characterization, interim actions, evaluation of
                                                            actual or potential contamination of drinking water
remedial alternatives, and implementation of the
                                                            supplies may necessitate an interim action to provide
selected remedy. However, no one approach is
                                                            alternative drinking water sources.
likely to be appropriate for all corrective action
facilities; therefore, a successful corrective action
program must be procedurally flexible. These five

Chapter III: Managing Hazardous Waste – RCRA Subtitle C

    Evaluation of Remedial Alternatives                       EPA implements the corrective action program
                                                          primarily through guidance, and has not
    Before choosing a cleanup approach, program           promulgated comprehensive cleanup regulations.
implementors and facility owners and operators will
typically analyze a range of alternatives and evaluate         Remediation wastes are those managed for the
their advantages and disadvantages relative to site-      purpose of implementing corrective action, and may
specific conditions. Such a study is typically called     include contaminated soils, water, debris and sludges
the Corrective Action Measures Study (CMS).               that contain a listed waste or exhibit a characteristic
                                                          of hazardous waste.

    Remedy Implementation                                     EPA promulgated provisions more appropriate
                                                          for managing remediation waste, including the
    Remedy implementation typically involves              streamlined permit, or RAP, and remediation waste
detailed remedy design, remedy construction,              management units, including the TU, CAMU, and
remedy operation and maintenance, and remedy              staging pile.
completion. In the corrective action program, this
step is often referred to as Corrective Measures              EPA recently developed a set of targeted
Implementation (CMI).                                     administrative reforms, known as the RCRA
                                                          Cleanup Reforms, to achieve faster, more efficient
                                                          cleanups. The RCRA Reforms represent a
SUMMARY                                                   comprehensive effort to address key impediments to
                                                          cleanups, maximize program flexibility, and spur
     Through a process called corrective action, EPA
                                                          progress toward a set of ambitious national cleanup
requires RCRA-regulated facilities to investigate and
clean up releases of hazardous waste or constituents
to the environment.
                                                          ADDITIONAL RESOURCES
    Corrective action is included as a requirement in
a facility’s permit through §3004(u), §3004(v), or            Additional information about corrective action
§3005(c)(3) statutory authorities. Corrective action      can be found at www.epa.gov/correctiveaction.
can also be made through an enforcement order             Further information about EPA cleanup programs
through §3008(h) or §7003 statutory authorities.          can be found at www.epa.gov/epaoswer/osw/
Facilities may also voluntarily choose to clean up        cleanup.htm.
their contamination.


                                                                                 expeditious legal action when noncompliance is
  Overview ........................................................... III-129   detected, and providing compliance incentives and
  Compliance Monitoring ..................................... III-130            assistance. Facility inspections by federal and state
  - Inspections and Information Gathering ......... III-130                      officials are the primary tool for monitoring
  - Conducting the Inspection ............................ III-130               compliance. When noncompliance is detected, legal
  Enforcement Actions ........................................ III-131           action, in the form of an administrative order, a civil
  - Administrative Actions ................................... III-131           lawsuit, or a criminal lawsuit, may follow,
  - Civil Judicial Actions ..................................... III-133
                                                                                 depending on the nature and severity of the
                                                                                 problem. EPA has also issued several policies to
  - Criminal Actions ............................................ III-134
                                                                                 provide incentives for businesses to voluntarily
  RCRA Civil Penalty Policy ................................ III-135
                                                                                 evaluate their own compliance and disclose
  Enforcement at Federal Facilities ..................... III-135                violations, and to assist small businesses in
  Compliance Assistance and Incentives ............ III-136                      complying with the regulations. The combination
  - Small Business Compliance Incentives and                                     of effective monitoring, expeditious legal action,
    Assistance ..................................................... III-136     and compliance incentives and assistance is
  - Self-Audit Policy ............................................ III-137       intended to reduce the number of facilities operating
  - Audit Protocols .............................................. III-137       in violation of RCRA requirements and to deter
  - Sector Notebooks .......................................... III-137          potential violations.
  Agency Functions ............................................. III-137
                                                                                     This chapter describes the three essential
  Summary .......................................................... III-138
                                                                                 aspects of the enforcement program: compliance
  Additional Resources ....................................... III-138           monitoring, enforcement actions, and compliance
                                                                                 incentives and assistance. Almost all of the
OVERVIEW                                                                         enforcement provisions detailed in this chapter are
                                                                                 based on the Act, federal EPA policy, and Agency
    The effective implementation of the RCRA                                     regulations. It is important to note that state
program depends on whether the people and                                        requirements may be more stringent than those
companies regulated under RCRA comply with its                                   mandated by the federal government, and state
various requirements. The goals of the RCRA                                      enforcement authorities and procedures may differ
enforcement program are to ensure that the                                       from those of EPA.
regulatory and statutory provisions of RCRA are
met, and to compel necessary action to correct
violations. EPA and the states achieve these goals
by closely monitoring hazardous waste handler (e.g.,
generator, transporter, and treatment, storage, and
disposal facility (TSDF)) activities, taking

Chapter III: Managing Hazardous Waste – RCRA Subtitle C

COMPLIANCE MONITORING                                         There are many types of inspections. However,
                                                          the compliance evaluation inspection (CEI) is the
     One aspect of the enforcement program is             primary mechanism for detecting and verifying
monitoring facilities to verify that they are in          RCRA violations by hazardous waste generators,
compliance with the RCRA regulatory requirements.         transporters, and TSDFs. Types of inspections differ
Monitoring serves several purposes, such as               based upon the purpose, facility status, and the
allowing EPA and the states to assess the                 probable use of inspection results.
effectiveness of specific legal actions that may have
been taken already against a facility, and enabling
                                                                TYPES OF ENFORCEMENT INSPECTIONS
EPA to gather data in support of a future rulemaking.
In addition, the overall compliance monitoring             • Compliance Evaluation Inspection — Routine
program allows EPA to evaluate the effectiveness of          inspections to evaluate compliance with RCRA.
state programs and to monitor nationwide                     These inspections usually encompass a file review
                                                             prior to the site visit; an on-site examination of
compliance with RCRA. Finally, monitoring acts as            generation, treatment, storage, or disposal areas; a
a deterrent, encouraging compliance with the                 review of records; and an evaluation of the facility’s
regulations by making acts of noncompliance                  compliance with RCRA.
susceptible to enforcement actions.                        • Case Development Inspection — An inspection
                                                             when significant RCRA violations are known,
                                                             suspected, or revealed. These inspections are
    Inspections and Information                              usually intended to gather data in support of a
    Gathering                                                specific enforcement action.
                                                           • Comprehensive Ground Water Monitoring
     The primary method of collecting compliance             Evaluation — An inspection to ensure that ground
monitoring data is through an inspection. Section            water monitoring systems are designed and
3007 of the Act provides the authority for                   functioning properly at RCRA land disposal facilities.
conducting inspections. This section allows a              • Compliance Sampling Inspection — Inspections to
representative of EPA or an authorized state to enter        collect samples for laboratory analysis. This
any premises where hazardous waste is handled to             sampling inspection may be conducted in
examine records and take samples of the wastes.              conjunction with any other inspection.
Similarly, the Department of Transportation (DOT)          • Operations and Maintenance Inspection —
may participate where waste transporters are                 Inspections to ensure that ground water monitoring
                                                             and other systems at closed land disposal facilities
involved. While all TSDFs must be inspected at
                                                             continue to function properly. These inspections are
least once every two years, the Hazardous and Solid          usually conducted at facilities that have already
Waste Amendments (HSWA) require that all federal-            received a thorough evaluation of the ground water
and state-operated facilities be inspected annually.         monitoring system through a comprehensive ground
Facilities may also be inspected at any time if EPA          water monitoring inspection.
or the state has reason to suspect that a violation has    • Laboratory Audit — Inspections of laboratories
occurred. Finally, facilities may be chosen for an           performing ground water monitoring analysis to
                                                             ensure that these laboratories are using proper
inspection when specific information is needed to
                                                             sample handling and analysis protocols.
support the development of RCRA regulations and
to track program progress and accomplishments.
                                                              Conducting the Inspection
    Inspections may be conducted by EPA, an
authorized state, or both. Typically, either the state        Several steps are generally followed in RCRA
or EPA has overall responsibility, or the lead, for       inspections to ensure consistency and thoroughness;
conducting the inspection. The inspection may             these steps are summarized below. The inspector
include a formal visit to the facility, a review of       prepares for the inspection by:
records, taking of samples, and observation of

                                                                    Enforcement of Hazardous Waste Regulations

•   Coordinating inspection activities with other        appropriate state or federal requirements, then an
    regulatory or enforcement personnel as               enforcement action may be taken.
•   Reviewing facility files                             ENFORCEMENT ACTIONS
•   Preparing an inspection plan                             When compliance monitoring uncovers a
                                                         violation, enforcement action may be used to bring
•   Developing a checklist                               facilities into compliance with applicable Subtitle C
•   Packing appropriate safety equipment.                regulations. The goal of enforcement actions is to
    The first stage of the actual inspection is the
facility entry. Upon entry, the inspector generally      •   Compliance with RCRA’s waste handling
holds an opening conference with the owner and               regulations
operator to discuss the nature of the inspection and     •   Compliance with RCRA’s recordkeeping and
to describe the information and samples to be                reporting requirements
gathered. Following the opening conference, the
actual inspection takes place, which may involve:        •   Monitoring and corrective action in response to
                                                             any releases of hazardous waste and hazardous
•   Reviewing facility operations and waste                  constituents.
    management practices
                                                             EPA (or an authorized state) has a broad range of
•   Reviewing records                                    enforcement options including:
•   Conducting a visual inspection                       •   Administrative actions
•   Identifying sampling requirements.                   •   Civil judicial actions
    Finally, the inspector holds a closing conference    •   Criminal actions.
with the owner or operator to allow him or her to
respond to questions about the inspection and to             A decision to pursue one of these options is
provide additional information. The inspector            based on the nature and severity of the problem.
usually summarizes what he or she observed.
    After the visit is completed, the inspector              Administrative Actions
prepares a comprehensive report that summarizes the
                                                              An administrative action is an enforcement
records reviewed, any sampling results, and the
                                                         action taken by EPA or a state under its own
facility’s compliance status with respect to RCRA.
                                                         authority. Administrative enforcement actions can
     The most important result of any inspection is      take several forms, including EPA or the authorized
the determination of whether the facility is in          state issuing an administrative order requiring a
compliance with the regulations. The inspector may       facility to implement specific corrective measures to
also determine compliance through examination of         filing an administrative complaint commencing a
the reports that facilities are required to submit, or   formal administrative adjudication. Administrative
are part of normal waste handler operations.             actions tend to be resolved quickly and can often be
Inspection reports may contain information about the     quite effective in bringing the facility into
wastes being handled, the method of handling, and        compliance with the regulations or in remedying a
the ultimate disposal of wastes. Reports are             potential threat to human health or the environment.
submitted as required in a permit or enforcement         There are two types of administrative actions,
order (e.g., corrective action schedules of              informal actions and formal actions.
compliance) and by regulation (e.g., biennial report).
If the facility is not complying with all of the

Chapter III: Managing Hazardous Waste – RCRA Subtitle C

                                                            issue four types of administrative orders under
                 A CASE STUDY                               RCRA:

 Following a routine inspection at a university, four       •   Compliance orders — §3008(a) of RCRA allows
 facilities within the campus were found to be in               EPA to issue an order requiring any person who
 violation of various RCRA requirements involving the           is not complying with a requirement of RCRA to
 management of hazardous wastes and the preparation
 of emergency procedures. EPA initiated an
                                                                take steps to come into compliance. A
 administrative action against the university to assess         compliance order may require immediate
 appropriate civil penalties. After negotiations with the       compliance or may set out a schedule for
 university, EPA agreed to sign a consent order to set          compliance. The order can contain a penalty of
 the cash penalty at $69,570 and allow the university to
                                                                up to $32,500 for each day of noncompliance
 perform three supplemental environmental projects
 worth $279,205. One project was to promote pollution           and can include a suspension or revocation of a
 prevention in the school’s laboratories; the second was        facility’s permit or interim status. When EPA
 a hazardous chemical waste management training                 issues a compliance order, the person to whom
 program to promote environmental compliance; and               the order is issued can request a hearing on any
 the third was the renovation of a building for use as a
 lead poison resource center to promote public health           factual provisions of the order. If no hearing is
 within a disadvantaged community.                              requested, the order will become final 30 days
                                                                after it is issued.
                                                            •   Corrective action orders — §3008(h) allows
Informal Actions                                                EPA to issue an order requiring corrective action
     An informal action is an action by EPA or an               at an interim status facility when there is
authorized state that notifies the facility of a                evidence of a release of a hazardous waste or a
violation. EPA or the state will notify the facility            hazardous constituent into the environment.
that they are not in compliance with some provision             EPA can issue a §3008(h) order to require
of the regulations and what the facility needs to do to         corrective action activities including
come into compliance. The letter may also set out               investigations, repairing liners, or pumping to
the enforcement actions that will follow if the                 treat ground water contamination, and any other
facility fails to remedy the violation.                         action deemed necessary. In addition to
                                                                requiring corrective action, these orders can
Formal Actions                                                  suspend interim status and impose penalties of
                                                                up to $32,500 for each day of noncompliance
     Alternatively, EPA or the state can take a formal          with the order (as discussed in Chapter III,
administrative action when significant                          Corrective Action to Clean Up Hazardous Waste
noncompliance is detected, or the facility does not             Contamination).
respond to an informal enforcement action. Formal
actions often take the form of an administrative            •   Orders to conduct monitoring, analysis, and
order, which is issued directly under the authority of          testing — If EPA finds that a substantial hazard
RCRA and imposes enforceable legal duties.                      to human health or the environment exists, the
Alternatively, EPA may file an administrative                   Agency can issue an administrative order under
complaint initiating an action before one of the                §3013. A §3013 order is used to evaluate the
EPA’s Administrative Law Judges (ALJs). These                   nature and extent of the problem through
administrative tools can be used to force a facility to         monitoring, analysis, and testing. These orders
comply with specific regulations; to take corrective            can be issued either to the current owner or
action; to perform monitoring, testing, and analysis;           operator of the facility or to a past owner or
or to address a threat to human health and the                  operator (if the facility is not currently in
environment. An administrative order can be issued              operation or if the present owner and operator
as a consent order, which documents an agreement                can not be expected to have actual knowledge of
between the Agency and the violator or can be                   the potential release). Violation of §3013 orders
issued by the Agency acting unilaterally. EPA can               can result in penalties of up to $6,500 per day.

                                                                       Enforcement of Hazardous Waste Regulations

•   Imminent and substantial endangerment orders
                                                             CIVIL ENFORCEMENT ACTIONS: A CASE STUDY
    — In any situation where an imminent and
    substantial endangerment potential to health or         EPA filed a complaint with a U.S. District Court against
    the environment is caused by the handling of            a repeat violator, alleging noncompliance with RCRA
                                                            hazardous waste storage standards. The violator,
    solid or hazardous wastes, EPA can order any
                                                            subject to a prior enforcement action, had ignored a
    person contributing to the problem to take steps        final administrative order issued by EPA. That order
    to abate the endangerment, which may include            required immediate compliance with RCRA regulatory
    cleanup or other necessary actions. This order          obligations and the payment of $74,105 in civil
    can be used against any contributing party,             penalties. Since the issuance of the final order, the
                                                            violator not only failed to pay any of the assessed civil
    including past or present generators,                   penalty, but continued to violate the RCRA regulations.
    transporters, or owners or operators of the site.       EPA sued the violator for collection of the past due
    Violation of §7003 orders can result in penalties       amount under the administrative order, plus interest
    of up to $6,500 per day (as discussed in Chapter        and costs, and a further civil penalty for continuing and
                                                            additional violations. The federal judge in the case
    III, Corrective Action to Clean Up Hazardous
                                                            ordered the violator to pay past administrative
    Waste Contamination).                                   penalties, and to pay an additional fine for violating the
                                                            past order.
   In Fiscal Year (FY) 2006, EPA issued 1,438
administrative compliance orders (ACOs).
                                                        previously issued administrative order, the courts
    Civil Judicial Actions                              may impose penalties to force the person to comply.
                                                        When a long-term solution to a problem is desired, a
     In addition to formal and informal                 judicial action may be helpful to ensure proper
administrative actions, some statutory authorities      supervision of the schedule for return to compliance.
allow EPA                                               They also may provide stronger deterrence to
to initiate                                             noncompliance than an administrative action,
civil                                                   because judges tend to order higher penalties than
judicial                                                ALJs.
actions. A
judicial                                                    RCRA provides EPA the authority for filing four
action is a                                             different types of civil actions:
                                                        •     Compliance action — Under §3008(a), the
                                                              federal government can file suit to force a
filed in
                                                              person to comply with any applicable RCRA
court, against a person who has either failed to
                                                              regulations. The court can order specific actions
comply with a statutory or regulatory requirement or
                                                              by the facility to return to compliance. In
administrative order, or against a person who has
                                                              federal actions, the court can impose a penalty of
contributed to a release of hazardous waste or
                                                              up to $32,500 per day per violation for
hazardous constituents. Civil judicial actions are
often employed in situations that present repeated or
significant violations or where there are serious       •     Corrective action — In a situation where there
environmental concerns. Attorneys from the U.S.               has been a release of hazardous waste or
Department of Justice (DOJ) prosecute RCRA civil              hazardous constituents from a facility, the
cases for EPA, while the state attorneys general              federal government can sue to require the
assume this role for the states. In FY 2006, EPA              facility to take any necessary response measures
submitted 286 civil case referrals to DOJ; $82                under §3008(h). The court can also suspend or
million in civil penalties were assessed.                     revoke a facility’s interim status as a part of its
                                                              order (as discussed in Chapter III, Corrective
  Judicial actions are useful in several situations.
                                                              Action to Clean Up Hazardous Waste
When the person being sued has not complied with a

Chapter III: Managing Hazardous Waste – RCRA Subtitle C

•     Injunctions to conduct monitoring, testing, and
                                                                           CRIMINAL ENFORCEMENT ACTIONS:
      analysis — If EPA has issued a monitoring and                                 A CASE STUDY
      analysis order under §3013 of RCRA and the
                                                                    A warehouse worker employed by a chemical
      person to whom the order was issued fails to                  manufacturer was instructed by the president of the
      comply, the federal government can sue to                     company to dispose of unwanted hazardous
      require compliance with the order. In this type               chemicals. The worker loaded the hazardous waste in
      of case, the court can assess a penalty of up to              his pickup truck and dumped it in a dumpster located in
                                                                    a low-income community. The president of the
      $6,500 per day of noncompliance with these                    chemical company later paid the worker $400 for
      orders.                                                       disposing of the chemicals. Upon discovery of the
                                                                    hazardous waste, the residents of three nearby
•     Injunctions to address substantial endangerment               apartment buildings had to be evacuated. The
      — As with a §7003 administrative order, when                  company president was sentenced by a U.S. District
      any person has contributed or is contributing to              Court to five years probation, 200 hours of community
      conditions which may present an imminent and                  service, and more than $5,000 restitution for the
                                                                    unlawful disposal of hazardous waste. The warehouse
      substantial endangerment to human health or the               worker was sentenced to five years probation, six
      environment, the federal government can sue the               months of home detention, and more than $5,000 in
      person to require action to remove the hazard or              restitution. As part of the plea agreement, the
      remedy the problem. If the Agency first issued                company was forced to pay $43,984 in restitution.
      an administrative order, the court can also
      impose a penalty of up to $6,500 for each day of          only the most serious violations. A criminal action
      noncompliance with that order (as discussed in            initiated by the federal government or a state can
      Chapter III, Corrective Action to Clean Up                result in the imposition of fines or imprisonment. In
      Hazardous Waste Contamination).                           FY 2006, EPA initiated 305 cases, and 278
                                                                defendants were charged. The guilty paid nearly $43
    In a major multi-statute enforcement case, an
                                                                million in fines and restitution and were sentenced to
    international business agreed to resolve charges that it    154 years in prison. RCRA §3008 identifies seven
    violated clean air, clean water and hazardous waste         activities that can trigger criminal action and carry
    laws at its Mississippi facility under a civil settlement   criminal penalties.
    and criminal plea agreement with EPA. This company
    paid a $20 million penalty and will spend up to $16             Six of the seven criminal acts carry a penalty of
    million on projects to enhance the environment.
                                                                up to $50,000 per day and up to five years in jail.
                                                                Stated briefly, these acts are knowingly:
    Frequently, several of the civil authorities will
be used together in the same lawsuit. This is                   •      Transporting waste to a nonpermitted facility
particularly likely to happen where a facility has              •      Treating, storing, or disposing of waste without
been issued an administrative order for violating a                    a permit or in violation of a material condition of
regulatory requirement, has ignored the order, and is                  a permit or interim status standard
in continued noncompliance. In this circumstance, a
lawsuit can be filed that seeks penalties for violating         •      Omitting important information from, or making
the regulations, penalties for violating the order, and                a false statement in a label, manifest, report,
a judge’s order requiring future compliance with the                   permit, or interim status standard
regulations and the administrative order.
                                                                •      Generating, storing, treating, or disposing of
                                                                       waste without complying with RCRA’s
      Criminal Actions                                                 recordkeeping and reporting requirements
    In addition to civil actions, EPA may also                  •      Transporting waste without a manifest
enforce against a facility through a criminal action,
depending on the nature and severity of the                     •      Exporting a waste without the consent of the
violation. Criminal actions are usually reserved for                   receiving country.

                                                                      Enforcement of Hazardous Waste Regulations

    The seventh criminal act is the knowing
                                                                  Figure III-36: Civil Penalty Calculation
transportation, treatment, storage, disposal, or export
of any hazardous waste in such a way that another
person is placed in imminent danger of death or
serious bodily injury. This act carries a possible
penalty of up to $250,000 or 15 years in prison for
an individual, or a $1 million fine for corporate           Gravity   + Economic + / - Adjustments =


    EPA’s RCRA Civil Penalty Policy is designed to
provide guidance and consistency in assessing
noncriminal penalty amounts for administrative
actions and in settlements of civil judicial              action, but which the defendant is not otherwise
enforcement actions. The policy serves many               legally required to perform. For example, a violator
purposes, including ensuring that:                        may agree to restore and protect a wetland or an
                                                          endangered species habitat. In appropriate
•   Penalties are assessed in a fair and consistent                                    circumstances, EPA
    manner                                                                             may adjust the final
                                                                                       settlement penalty for a
•   Penalties are appropriate for the seriousness of                                   violator who agrees to
    the violation                                                                      perform a project so
•   Economic incentives for noncompliance are                                          that it is lower
    eliminated                                                                         compared to that of a
                                                                                       violator who does not
•   Penalties are sufficient to deter persons from        agree to perform such a project. Approximately
    committing RCRA violations                            10% of all enforcement cases in 2006 had SEPs.
                                                          More information about SEPs is available at
•   Compliance is expeditiously achieved and              www.epa.gov/compliance/civil/seps/.
    EPA’s RCRA penalty policy utilizes a                  ENFORCEMENT AT FEDERAL
calculation system to determine the amount of a
penalty, based on four components. These                  FACILITIES
components include: 1) the gravity (i.e., severity) of         In 1992, the Federal Facilities Compliance Act
the particular violation; 2) the duration of the          (FFCA) was passed. Among other things, the FFCA
violation; 3) the economic benefit gained through         amended RCRA to clarify that the federal
noncompliance; and 4) any site-specific adjustments       government’s sovereign immunity was waived and
(see Figure III-36).                                      to confirm that federal agencies shall comply with
     One type of site-specific adjustment that can be     all hazardous waste requirements in the same
applied to mitigate penalties is called a                 manner, and to the same extent, as any other person.
supplemental environmental project (SEP). The             Thus, federal agencies are subject to judicial and
Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance            administrative orders and the assessment of fines
(OECA) issued its Final EPA Supplemental                  and penalties. FFCA grants explicit authority to EPA
Environmental Projects Policy in 1998. These are          to use the enforcement authorities provided in
environmentally beneficial projects which a               RCRA against any department, agency, or
defendant or respondent agrees to undertake in the        instrumentality of the executive, legislative or
settlement of a civil or administrative enforcement       judicial branch of the federal government that is in

Chapter III: Managing Hazardous Waste – RCRA Subtitle C

violation of RCRA. The FFCA also confirmed that               Small Business Compliance
federal employees are personally liable for RCRA              Incentives and Assistance
criminal violations.
                                                               The Final Policy on Compliance Incentives for
     The Final Enforcement Guidance on                    Small Businesses is intended to promote
Implementation of the Federal Facility Compliance         environmental compliance among small businesses
Act (Office of Enforcement, July 6, 1993) provides        by providing incentives to participate in compliance
guidance on the use of EPA’s authority to issue           assistance programs, conduct compliance audits, and
compliance orders to federal agencies. The guidance       promptly correct violations. A small business is
clarifies that: 1) federal agencies have the same         defined in this policy as a person, corporation,
opportunity to challenge an EPA complaint using the       partnership, or other entity that employs 100 or
40 CFR Part 22 procedures; 2) settlement is               fewer individuals, across all facilities and operations
encouraged in the same circumstances as with a            owned by the entity. The policy sets guidelines for
private party; and 3) FFCA’s “opportunity to confer”      EPA and the states on reducing or waiving penalties
is satisfied by providing an opportunity to confer        for small businesses that make good faith efforts to
with an appropriate Regional officer or with the          correct violations.
Administrator upon conclusion of the 40 CFR Part
22 procedures. The guidance is available at                    Under this policy, EPA may eliminate or
www.epa.gov/compliance/resources/policies/civil/          mitigate its settlement penalties based on certain
federal/ffcaguide.pdf.                                    criteria. The small business needs to make a good
                                                          faith effort to comply with applicable environmental
    Additional information about enforcement at           requirements by either detecting a violation during
federal facilities can be found at www.epa.gov/           on-site compliance assistance from a government or
compliance/about/offices/ffeo.html.                       government-supported program, or by conducting an
                                                          internal audit and promptly disclosing in writing all
COMPLIANCE ASSISTANCE AND                                 violations discovered as part of the audit. The
                                                          violation should also be the first for the small
INCENTIVES                                                business, and this policy does not apply to
                                                          businesses that have been subject to warning letters
    Over the past few years, EPA has issued
                                                          or any other type of enforcement action. The small
numerous policies to provide compliance assistance
                                                          business also needs to correct the violation within
and incentives to the regulated community. By
                                                          the time period allowed, which in most cases is 180
helping businesses understand the regulations, and
                                                          days. For the policy to apply, the violation cannot be
by providing certain incentives for compliance, EPA
                                                          one that has caused actual serious harm to human
hopes to move closer to its goal of ensuring
                                                          health or the environment, nor one that involves
compliance with all RCRA requirements. Two
                                                          criminal conduct.
policies were developed to help achieve this goal.
They are the Final Policy on Compliance Incentives            To assist businesses in complying with the
for Small Businesses and Incentives for Self-             regulations, OECA, in conjunction with industry,
Policing: Discovery, Disclosure, Correction and           academic institutions, environmental groups, and
Prevention of Violations (also known as the EPA           other agencies, has opened compliance assistance
Audit Policy). Additionally, the Agency has               centers. These centers provide comprehensive
developed audit protocols and sector notebooks to         compliance information for specific industry and
assist businesses to understand requirements that         government sectors. Many of these centers, such as
may apply to their operators.                             the printing, metal finishing, automotive services
                                                          and repair, and agricultural centers are sectors
                                                          heavily populated by small businesses. More
                                                          information about compliance assistance centers is

                                                                    Enforcement of Hazardous Waste Regulations

available at www.epa.gov/compliance/assistance/          environmental audits and disclose violations in
centers/index.html.                                      accordance with EPA’s audit policy. The audit
                                                         protocols are intended to promote consistency
                                                         among regulated entities when conducting
    Self-Audit Policy
                                                         environmental audits and to ensure that audits are
     EPA's policy regarding Incentives for Self-         conducted in a thorough and comprehensive manner.
Policing: Discovery, Disclosure, Correction and          EPA has developed audit protocols for the following
Prevention of Violations (Audit Policy) encourages       RCRA facilities:
all regulated entities to implement environmental
                                                         • Hazardous waste generators
auditing or management systems designed to
uncover violations of environmental requirements         • Hazardous waste TSDFs
and disclose them to EPA. This policy is designed to
achieve maximum compliance through active efforts        • Used oil and universal waste generators
by the regulated community.
                                                         • Hazardous waste storage tanks
    Under the Audit Policy, EPA will waive the
                                                         • Federal facilities
gravity-based portion of the penalty for disclosing
entities that meet the nine Policy conditions,           • Subtitle D facilities.
including “systematic discovery” of the violation,
through an environmental audit or a compliance
management system. Entities that meet all of the
                                                             Sector Notebooks
conditions except for “systematic discovery” of              EPA has developed tools to enhance compliance
violations are eligible for 75 percent penalty           with environmental laws on an industry by industry
mitigation of the gravity-based penalties.               basis. Sector Notebooks are industry sector profiles,
     The policy has certain limitations. As with the     which help owners and operators of regulated
small business policy, companies may not be able to      industries understand regulations that may apply to
gain relief under this policy for repeated violations,   their operation through comprehensive plain-English
violations that present a serious or imminent harm to    guides. These Notebooks are available on the
human health or the environment, or violations that      Internet at www.epa.gov/compliance/resources/
involve criminal activity. To receive the penalty        publications/assistance/sectors/notebooks/
mitigation, the regulated entity should correct the      index.html.
violation within 60 days, unless written agreement is
provided indicating a longer time frame, and needs       AGENCY FUNCTIONS
to certify in writing that the violations have been
corrected. Finally, the regulated entity needs to take       Responsibility for the various components that
steps to prevent a recurrence of the violation. Thus     make up the RCRA enforcement program is divided
far, over 2,378 companies have disclosed and             among different EPA Headquarters offices, the EPA
corrected violations under the audit policy at more      Regions, and state agencies. EPA Headquarters is
than 7,600 facilities.                                   responsible for setting nationwide policy, monitoring
                                                         regional and state activities, and providing technical
    Additional information about the audit policy        support. The EPA Regions perform federal
can be found at www.epa.gov/compliance/                  inspections, issue administrative orders, prepare civil
incentives/auditing/index.html.                          actions, monitor compliance with administrative and
                                                         judicial orders, and support DOJ in ongoing
    Audit Protocols                                      lawsuits. As with many other aspects of the RCRA
                                                         program, responsibility for enforcement is largely
   EPA has developed audit protocols to assist and       decentralized. Authorized states take primary
encourage businesses and organizations to perform        responsibility for enforcement in close cooperation

Chapter III: Managing Hazardous Waste – RCRA Subtitle C

with their respective EPA Region. EPA, however,             •   Case development inspection
retains its authority to take enforcement actions in        •   Comprehensive ground water monitoring
authorized states if the state fails to do so, does not         evaluation
obtain acceptable results, or requests EPA assistance.
                                                            •   Compliance sampling inspection
                                                            •   Operations and maintenance inspection
                                                            •   Laboratory audit.
    There are three essential elements to the RCRA
enforcement program: compliance monitoring,                     The primary goal of enforcement actions is to
enforcement actions, and compliance assistance and          bring facilities into compliance and ensure future
incentives.                                                 compliance. The enforcement options available
                                                            under RCRA are:
    Compliance monitoring is used to determine a
facility’s level of compliance with RCRA’s                  •   Administrative actions, including informal and
regulatory requirements. The primary method of                  formal actions
collecting compliance monitoring data is through an         •   Civil judicial actions
inspection.                                                 •   Criminal actions.
     Either EPA or an authorized state may lead                 EPA uses the guidelines in the RCRA Civil
inspections. Inspections must be conducted annually         Penalty Policy for assessing penalty amounts and
at all federal- or state-operated facilities and at least   uses the Final EPA Supplemental Environmental
once every two years at each TSDF. The six types of         Projects Policy to allow for flexibility in assessing
inspections conducted under the RCRA program are:           penalties.
•   Compliance evaluation inspection                            Enforcement of RCRA at federal facilities is
                                                            now similar to enforcement at TSDFs, as a result of
                                                            the Federal Facility Compliance Act of 1992.
                                                                To achieve greater compliance, EPA also offers
                                                            compliance assistance and incentives through
                                                            numerous policies, including Final Policy on
                                                            Compliance Incentives for Small Businesses and
                                                            Incentives for Self-Policing: Discovery, Disclosure,
                                                            Correction and Prevention of Violations.
                                                               The responsibility for enforcement is divided
                                                            among different EPA Headquarters offices, EPA
                                                            Regions, and authorized state agencies.

                                                            ADDITIONAL RESOURCES
                                                                Additional information about RCRA
                                                            enforcement can be found at www.epa.gov/

                    AUTHORIZING STATES TOA

                                                                                     by EPA to do so. RCRA requires authorization to
  Overview ...........................................................     III-139   ensure state programs are at least equivalent to and
  Developing a State Hazardous Waste                                                 consistent with the federal rules. Through state
  Program ............................................................     III-139   authorization, EPA establishes minimum federal
  - Final Authorization .........................................          III-140   standards to prevent overlapping or duplicative state
  Review of the Proposed State Program ...........                         III-142   regulatory programs. A state that has received final
  Revising Authorized State Programs ................                      III-142   authorization, known as an authorized state,
  - Withdrawing State Program Authorization ....                           III-143   implements and enforces its hazardous waste
  - Transferring Program Responsibility Back to                                      regulations. Authorized state regulations act “in lieu
     EPA ...............................................................   III-143   of” federal regulations.
  Grants and Oversight .......................................             III-143
  - State Grants ..................................................        III-143
  - Priority Setting ...............................................       III-144   DEVELOPING A STATE
  - State Oversight .............................................          III-144   HAZARDOUS WASTE PROGRAM
  Information Management .................................                 III-144
  - RCRAInfo ......................................................        III-144       Under RCRA, as enacted in 1976, states had
  - State Authorization Tracking System ............                       III-144   two options for assuming the responsibility to
  Summary ..........................................................       III-145   administer the RCRA Subtitle C program: final or
  Additional Resources .......................................             III-145   interim authorization. However, states no longer
                                                                                     have the option of seeking interim authorization.

     When RCRA was written, it was Congress’
intent for the states to assume primary responsibility
for implementing the hazardous waste regulations,
with oversight from the federal government.
Congress felt the states’ familiarity with the
regulated community, and state and local needs
would allow them to administer the hazardous waste
program in the most effective manner.
     In order for a state to assume the regulatory lead
as the implementing agency, it must be authorized

Chapter III: Managing Hazardous Waste – RCRA Subtitle C

    Final Authorization                                       Iowa, are authorized to implement the RCRA
                                                              hazardous waste program.
     For a state to receive final authorization, it
must be fully equivalent to, no less stringent than,              Any state that seeks final authorization for its
and consistent with the federal program. However,             hazardous waste program must submit an
states may impose requirements that are more                  application to the EPA Administrator containing the
stringent or broader in scope than the federal                following elements:
requirements. Some examples of rules that are more
                                                              •   A letter from the governor requesting program
stringent are the decision by some states to not
recognize the conditionally exempt small quantity
generator (CESQG) exemption, or to require annual             •   A complete description of the state hazardous
(rather than biennial) reports. An example of a rule              waste program
that is broader in scope is the regulation of antifreeze
as a listed waste in some states. In addition, the            •   An attorney general’s statement
state’s program must provide adequate enforcement
                                                              •   A memorandum of agreement (MOA)
authority to carry out its provisions, provide for
public notice and hearing in the permitting process,          •   Copies of all applicable state statutes and
and provide for public availability of information in             regulations, including those governing state
“substantially the same manner and to the same                    administrative procedures
degree” as the federal program.
                                                              •   Documentation of public participation activities.
     As an initial step toward obtaining final
authorization, a state typically adopts the federal           Governor’s Letter
rules in some manner. Adopting the federal
                                                                  This is simply a letter, signed by the governor,
program means either incorporating federal rules
                                                              formally requesting the EPA Administrator to
into the state’s rules, or creating and adopting state
                                                              authorize the state’s hazardous waste program which
rules that are equivalent to federal rules. Many
                                                              will be implemented in lieu of the federal program.
states simply incorporate the federal rules by
reference (this is known as incorporation by                  Program Description
reference). This is when the regulatory language in
a state’s regulations actually cites, or refers to, the           The program description describes how the state
federal regulations. A state may also choose to               intends to administer the hazardous waste program
create an analogous set of state regulations through          in place of the federal program. It includes the
the state legislative process. Even though a state            following:
may have adopted the federal program and its
                                                              •   A narrative description of the scope, structure,
hazardous waste program is similar or identical to
                                                                  coverage, and processes of the state program
the federal program, it still does not have primacy
for implementing and enforcing the hazardous waste            •   A description of the state agency or agencies
regulations. To assume this role, the state must first            responsible for running the program, including a
be granted final authorization by EPA. As of August               description of state-level staff who will carry out
2008, all states, with the exception of Alaska and                the program
                                                              •   A description of applicable state procedures,
          ADOPTING FEDERAL REGULATIONS                            including permitting procedures and any state
 As an initial step toward obtaining final authorization, a
                                                                  administrative or judicial review procedures
 state typically adopts the federal rules in some
 manner. Adopting the federal program means either            •   A description of the state’s manifest tracking
 incorporating federal rules into the state’s rules, or           system
 creating state rules that are equivalent to federal rules.

                                                                                 Authorizing States to Implement RCRA

•   Copies of any forms used to administer the             Memorandum of Agreement
    program under state law
                                                               Although a state with an authorized program
•   A complete description of the state’s compliance       assumes primary responsibility for administering
    tracking and enforcement program.                      Subtitle C hazardous waste regulations, EPA still
                                                           retains enforcement authority and oversight
    In addition, the program description must              responsibilities. In these instances, since the
include estimates of:                                      authorized state and EPA both possess regulatory
                                                           authority to administer the regulations, there is a
•   Costs involved in running the program and an
                                                           potential for problems or conflicts, such as dual
    itemization of the sources and amounts of
                                                           permitting or dual enforcement of the regulations.
    funding available to support the program’s
                                                           The memorandum of agreement between the state
                                                           Director and the EPA Regional Administrator
•   The number of generators, transporters, and on-        outlines the nature of these responsibilities and
    site and off-site disposal facilities (along with a    oversight powers, and defines the level of
    brief description of the types of facilities and an    coordination between the state and the EPA in
    indication of the permit status of these facilities)   implementing the program. While each MOA will
                                                           contain provisions unique to each individual state’s
•   The annual quantities of hazardous waste               program, several provisions are common to all
    generated within the state, transported into and       MOAs. These include provisions for:
    out of the state, and stored, treated, or disposed
    of within the state (if available).                    •     Establishing state procedures for assigning EPA
                                                                 identification numbers
    If the state chooses to develop a program that is
more stringent or broader in scope (or both) than the      •     Specifying the frequency and content of reports
one required by federal law, the program description             that the state must submit to EPA
should address those parts of the program that go
                                                           •     Coordinating compliance monitoring and
above and beyond what is required under RCRA
                                                                 enforcement activities between the state and
Subtitle C.
Attorney General’s Statement

    The attorney general’s statement identifies the
legal authorities — statutes, regulations, and where               SAMPLE MEMORANDUM OF AGREEMENT
appropriate, case law — upon which the state is
relying to demonstrate equivalence with the federal            This memorandum of agreement (hereinafter
program. The statement must include citations to               “Agreement”) establishes policies, responsibilities, and
specific statutes, administrative regulations, and             procedures pursuant to 40 CFR §271.8 for the State of
                                                               _______ Hazardous Waste Program (hereinafter
judicial decisions which demonstrate adequate
                                                               “State Program”) authorized under Section 3006 of the
authority. When differences from federal authorities           Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (hereinafter
exist in the state’s program, the statement provides           “RCRA” or “the Act”) of 1976 (Public Law 94-580, 42
an explanation. The statement must be signed by                USC §6901 et seq.) and the United States
the attorney general or an independent legal counsel           Environmental Protection Agency (hereinafter EPA)
                                                               Regional Office for Region _____. This Agreement
authorized to represent the state agency in court.             further sets forth the manner in which the State and
State statutes and regulations cited in the attorney           EPA will coordinate in the State’s administration of the
general’s statement must be lawfully adopted and               State program.
fully effective at the time the program is authorized.

Chapter III: Managing Hazardous Waste – RCRA Subtitle C

•   Allowing EPA to conduct compliance                    •   Tentative determination — The EPA Regional
    inspections of the regulated community in the             Administrator must tentatively approve or
    authorized state                                          disapprove the state’s application. The tentative
                                                              determination is published in the Federal
•   Joint processing of permits for those facilities          Register.
    that require a permit from both the state and
    EPA                                                   •   Public comment — The public is given an
                                                              opportunity to comment on the state’s
•   Specifying the types of permit applications that          application and the EPA Regional
    will be sent to the EPA Regional Administrator            Administrator’s tentative determination. The
    for review and comment                                    Agency places a newspaper notice to inform the
•   Transferring permitting responsibilities upon             public of this opportunity, and a public hearing
    authorization.                                            will be held after the notice of the tentative
                                                              determination is published in the Federal
State Statutes and Regulations                                Register.

    The state must submit copies of its statutes and      •   Final determination — After the notice of the
regulations that are expected to act in lieu of the           tentative determination is published in the
federal RCRA regulations. Where states adopt the              Federal Register, the EPA Regional
federal regulations by reference, a document may be           Administrator must decide whether or not to
included outlining where in the state rules the               authorize the state’s program, taking into
federal rules are incorporated.                               account all comments submitted. This final
                                                              determination is then published in the Federal
Documentation of Public Participation                         Register.
    A state must demonstrate that the public was
allowed to participate in the state’s decision to seek    REVISING AUTHORIZED STATE
final authorization. Prior to submitting the
application to the Administrator, a state must have
given public notice of its intent to apply for                 Once a state has gained final authorization, it
authorization. Public notice must take the form of        must continually amend and revise its program to
publishing the announcement in major newspapers,          maintain its authorized status. As RCRA continues
sending information to individuals on the state           to evolve through new federal rulemakings, an
agency mailing list, and allowing for a 30-day            authorized state is required to revise its program to
comment period. Proof of public participation may         reflect the changes in the federal program. An
include copies of comments submitted by the public        authorized state may also have to revise its program
during the comment period, and transcripts,               in order to incorporate any state statutory or
recordings, or summaries of any public hearings           regulatory changes that affect the state’s hazardous
concerning state authorization.                           waste program. Most of the authorization activity
                                                          now involves revisions to authorized state programs
REVIEW OF THE PROPOSED                                    rather than the authorization of new states.
STATE PROGRAM                                                 All program revisions may be initiated by either
                                                          EPA or the authorized state. To revise its authorized
    Once the state has submitted a complete               program, a state must submit copies of its
application for final authorization to EPA, the EPA       regulations and may submit a modified program
Regional Administrator determines whether or not          description, attorney general’s statement, MOA, or
the state’s program should be authorized.                 other documents deemed necessary by EPA. EPA
    The EPA Regional Administrator makes this             reviews the state’s proposed modifications by
determination according to the following steps:           applying the same standards used to review the

                                                                              Authorizing States to Implement RCRA

state’s initial program application. The state’s            procedures. If program authorization is withdrawn,
program revisions are effective once approved by            responsibility for administering and enforcing
EPA. Notice of all state program revisions are then         RCRA Subtitle C reverts back to EPA.
published in the Federal Register.
                                                                 Although EPA can withdraw hazardous waste
     A state with final authorization must modify its       program authorization for a state that fails to enforce
program on a yearly basis to reflect changes to the         its authorized program properly or take timely and
federal program resulting from the promulgation of          appropriate action, the Agency can take other action
new rules. New federal rules are grouped into               without officially withdrawing authorization. In
annual clusters, and a state revises its program by         such instances, EPA may take independent
adopting and becoming authorized for the entire             enforcement action by overfiling, or enforcing a
cluster. A cluster begins on July 1 of each year and        provision for which a particular state has
ends on June 30 of the following year. By July 1 of         authorization. EPA may also overfile if the state
each year, an authorized state must adopt the cluster,      requests EPA to do so and provides justification
which includes all changes to the federal program,          based on unique, case-specific circumstances, or if a
that occurred during the 12 months preceding the            case could establish a legal precedent. In order to
previous July 1 (e.g., states must modify their             overfile, EPA must notify the state 30 days prior to
programs by July 1, 2007, to reflect all changes            issuing a compliance order or starting a civil action
made between July 1, 2005, and June 30, 2006).              within that state.
The deadlines for program modifications may also
be extended for one year if state statutory
                                                                Transferring Program Responsibility
amendments are necessary.
                                                                Back to EPA

    Withdrawing State Program                                   A state with an authorized program may
    Authorization                                           voluntarily transfer the program back to EPA. To
                                                            do this, the state must give the EPA Administrator
     Authorized state programs are continually              180 days notice and submit a plan for the orderly
subject to review. If the EPA Administrator                 transfer to EPA of all relevant program information
determines that a state’s authorized program no             necessary for administering the program (e.g.,
longer complies with the appropriate regulatory             permits and permit files, compliance records, permit
requirements and the state fails to amend its               applications, reports).
program accordingly, authorization may be
withdrawn. An authorized state’s program may be
considered out of compliance for many reasons.              GRANTS AND OVERSIGHT
One reason could be failure to promulgate or enact               While authorized states bear the primary
required regulations, leaving the state without the         responsibility for implementing the RCRA Subtitle
legal authority to implement or enforce its program.        C program, EPA still plays a role by offering
Also, the state legislature could limit or strike down      financial assistance to states to help them develop
the state’s authority to enforce its program. A state       and implement their hazardous waste programs,
could also be out of compliance by failing to issue         establishing broad national priorities, and ensuring
required permits, or by continually issuing bad             that states properly carry out the RCRA program.
permits. If an authorized state fails to enforce its
authorized program properly, does not act on
violations, fails to assess proper penalties or fines, or       State Grants
fails to inspect and monitor properly, it may also be
                                                                EPA provides grants to states to assist them in
considered out of compliance. Finally, if the state
                                                            developing or implementing authorized hazardous
fails to comply with the requirements of the MOA,
                                                            waste management programs. Each EPA Regional
the EPA Administrator may determine the state is out
                                                            Office receives an allotment based upon multiple
of compliance and may begin program withdrawal

Chapter III: Managing Hazardous Waste – RCRA Subtitle C

factors, such as population and the amounts and           Headquarters, EPA regional, and state levels, and to
types of hazardous waste generated in the EPA             provide accurate and up-to-date information to both
Region. States then submit proposed work plans            Congress and the general public. In order to achieve
that outline planned activities in the upcoming year,     this goal, EPA compiles such data in the RCRAInfo
including permitting, enforcement, and program            database. EPA also maintains the State
management. EPA Regions then negotiate with               Authorization Tracking System, which it uses to
each state over the specific work to be accomplished      track whether states have been authorized to
with these grant funds.                                   implement or have adopted federal hazardous waste
    Priority Setting
    EPA also sets RCRA national goals and priority
program activities on an annual basis. Each year,             In September
EPA identifies the national priorities for                2000, EPA began
implementing all of its programs, including the           managing data
RCRA Subtitle C and D programs. These priorities          supporting the Subtitle C program in its information
form the basis for EPA regional and state workload        system known as RCRAInfo. RCRAInfo
negotiations for the upcoming year.                       consolidated EPA’s former information systems into
                                                          one national system. RCRAInfo is a national
                                                          program management and inventory system of
    State Oversight
                                                          RCRA hazardous waste handlers, including
    Ensuring that states properly implement their         generators, transporters, and treatment, storage, and
hazardous waste management programs is also an            disposal facilities (TSDFs). The information system
important EPA responsibility. As a result, EPA            captures indentification, regulatory compliance
regional staff have oversight responsibilities to:        status and cleanup activity data for all handlers, and
                                                          tracks the permit and closure status of TSDFs.
•   Promote national consistency in RCRA                  Additionally, RCRAInfo tracks state-collected data
    implementation                                        on the generation and management of RCRA
                                                          hazardous waste from large quantity generators
•   Encourage coordination and agreement between
                                                          (LQGs) and TSDFs.
    EPA and states on technical and management
                                                              State Authorization Tracking System
•   Ensure proper enforcement by the state
                                                               The State Authorization Tracking System
•   Ensure appropriate expenditure of federal grant       (StATS) is a tool used by EPA to chart the states that
    funds.                                                have been authorized to implement the RCRA
                                                          hazardous waste program. By looking at StATS
INFORMATION MANAGEMENT                                    reports, an individual can determine if a particular
                                                          state has been authorized to implement a specific
    Several RCRA provisions require the regulated         rule. The reports also list the Federal Register
community to report hazardous waste management            citations for final authorization decisions for each
information to EPA and states. For example,               state and rule.
biennial reporting provisions require large quantity
generators and TSDFs to submit waste management
information to EPA by March 1 of every even-
numbered year. EPA and states, in turn, collect and
track such information to ensure that the hazardous
waste program is adequately managed at the EPA

                                                                           Authorizing States to Implement RCRA

SUMMARY                                                      EPA works closely with states in implementing
                                                         the hazardous waste management program by
     Congress intended states to assume                  providing grants to states, setting national goals and
responsibility for implementing RCRA, with               priorities, and conducting program oversight.
oversight from the federal government. In order for
a state to receive authorization to implement and            EPA Headquarters, EPA regions, and states
enforce the hazardous waste regulations in lieu of       collect, compile, and track information on the
federal EPA, the state must demonstrate that its         RCRA hazardous waste program through
program:                                                 RCRAInfo.

•   Is equivalent to, no less stringent than, and
    consistent with the federal program (state           ADDITIONAL RESOURCES
    requirements may be more stringent or broader
                                                              Additional information about state authorization
    in scope)
                                                         can be found at www.epa.gov/epaoswer/hazwast
•   Provides adequate enforcement authority              e/state.

•   Provides for public availability of information in
    substantially the same manner and to the same
    degree as the federal program.
     Any state that seeks final authorization for its
hazardous waste program must submit an application
to the EPA Administrator containing the following
•   A letter from the governor requesting program
•   A complete program description
•   An attorney general’s statement
•   An MOA
•   Copies of all applicable state statutes and
•   Documentation of public participation activities.
     Once a state’s program has been authorized, it
must revise its program, on an annual basis, to
reflect both changes in the federal program, and
state statutory or regulatory changes. State
programs are also subject to review by EPA, and a
state’s authorized status can be withdrawn if the
program does not comply with appropriate
regulatory requirements. Without officially
withdrawing authorization, EPA may take
independent enforcement action by overfiling, or
enforcing a provision for which a particular state has
authorization. States may also choose to transfer
program responsibility back to EPA.

Chapter III: Managing Hazardous Waste – RCRA Subtitle C

                             CHAPTER IV

                                                                                    - The Plug-In to eCycling Program .....................                IV-12
In this chapter...                                                                  - Product Stewardship Partnerships ..................                  IV-12
                                                                                    - WasteWise .......................................................    IV-13
Overview ............................................................... IV-1
                                                                                    - The Coal Combustion Products Partnership ...                         IV-13
Trends and Future Directions ............................... IV-1
                                                                                    - Education and Outreach Programs .................                    IV-14
- Resources .......................................................... IV-2
                                                                                    Summary ............................................................   IV-14
- Health and Risk ................................................. IV-2
                                                                                    Additional Resources ..........................................        IV-15
- Industry .............................................................. IV-2
- Information ......................................................... IV-2
- Globalization ...................................................... IV-2
- Society and Government ................................... IV-2                 OVERVIEW
Goals .................................................................... IV-3
                                                                                      At the turn of the new century, the United States
- Reduce Waste and Increase the Efficient and
                                                                                  completed two decades of managing wastes under
  Sustainable Use of Resources .......................... IV-3
                                                                                  RCRA. In the past 20 years, waste management
- Prevent Exposures to Humans and
                                                                                  practices have improved tremendously. This
  Ecosystems from the Use of Hazardous
                                                                                  success, while impressive, must be viewed in light of
  Chemicals .......................................................... IV-3
                                                                                  remaining challenges. Solid and hazardous waste
- Manage Wastes and Ocean Clean Up
                                                                                  continues to be generated in large amounts. Year-to-
  Chemical Releases in a Safe, Environmentally
                                                                                  year increases in recycling rates have slowed.
  Sound Manner ................................................... IV-4
What Work Is Needed ........................................... IV-4
                                                                                      After two decades of experience with the current
The Resource Conservation Challenge ................ IV-5
                                                                                  system, it is time to look forward and to examine
RCC National Priority Areas ................................. IV-6
                                                                                  how the program should evolve to meet the
- RCC Strategic Plan ............................................ IV-6
                                                                                  challenges and opportunities of the new century. In
- Selection of National Priority Areas ................... IV-7
                                                                                  order to do so, it is essential to redefine the specific
- Action Plans ....................................................... IV-7
                                                                                  goals that will guide a future program and to develop
- Municipal Solid Waste Recycling ....................... IV-8
- Industrial Materials Recycling (IMR) .................. IV-8
                                                                                  new tools and strategies to achieve those goals.
- Priority and Toxic Chemical Reductions ............. IV-9
- Green Initiatives - Electronics ............................ IV-9               TRENDS AND FUTURE
- RCC Relationship to GPRA Goals and EPA                                          DIRECTIONS
  Strategic Plans ................................................. IV-10
Collaborative Partnership Programs .................... IV-11                         In developing a vision for the future of RCRA, it
- National Partnership for Environmental                                          is necessary to make certain projections and
  Priorities ............................................................ IV-11   assumptions as to the “landscape” (i.e., the
- The GreenScapes Alliance .............................. IV-12                   economic, technological, and societal setting) in

Chapter IV: Moving Forward: Materials Management and Resource Conservation

which the program might operate in the future.           promote technological progress that will broaden
Looking to the year 2020, these projections can be       and improve treatment and disposal options.
organized into six broad categories: resources, health
and risk, industry, information, globalization, and
society and government.
                                                              Over the next few decades, the amount of
       Resources                                         available information and the ability to share it will
                                                         dramatically increase. This enhanced flow of
    Worldwide demand for basic resources (e.g.,          information will result in a greater awareness and
fresh water, minerals, energy sources, fibers, and       knowledge of environmental issues and concerns on
agricultural land) will continue to increase as the      the part of individuals, businesses, and other
world’s population grows and as the global economy       institutions. For example, more efficient
expands. Technological advancements will also            information exchange should stimulate the business
affect the availability of resources and the way         of buying and trading recyclable materials.
resources are used. For example, technological
innovations could improve the efficiency with which
resources are used or reduce the use of fossil fuels.
                                                              The trend toward an increasingly globalized
       Health and Risk                                   economic system and the rising worldwide demand
                                                         for material goods will result in the need for more
    The number of synthetic chemicals that are           capacity in manufacturing and extracting industries,
produced, used, and eventually discarded will            which are likely to become more globally dispersed.
continue to dramatically increase. While many of         Furthermore, potentially hazardous wastes can be
these products may represent important                   easily moved between those countries that have
improvements, some of the new substances may             strict environmental protections and those that do
have the potential to cause harm to human health         not. Therefore, environmental protections will need
and the environment, and knowledge of the risks          to be more internationalized in order to address these
posed by the new chemicals may not keep pace with        global issues.
their development. However, the effects of existing
chemicals may become better understood as
                                                             Society and Government
scientific advances are made.
                                                              By the year 2020, it is expected that
       Industry                                          developments in information and
                                                         telecommunications technologies will have created
    Over the next few decades as resources become        much stronger links between individuals and the
scarce, the economic value of certain basic materials    governmental institutions that serve them. As a
and resources may increase – thus, market forces         result, individuals may be empowered to more
will create greater incentives for industry to use       directly and effectively influence governmental
material more efficiently and to be less wasteful.       decisions on environmental issues. These issues
Technologies for the reuse and recycling of material     may focus on resources and local, regional, or global
will likely increase over time, thus lowering the rate   environmental problems that have not been
at which such materials are wasted.                      adequately addressed. Moreover, the need to live in
                                                         a relatively clean environment will continue to gain
    Although industry may become more efficient,         currency in this country as a basic civil and human
some industrial residuals will continue to have very     right through both laws and societal attitudes. This
low potential for productive reuse or recycling and
will need to be managed as wastes. The existence of
wastes and the need to manage them safely should

                                                               Materials Management and Resource Conservation

trend will likely influence the future siting and        products and manufacturing processes with the
operation of manufacturing and waste management          environment in mind. The design process would
facilities.                                              seek to minimize the use of raw materials and to
                                                         extend product lifespans to maximize the ease and
                                                         frequency of subsequent product disassembly,
GOALS                                                    recycling, and/or transformation for reuse. Such
     With two decades of experience, it makes sense      continuous utilization processes (from cradle to
at this time to examine how waste and materials          cradle) are critical both to reducing waste and
management should evolve to meet future challenges       increasing the sustainable use of resources.
and opportunities. Based on past experience and the           Creating a system truly oriented towards the
projections of future circumstances, EPA developed       efficient use of resources could also require
three goals for a future waste management system:        fundamental changes in the waste versus non-waste
•   Reduce waste and increase the efficient and          regulatory construct embedded in the current RCRA
    sustainable use of resources                         system, allowing materials now considered wastes to
                                                         be seen, whenever possible, as commodities with
•   Prevent exposures to humans and ecosystems           potential uses.
    from the use of hazardous chemicals
                                                             The most effective means to fulfill these
•   Manage wastes and clean up chemical releases         objectives are likely to be those that use economic
    in a safe, environmentally sound manner.             incentives to promote more efficient resource use
                                                         and reduce waste generation. In addition,
                                                         technological innovations and informational tools,
    Reduce Waste and Increase the
                                                         such as investments in public education to enhance
    Efficient and Sustainable Use of                     awareness of resource use, could play an important
    Resources                                            role. Regulatory mechanisms that focus on resource
     Over the next few decades, the human                use and reuse will most likely be necessary as well.
population will continue to grow, as will the material
aspirations of large numbers of people in many parts         Prevent Exposures to Humans and
of the world. Many believe that the resulting                Ecosystems from the Use of
increased demand for resources cannot be sustained           Hazardous Chemicals
without the wide-scale degradation of the global
environment unless those resources are used with              Hazardous chemicals will still be features of our
greater efficiency. Therefore, this goal is centered     everyday lives. While some of these chemicals have
on two objectives that call for using resources more     resulted in significant benefits for society, exposures
efficiently.                                             to materials that contain hazardous chemicals can
                                                         present risks to individuals and to the environment.
     The first objective is to reduce the overall        These risks can occur at any point in a chemical’s
volume of waste that needs to be disposed of in this     life cycle, regardless of whether the chemical is
country, regardless of the source or composition.        considered a product, raw material, or waste.
This includes all wastes–whether it is municipal         Therefore, a truly integrated management system
solid waste, industrial residues, or hazardous waste     will need to appropriately control risks from:
that is produced by individuals or industry.             chemicals as they are produced, transported, and
    The second objective is to reduce the amount of      used in product manufacture; the use and reuse of
material used to make products or to perform             those products; and unwanted harmful properties of
services. Extending the useful life of products          those products when they become waste.
would help achieve this objective, as would                 Currently, managing risks from potentially
increased materials reuse and recycling. A key           harmful chemicals in the United States is
aspect of achieving this objective will be to design

Chapter IV: Moving Forward: Materials Management and Resource Conservation

accomplished through a network of federal, state,         over the transportation, landfill design, operation and
and local regulatory controls, voluntary industry         monitoring, and any required treatment of wastes
standards, liability incentives, public education         prior to disposal.
efforts, and emergency response services. In many
respects, this current system works reasonably well.          By the year 2020, most of the existing
However, there are inherent gaps and inconsistencies      contamination at RCRA-regulated hazardous waste
regarding which chemicals and which types of              facilities will hopefully be cleaned up, but some
exposures are regulated, under what circumstances,        long-term remediation work may still be ongoing.
and what types of risk mitigation measures are            Furthermore, preventing future releases of
employed. A more coherent and consistent system           contamination to ground water and to other
for identifying, reducing, and controlling chemical       environmental media will remain key objectives.
risks could benefit human health and the                  Opportunities may also remain to further revitalize
environment and could be equally advantageous to          idled or under-used properties, currently referred to
industry.                                                 as brownfields, and to increase the conservation of
                                                          open spaces and greenfields.
     More information regarding the impacts of
chemicals on human health and the environment                 Regulations will help to accomplish this goal by
needs to be gathered so that consumers can make           requiring the safe management and disposal of
informed purchasing decisions and create market           hazardous waste and by ensuring that future releases
incentives to manufacture lower-risk products.            are remediated. However, other tools may diminish
Economic initiatives might be useful in furthering        the need for regulatory controls. Fiscal policies,
this goal, such as making it more costly to use high-     such as tax credits for waste reduction or a tax on
risk chemicals. Regulatory controls could also            waste generation, can promote waste minimization.
reduce the use of dangerous materials and may have        Additionally, public disclosure of facilities’
more favorable outcomes if they are performance-          hazardous waste management practices could
based.                                                    generate pressure on companies to manage wastes

       Manage Wastes and Clean Up
       Chemical Releases in a Safe,                       WHAT WORK IS NEEDED
       Environmentally Sound Manner                           Achieving these goals for a future waste
                                                          management system will require action by all. EPA
    A broader waste prevention and materials
                                                          and states must act to maintain the protectiveness of
management system will need to address at what
                                                          basic waste management programs and must focus
point a material is considered a waste and whether
                                                          new efforts where they can achieve the greatest and
the material would not be classified as a waste until
                                                          most measurable improvements. EPA also needs to
the point at which it is clearly destined for disposal.
                                                          develop collaborative relationships with industry,
Under an integrated waste and material management
                                                          academia, environmental communities, and
system, the current “cradle-to-grave” approach to
                                                          individual consumers.
waste management would be supplanted by a
program under which a material that is now                     In Beyond RCRA: Prospects for Waste and
considered to be a waste will instead be presumed to      Materials Management in the Year 2020 (2020
be a valuable material until its useful life is           Vision), EPA and state environmental officials
expended, resulting in a “retirement-to-grave” rather     initiated discussion on the direction of waste and
than a “cradle-to-grave” system.                          materials management in the United States over the
                                                          next twenty years. The 2020 Vision examines trends
    Under an integrated materials management
                                                          and future directions in materials use and technology
system, all hazardous materials would be subject to
                                                          use. It identifies three overarching goals:
essentially the same controls and incentives. Thus,
the concept of hazardous waste management will be
reduced from the current RCRA program to controls

                                                               Materials Management and Resource Conservation

•   Reduce waste and increase the efficient and          •   Delivery of P2 services.
    sustainable use of resources
•   Prevent exposures to humans and ecosystems           THE RESOURCE CONSERVATION
    from the use of hazardous chemicals                  CHALLENGE
•   Manage wastes and clean up chemical releases             EPA is now charting its direction, building on
    in a safe, environmentally sound manner.             the 2020 and P2 Visions. In late 2002, bringing new
    The 2020 Vision presents an opportunity to           focus to the resource conservation aspect of RCRA,
define new, more collaborative roles for government      EPA launched the Resource Conservation
and to inspire and facilitate change. EPA identified     Challenge (RCC).
eight specific actions that government could take to         The RCC is a way to implement the 2020 and P2
achieve the 2020 Vision:                                 Visions and achieve a future where waste is a
•   Seek expert advice on the details of a longer-       concept of the past. The RCC’s goals are to reduce
    term transformation of the waste prevention and      what comes into the waste management cycle, using
    management programs                                  pollution prevention, waste minimization, source
                                                         reduction, and manufacturing process and/or product
•   Create a central point of leadership by              design changes. Moving to an efficient and safe
    developing a structure to support partnerships,      materials flow is central to the RCC. EPA
    increase adoption of the vision, and guide efforts   acknowledges industry’s progress and willingness to
                                                         move forward with this shift in focus toward
•   Focus on education to influence behavior of          resource conservation. EPA also acknowledges that
    consumers, industries, and waste management          some waste disposal will always continue to be a
    practitioners                                        necessary, yet less desirable, option.
•   Connect with the economic agencies to support            The Agency Strategic Plan and the 2020 and P2
    materials management                                 Visions call for a transformation of the nation’s
•   Bring product, process, and facility design to the   current waste-handling system to more of a materials
    forefront                                            management system. The RCC – in partnership with
                                                         the states – aims to achieve this transformation. EPA
•   Create a common language for waste prevention        Headquarters and all ten regional offices are jointly
    and management terms to facilitate                   engaged in the RCC.
                                                             The RCC is a major national effort to find
•   Support experimentation and learn from other         flexible, yet protective, ways to conserve our
    countries and organizations                          national resources through waste reduction and
                                                         energy recovery. The goals of the RCC are to
•   Continue to capitalize on and improve ongoing        prevent pollution and promote recycling and reuse of
    efforts.                                             materials; reduce the use of priority chemicals at all
   The 2020 Vision is available at www.epa.gov/          product life-cycle stages; and conserve energy and
osw/vision.htm.                                          materials.

    Furthermore, EPA is developing a Pollution               To achieve these goals, EPA established
Prevention (P2) Vision to provide strategic focus and    collaborative partnership programs, as well as
identify current P2 priorities. The P2 Vision frames     education and outreach programs, to encourage
three broad strategic categories:                        American individuals, institutions, and businesses to
                                                         make smarter purchasing and disposal decisions.
•   Greening supply and demand                           Ultimately, EPA is moving from a cradle-to-grave
                                                         approach to waste management, where the cradle is
•   P2 integration
                                                         the generation of waste and the grave is the ultimate

Chapter IV: Moving Forward: Materials Management and Resource Conservation

safe disposal of waste, to a cradle-to-cradle approach   priority areas of the RCC, and the action plans for
through the RCC (see Figure IV-1). This system of        the priority areas.
efficient materials management identifies waste
materials that can be safely recycled and reused as
                                                             RCC Strategic Plan
material inputs and examines inputs to processes that
create waste in an effort to eliminate inefficiencies        EPA developed a strategic plan that describes the
and toxic materials altogether.                          RCC’s direction, focus, vision, and broad goals for
                                                         the next five to ten years. To complement the RCC
                                                         Strategic Plan, EPA identified four key areas for
                                                         national focus, which are described in the following
   Figure IV-1: Approaches to Waste Management
                                                         section. EPA developed a national action plan for
        Inefficient Materials Management                 results in each of these four areas that describes
       (How Waste Is Currently Managed)                  specific goals and actions needed to move toward
                                                         the overall goals of the RCC. The action plans are
                                                         described in more detail below in the next section.
                                                             The RCC Strategic Plan, with its focus on waste
                                                         and toxics, aligns internal EPA and state projects,
                                                         goals, and strategies. In the short term, the RCC will
                                                         focus primarily on solid waste and pollution
                                                         prevention. Ultimately, the RCC challenges us to
                                                         put resource conservation and recovery into the
                                                         design and manufacturing of products or recycling
                                                         options and purchasing decisions.
         Efficient Materials Management                      To establish a strong foundation for the RCC,
       (RCC Vision of the System Needed)                 the program will harmonize the work of OSW and
                                                         the Office of Prevention, Pesticides, and Toxic
                                                         Substances (OPPTS) to attain waste and toxic
                                                         substance reduction goals.
                                                             The RCC Strategic Plan is the key to
                                                         establishing the path along which the RCC will
                                                         continue to grow. The RCC will grow from a
                                                         collection of individual, ambitious projects and
                                                         achievements into a cohesive set of robust programs.
                                                         These programs identify opportunities for, and ways
                                                         to achieve, pollution prevention, recycling, reuse,
                                                         toxics reduction, and energy and materials
                                                         conservation. The strategy is dynamic, gaining
RCC NATIONAL PRIORITY AREAS                              greater specificity as the RCC identifies areas of
                                                         national focus, further identifies goals and measures
     The RCC has made a lot of progress towards its      specific to different areas, and develops specific
goals of increasing recycling, reducing waste and        action plans. The goals of the RCC Strategy are to:
toxic chemical use, and conserving energy.
However, there is still much work to be done. EPA        •   Coordinate OSW and OPPTS waste and toxics
initiated integrated planning to determine the future        reduction programs and projects
direction of the RCC. The following sections
                                                         •   Better align EPA and state focus to attain
describe the RCC Strategic Plan, the national
                                                             effective materials management

                                                                 Materials Management and Resource Conservation

•   Build on current partnerships and attract new          •   Areas of high potential positive environmental
    partners                                                   impact or benefits
•   Describe the measures used to track success for        •   Current and emerging large-quantity waste
    future projects.                                           streams.
  The RCC Strategic Plan is available at                       From these criteria and based on current
www.epa.gov/rcc.                                           resources, EPA determined that the four areas would
                                                           be the national focus of the RCC. These areas do
                                                           not define the sum of all activities going on within
    Selection of National Priority Areas
                                                           the RCC, as much of the important on-going work
    After completing the strategic plan development,       being accomplished by the EPA and the states will
EPA focused on the identification of national priority     continue. However, the above four areas will be the
areas and the development of accompanying action           RCC’s national core priorities. In each of the
plans. This is a critical step because all regions and     national priority areas, measurement is a major
EPA Headquarters offices are expected to commit            focus, allowing the Agency to demonstrate progress
resources to achieving the stated objectives and           resulting from its investment of resources. The
targets for each area. Only by coordinating efforts        following sections discuss the development of action
across the country will EPA begin to move forward          plans for each of the priority areas in detail.
in achieving effective materials management. To
accomplish this goal, OSW held a series of meetings            Action Plans
with OPPTS and regional waste management and
P2/Toxics staff to discuss possible areas of national           Once the national priority areas were identified,
focus. At the conclusion of these meetings, four           participants established workgroups to draft an
national priority areas were selected:                     action plan for each area. Each workgroup consisted
                                                           of a small number of headquarters and regional
•   Achieving the national 35 percent recycling rate       RCRA and OPPTS program experts with a focus on
    for municipal solid waste (MSW)                        pollution prevention, risk reduction, and resource
•   Reuse and recycling of industrial materials            conservation. For each plan, the groups were asked
                                                           to identify the scope or breadth of their area, key
•   Priority and toxic chemical reductions                 objectives to be achieved, measurable environmental
                                                           targets or outcomes, and the means and strategies
•   Green initiatives – electronics.                       that would lead to success.
     These areas were initially identified as priorities        From these drafts, EPA gathered input from a
in the RCC 2005 Action Plan. These priority areas          broad group of RCRA and P2/Toxics managers and
may be amended or changed as necessary to achieve          staff from EPA and states. This input brought a
the ultimate goals of the RCC.                             national perspective to the areas and helped shape
    In selecting these areas, EPA considered several       the action plans for successful implementation. The
factors:                                                   action plans identify specific on-going and new
                                                           activities, and associated means, benefits, measures,
•   Current and future Government Performance              and outcomes, and outlines the implementation
    and Results Act (GPRA) goals in the EPA                priorities and responsibilities of participating EPA
    Strategic Plan                                         offices and key stakeholders. These plans are
                                                           consolidated in the RCC 2005 Action Plan. This
•   Areas of significant partnerships with
                                                           document is a living document that will be amended
    government and non-government stakeholders
                                                           as the RCC reaches key milestones and identifies
•   Existing coordinated efforts by EPA regions and        new objectives and targets that will help to achieve
    states                                                 the ultimate RCC goals.

Chapter IV: Moving Forward: Materials Management and Resource Conservation

  The RCC 2005 Action Plan is available at               and target efforts strategically toward the MSW
www.epa.gov/rcc.                                         components identified and toward the commercial
                                                         and government sectors that provide the greatest
                                                         opportunities for success.
       Municipal Solid Waste Recycling
                                                             EPA will measure results towards the municipal
     Municipal solid waste (MSW) recycling is the
                                                         solid waste recycling priority area using the
first national focus area of the RCC. The objective
                                                         measurement methodology from EPA’s Waste
is to increase recycling to attain EPA’s GPRA goal
                                                         Characterization Report. The report has been the
for the nation to recycle at least 35 percent of MSW
                                                         primary source of municipal solid waste generation
by 2008. The municipal solid waste recycling
                                                         and recycling rates, although EPA will also use data
initiative targets specific components of MSW based
                                                         from the Hospitals for a Healthy Environment (H2E)
on generation and recovery rates and the potential
                                                         program, Performance Track data, and Supplemental
for increased recovery. Currently, this initiative
                                                         Environmental Projects (SEPs). In addition, EPA
encompasses the following MSW components:
                                                         will analyze and compare state data, as well as other
paper and paperboard, organic waste, and packaging/
                                                         measurement methodologies and data sources, such
                                                         as “BioCycle”, to better understand trends.
    In the future, EPA will decide whether to target
additional MSW components or to increase goals               Industrial Materials Recycling (IMR)
and targets for the three current target components.
                                                             The vision of IMR is a future where industries
    EPA has decided to focus municipal solid waste       generate less waste and recycle residual materials to
recycling initiatives on a select group of business      beneficial uses through environmentally sound
sectors. These sectors were selected for inclusion       practices. Currently, over 7.6 billion tons of
because they generate more than one of the targeted      industrial waste are generated each year. The
components, present opportunities for recycling, and     objective is to achieve the economic and
have the availability of established partnerships or     environmental benefits of using the by-products of
viable potential partners. Based on these criteria,      industrial processes as inputs to new products,
EPA selected the following focus sectors:                thereby extending the useful life of landfills,
•      Schools                                           conserving virgin materials, and reducing energy use
                                                         and associated greenhouse gas emissions.
•      Office buildings
                                                              While other materials will be considered in the
•      Landscapers                                       future, the following materials have been identified
                                                         for immediate focus:
•      Food service industry
                                                         •   Coal combustion products (CCPs), including fly
•      Hospitality industry                                  ash, bottom ash, flue gas desulfurization (FGD)
•      Recycling on the go venues (shopping centers,         gypsum and wet and dry scrubber materials,
       ball parks, special events, convenience stores,       boiler slag, and fluidized bed combustion (FBC)
       health clubs, recreation centers, and parks)          ash

•      Federal government facilities.                    •   “Green” foundry sand, a molding material
                                                             byproduct from the production of ferrous and
    More broadly, EPA will work at the national and          nonferrous metal castings
regional levels to enhance public commitment to
recycling, increase public access to recycling           •   Construction and demolition debris (C&D
opportunities, and engage national stakeholders in           debris), including materials generated from the
the national recycling goal. In doing so, the Agency         construction, demolition, and renovation of
will work closely with states and local governments

                                                                Materials Management and Resource Conservation

    buildings and infrastructure such as roads,           •   Substituting priority and other toxic chemicals
    bridges and runways, and land clearing.                   with safer alternatives whenever possible
     EPA is pursuing four broad strategies in             •   Minimizing the amount of toxics used whenever
increasing the beneficial reuse of these materials:           substitution is not possible
analyzing and characterizing the target materials;
identifying environmentally safe and beneficial           •   Maximizing recycling whenever minimization
practices; identifying incentives and barriers to             or substitution is not possible
beneficial reuse; and increasing outreach and             •   Emphasizing cradle-to-cradle chemical
education on the benefits of source reduction and             management
recycling industrial materials. To achieve the goals
of this priority area, EPA is forming partnerships        •   Minimizing exposures to toxics and the volume
with industries, states, academia, and other federal          and toxicity of waste through better product and
agencies.                                                     manufacturing process design.
                                                              EPA will establish a process with relevant
    Priority and Toxic Chemical                           manufacturers, processors, users, and other
    Reductions                                            stakeholders to identify, implement, and realize toxic
                                                          chemical reduction opportunities.
    The use of chemicals in industrialized nations
has brought about tremendous advancements in
technology and improved virtually every aspect of             Green Initiatives - Electronics
society. Although useful, certain chemicals in use
                                                               Approximately two million tons of used
today are highly toxic, do not break down when
                                                          electronics, including computers and televisions, are
released into the environment, and can be dangerous
                                                          discarded each year. An estimated 128 million cell
even in small quantities. EPA has identified thirty-
                                                          phones are retired from use each year. The
one priority chemicals that meet these criteria.
                                                          electronics priority area will work to reduce the
While this list represents the EPA’s priority for
                                                          potential adverse effects of these discarded products
reduction, it is certainly not exhaustive and other
                                                          by applying a life cycle approach to the problem.
candidates for national attention are likely to be
                                                          The RCC addresses environmental concerns along
identified. Considerations in selecting other toxic
                                                          the entire life cycle of electronics, including design,
chemicals of national concern may include:
                                                          operation, reuse, recycling, and disposal of
increased or widespread use, significant production
                                                          equipment. The electronics initiative will focus
volumes, availability of safer or greener alternatives,
                                                          initially on computers (PCs), televisions, and cell
presence in common products that contribute to the
                                                          phones, but may add other electronic wastes in the
wastestreams, frequent findings that the substance
has created environmental cleanup problems, interest
to more than one EPA program, existence of                    The RCC aims to meet three electronic waste
available or likely solutions, and other factors such     objectives:
as presence in humans or the environment indicating
potential significant exposure, release, or risk.         •   Foster environmentally conscious design and
                                                              manufacturing, including reducing or
    EPA plans to eliminate or reduce priority                 eliminating higher-risk materials (e.g., priority
chemicals and other chemicals of national concern             and toxic chemicals of national concern) in
from commercial products, wastestreams, and                   electronics products at the source
industrial releases through pollution prevention,
waste minimization, and recycling/reuse.                  •   Increase purchasing and use of more
                                                              environmentally sustainable electronics
    These chemical reduction goals have resulted in
five basic operating principles:                          •   Increase safe, environmentally sound reuse and
                                                              recycling of used electronics.

Chapter IV: Moving Forward: Materials Management and Resource Conservation

     These green initiatives depend on partnership           To comply with GPRA requirements and further
programs, such as Design for the Environment, the        enable the Agency to manage for results, EPA has
Federal Electronics Challenge (FEC), and Plug-in to      built a framework that aligns planning, budgeting,
eCycling, for success. In addition, EPA plans to         and accountability in an integrated system. EPA
broaden the utilization of the Electronics Product       continues to look for ways to improve planning and
Environmental Assessment Tool (EPAT), an                 priority-setting – both in terms of annual planning
environmental procurement tool designed to help          and budgeting and longer-range strategic planning.
institutional purchasers in the public and private
sectors evaluate, compare, and select desktop                EPA’s 2006 Strategic Plan serves as the road
computers, laptops, and monitors based on                map for the next five years by establishing five long-
environmental attributes.                                term Agency goals. It also helps to establish annual
                                                         goals, measure progress towards achieving those
                                                         goals, and recognize where approaches or directions
    RCC Relationship to GPRA Goals and                   need to be adjusted to achieve better results. Finally,
    EPA Strategic Plan                                   it will provide a basis from which EPA’s managers
                                                         can focus on the environmental issues with the
    The 1993 Government Performance and Results          highest priority and ensure effective use of taxpayer
Act (GPRA) holds federal agencies accountable for        dollars.
using resources wisely and achieving measurable
program results. GPRA requires agencies to develop           The Strategic Plan is built around five goals,
goals and plans for what they intend to accomplish,      centered on the themes of air and global climate
measure how well they are doing, make appropriate        change, water, land, communities and ecosystems,
decisions based on the information they have             and compliance and environmental stewardship.
gathered, and communicate information about their        These themes reflect EPA’s mission, “To protect
performance to Congress and to the public.               human health and the natural environment.”
    GPRA requires agencies to develop a five-year            In selecting the National Priorities for the RCC,
Strategic Plan, which includes a mission statement       EPA considered current and future GPRA goals in
and sets out long-term goals and objectives; Annual      the Strategic Plan. The RCC’s three goals are drawn
Performance Plans, which provide annual                  from the EPA’s overall strategic goals and direction.
performance commitments toward achieving the             Specific goals and strategies have been identified in
goals and objectives presented in the Strategic Plan;    the RCC action plans to support the goals and
and Annual Performance Reports, which evaluate an        commitments of EPA’s Strategic Plan.
agency’s progress toward achieving performance
commitments.                                                 The RCC is currently a part of both Goal 3 and
                                                         Goal 5 of the Agency goals. Goal 3 relates to land
    GPRA requirements – a long-range Strategic           preservation and restoration, and Goal 5 relates to
Plan, Annual Performance Plans, and Annual               compliance and environmental stewardship. Within
Performance Reports – forge links among several          the RCC, measurement is a key element, with the
activities:                                              objective of demonstrating progress on both GPRA
                                                         goals. The focus of measurement is environmental
•   Planning, to achieve goals and objectives            outcomes, rather than procedural or administrative
•   Budgeting, to ensure that resources are available    outputs. The RCC is working on projects that also
    to carry out plans                                   support EPA Goals 2 and 4. Goal 2 promotes clean
                                                         and safe water, and Goal 4 addresses healthy
•   Measuring, to assess progress and link resources     communities and ecosystems. During each cycle of
    actually used to results achieved                    the Agency’s Annual Performance Plan, the RCC
                                                         will add specific targets and measures that support
•   Reporting, to present progress achieved and
                                                         the goals established by EPA’s Strategic Plan.
    impacts on future efforts.

                                                               Materials Management and Resource Conservation

COLLABORATIVE PARTNERSHIP                                    National Partnership For
PROGRAMS                                                     Environmental Priorities

     EPA, both Headquarters and Regional Offices, is                                 The National Partnership
relying on collaborative partnerships and projects to                            for Environmental Priorities
meet the goals of the Resource Conservation                                      (NPEP) focuses on reducing
Challenge. EPA works collaboratively with                                        or eliminating the generation
members of industry, trade associations, universities,                           of products containing any of
public interest groups, tribes, and state, local, and    31 priority chemicals. The NPEP is working to find
federal agencies to increase recycling, reduce the use   solutions that prevent the formation of wastes
of toxic chemicals, and eliminate waste. These           containing these chemicals at the source of
partnerships are designed to provide smarter, faster,    production, and by recovering and/or recycling these
and acceptable solutions that provide measurable         chemicals where they cannot easily be eliminated or
progress in safeguarding our environment.                reduced at the source. EPA encourages companies to
                                                         form voluntary partnerships with EPA to find ways
    EPA is striving for environmentally sound            to reduce one or more priority chemicals or other
solutions that improve public health or the              hazardous chemicals generated in products and
environment and have measurable results. The most        waste. Companies participating in this partnership
desirable solutions will likely be flexible, non-        program receive public recognition for voluntary
regulatory, ambitious, sustainable, and approached       reductions of the priority chemicals, as well as
on a life cycle basis. Solutions that prevent the        technical and training assistance. Under GPRA,
creation of pollutants and waste, and produce            EPA has established a goal of reducing the amount
durable, recyclable, and less hazardous goods are        of priority chemicals reported to the Toxic Release
preferred.                                               Inventory (TRI) by 10 percent by 2008, using the
                                                         year 2001 as a baseline.
    EPA and partners collaborate to identify and
pursue the necessary tools, drivers, and incentives to        The list of thirty-one priority chemicals was
produce the desired change. Potential barriers are       selected following an EPA review of scientific
identified and environmentally sound remedies            information available on many chemicals. Based on
proposed. Working together, EPA and partners             its initial review, EPA concluded that twenty-seven
define how success is to be determined and agree on      organic chemicals were persistent, bioaccumulative,
an overall measurable environmental objective, sub-      and toxic (PBT), are generated in industrial waste
objectives, and targets.                                 and can be found in soil, sediment, ground water,
                                                         surface water, air, and/or biota as a result of past and
    A short description for each of the existing         present releases. Even when released in very small
formal partnerships is provided in the following         amounts, these chemicals accumulate and can be
sections. Additional information on any of the           harmful to the environmental. Many of these
partnership programs below can be found at               organics are also very difficult and costly to clean up
www.epa.gov/rcc/partners.htm.                            once released into the environment. Polychlorinated
                                                         biphenyls (PCBs) were added in 2004 because of
                                                         their chemical properties. The remaining three

Chapter IV: Moving Forward: Materials Management and Resource Conservation

chemicals in the list are metals: cadmium, lead, and     reduction, reuse, recycling, and rebuying for
mercury. These metals are known to occur                 resource conservation and pollution prevention.
frequently in RCRA regulated industrial wastes, and
often exhibit RCRA’s toxicity characteristic for these       Additional information on the GreenScapes
metals, which triggers the hazardous waste               Alliance Partnership Program can be found at
management requirements (See Chapter III).               www.epa.gov/greenscapes.

    Additional information on the National
                                                             The Plug-In to eCycling Program
Partnership for Environmental Priorities can be
found at www.epa.gov/epaoswer/hazwaste/                                             In the past decade, our
minimize/partnership.htm.                                                       growing reliance on electronics
                                                                               has given rise to a new
    The GreenScapes Alliance                                                   environmental challenge – the
                                                                               safe and resource-wise
                The GreenScapes Alliance                                       management of electronic
            Partnership Program is a multimedia                                waste. Approximately 3
            program designed to help preserve            billions units of consumer electronics will be
            natural resources and prevent waste and      scrapped by 2010, or an average of 400 million units
            pollution by encouraging companies,          annually. The Plug-In To eCycling Partnership
government agencies, and other entities to make          Programs aims to increase the safe recycling of used
more holistic decisions regarding resource               electronic products by providing recognition and
conservation and pollution prevention. This              other incentives to partners. Plug-In To eCycling
partnership program provides cost-efficient and          partners include manufacturers, retailers,
environmentally friendly solutions for large- and        government agencies, or nonprofit businesses, all of
small-scale landscaping projects. Working with           which participate in the collection, reuse, recycling,
GreenScapes Partners and Allies, the program             or refurbishing of old electronic equipment.
promotes practices and products that still meet the      Initiatives developed under the Plug-In To eCycling
user’s needs but have better environmental profiles      Program are not exclusive to partners; EPA
than current methods.                                    encourages everyone who handles used electronic
                                                         equipment to maximize reuse, refurbishment, and
    GreenScapes focuses on reducing, reusing,            recycling activities.
recycling, and rebuying (buying environmentally
preferable products) to improve both a company’s            Additional information on the Plug-In to
bottom line and the environment. In addition, it         eCycling Partnership Program can be found at
provides information about the cost savings that can     www.epa.gov/plugin.
be achieved from reducing material use and waste,
resource conservation, and on the performance and
                                                             Product Stewardship Partnerships
durability of environmentally preferable products.
The GreenScapes Alliance will help educate land                             Product Stewardship Partnerships
managers on how environmentally beneficial                              involve efforts to reduce the life-
landscape design, construction, and maintenance                         cycle impacts of products through
efforts yield water and energy savings, conserves                       product stewardship partnerships
landfill space, and reduces greenhouse gas                              with manufacturers, retailers, other
emissions. Case studies publicize success stories,                      governments, and non-government
and technical assistance helps alleviate concerns        organizations. Product stewardship is a product-
regarding alternative practices and product.             centered approach to environmental protection. Also
Organizations will be recognized for their               known as extended product responsibility, product
achievements in environmental excellence in              stewardship calls on those in the product life cycle,
                                                         including manufacturers, retailers, users, and

                                                               Materials Management and Resource Conservation

disposers to share the responsibility for reducing the   participation, and each year the top-reporting
environmental impacts of products. For example,          partners are honored at a national awards ceremony.
the Federal Electronics Challenge is a new voluntary     These benefits, along with the direct financial
partnership program that encourages federal              savings that result from waste prevention and
agencies and facilities to purchase greener electronic   recycling activities, are helping to improve waste
products, reduce impacts of electronic products          management and resource efficiency. Since its
during use, and manage obsolete electronics in an        inception in 1994, WasteWise has grown to include
environmentally safe way.                                about 2,000 corporations, government agencies,
                                                         universities, hospitals, and other organizations
     Product stewardship recognizes that product         committed to cutting costs and conserving natural
manufacturers can and must take on new                   resources through solid waste reduction. WasteWise
responsibilities to reduce the environmental impact      partners reported nearly 10 million tons of waste
of their products. Without serious producer              eliminated in 2006 alone. As a result of their
commitment, significant progress toward improved         activities, WasteWise partners have significantly
resource conservation and a sustainable economy          reduced their impact on global climate change by
cannot be made. However, real change cannot              decreasing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by
always be achieved by producers acting alone;            greater than 6.2 million metric tons of carbon
retailers, consumers, and the existing waste             equivalent. That is equivalent to taking
management infrastructure must also pitch in for         approximately 4.2 million automobiles off the road
product stewardship to be successful.                    for a year.
    Additional information on the Product                    Additional information on the WasteWise
Stewardship Partnership Program can be found at          program is found at www.epa.gov/wastewise.
                                                             The Coal Combustion Products
                                                                                        The Coal Combustion
    Many companies, institutions, and governments
                                                                                    Products Partnership
                       have demonstrated that they
                                                                                    (C2P2) Program is a
                       can save money by reducing
                                                                                    cooperative effort among
                       waste and recycling material
                                                                                    EPA, other federal
                       that would otherwise be
                                                         agencies, and the coal combustion products (CCPs)
                       disposed. The WasteWise
                                                         industry to help promote the beneficial use of CCPs
                       Partnership Program is
                                                         and the environmental benefits that can result. CCPs
                       designed to assist companies,
                                                         are the by-products generated from burning coal in
                       states, local governments,
                                                         coal-fired power plants. These by-products include
Native American tribes, and other institutions in
                                                         fly ash, bottom ash, boiler slag, and flue gas
developing cost-effective practices to reduce
                                                         desulfurization sludge.
municipal solid waste. These partners set and
achieve goals within three areas: waste prevention,          There are significant environmental, economic,
recycling collection, and buying or manufacturing        and performance benefits from using CCPs in a
recycled products. Participation as a WasteWise          number of applications, which is why EPA is
partner offers several advantages including technical    sponsoring the C2P2 Program to further their
assistance, publications, recognition, and program       beneficial use. Environmental benefits include
updates. Successful waste reduction efforts are          reduced greenhouse gas emissions, reduced land
highlighted in EPA documents, magazines, and trade       disposal requirements, and reduced utilization of
publications. Participating organizations can also       virgin resources. Economic benefits include reduced
use the WasteWise logo to promote their                  costs associated with coal ash and slag disposal,

Chapter IV: Moving Forward: Materials Management and Resource Conservation

increased revenue from the sale of ash, improved          technologies and methods for efficient materials
product quality, and savings from using CCPs in           management.
place of other, more costly materials.
                                                             Additional information on the above mentioned
   Additional information on the Coal Combustion          education and outreach programs can be found at
Products Partnership program is found at                  www.epa.gov/rcc/consumer.htm.
    Education and Outreach Programs
                                                              It is certain that in the future waste and materials
     EPA is not focusing only on industry, but is         management will be very different. EPA is leading
challenging everyone to improve their waste               the nation in moving toward that future now by:
management practices, and to accept responsibility
for improving our environment. In order to                •   Reducing waste, increasing recycling, and
accomplish this goal, everyone needs to change                increasing the efficient and sustainable use of
practices and processes. Businesses, consumers, and           resources
governments must work together to make changes
                                                          •   Preventing exposures to humans and ecosystems
across the whole supply chain to include recycled
                                                              from the use of hazardous chemicals, and
materials and better product designs and to make
products easier to reuse and recycle. Manufacturers       •   Managing wastes and cleaning up chemical
can make products less toxic and more recyclable;             releases in a safe, environmentally sound
however, those products need to be purchased by               manner.
consumers. Finally, individuals, businesses, and
agencies need to change their buying and disposal              Sustainability is a critical environmental,
habits.                                                   economic, and quality of life issue that America and
                                                          Americans will need to confront over the next
    To facilitate better understanding of proper          decades. Since the U.S. is by far the world’s largest
waste management, EPA created programs under the          consumer of goods and services, it has the
RCC that focus on particular groups of citizens.          responsibility to act with serious purpose to use
These programs include Hispanic Outreach, Urban           resources more efficiently, and to work toward a
African American Outreach, Native Americans               more sustainable national and global economy.
Outreach, Aging Americans Outreach, and the Youth         Developing new approaches for conserving
Outreach. All of the programs utilize tactics aimed       resources, reducing the amount of toxics in the
at capturing the attention and interest of the targeted   environment, and managing wastes properly can,
group. For instance, outreach materials specific to       and should be, an important part of making a more
solid waste management on tribal lands were               sustainable world. Promoting resource conservation
developed for the Native American Outreach efforts.       along with economic growth will require a wide
Each program’s objective is to engage the targeted        range of innovative tools that are well beyond the
group, raise environmental awareness, and                 current scope of RCRA.
encourage waste reduction, recycling, and
neighborhood revitalization.                                   EPA helped develop and implement new
                                                          initiatives and programs that aid industry,
    EPA provides general resources through the            businesses, states, local governments, and
RCC for all citizens to learn how to reduce, reuse,       communities in implementing effective materials
and recycle materials and how to get involved and         management programs. The RCC focuses on the
make a difference in their community. The RCC             environmental and economic benefits of source
also provides a forum for sharing information and         reduction and recycling through collaborative
educating partners on various innovative                  partnership programs. Formal programs include:

                                                   Materials Management and Resource Conservation

•   The National Partnership for Environmental
•   The GreenScapes Alliance
•   The Plug-In to eCycling Program
•   The Product Stewardship Program
•   WasteWise
•   The Coal Combustion Partnership Program.

   Additional information about a future waste
management system can be found at www.epa.gov/
osw/vision.htm. Additional information about the
Resource Conservation Challenge can be found at

Chapter IV: Moving Forward: Materials Management and Resource Conservation

                                 CHAPTER V

                                                                                The second set of miscellaneous statutory
  In this chapter…
                                                                            provisions focuses on certain materials that were not
                                                                            covered by Subtitles C, D, or I: namely, medical
  Overview .......................................................... V-1
                                                                            wastes. These requirements imposed a tracking
  Promotion of Recycling and Federal
                                                                            system to ensure the safe and protective
  Procurement Requirements for Recovered
  Content Products ............................................. V-3
                                                                            management of potentially harmful wastes.
  Medical Waste Regulations ............................. V-9                   This chapter consists of two sections:
                                                                            •   Federal Procurement Requirements — To
OVERVIEW                                                                        promote recycling, encourage the development
                                                                                of recycling technologies, and develop the
    All RCRA provisions do not fit neatly into the                              market for products with recycled content,
solid waste, hazardous waste, and underground                                   RCRA contains specific federal procurement
storage tank (UST) regulatory frameworks. The                                   requirements.
Statute established additional miscellaneous
                                                                            •   Medical Waste Regulations — To ensure the
provisions to further the goals of the waste
                                                                                tracking and safe management of medical waste,
management program, and to address materials that
                                                                                RCRA established a medical waste
were not covered by Subtitles C, D, or I.
                                                                                demonstration program.
    The first set of these miscellaneous statutory
provisions focuses on promoting recycling and
developing a market for products with recycled
content: the federal procurement requirements.

Chapter V: Miscellaneous Statutory Requirements


                                                                               diverts large amounts of solid waste from landfills
  In this chapter…                                                             and incinerators, conserves space in landfills,
                                                                               recovers the precious raw materials that are often
  Overview ...........................................................   V-3   found in solid waste, and preserves natural resources
  Promotion of Recycling ....................................            V-3   that would otherwise be used to produce virgin
  Federal Procurement Requirements ................                      V-4   products and materials.
  - Comprehensive Procurement Guidelines .....                           V-4
  - Recovered Materials Advisory Notice ...........                      V-5       To further this waste management approach,
  - Affirmative Procurement Program .................                    V-5   RCRA established specific provisions to promote the
  - Compliance ...................................................       V-6   development of recycling capabilities and
  Summary ..........................................................     V-7   technologies, and develop a market for recyclable
  Additional Resources .......................................           V-7   materials. As a result, the Statute contains
                                                                               provisions for technology and market development
                                                                               activities, as well as federal procurement
                                                                               requirements intended to bolster the demand for
                                                                               products containing recycled materials.
    The purpose of RCRA is not merely to control                               PROMOTION OF RECYCLING
waste generation, waste management, or waste
disposal. The title of the Act itself clearly reveals a                            When the Statute was enacted, the waste
major focus and intent – resource conservation and                             management and recycling industries were unable to
recovery. As discussed in chapter I, a major goal of                           maintain and promote substantial resource
RCRA is energy and natural resource conservation                               conservation and recovery of a wide range of
through reducing the depletion of our natural                                  materials. While specific industries, such as metals
resources and to protect those resources from                                  and glass recycling, were mature and developed,
hazardous constituents. Another major goal of                                  recycling of other commodities, such as old
RCRA is resource recovery through extracting                                   newspapers was not as advanced. While recycling
usable resources from materials that are                                       was a major component of the regulatory program,
unintentionally created (i.e., wastes).                                        there was neither the technology to recycle nor a
                                                                               market in which to sell and purchase such
    Resource recovery or recycling requires                                    commodities. Without a market to sell or a demand
separating and collecting wastes for their subsequent                          to purchase recycled products, there was no
transformation or remanufacture into usable                                    incentive to perform recycling activities in the first
products and materials. Resource recovery is a                                 place.
major component of the RCRA program because it

Chapter V: Miscellaneous Statutory Requirements

     Congress recognized this opportunity within the       Procuring agencies are defined as:
recycling industry and sought ways to promote both
recycling activities and market development. As a      •   Federal government departments or agencies
result, RCRA includes provisions requiring EPA to      •   State government agencies that use appropriated
take steps to identify markets for recovered               federal funds for procurement of a designated
materials, identify economic and technical barriers        item
to the use of recovered materials, encourage the
development of new uses for recovered materials,       •   Local government agencies that use appropriated
and promote recycling technologies. In addition,           federal funds for procurement of a designated
RCRA requires the National Institutes of Standards         item
and Technology to develop specifications for
recycled materials to facilitate their reuse in        •   Government contractors that work on a project
replacing virgin materials in various industrial and       funded by appropriated federal funds, with
commercial products.                                       respect to work performed under the contract.
                                                            Only procuring agencies that purchase $10,000
FEDERAL PROCUREMENT                                    or more worth of a designated item during the course
                                                       of their fiscal year, or that purchased at least $10,000
REQUIREMENTS FOR                                       worth of a procurement item during the preceding
RECOVERED CONTENT                                      fiscal year, are subject to these procurement
PRODUCTS                                               requirements.

     Realizing that recycling is not only the               The Statute requires EPA to designate products
collection of materials for remanufacture, but also    that are or can be made from recovered materials,
the purchase of products with recovered content by     and to make recommendations concerning the
consumers, Congress sought ways to stimulate           procurement of items containing recovered
market demand for recycled materials. Congress         materials. Procuring agencies can use these
realized that the purchasing power of the federal      guidelines to meet these statutory requirements.
government, if focused on procuring products with
recovered content, could create a significant demand       Comprehensive Procurement
for recycled materials thus stimulating the market.        Guidelines
Increased demand by the federal government for
products with recovered content would boost                EPA designates items in a Comprehensive
manufacturing of such items and encourage the          Procurement Guideline (CPG), which is updated
private sector to purchase such goods as well. As a    periodically. Currently, there are 59 items
result, RCRA §6002 established a requirement for       designated within 8 product categories (see Figure
EPA to issue guidelines for the federal procurement    V-1). These product categories are:
of products containing recovered materials.
                                                       •   Paper and Paper Products
    RCRA §6002 also requires procuring agencies to     •   Vehicular Products
purchase those items composed of the highest
percentage of recovered materials practicable. In      •   Construction Products
short, it is the government’s “buy-recycled”           •   Transportation Products
program.                                               •   Park and Recreation Products
                                                       •   Landscaping Products
                                                       •   Nonpaper Office Products
                                                       •   Miscellaneous Products.

                                                                                                       Federal Procurement Requirements

       Figure V-1: Designated Procurement Items
                                                                                      Affirmative Procurement Program
 Paper and Paper Products
 - Commercial/industrial sanitary tissue products
                                                                                      If an agency meets the definition of a procuring
 - Miscellaneous papers                                                           agency and is purchasing a certain dollar amount of
 - Newsprint
 - Paperboard and packaging products                                              a designated item, that agency is required to
 - Printing and writing papers
 Vehicular Products                                                               purchase items with the highest levels of recovered
 - Engine coolants
 - Rebuilt vehicular parts                                                        content practicable. An agency may elect not to
 - Re-refined lubricating oils
 - Retread tires
                                                                                  purchase designated items only when the cost is
 Construction Products
 - Building insulation products
                                                                                  unreasonable, items are not available within a
 - Carpet                                                                         reasonable period of time, or items do not meet the
 - Carpet cushion
 - Cement and concrete containing coal fly ash, ground granulated blast furnace   agency’s reasonable performance specifications.
    slag, cenospheres, silica fume
 - Consolidated and reprocessed latex paint                                       Within one year after EPA designates an item,
 - Floor tiles
 - Flowable fill                                                                  procuring agencies must revise their product
 - Laminated paperboard
 - Modular threshold ramps
                                                                                  specifications to require the use of recovered
 - Nonpressure pipe
 - Patio blocks
                                                                                  materials and to eliminate administrative barriers to
 - Railroad grade crossing surfaces                                               the use of materials with recovered content, such as
 - Roofing materials
 - Shower and restroom dividers/partitions                                        removing purchasing provisions that prohibit the use
 - Structural fiberboard
 Transportation Products                                                          of recovered materials or require the exclusive use of
 - Channelizers
 - Delineators                                                                    virgin materials.
 - Flexible delineators
 - Parking stops
 - Traffic barricades                                                                  Within one year after EPA designates an item,
 - Traffic cones
 Parks and Recreation Products
                                                                                  each procuring agency must develop an affirmative
 - Park benches and picnic tables
 - Plastic fencing
                                                                                  procurement program for each designated item,
 - Playground equipment                                                           setting forth the agency’s policies and procedures for
 - Playground surfaces
 - Running tracks                                                                 implementing the requirements.
 Landscaping Products
 - Compost made from recovered organic materials
 - Fertilizer made from recovered organic materials                                   The affirmative procurement program consists
 - Garden and soaker hoses
 - Hydraulic mulch                                                                of four parts:
 - Lawn and garden edging
 - Plastic lumber landscaping timbers and posts
 Non-paper Office Products                                                        •   Preference program
 - Binders, clipboards, file folders, clip portfolios, and presentation folders
 - Office furniture
 - Office recycling containers                                                    •   Promotion program
 - Office waste receptacles
 - Plastic desktop accessories
 - Plastic envelopes                                                              •   Estimation, certification, and verification
 - Plastic trash bags
 - Printer ribbons                                                                    provisions
 - Toner cartridges
 Miscellaneous Products
 - Awards and plaques                                                             •   Monitoring and review program.
 - Bike racks
 - Blasting grit
 - Industrial drums                                                               Preference Program
 - Manual-grade strapping
 - Mats
 - Pallets                                                                            The preference program is a means by which an
 - Signage
 - Sorbents                                                                       agency shows its preference for products made with
                                                                                  recovered materials. It may consist of established
                                                                                  minimum content standards, a case-by-case
    Recovered Materials Advisory Notice
                                                                                  approach when the minimum content standard is
    For each item designated in the CPG, EPA also                                 inappropriate, or an equivalent alternative.
publishes corresponding and guidance in a                                         Minimum content standards specify the minimum
Recovered Materials Advisory Notice (RMAN)                                        amount of recovered materials that designated items
(see Figure V-2). EPA recommends recovered                                        should contain. Agencies can adopt these standards
content levels and provides information on                                        on an agency-wide basis for all procurement actions.
specifications for purchasing a particular item and                               Case-by-case policy development allows the
other pertinent purchasing information.                                           procuring agency to establish a separate recovered

Chapter V: Miscellaneous Statutory Requirements

              Figure V-2: Sample Recovered Materials Advisory Notice Content Level Specification

       Postconsumer materials are materials                                                                  Total recovered materials content
       or finished products that have served                                                                 refers to the total percentage of
       their intended uses and have been                                                                     recovered materials that EPA
       discarded for disposal or recovery,                                                                   recommends for a designated item.
       having completed their lives as                                                                       For example, EPA recommends that
       consumer items. For example, EPA                                                                      procuring agencies purchase plastic
       recommends that procuring agencies                                                                    fencing that contains 90-100%
       purchase plastic fencing that contains                                                                recovered plastic.
       60-100% postconsumer plastic.

                                           Recommended Recovered Materials Content Levels
                                                  for Fencing Containing Recovered Plastic
                       Material                                        Postconsumer                            Total
                                                                         content (%)                        recovered
                                                                                                           content (%)
                       Plastic.................................................. 60-100                       90-100

materials content requirement for a specific                                        Estimation, Certification, and Verification
procurement action, while still enabling the agency                                 Provisions
to procure other designated products with the highest                                   Agencies should use standard contract
amount of recovered materials practicable. The                                      provisions to estimate, certify, and, where
procuring agency can also choose an alternative that                                appropriate, reasonably verify the recovered
is equivalent to either of these options, such as                                   materials content in a product procured by an
contracting for recycling of spent engine coolant.                                  agency.
Promotion Program
                                                                                    Monitoring and Review Program
     Through the promotion program, the agency                                          The monitoring and review program requires
must actively promote its desire to buy recycled                                    agencies to monitor affirmative procurement
products, both internally within the agency and                                     programs to ensure that they are fulfilling their
externally to product vendors. Internal promotion                                   obligation to purchase items composed of recovered
usually is a broad-based employee education                                         materials.
program that affirms an agency’s procurement policy
through advertising, workshops, agency newsletters,
and technical and staff manuals. Examples of                                              Compliance
external promotion include publishing articles in
                                                                                         Once EPA designates an item in the CPG, the
trade journals, participating in vendor shows or trade
                                                                                    responsibility for complying with the procurement
fairs, placing statements in bid solicitations, and
                                                                                    program rests with the procuring agency. There are
discussing an agency’s procurement policy at
                                                                                    no provisions in the Statute for federal enforcement
bidders’ conferences.
                                                                                    of the guidelines. On the other hand, RCRA §7002
                                                                                    citizen suit provisions allow citizens to sue in U.S.
                                                                                    District Court to seek relief against any person
                                                                                    alleged to be in violation of the requirements of the
                                                                                    Act, including the procurement requirements.

                                                                             Federal Procurement Requirements

(Citizen suit provisions are fully discussed in         •   Government contractors that work on a project
Chapter III, Enforcement of Hazardous Waste                 funded by appropriated federal funds, with
Regulations).                                               respect to work performed under the contract.
                                                            RCRA §6002 requires procuring agencies to
SUMMARY                                                 purchase designated recycled-content items of the
                                                        highest percentage or recovered content practicable.
    In order to further RCRA’s resource,
conservation, and recovery goals, the Statute                Each procuring agency must develop an
includes provisions to promote recycling and market     affirmative procurement program for each
development. RCRA created federal procurement           designated item, setting forth the agency’s policies
requirements to create a significant demand for         and procedures for implementing the requirements.
products with recovered content, boost                  This program consists of four parts:
manufacturing of such products, and encourage the
private sector to purchase such goods as well.          •   Preference program

    The procurement requirements apply to               •   Promotion program
procuring agencies that purchase $10,000 or more        •   Estimation, certification, and verification
worth of a designated item during the course of their       program
fiscal year, or that purchased at least $10,000 worth
of a procurement item during the preceding fiscal       •   Monitoring and review program.
    Procuring agencies are defined as:                  ADDITIONAL RESOURCES
•   Federal government departments or agencies               Additional information about the topics covered
                                                        in this chapter can be found at www.epa.gov/cpg.
•   State government agencies that use appropriated
    federal funds for procurement of a designated
•   Local government agencies that use appropriated
    federal funds for procurement of a designated

Chapter V: Miscellaneous Statutory Requirements


                                                                                 are in effect. As a result, the provisions in Part 259
  Overview ...........................................................    V-9    have been removed from the CFR. States, however,
  What was Regulated Medical Waste? ..............                        V-9    have become active in managing medical waste and
  Medical Waste vs. Hazardous Waste ...............                       V-10   a majority have developed programs similar to the
  The Demonstration Program ............................                  V-10   federal model. This chapter will discuss what was
  - Generators ....................................................       V-10   considered medical waste under the two-year
  - Transporters ..................................................       V-11   demonstration program.
  - Treatment, Destruction, and Disposal
     Facilities .......................................................   V-11
  Interstate Shipments ........................................           V-11   WHAT WAS REGULATED
  Current Requirements ......................................             V-12   MEDICAL WASTE?
  Summary ..........................................................      V-12
  Additional Resources .......................................            V-12       Regulated Medical waste included:
                                                                                 •   Cultures and stocks of infectious agents

OVERVIEW                                                                         •   Human pathological wastes (e.g., tissues, body
     During the summer of 1988, syringes and other
used medical materials washed up on beaches along                                •   Human blood and blood products
the Atlantic seaboard. In response to public concern
                                                                                 •   Used sharps (e.g., hypodermic needles and
about this problem, Congress enacted the Medical
                                                                                     syringes used in animal or human patient care)
Waste Tracking Act in November 1988, which added
medical waste tracking provisions in RCRA Subtitle                               •   Certain animal wastes
J. The Medical Waste Tracking Act directed EPA to
establish a two-year demonstration program for the                               •   Certain isolation wastes (e.g., wastes from
tracking and management of medical waste. Under                                      patients with highly communicable diseases)
this statutory authority, EPA codified regulations in
                                                                                 •   Unused sharps (e.g., suture needles, scalpel
40 CFR Part 259 identifying the medical wastes to
                                                                                     blades, hypodermic needles).
be tracked and creating management standards for
handlers of medical waste. The States of                                             For purposes of the demonstration program, the
Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island,                                 definition of medical waste excluded household
and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico all                                          waste. In addition, residues from treatment and
participated in the two-year tracking program. For                               destruction processes, or from the incineration of
purposes of this program, they were known as                                     regulated medical wastes, were not considered
covered states. This demonstration program began                                 medical waste, nor were human remains intended to
June 22, 1989, and ended June 22, 1991. Two                                      be buried or cremated. Etiologic agents (i.e.,
interim reports were submitted to Congress in 1990.                              infectious substances) being shipped pursuant to
Currently, the program is expired and no federal                                 other federal regulations, and samples of medical
medical waste tracking and management regulations                                waste that were shipped for enforcement purposes

Chapter V: Miscellaneous Statutory Requirements

were exempt from the 40 CFR Part 259
                                                              Figure V-3: Medical Waste vs. Hazardous Waste

HAZARDOUS WASTE                                                     Medical                              Hazardous
                                                                  waste that            Medical          waste that
                                                                 was neither        waste which was      was listed
                                                                                     also listed or       but not a
    Because medical wastes met the RCRA                           listed nor         characteristic       medical
regulatory definition of solid waste, these wastes                                                         waste
were also subject to the Subtitle C hazardous waste                                     RCRA
                                                                           RCRA        Subtitle C       RCRA
characterization. In other words, once a facility                         Subtitle J                   Subtitle C
identified a waste as a medical waste, it then had to
determine if this waste was also listed or
characteristic. (The hazardous waste identification          If medical waste was neither listed nor characteristic, it
                                                             was subject to regulation as medical waste under RCRA
process is fully discussed in Chapter III, Hazardous
                                                             Subtitle J. If medical waste was also listed or characteristic,
Waste Identification). If medical waste was a                it was subject to regulation as hazardous waste under RCRA
hazardous waste, it was subject to the Subtitle C            Subtitle C.
hazardous waste requirements. When the Subtitle J
medical waste tracking standards were in place, such
hazardous medical wastes were excluded from the          wastes before they were shipped to another site for
tracking requirements and were subject to those          treatment, destruction, or disposal.
requirements in RCRA Subtitle C (see Figure V-3).
                                                             The demonstration program focused on three
                                                         groups of medical waste handlers:
                                                         •     Generators
    The medical waste tracking demonstration             •     Transporters
program set up provisions for tracking medical           •     Treatment, destruction, and disposal facilities.
waste from the generator to the disposal site, similar
to Subtitle C’s hazardous waste manifest system.
The program was designed to ensure proper                      Generators
handling, tracking, and disposal of medical waste.
                                                             A medical waste generator was any person
The system required that a tracking form accompany
                                                         whose act or processes produced medical waste or
the waste and a signed copy be retained by the
                                                         caused medical waste to become subject to
generator, each transporter, transfer station, and the
                                                         regulation. These tracking provisions applied to
treatment, destruction, and disposal facility that
                                                         persons or facilities that generated 50 pounds or
handled the waste. When the final disposal facility
                                                         more of medical waste in a month and shipped such
accepted the waste, a copy of the signed tracking
                                                         waste off site. These generators were required to
form was returned to the generator. Through this
                                                         separate, package, label, mark, and track medical
process, the generator was assured that the waste
                                                         wastes according to the regulations. Generators
was actually received for disposal. The tracking
                                                         producing and shipping less than 50 pounds a month
program also included exception and discrepancy
                                                         were required to prepare their wastes properly for
reporting to alert EPA and the states if wastes were
                                                         shipment, but could use a log to account for wastes
not being handled properly.
                                                         instead of a tracking form.
    To minimize contact with medical wastes by
                                                             With the exception of medical waste burned in
workers, handlers, and the public, the program also
                                                         on-site incinerators, generators who disposed of
included specific requirements for segregation,
                                                         medical wastes on site or in a sewer system were not
packaging, labeling, marking, and storing of medical
                                                         covered by the tracking requirements of this

                                                                                         Medical Waste Regulations

program. Similarly, wastes that were treated and               The demonstration program did not regulate the
destroyed or disposed of on site or in sewers were        operation of these treatment, destruction, and
not counted as part of the 50-pound monthly total.        disposal processes, but rather required tracking from
Generators burning waste in on-site incinerators          generation to disposal and recordkeeping. When the
were required to report the volume of waste burned.       wastes were accepted for disposal, these facilities
All medical wastes, even those that were to be            had to send a signed copy of the tracking form back
treated, destroyed, and disposed of on site, were         to the generator or initiator of the tracking form.
required to be stored properly.                           The facility owners and operators were required to
                                                          investigate any discrepancies between the
    These provisions applied to medical wastes            accompanying papers and the shipments they
generated by federal facilities in covered states.        received. If after investigation there was still a
These provisions also applied to ships and ocean          discrepancy, they were required to report to EPA and
vessels that brought medical wastes to shore by           the generator’s state agency. Once treated and
docking in a covered state.                               destroyed, however, such wastes were no longer
                                                          subject to the tracking requirements.
     A medical waste transporter was any person           INTERSTATE SHIPMENTS
engaged in the off-site transportation of medical
                                                               While only the States of Connecticut, New
waste by air, rail, highway, or water. Transporters
                                                          Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, and the
were required to notify EPA of their intent to comply
                                                          Commonwealth of Puerto Rico participated in the
with the tracking program before they could accept
                                                          tracking program, the medical waste tracking
medical waste for transport. Transporters were
                                                          provisions also applied when shipments originating
required to follow rules governing the transport,
                                                          in these covered states were transported to states that
tracking, recordkeeping, and reporting of waste
                                                          did not participate in the program.
shipments. They were also required to make sure
that the wastes they accepted for transport had been            According to the provisions of the tracking
properly prepared for shipping and th