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Hazardous Waste Regulations: User-Friendly Reference Documents

Web based documents consist of the regulations themselves, linked to the relevant Federal Register notices, background documents, and previously issued policy letters or guidance memoranda.  The documents do not contain any new requirements, policy, or guidance.

The objective of these documents is to consolidate and streamline the information on these subjects, help EPA staff, state staff,  the regulated community, and the public understand the hazardous waste regulations.

These documents are only a reference and are not to be used as a substitute for the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) itself, or the requirements contained in the CFR. These documents are not a rulemaking. Most states are authorized to manage their own hazardous waste programs. Therefore, states may have their own regulations that apply in lieu of federal regulations, and while most state hazardous waste regulations are based on the federal requirements, some states have developed regulations more stringent than the federal program.

Notice of Availability and Request for Second Round of Comments on Waste Analysis Plan (WAP) Guidance

EPA requested comments on a second round of revisions to the "Waste Analysis at Facilities That Generate, Treat, Store, and Dispose of Hazardous Wastes: A Guidance Manual". The comment period closed on August 24, 2014. The final guidance will be posted here when it is issued.

The manual, developed in 1994, is used to provide guidance on how to develop and implement a Waste Analysis Plan (WAP) suitable for managing hazardous wastes in accordance with the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), assist federal and state permit writers in evaluating submitted WAPs, and assist enforcement personnel in determining whether a facility is in compliance with their testing requirements.

We completed our first round of revisions in early 2013 and sent the manual around for public comment. We received 27 submissions during the comment period, which ended June 14, 2013. Commenters offered more than 400 suggestions, concerns and other input. After carefully reviewing them, we revised the guidance a second time.

We invited the public to provide comments on the recent revisions to the updated guidance. You can download a copy of the guidance for comment at Waste Analysis at Facilities That Generate, Treat, Store, and Dispose of Hazardous Wastes: A Guidance Manual, Draft 2 (PDF) (205 pp, 5.9MB About PDF).

Background Documents

We requested comments on only the four issues discussed below, which were the focus of our recent revisions. The discussion highlights key public comments that we received on the first round of revisions as well as the Agency's responses for addressing them in the guidance. Refer to the document Comment-Response Document of Public Comments on Waste Analysis Plan (WAP) Guidance, April 10, 2014, for a full summary of comments and responses.

Issues for Comment
  1. Does Part 2 of the guidance clearly distinguish between mandatory versus recommended elements of a WAP?
    Industry and state comments expressed concern that some of the elements recommended by the guidance for inclusion in the WAP go beyond core WAP functions.  They asserted that some elements are included elsewhere in the permit (e.g., facility description); hence, there is potential duplication of efforts.  In addition, the regulations are sufficiently prescriptive and no further elaboration in the WAP is needed.  EPA partly agrees with these comments and revised the guidance to provide clarification.  Specifically, EPA modified the text box “Content and Organization of WAP” in Section 2.1, which recommends a format for facility WAPs.  EPA put an icon next to each element in the WAP format to clarify if the element is recommended or mandatory (that is, required by the applicable RCRA regulations).   EPA also placed a call out box in the opening paragraphs of each section of Part 2 (Sections 2.2, 2.3, etc.) to indicate if the content within the section is recommended or mandatory for inclusion in a WAP.
  2. Does the guidance describe RCRA sampling frequency and procedures sufficiently (e.g., see Sections 1.2, 2.4 and 2.5)?
    Commenters raised several concerns about the guidance’s description of waste sampling.  For example, commenters asked EPA to reconsider the text box in Section 2.4 “Different Sampling and Analysis Objectives for Enforcement Agencies and Waste Handlers ‘Proving the Positive’ versus ‘Proving the Negative.’  The text box indicated that regulatory agencies may collect a single sample to determine if hazardous waste determinations are correct.  EPA agrees there could be confusion and has clarified that regulators may initially collect one sample to verify compliance with “do not exceed” standards.  Examples of “do not exceed” standards are the treatment standards under the Land Disposal Restrictions (LDR) Program, which prohibit the land disposal of hazardous waste that does not meet applicable treatment standards, as specified.  Under the LDR Program, if a grab sample reveals that one (or more) LDR treatment standards are exceeded, the waste cannot be disposed of on the land until the applicable standards are met.   In addition, commenters requested that EPA clarify or correct the approaches for collecting grab and composite samples in Section 2.5.1.  EPA has modified the text to reflect standard practice as reflected in SW-846 guidance with regards to grab and composite samples based on the analytes of interest and the waste matrices.  EPA also has added a text box in Section 2.5.1, “Grab or Composite Samples?”, to clarify the collection of grab versus composite samples for LDR determinations.
  3. Does the guidance discuss and distinguish between generator and TSDF requirements sufficiently?
    Commenters asked EPA to provide greater clarity between the generator and TSDF requirements for waste characterization.  They noted that the guidance as written is intended to apply to both generators as well as owners/operators of TSDFs; however, the regulatory requirements for waste analysis under RCRA vary significantly for generators and TSDF owners/operators and this is not always clear in the guidance.  They also expressed concern that the guidance did not clearly identify the requirements that generators have in making waste determinations and what is expected of TSDFs in verifying that the generators properly characterized their wastes prior to shipping the wastes to the TSDF.  EPA has made several revisions to address these concerns.   Specifically, we added text and a call-out box in Section 1.1, “Generator and TSDF Waste Analysis Requirements,” indicating that generators are not required to prepare WAPs for waste determinations except when they treat waste for LDR purposes (268.7 (a)(5)).  We modified Section 1.1 to delineate the respective responsibilities of generators and TSDFs in making waste determinations and understanding waste for proper management and disposal.  Finally, we added a text box in Section 2.1, “Content and Organization of the WAP,” to re-emphasize that generators need not prepare WAPs, except as provided under the LDR program.
  4. Does the guidance describe the relationship between CAA FAP and RCRA WAP requirements accurately (see Sections 2.4.4 and 2.9.2 and Appendix D)?
    Two commenters (trade associations) stated that RCRA WAP requirements and CAA feedstream analysis plan (FAP) requirements are mutually exclusive and asserted that the WAP guidance erroneously indicates that the RCRA and/or CAA regulations provide for integration of the WAP and FAP.   While acknowledging the potential for overlap in their content, one of these commenters stated that there is no regulatory requirement for obligatory FAP elements to be included in a WAP.  EPA agrees that Sections 2.4.4 and 2.9.2 may have been interpreted such that the RCRA and CAA regulations provided for integration of the WAP and FAP.  EPA has revised each section to convey that there are separate waste and feedstream analysis requirements applicable to combustors under the different statutory programs.  EPA notes, however, that there may be instances where the RCRA WAP and CAA FAP requirements could be combined into one document, or the RCRA WAP may retain certain combustor feedstream requirements.  The sections now explain the differences between the RCRA WAP and CAA FAP; however, they emphasize that the requirements under each plan are closely related and should be coordinated to the extent possible.  Overall, the key concept to be communicated is that the RCRA WAP and CAA FAP should complement one another to ensure safe handling of the waste and the efficient operation of the combustor.

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