On November 28, 2016, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published the final Hazardous Waste Generator Improvements Rule (HWGIR), amending hazardous waste regulations promulgated under the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) as it applies to generators of hazardous waste. The HWGIR became effective on May 30, 2017, but it gave states authorized to implement RCRA requirements a period of up to two years to adopt certain portions of HWGIR that are considered by EPA to be more stringent than current hazardous waste requirements.
Other portions of the HWGIR that are viewed by EPA as being either “less stringent” than current federal hazardous waste regulations or are viewed by EPA as being simply “clarifications” of existing hazardous waste regulations are not required to be adopted by authorized states, but many states are adopting these provisions as part of incorporating the HWGIR into their state RCRA programs. Portions of the rule that EPA considers to be more stringent that must be adopted were to be in place by July 1, 2018 or no later than July 1, 2019 for states requiring a state regulatory process that includes a legislative step. See https://www.epa.gov/hwgenerators/where-hazardous-waste-generator-improvements-rule-effect for state summaries, but note you should consult your state to determine if more recent information is available. For South Carolina, the HWGIR was published in the state register as a final rule on May 24, 2019.
Why Is It Important To Know What Is In The HWGIR?
The answer is that there are over sixty (60) changes to the hazardous waste management program for generators, some of which are sure to surprise unsuspecting generators. As explained, some of these changes are more stringent than the current hazardous waste requirements. For example, in the final HWGIR, EPA identified the following requirements as being in its view more stringent than current federal hazardous waste requirements:
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