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Frequent Questions About Treatment, Storage, and Disposal Facilities (TSDFs)

On this page:

General Questions

Secondary Containment

Manifests

Financial Assurance

Closure/Post-Closure

Personnel Training

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Are TSDFs required to keep land disposal restrictions (LDR) notifications and certifications that they have received from generators? If so, for how long?

TSDFs must maintain copies of LDR notifications and certifications in their operating record for three years. The operating record must be kept at the facility until closure of the TSDF (40 CFR Sections 264.73/265.73(b)).

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Can a commercial TSDF manage hazardous wastes in tanks, containers or containment buildings under a standardized permit?

Generally, commercial TSDFs may not manage waste under a standardized permit, because the wastes a commercial TSDF manages are usually generated off-site by many different generators. As described under 40 CFR Section 124.201: “Who is eligible for a RCRA Standardized Permit?,” you may be eligible for a standardized permit if: 

(a) you generate hazardous waste and then store or non-thermally treat the hazardous waste on-site in containers, tanks, or containment buildings, or if 

(b) you receive hazardous waste generated off-site by a generator under the same ownership as your facility, and then you store or non-thermally treat the hazardous waste in containers, tanks, or containment buildings.

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How long must the owner or operator of a TSDF maintain the operating record?

The owner or operator of a TSDF must keep the operating record until closure of the facility (Sections 264.73/265.73(b)). This period includes the operating, closure, and post-closure periods, as appropriate.

In addition, the retention period for all records is extended automatically during the course of any unresolved enforcement action or as requested by the implementing agency (Sections 264.74/265.74(b)).

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If a TSDF accepts a shipment of hazardous waste from a generator and finds it necessary to send the hazardous waste to a different TSDF for further treatment, storage, or disposal, must the TSDF comply with the accumulating provisions?

The accumulating provisions of part 262 apply only to management of wastes generated on-site. A TSDF that sends waste off-site must comply with the generator manifest requirements of 40 CFR Part 262.

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If I have a change in the operations at my hazardous waste facility, who must I notify?

Generally, your state regulatory authority must be informed about changes in the operation of your hazardous waste facility.

If your facility is a generator, transporter, or TSDF and you need to make changes to information previously submitted on an 8700-12 form, you should review the information on submission of a subsequent form and contact your state's implementing agency. For subsequent submission information see the forms and instructions for the 8700-12 form.

If your facility is a TSDF and you need to make changes to information previously submitted in a permit application, you should review the regulations on permit modifications and contact your state implementing agency. Permit modification regulations can be found in 40 CFR Section 270.41.

If your facility is an interim status facility, please refer to Section 270.72, "changes during interim status."

Please note that many types of facility changes require prior approval by the permitting authority; it's important to understand these requirements before making operational changes. In all case, we recommend you contact the appropriate state agency regarding any additional requirements that may apply.

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In the event of a hazardous waste spill, what are the responsibilities of an emergency coordinator under RCRA?

The emergency coordinator is responsible for coordinating all emergency response procedures at a RCRA facility and has the authority and control of resources to carry out the contingency plan. As a result, the emergency coordinator must be thoroughly familiar with all aspects of the facility's contingency plan, all operations and activities at the facility, the characteristics and location of the wastes handled, the location of all facility records, and the facility layout. Finally, the coordinator must be an employee who is either on the facility premises or on call and able to respond quickly to an emergency situation (40 CFR Section 264.55/265.55).

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If the individuals working at a hazardous waste management facility have cell phones, is a permanent land phone line required?

Limited federal clarification on this requirement can be found in the Permit Applicants' Guidance Manual for the General Facility Standards of 40 CFR 264 (PB87-151 064), which states:

“Should an emergency situation arise, the [hazardous waste management] HWM facility will need some means of summoning assistance from local police departments, fire departments, and State and local emergency response teams. Both a telephone and a hand-held two-way radio are acceptable communication devices. Such devices must be immediately available at the scene of operations.”

Since most States are authorized to implement the Federal regulations, you should contact your state environmental agency for guidance on your specific circumstances.

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Is a roll-off box considered a container under RCRA?

A roll-off box is considered a container under RCRA. A container is any portable device in which a material is stored, transported, treated, disposed of, or otherwise handled (40 CFR Section 260.10). A roll-off box is a portable device. Therefore, if a roll-off box is used to store, transport, treat, dispose of, or otherwise handle hazardous waste, it is considered a hazardous waste container under RCRA (Memo, Lowrance to Ullrich; July 13, 1989 (RCRA Online #11442)). 

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Is the loading/unloading area at a TSDF considered a transfer facility or part of the permitted facility?

Designated facilities cannot have transfer facilities on their property (Memo, Lowrance to Svanda; August 31, 1988 (RCRA Online #11365). A transfer facility is any transportation related facility including loading docks, parking areas, storage areas and other similar areas where shipments of hazardous waste are held during the normal course of transportation (40 CFR Section 260.10). A transfer facility that stores waste for a period of ten days or less is exempt from certain requirements (e.g., permitting and unit-specific requirements) (Section 263.12). However, the transfer facility provisions in Section 263.12 apply to the waste being held during the normal course of transportation. Arrival of the waste at the designated facility constitutes completion of the transportation phase (Memo, Lowrance to Svanda; August 31, 1988 (RCRA Online #11365)). Although the definition of transfer facility may include some loading/unloading areas, the normal course of transportation is completed at the designated facility. As a result, the ten-day limit and exemption from certain requirements for transfer facilities is not applicable to the loading/unloading area at the TSDF. 

Additional guidance regarding transfer facilities is available in the following documents: 

Memo, Lowrance to Ullrich; October 30, 1990 (RCRA Online #11567
Memo, Lowrance to Duprey; June 7, 1990 (RCRA Online #11520)

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Must 90-day container and tank accumulation units be included in Part A of the permit application (EPA Form 8700-23)?

Owners and operators seeking a RCRA permit are not specifically required to identify permit-exempt generator accumulation units in Part A of the permit application. However, an owner or operator of a facility may be required to identify the area as a solid waste management unit (SWMU) under the requirements of Section 270.14(d) in Part B of the permit application. EPA considers a SWMU to be "any discernible unit at which wastes have been placed at any time, irrespective of whether the unit was intended for the management of solid and hazardous waste. Such units include any area at a facility at which solid wastes have been routinely and systematically released" (61 FR 19432, 19442; May 1, 1996). If a generator accumulation unit meets the definition of a SWMU, the owner or operator is required to identify the unit in Part B of the permit application.

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Where must a TSDF owner or operator maintain copies of its contingency plan?

A facility owner or operator must maintain a copy of its contingency plan and all revisions to the plan at the facility and must also submit a copy to all local police departments, fire departments, hospitals, and state and local response teams that may be called upon to provide emergency services (Sections 264.53/265.53).

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Do facilities need to provide secondary containment for containers used to manage liquid hazardous waste?

Pursuant to Part 264, Subpart I, an owner/operator of a permitted TSDF must provide secondary containment for containers used to manage liquid hazardous waste. Secondary containment is not required at generator or interim status facilities. Only permitted container storage areas must have a secondary containment system (264.175(a)). Secondary containment provides a backup system to prevent a release into the environment should primary containment (i.e., the container) fail. The containment system should catch leaks, spills, container residues, and precipitation that becomes contaminated. Secondary containment usually consists of a poured concrete pad or other impervious base with curbing to prevent releases of hazardous waste into the environment and to allow drainage of any accumulated liquid to a sump, tank, or other container (46 FR 2802, 2829; January 12, 1981).

Additional guidance on secondary containment for containers is available in the following documents:

Memo, Heare to Taunton; February 6, 1998 (RCRA Online 14463)
Memo, McAlister to Hopper; June 30, 1995 (RCRA Online 11909)
Monthly Call Center Report Question; June 1988 (RCRA Online 13190)

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RCRA requires secondary containment for hazardous waste tanks in Section 265.193. Does this requirement extend to the piping, which is part of the tank's ancillary equipment as defined in Section 260.10?

Ancillary equipment, including piping, must have full secondary containment as outlined in Section 265.193(f). However, aboveground piping is not subject to secondary containment requirements if it is visually inspected on a daily basis for leaks (Section 265.193(f)(1)).

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Secondary containment for tanks must include one of more of the following: a liner external to the tank, a vault, a double-walled tank, or an equivalent device as approved by the Regional Administrator (40 CFR 264.193(d)). What is a vault?

While there is no regulatory definition of a vault, vaults are described, on page 7-37 of the "Technical Resource Document for the Storage and Treatment of Hazardous Waste in Tank Systems" (December 1986, EPA530-SW-86-044), as "...generally constructed of concrete, is typically an underground chamber with a roof that will contain any released tank contents." 

In addition, it is important to note that this guidance represents clarification of the Federal regulations. Most states are authorized to implement the Federal regulations. We recommend that you also contact your state's implementing agency to acquire additional information on hazardous waste tank secondary containment. See EPA Regional offices and state environmental agencies to help locate the appropriate agency.

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How should a TSDF resolve a manifest discrepancy (e.g., a variation in piece count)?

Upon discovery, a TSDF must attempt to reconcile any manifest discrepancy with the waste generator or the transporter (e.g., through telephone conversations). If the discrepancy is not resolved within 15 days after receiving the hazardous waste, the facility owner or operator must immediately submit a copy of the manifest or shipping paper, as well as a letter describing the discrepancy and any attempts to reconcile it, to its implementing agency (40 CFR 264.72/265.72(c)).

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What must the owner or operator of a TSDF do in the case of a significant manifest discrepancy in the quantity of waste shown on the manifest as having been shipped, and what the designated facility determines to have been received?

When the owner or operator of a TSDF discovers a significant manifest discrepancy, they must attempt to reconcile the discrepancy with the waste generator or transporter. The owner or operator of a TSDF must immediately submit a letter to the Regional Administrator describing significant discrepancies that are not resolved within fifteen days of receiving the waste (Sections 264.72(c) and 265.72(c)).

Manifest discrepancies are defined as differences between the quantity or type of hazardous waste designated on the manifest and the quantity or type of hazardous waste a facility actually receives (Sections 264.72(a) and 265.72(a)). Significant discrepancies consist of variations in piece count for a batch shipment of waste and variations of greater than 10 percent by weight for a bulk shipment of waste (Memo, Petruska to Berry; September 14, 1995 (RCRA Online #11918)).

For additional guidance on manifest discrepancies see Monthly Report Question; March 1, 1984 (RCRA Online #12191).

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Can an owner or operator of a TSDF use the same mechanism to comply with both closure and post-closure care financial assurance requirements in Part 264, Subpart H?

Yes. An owner or operator of an TSDF may satisfy the requirements for financial assurance for both closure and post-closure care by using a trust fund, surety bond, letter of credit, insurance, financial test or corporate guarantee that meets the specifications for the mechanism in Sections 264.143 and 264.145. The amount of funds available through the mechanism must be no less than the sum of funds that would be available if a separate mechanism had been established and maintained for financial assurance of closure and post-closure care (Section 264.146).

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Can an owner or operator of a TSDF use multiple mechanisms per facility to comply with the financial assurance requirements in 40 CFR Part 264, Subpart H?

An owner or operator may combine certain financial assurance mechanisms to cover the cost of closure and post-closure care for a facility. For example, an owner or operator can combine trust funds, payment surety bonds, insurance policies, and letters of credit to meet financial assurance requirements. performance surety bonds, financial tests, and corporate guarantees cannot be used in combination to demonstrate assurance. (See Part 264.143(g) and 264.145(g).)

The mechanisms used must be as specified in paragraphs (a), (b), (d), and (e), respectively, of 264.143(g) and 264.145, except it is the combination of mechanisms, rather than the single mechanism, which must provide financial assurance for an amount at least equal to the current closure or post-closure cost estimate, respectively. In addition, the wording of each mechanism or instrument, must be identical to the examples in 40 CFR 264.151.

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Do the post-closure care financial assurance requirements apply to all TSDFs?

The financial obligations for post-closure care apply only to owners and operators of disposal facilities, waste piles, surface impoundments, tank systems, and containment buildings that close with waste in place (i.e., close as a landfill) (40 CFR Sections 264.140/265.140(b)).

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If a permitted TSDF undergoes a change in ownership or operational control, how long does the new owner or operator have to demonstrate compliance with the financial assurance requirements in 40 CFR Part 264 Subpart H?

New owners or operators of TSDFs have six months from the date of the change in ownership or operational control to demonstrate compliance with the financial assurance requirements, regardless of whether the facility is permitted or interim status. The old owner or operator shall continue to comply with the financial assurance requirements until the new owner or operator has demonstrated compliance with those requirements. When the new owner or operator has demonstrated compliance, the old owner or operator will be notified that he or she no longer needs to comply with the financial assurance regulations (Sections 270.40(b) and 270.72(a)(4)).

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When is the owner or operator of a TSDF released from the requirement to demonstrate financial assurance for both closure/post-closure costs and liability coverage?

Within 60 days after receiving the final closure certifications from the owner or operator and an independent professional engineer, the implementing agency will notify the owner or operator in writing that he is no longer required to maintain financial assurance at the facility (40 CFR Sections 264.143(i) and 264.147(e)).

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When does an owner or operator of a permitted facility who uses the financial test or corporate guarantee to fulfill RCRA financial assurance requirements need to update and submit a closure cost estimate to the implementing agency?

The closure cost estimate must be updated for inflation within 30 days of the close of the facility's fiscal year and it must be placed in the updated financial records that are kept at the facility (40 CFR Section 264.142(d)). Owners or operators who use the financial test or corporate guarantee have 90 days after the close of the fiscal year to submit all updated information, including the updated cost estimate, to the implementing agency (Section 264.143(f)(5)).

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What are the liability financial resource requirements for sudden and nonsudden accidental occurrences for all hazardous waste TSDFs?

Owners or operators of hazardous waste TSDFs must demonstrate financial responsibility for bodily injury and property damage to third parties caused by sudden accidental occurrences arising from the operation of the facility (Section 264.147(a) for permitted facilities and Section 265.147(a) for interim status facilities. A sudden accidental occurrence is an event that is not continuous or repeated, such as a fire or explosion (Section 264.141(g) and Section 265.141(g)). The minimum financial requirements include at least $1 million per sudden accidental occurrence and an annual aggregate of at least $2 million (Section 264.147(a) and Section 265.147(a)).
 
The requirement to demonstrate financial responsibility for nonsudden accidental occurrences is limited to owners or operators of surface impoundments, landfills, land treatment facilities, or land disposal miscellaneous units (Section 264.147(b), Section 265.147(b)). A nonsudden accidental occurrence is an event that takes place over time and involves continuous or repeated exposure to hazardous waste, such as a leaking surface impoundment that contaminates a drinking water source over time (Section 264.141(g) and Section 265.141(g)). The minimum financial requirements include at least $3 million per nonsudden accidental occurrence and an annual aggregate of at least $6 million (Section 264.147(b) and Section 265.147(b)). 

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Are facilities that manage hazardous waste required to prepare a closure plan?

All hazardous waste TSDFs must prepare closure plans for both partial and final closure (Section 264.112/265.112) that explain in detail how the owner and operator will achieve the closure performance standard under 264.111/265.111. Permitted facilities are required to submit a closure plan with the Part B permit application; the approved closure plan then becomes an enforceable component of the facility permit (Section 270.14(b)(13)). Interim status facilities must have a written closure plan on the premises six months after the facility becomes subject to Section 265.112, as per 265.112(a). 

Additional guidance on the closure plan requirements is available in the following documents: 

Monthly Call Center Report Question; February 1998 (RCRA Online #14173)
Memo, Lowrance to Garcia; May 28, 1993 (RCRA Online #11748)
Monthly Call Center Report Question; October 1989 (RCRA Online #13325)
Memo, Denit to Pastor; March 10, 1998 (RCRA Online #11986)
Monthly Call Center Report Question; April 1988 (RCRA Online #13163)
Monthly Call Center Report Question; November 1987 (RCRA Online #13073)
Monthly Call Center Report Question; May 1987 (RCRA Online #12922)
Memo, Lucero and Williams to Davis; December 10, 1986 (RCRA Online #12814)
Monthly Call Center Report Question; August 1986 (RCRA Online #12700)
Monthly Call Center Report Question; May 1984 (RCRA Online #12227)
Monthly Call Center Report Question; December 1982 (RCRA Online #12078)

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Is the owner and operator required to address wastes that are treated or accumulated in ninety-day generator accumulation units in the closure plan as part of the maximum inventory?

Facility owners and operators are required to include wastes that are treated or accumulated in ninety-day generator units in estimations of the maximum inventory of hazardous wastes ever on site over the active life of the facility for purposes of the closure plan. EPA promulgated requirements for more detailed closure plans in response to concerns that poorly detailed plans were accompanied by inadequate cost estimates. The purpose of increased detail in the closure plan is to ensure that a third party could conduct closure in accordance with the plan if the owner and operator fails to do so, as well as to ensure accurate cost estimates for closure (51 FR 16426; May 2, 1986). Consequently, EPA intended for the maximum inventory of wastes on site during the active life of the facility to include hazardous wastes accumulated in generator accumulation units as well as permitted units.

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What types of facilities are required to comply with post-closure care requirements?

The post-closure standards apply to land disposal units (e.g., landfills, land treatment units, surface impoundments) that leave hazardous waste in place at closure (52 FR 45788, 45794; December 1, 1987). Owners and operators of facilities that require post-closure care must comply with both the general post-closure regulations in Sections 264.116/265.116 through 264.120/265.120, which include groundwater monitoring, and the unit-specific post-closure requirements in Part 264/265, Subparts K, L, M, N, and X. In addition, units that are not able to clean close, for example a tank system where all the contaminated soil cannot be removed, must be closed as a landfill and undergo post-closure care.

Additional guidance regarding post-closure is available in the following documents:

Monthly Call Center Report Question; September 1986 (RCRA Online #12723)
Memo, Dellinger to Warner; March 4, 1997 (RCRA Online #14204)
Memo, Lowrance to Ullrich; June 4, 1990 (RCRA Online #13386)
Memo, Lowrance to Regions 1-10; May 19, 1998 (RCRA Online #13180
Memo, Williams to Wagoner; June 9, 1987 (RCRA Online #12941
Monthly Call Center Report Question; October 1986 (RCRA Online #12757)

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When must a hazardous waste tank system close as a landfill and meet post-closure requirements?

An owner or operator of a tank system that demonstrates that all contaminated soils cannot be practically removed or decontaminated as required in 40 CFR Section 264.197/265.197(a) must close the tank system as a landfill (July 14, 1986; 51 FR 25422, 25457). The closure requirements in Section 264.197/265.197(a) and (b) call for the removal or decontamination of all waste residues, contaminated containment system components, contaminated soils, and structures and equipment contaminated with waste. If the owner or operator demonstrates that all contaminated soils around and under the tank system cannot be practicably removed or decontaminated at closure, then the tank system is considered to be a landfill. In this case, the owner or operator must close the tank system and perform post-closure care in accordance with the closure and post-closure requirements that apply to landfills in Section 264.310/265.310 (Monthly Call Center Report Question; April 1989 (RCRA Online #13270)). The owner or operator of the tank system must meet all of the requirements for landfills specified in Subparts G and H of Parts 264/265 with regard to closure, post-closure, and financial responsibility (Monthly Call Center Report Question; September 1986 (RCRA Online #12723)). 

Additional guidance regarding closing tanks systems as landfills is available in the following documents:

Monthly Call Center Report Question; October 1989 (RCRA Online #13325)
Monthly Call Center Report Question; April 1988 (RCRA Online #13163)
Memo, Porter to Jontz; April 8, 1987 (RCRA Online #12902)

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When are the owners and operators of TSDFs required to conduct personnel training for employees? How often do facility personnel need to be trained?

Facility personnel at permitted and interim status TSDFs are required to complete a facility personnel training program within six months of their date of employment or assignment to a facility (Sections 264.16(b) and 265.16(b)). In addition, facility personnel must take part in an annual review of the initial training (Sections 264.16(c) and 265.16(c)). While it may be infeasible for companies with many employees to train each employee exactly one year after the last training, EPA expects companies to attempt to provide training so that personnel are trained every year (Memo, Cotsworth to Tierney; June 10, 1997 (RCRA Online #14286)). Large quantity generators (LQG) are also required to comply with the personnel training requirements in Section 265.16.

Additional guidance regarding the personnel training requirements is available in the following documents:

Monthly Hotline Report Question; March 1998 (RCRA Online # 14180
Memo, Denit to Bell; October 7, 1993 (RCRA Online # 11779
Monthly Hotline Report Question; June 1984 (RCRA Online # 12245)

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May RCRA hazardous waste facility personnel training be completed online and does EPA provide online training?

There is no specific format required for RCRA facility personnel training, as long as the training program meets the minimum requirements in 40 CFR Section 264.16/265.16 or the appropriate generator training requirements. In addition, there is no specific EPA-designated program to meet RCRA training requirements. EPA does not provide a list of approved training programs or an online training.

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