Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) and Federal Facilities
On this page
- Key Federal Facility Responsibilities Under RCRA
- Basics of RCRA
- Application of RCRA to Federal Facilities
- EPA Enforcement
- State Enforcement
- Tribal Enforcement
- Citizen Enforcement
- EPA RCRA Regulations
- EPA Policy and Guidance
- Subjected Federal agencies to RCRA civil penalties by expanding the waiver of sovereign immunity.
- Provided that Federal employees can be held personally liable for RCRA criminal violations.
- Provided new management and reporting requirements with respect to the Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) radioactive mixed waste.
- Identified a process under which conventional and chemical military munitions are or are not considered to be a waste for regulatory purposes under RCRA.
- Hazardous Waste Management Program (RCRA Subtitle C): Sets national standards for:
- hazardous waste management
- provides for EPA authorization and oversight of state implementation of RCRA
- includes corrective action authorities to address releases to the environment
- Solid Waste Management Program (RCRA Subtitle D): Sets national standards for the management of solid waste.
- Underground Storage Tank Program (RCRA Subtitle I):
- Protects groundwater from leaking underground storage tanks
- Requires owners and operators of new tanks and tanks already in the ground to prevent, detect, and clean up releases
- Banned the installation of unprotected steel tanks and piping
RCRA Subtitles C and D Summary
- “characteristic” waste exhibits hazardous characteristics (i.e., corrosivity, reactivity, ignitability, or toxicity)
- “acutely hazardous” waste is fatal to humans at low doses, lethal in animal studies at particular doses, or otherwise capable of causing or significantly contributing to an increase in serious illness.
- “listed as hazardous” by EPA if they contain hazardous constituents identified in 40 CFR Part 261 and if the agency concludes that the waste is capable of posing a substantial present or potential hazard to human health or the environment when improperly managed.
- protect human health and the environment from potential adverse effects of improper solid and hazardous waste management
- conserve material and energy resources through waste recycling and recovery
- reduce or eliminate the generation of hazardous waste as expeditiously as possible
- unused munitions
- munitions being used for their intended purpose
- used or fired munitions
- removed from storage for the purpose of being disposed of, burned, incinerated, or treated prior to disposal
- deteriorated or damaged beyond repair, recycling, or reuse; or
- declared a waste by an authorized military official
RCRA Subtitle I Summary
§3002(b): Waste Minimization
§3004(u) and (v): Permit Corrective Action Authorities
§3004(y): Munitions (FFCA §107)
§3005: Permits for TSDFs
§3007: Inspections and Information Gathering
§3008(a): Compliance Orders
§3008(h): Interim Status Corrective Action
§3013: Monitoring, Analysis and Testing Action
§3016: Inventory of Federal Agency Hazardous Waste Facilities
§3023: Federally-Owned Treatment Works (FOTWS) (FFCA §108)
- have an NPDES permit; and
- treat influent that is composed of a majority of domestic sewage.
Section 3023 extends to FOTWs the so-called Domestic Sewage Exclusion (DSE) from the definition of “solid waste,” provided the FOTW meets all the conditions set forth in §3023. The DSE under RCRA allows POTWs to receive discharges of hazardous wastes from industrial sites as long as they are:
- mixed with domestic sewage as it goes to a POTW for treatment and
- in compliance with requirements of the Clean Water Act (CWA) National Pretreatment program before entering the treatment works.
If the FOTW does not meet the conditions of §3023, then the DSE does not apply and the FOTW is required to manage the entire waste collection and treatment system as a RCRA hazardous waste treatment facility subject to all RCRA regulatory requirements.
§6001: Application of Federal, State, Interstate, and Local Laws to Federal Facilities (FFCA §102)
§6002: Recycling and Procurement
Federal agencies must develop a procurement program to purchase recycled products to the maximum extent practicable and must recycle their wastes. Procurement programs, at a minimum, must include:
- a recovered materials preference program,
- promotion of their preference program,
- estimates of total percentage of recovered material in performance of a contract, and
- an annual review and monitoring of the procurement program.
In the case of paper products, the maximum use of postconsumer-recovered materials is required.
§6003: Cooperation with EPA
§7003: Imminent Hazard
§3008(a)(3): Compliance Orders
§3008(c): Violation of Compliance Orders
§3008(g): Civil Penalty
§3008(h)(2): Interim Status Corrective Action Orders
§9006(a)(3): Compliance Orders
§9006(d)(1): Civil Penalties
§9006(d)(2): Civil Penalties
- is alleged to be in violation of any permit, standard, regulation, condition, requirement, prohibition, or order; or
- has contributed to or is contributing to the past or present handling, storage, treatment, transportation, or disposal of any solid or hazardous waste that may present an imminent and substantial endangerment to health or the environment.
In addition, RCRA §7002(a) allows citizens to file a civil action against the EPA Administrator for alleged failure to perform any non- discretionary act or duty.
- RCRA On-Line
- Final Enforcement Guidance on the Implementation of the Federal Facility Compliance Act
- EPA may also use §7003 to issue orders. There are several guidance for RCRA §7003:
- The RCRA Civil Penalty Policy provides guidance on calculating civil penalties in RCRA enforcement actions.