The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) is a self‐implementing regulation that requires companies to determine if their solid wastes are hazardous waste that should be managed under the RCRA provisions. This is the first, and most important, step in complying with the hazardous waste regulations. Failure to properly identify all of a company’s hazardous wastes can lead to additional non‐compliance with other related important RCRA requirements such as: hazardous waste manifesting, storage, permitting, illegal disposal, etc.
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) published the final version of the Hazardous Waste Generator Improvements Rule (HWGIR or Rule) on November 28, 2016 and it became effective federally May 30, 2017. States have been allowed up to two (2) years from the effective date of the Rule to incorporate/adopt the more stringent elements of the Rule into their state programs. The Rule significantly changes the hazardous waste determination landscape for companies.
Hazardous Waste Determinations – Old vs New
The RCRA requirements for making a hazardous waste determination are found in §262.11 of 40 CFR. Prior to the recent Rule, §262.11 entitled “Hazardous waste determination” included the following requirements:
A person who generates a solid waste, as defined in 40 CFR 261.2, must determine if that waste is hazardous waste using the following method:
- He should first determine if the waste is excluded from regulation under 40 CFR 261.4.
- He must then determine if the waste is listed as a hazardous waste in Subpart D of 40 CFR Part 261
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