On Monday, August 31, 2015, EPA released a pre-publication version of a proposed rule revising RCRA’s hazardous waste generator regulations. EPA’s stated goals for the proposal are to improve compliance, address regulatory gaps, give hazardous waste generators greater flexibility, and make the regulations more user-friendly. This summary highlights some of the changes proposed by EPA.

First, the proposed rule would allow a small quantity generator (SQG) and a newly-defined “very small quantity generator” (VSQG)—which replaces the term “conditionally exempt small quantity generator” (CESQG)—to maintain its generator category if either a planned or unplanned episodic event occurs which would ordinarily bump the generator to a more stringent category. This change would allow VSQGs and SQGs to maintain their existing generator categories despite the additional generation, so long as they comply with certain conditions.

Second, EPA’s proposal outlines how generators who produce both acute and non-acute hazardous waste in the same month should determine their generator category. This determination employs the established monthly quantity framework.

Third, the proposed rule revises the current container marking and labeling regulations to require SQGs and large quantity generators (LQGs) to mark their containers with the applicable RCRA hazardous waste code before transporting the material offsite, consistent with current waste management practices. Additionally, the proposal would strengthen the marking and labeling regulations by requiring generators to mark their containers with the words “Hazardous Waste,” as well as with other words identifying container contents that emergency responders, unfamiliar co-workers, or even the general public would recognize.

Fourth, EPA’s proposed rule updates the preparedness, prevention, planning, and emergency procedures provisions for both SQGs and LQGs. These updates include requiring LQGs and SQGs to attempt to make emergency preparedness agreements with local emergency planning committees; adding an executive summary to the materials required to be submitted by LQGs; changing requirements for posting emergency coordinator information; and modifying the personnel training provision.

In addition, the proposed rule revises and adds to the regulation’s definitions section to include specific definitions for VSQG (previously CESQG), SQG and LQG. Each definition is for clarification purposes, and is consistent with existing regulations regarding each category.

To access the full pre-publication copy of the rule, visit this link.