Eight Tips for LDR Compliance

Today’s post is going to be a quick one. A few posts ago we provided some basics of LDR (Land Disposal Restrictions) which we hope you found helpful!  But if you’re still looking for more information you are in the right place. Today we’re going to give you eight simple actions to take to help make sure you are compliant with LDR rules. So without further ado…

1. Determine, at the point of generation, all applicable codes, the category (WW or non-WW), and the subcategory (if any) for each restricted waste.

2. Determine which treatment standard(s) apply to each restricted waste.

3. Identify underlying hazardous constituents (where required).

4. Determine, through specified analytical techniques or knowledge of the waste, whether the treatment standard has been achieved.

5. Comply with time limitations.

6. Comply with prohibitions on evaporation and dilution.

7. Prepare notifications and/or certifications required for onsite or offsite waste management.

8. Comply with recordkeeping requirements to maintain all LDR documentation.

While this is in no way an all-inclusive list of instructions, following these suggestions will put you on a good start to maintaining Land Disposal Restriction compliance. Just make sure to always check with local and state rules as well as 40 CFR for the most up-to-date information.

Tracking and Record Keeping Requirements: LDR Waste Generators

We’ve been covering LDR topics recently. Today we are going to keep on that train of thought and go over the tracking and record keeping requirements the EPA dictates for generators of LDR restricted wastes. The EPA requires both generators and ten day facilities managing LDR restricted wastes to, “meet certain notification, certification, waste analysis, and recordkeeping requirements.” The LDR notification and certification paperwork is similar to a hazardous waste manifest; it is used to help hazardous waste handlers as well as EPA enforcers to help make sure wastes are handled appropriately.

According to the EPA, “A notification accompanies the initial shipment of each waste that is subject to LDR and includes such information as the waste code(s), the hazardous constituents present in the waste, and waste analysis data.” Only if the waste or receiving facility changes does the EPA require further notification. If a waste does not need further treatment to be eligible for land disposal a certification stating so must accompany the initial notification. The EPA requires waste handlers to keep this paperwork so they can properly track wastes and ensure they are getting properly treated prior to land disposal.

The EPA requires generators to determine whether or not a waste is subject to LDR at “the point of generation.” This determination can be made by testing or simply by applying knowledge. If the waste is subject to LDR and does not meet set treatment standards then generators must let the treatment facility know in writing. The notice must be included with the manifest and needs to include the following information:

  • “EPA hazardous waste code(s)
  • Identification of the waste as a wastewater or nonwastewater
  • Manifest number associated with the waste shipment
  • Waste analysis data (if available)
  • For characteristic wastes, any additional hazardous constituents present
  • When hazardous debris is to be treated by an alternative technology in §268.45, a statement to that effect and the contaminants subject to treatment
  • For contaminated soil, a list of the constituents subject to treatment and a statement that the soil does or does not meet LDR standards.”

If, however, the waste already meets set treatment standards the generator must submit a signed certification that says the waste meets the aforementioned standards. That certification will then need to accompany a copy of the notification statement detailed above.

A similar notification must be submitted if the waste qualifies for an exemption from a treatment standard. This can include national capacity variance, case-by-case extension, or no-migration exemption, among others. If this is the case, the certification must also include the date on which the waste will become subject to LDR prohibitions.

According to the EPA, “generators may treat hazardous waste in accumulation tanks, containers, or containment buildings provided the units are in compliance with certain standards applicable to TSDFs (§262.34). EPA believes that generators should have the same recordkeeping and documentation responsibilities that apply to TSDFs when treating wastes to meet LDR treatment standards. Therefore, §268.7(a)(5) requires generators to prepare a waste analysis plan when treating wastes to meet LDR. The waste analysis plans must justify the frequency of testing based on a detailed analysis of a representative sample of the waste. The plan must contain all information necessary for proper treatment of the waste in accordance with Part 268, and must be retained in the facility’s records (55 FR 22670; June 1, 1990). Generators who are conducting partial treatment, but not treating to meet treatment standards are not required to have a waste analysis plan.”

Quoted and EPA cited information (unless otherwise noted) for this blog post was gathered from the EPA document, “Introduction to Land Disposal Restrictions.” As always, this blog post is not intended to be comprehensive and it is always best to check with the EPA and local government for full, up-to-date, rules and regulations.

LDR – Storage and Dilution Prohibitions

The Land Disposal Restrictions set forth by the EPA not only prohibit land disposal of wastes that have not met treatment standards. They also prohibit two other activities; the long-term storage of a waste in place of treatment to set standards and the dilution of wastes as opposed to submitting them to proper treatment. According to the EPA, “like the prohibition on land disposal, these prohibitions no longer apply once a waste meets its waste code-specific treatment standard.” Read on for more details on these prohibitions, what they prevent, and how they work.

What is the storage prohibition?

The EPA created the storage prohibition as a way to ensure that waste handlers would not simply store hazardous waste in lieu of treating it. Unless a waste (one which is subject to a treatment standard) is being stored to accumulate a quantity large enough to better facilitate recycling, treatment, or disposal it is prohibited by the EPA.

The EPA “bears the burden of proving that the waste handler is storing in order to avoid meeting treatment standards rather than to facilitate legitimate recycling, treatment, or disposal,” for the first year of storage. After this first year, however, “there is no strict time limit on legitimate waste storage.” Additionally, in years following the first, “the burden of proof for showing that waste is indeed being legally accumulated to facilitate proper future management shifts from EPA to the waste handler.”

There are a couple of exemptions from the storage prohibition. For example, “Generators accumulating waste on site in accordance with §262.34 and transporters storing waste at a transfer facility for 10 days or less.” Additionally, wastes which qualify for an exemption from a treatment standard (case-by-case extensionno-migration petitionnational capacity variance, etc.) or which were placed in storage before the “effective date of a prohibition on land disposal,” are exempt.

What is the dilution prohibition?

Generally, the EPA does not allow for the dilution of wastes in place of appropriate treatment. What this means is that a waste handler could not usually achieve compliance with a numeric treatment standard by mixing a hazardous material with any other material simply to lessen the overall concentration. Any material that hazardous waste is mixed with must reduce the mobility or toxicity of the hazardous constituents.

In a related vein, the “EPA may consider waste to be impermissibly diluted when a waste handler treats with an inappropriate technology. For example, it is often impermissible to incinerate metal-bearing, inorganic wastes because incineration fails to destroy or immobilize the hazardous metal constituents.”

All this said; there are some cases where the EPA will allow dilution. Because dilution is essential in some legitimate waste treatment methods, like “the aggregation of similar wastes to facilitate subsequent treatment,” the EPA will make some exceptions.

“As a general rule, if aggregated wastes are all legitimately amenable to the same treatment, the aggregation step does not constitute impermissible dilution. In addition, waste handlers may dilute certain characteristic wastes that are managed in Clean Water Act regulated treatment systems (§268.3(b)). As well, certain characteristic wastes may be diluted to render them nonhazardous before disposal in a deep injection well regulated under the Safe Drinking Water Act (§268.1(c)(3)).” The table below can help you to determine whether or not a specific waste handled in a specific way is subject to the dilution prohibition.


Quoted and EPA cited information (unless otherwise noted) for this blog post was gathered from the EPA document, “Introduction to Land Disposal Restrictions.” As always, this blog post is not intended to be comprehensive and it is always best to check with the EPA and local government for full, up-to-date, rules and regulations.

LDR Variances, Extensions, and Exemptions: Part 2

Last week we wrote a post about the first two LDR variances, extensions, and exemptions (national capacity variance and case-by-case extension to an effective date). Today we are going to continue on that subject and discuss the four remaining cases, no-migration variance, variance from a treatment standard, equivalent treatment method variance, and surface impoundment treatment exemption. If you’ll remember, because of the potential for wastes that cannot achieve the required standard be land disposed the EPA created special circumstances (the variances, extensions, and exemptions) that can allow for land disposal of prohibited materials.

No-Migration Variance

To start, we need to know what no-migration means. According to the EPA, no-migration means that any hazardous constituents will not be able to leave the set boundary at concentrations that are than Agency-approved health-based levels. So, according to this variance a waste handler could land dispose of a material without meeting treatment standards if a petitioner can clearly demonstrate that there will be no migration of hazardous constituents from the unit for as long as the waste remains hazardous.

If a generator decides to petition for no-migration they must include in their petition a description of the site where waste will be disposed, a characterization of the waste to be disposed, and a monitoring plan that has been developed to mitigate risk in the case of migration. All this must then be approved by the Agency prior to any land disposal. Additionally, the generator has to submit long-term modeling estimates of concentrations in the ground’s unsaturated zone and the air pathway for review.

Variance from a Treatment Standard

According to the EPA, “under certain circumstances, generators or TSDFs may petition the Agency for a variance from using a required technology or from meeting a concentration-based treatment standard. EPA established this variance from a treatment standard to account for those wastes for which applicable treatment standards are unachievable or inappropriate (§268.44). In most cases, petitioners must demonstrate that the waste is significantly different from the wastes evaluated by EPA when developing the codified treatment standard or that such method or standard is unachievable or inappropriate for the waste. A treatability variance may apply generically to all waste meeting a certain description or it may be narrower in scope, applying only to a specific waste generated at a particular site.”

After the soil-specific standards were established the EPA had to once more look at the standards and develop provisions for contaminated soils. “Pursuant to §268.44(h)(3), variances from otherwise applicable LDR treatment standards may be approved if it is determined that compliance with the treatment standard would result in treatment beyond the point at which short- and long-term threats to human health and the environment are minimized. This allows a site-specific, risk-based determination to supersede the technology-based LDR treatment standards under certain circumstances, allowing regulators to align cleanup levels and treatment levels. Alternative LDR treatment standards established through site-specific risk-based variances should be within the range of values the Agency generally finds acceptable for risk-based cleanup levels.”

Equivalent Treatment Method Variance

As you may know, the EPA developed some treatment standards based on the best available technology. For these standards, generators must treat waste to the proper level through said technology. If, however, a person believes they have a better or an equitable technology available they may submit an application to the Agency demonstrating that their new or different technology can achieve equal results to that of the previous BAT. Assuming that the technology can treat to the proper level and protect human health and the environment the EPA may approve the petition and grant an equivalent method variance. Once granted, the alternative method can be used in place of the specified technology.

Surface Impoundment Treatment Exemption

According to the EPA, “the management of liquid wastes in surface impoundments often serves as a means of treatment. Typically, particulates suspended in liquid wastes settle to the bottom of impoundments, forming sludges in which contaminants concentrate. This precipitation process may result in the generation of sludges that are hazardous wastes.” Because managing wastes in surface impoundments is technically considered land disposal, even though the wastes in surface impoundments are not permanently disposed of in the unit, the generation and placement of hazardous wastes into a surface impoundment would not be compliant with LDR.  268.4, however, provides an exemption for wastes treated in a surface impoundment which allows the practice. The EPA states that, “Waste handlers may treat hazardous waste in surface impoundments without first meeting treatment standards provided that:

    1. The surface impoundment meets certain technological requirements,
    2. The treatment residues that do not meet applicable standards are removed from the impoundment annually, and
    3. The removed residues are not managed in another surface impoundment.”

EPA cited information (unless otherwise noted) for this blog post was gathered from the EPA document, “Introduction to Land Disposal Restrictions.” As always, this blog post is not intended to be comprehensive and it is always best to check with the EPA and local government for full, up-to-date, rules and regulations.

LDR Variances, Extensions, and Exemptions: Part 1

We’ve covered several LDR topics in the last few months including universal treatment standards as well as alternative treatment standards for labpack wastescontaminated soil, and hazardous debris. Today we’re going to cover some of the variances, extensions, and exemptions for which wastes can be applicable. According to LDR regulations, if a waste does not meet appropriate treatment standards it is ineligible to be land disposed. When a waste can’t meet standards for land disposal it is known as “prohibited.” Most prohibited wastes can be made eligible for land disposal through treatment to appropriate standards but in some cases they can’t.

Because of the potential for wastes that cannot achieve the standard be land disposed the EPA created special circumstances that can allow for land disposal of prohibited materials. There are six different variances, extensions, or exemptions: national capacity variance (§3004(h)(2)), case-by-case extension to an effective date (§268.5), no-migration variance (§268.6), variance from a treatment standard (§268.44), equivalent treatment method variance (§268.42(b)), surface impoundment treatment exemption (§268.4). Each variance, extension, or exemption addresses a different issue. Today we will be covering the first two, national capacity variance and case-by-case extension to an effective date.

National Capacity Variance

When the EPA develops a treatment standard they have to examine the treatment, recovery, and disposal capacity in order to determine if capacity is adequate for current and future wastes. According to the EPA, “To make capacity determinations, EPA compares the quantity of the restricted waste generated with the nationally available treatment, recovery, or protective disposal capacity at permitted and interim status facilities that will be in operation by the effective date.”

If they find that there will not be enough capacity for a waste code they can “grant a nationwide extension of the prohibition deadline for up to two years.” Waste generators and handlers can land dispose of wastes in this state of extension without meeting treatment standards as long as the disposal unit is in compliance with RCRA technological requirements.

Case-By-Case Extension

Similar to National Capacity Variance, if local or regional conditions do not allow for adequate treatment capacity the EPA may extend the effective date of a treatment on a case-by-case basis. According to the EPA, “case-by-case extensions [are granted] for one year, when waste handlers appropriately demonstrate need as enumerated in §268.5, and can renew these extensions for an additional year. Individual extensions cannot exceed a total of 24 months.”

Again, like National Capacity Variance, “if waste handlers dispose of hazardous wastes benefiting from a case-by-case extension to an effective date in landfills or surface impoundments, these disposal units must meet the minimum technological requirements for liners and leak-detection and be in compliance with groundwater monitoring requirements.”

Keep checking our blog for the second part of this post which will cover no-migration variance, variance from a treatment standard, equivalent treatment method variance, and surface impoundment treatment exemption.

EPA cited information (unless otherwise noted) for this blog post was gathered from the EPA document, “Introduction to Land Disposal Restrictions.” As always, this blog post is not intended to be comprehensive and it is always best to check with the EPA and local government for full, up-to-date, rules and regulations.

Alternative Treatment for Labpack Wastes

Recently, we’ve been discussing Land Disposal Restrictions. In particular, we have covered some of the alternative treatment standards which can be applied to certain types of waste. These alternative treatment standards can be used in place of the preexisting numerical treatment standards for wastes which are not as amendable to typical standards. So far we have covered the alternative standards for contaminated soils and hazardous waste containing debris. The final example which we will cover today deals with lab pack wastes.

Lab pack wastes are treated differently for land disposal because of the way in which they are generated. According to the EPA, “laboratories commonly generate small volumes of many different listed and characteristic wastes. Rather than manage all these disparate wastes individually, laboratories commonly take advantage of regulatory provisions that allow them to overpack many small containers of hazardous waste into a larger drum. These containers are known as lab packs.” What this means is that a labpack waste container could contain multiple different kinds of hazardous waste so the EPA needed to determine the best way to treat several different items at the same time.

In order to accomplish this, “[the] EPA…assigned them an alternative treatment standard, incineration, that allows generators to apply one treatment standard for the entire lab pack rather than applying the treatment standard for each individual waste code contained within the lab pack (§268.42(c)). The primary condition for application of this alternative, however, is that the lab pack may not contain any of the heavy metal-bearing waste codes identified in Part 268, Appendix IV.”

So, by allowing labpack wastes to be disposed of via incineration the EPA made the process of working with hazardous chemicals less cumbersome for laboratories. These regulations are further addressed in Subpart K of the waste generator regulatory requirements in 40 CFR Part 262. The formal name of the update is “Alternative Requirements for Hazardous Waste Determination and Accumulation of Unwanted Material for Laboratories Owned by Colleges and Universities and Other Eligible Academic Entities Formally Affiliated with Colleges and Universities.” [source]

According to the EPA, “this alternative set of regulations is specifically tailored to hazardous waste generation patterns in academic laboratories. It allows flexibility regarding where, at the eligible academic entity, the hazardous waste determination may be made, provided certain provisions are met that are designed to protect human health and the environment.” You can read more about academic lab regulations here.

EPA cited information (unless otherwise noted) for this blog post was gathered from the EPA document, “Introduction to Land Disposal Restrictions.” As always, this blog post is not intended to be comprehensive and it is always best to check with the EPA and local government for full, up-to-date, rules and regulations.

LDR Treatment Standards for Contaminated Debris

Much like the treatment standards for contaminated soils, contaminated debris also have alternative treatment standards which can be used in place of the waste code treatment standards. These alternative treatment standards (for contaminated manufactured items and environmental media of a certain size) can be found in section 268.45. The EPA created these alternative treatment standards for use with items like bricks, rocks, and industrial equipment because while they can be contaminated with hazardous waste they “may not be amenable to the waste code-specific treatment standards in §268.40” (EPA).

Depending on the type of debris and the waste it is contaminated with, waste handlers can choose from a few different types of treatment technologies. The EPA divided the different alternative treatment standards into three technological categories:

  • Extraction – Physical, chemical, and thermal forms of extraction. Examples include abrasive blasting, water washing and spraying, and thermal desorption, among others.
  • Destruction – Includes biological destruction, chemical destruction (such as oxidation or reduction) and thermal destruction such as incineration.
  • Immobilization – Includes microencapsulation and sealing. (source)

When waste handlers use the alternative treatment standards they must be sure that the design and operating requirements set forth in §268.45 are met and that they treat for each hazardous waste contaminate or constituent. If the waste handler wants to land dispose of the waste they have to make sure that the debris meet the performance standards in Table 1, §268.45. The EPA provides the following example, “a contaminated boulder that is sandblasted to remove surface contamination must be treated to a ‘clean debris surface’ and at least 0.6 centimeters of the surface layer of the boulder must be removed.”

After the contaminated debris has been treated “according to the specification of one of these technologies (EPA),” waste handlers may land dispose of it. If, after treatment via extraction (like sandblasting) or destruction (like incineration), the debris no longer exhibits any hazardous waste characteristic it can be land disposed as nonhazardous or returned to the environment.  If hazardous contaminated debris are treated via immobilization (microencapsulation, for example) the implementing agency must make the determination on whether it can be land disposed as nonhazardous.

EPA cited information for this blog post was gathered from the EPA document, “Introduction to Land Disposal Restrictions.” As always, this blog post is not intended to be comprehensive and it is always best to check with the EPA and local government for full, up-to-date, rules and regulations.

Contaminated Soil Treatment Standards

Last week we wrote about Universal Treatment Standards, why they were created, and what they aimed to achieve. Today I’d like to cover a similar topic, treatment standards for contaminated soil. When hazardous waste sites go through remediation they often generate contaminated soil which must then be handled as a hazardous waste if it contains a listed hazardous waste or exhibits a hazardous waste characteristic. Because remediation wastes often have uncommon properties or are vast in volume treatment standards had to be reconsidered. The issue was resolved by designating contaminated soil as a “unique treatability group,” subject to alternate treatment standards (EPA).

It is important to note that as with any hazardous waste, RCRA prohibits land disposal of contaminated soils until they have come to meet LDR standards. What changed for contaminated soils was the ways in which they could treat the waste to meet the standards. According to the EPA, “a facility may treat contaminated soil to meet the waste-specific treatment standard in §268.40, (i.e., the same standard the waste would have to meet if it was newly generated rather than found in soil) or to meet the soil-specific standards in §268.49. The soil standards mandate reduction of hazardous constituents by 90 percent, capped at 10 times the UTS. This means that if a 90 percent reduction of a particular constituent would bring the constituent concentration to below 10 times the UTS level, treatment need only achieve the 10 times UTS level. If the 90 percent reduction is higher than 10 times UTS, treatment need only achieve the 90 percent reduction.”

Waste handlers can also treat contaminated soils that exhibit a characteristic of hazardous waste with the standards mentioned above. If after doing so the soil still exhibits a hazardous waste characteristic, however, it must be disposed of in a Subtitle C Facility. This can happen because 10 times the universal treatment standard is occasionally still above the hazardous waste characteristic level. If treatment drops the characteristic level far enough the soil can be disposed of in a Subtitle D facility. Since soils contaminated with listed wastes (like the listed wastes themselves) will carry that listing forever they must be disposed of in a Subtitle C facility even after meeting LDR treatment standards.

The EPA notes that, “the soil treatment standards are promulgated pursuant to HSWA. Because the soil treatment standards are generally less stringent than current federal requirements, they will not go into effect in authorized states until the states adopt and become authorized for them, even though the soil treatment standards are promulgated pursuant to HSWA.”

“If a state is authorized to implement the LDR treatment standards for any given waste or constituent, and that waste or constituent is contained in contaminated soil that is subject to LDR, then, generally, the more stringent treatment standard for the as-generated industrial waste or constituent applies to contaminated soil until the state adopts and becomes authorized for the soil treatment standards. This would not be the case if the state implements state waiver authorities or other state laws to allow compliance with the soil treatment standards in advance of adoption or authorization. Similarly, if a state has adopted, under state law, an authorization for the requirement, and that waste or constituent is contained in contaminated soil that is subject to LDR, the more stringent state requirement continues to apply until the state adopts, under state law, the soil treatment standards.”

All information for this blog post was gathered from the EPA document, “Introduction to Land Disposal Restrictions.” As always, this blog post is not intended to be comprehensive and it is always best to check with the EPA and local government for full, up-to-date, rules and regulations.

What are Universal Treatment Standards?

We have discussed Land Disposal Restrictions in a few previous posts. One post in particular titled “Why did the EPA Develop LDR Treatment Standards?” serves as an excellent lead in to today’s post. You may remember that when the EPA first designated LDR treatment standards they researched to find the Best Demonstrated Available Technology (BDAT) that would best reduce toxicity or mobility of hazardous components in a material. In finding these Best Demonstrated Available Technologies, however, they encountered another problem.

According to the EPA, the issue arose when it became clear that “the numeric treatment standard applied to an individual hazardous constituent, like benzene, could vary depending on the performance of BDAT on each listed or characteristic wastestream that EPA evaluated. For example, nonwastewater forms of the listed wastes F005 and U019 both require treatment for benzene; however, the treatment standard originally set for benzene in the spent solvent was 3.7 mg/kg, while the standard originally set for unused, discarded benzene was 36 mg/kg.” What this means is that different wastestreams were breaking down to different levels when subjected to the same BDAT. Because of this the standards were all over the board.

To fix that problem and to streamline and simplify the process the EPA studied the array of numeric standards that had been applied to the same hazardous component in different hazardous wastes. They then assigned one numeric value to each component for both its wastewater and nonwastewaters forms based on the aforementioned range of numbers. You can find a consolidated list of these numbers in 40 CFR §268.48.

After developing these Universal Treatment Standards (UTS), the EPA used the values assigned to hazardous constituents to adjust numeric levels found in the treatment standards table in §268.40. Doing so did not change the hazardous components that waste handlers have to treat in a particular waste; it simply amended the numeric standards. The result was that a component found in several different wastestreams now has the same numeric treatment level regardless of what the waste was part of. The EPA continues its example concerning benzene by explaining that after developing UTS, “the treatment standards found in §268.40 for F005 and U019 nonwastewaters…continue to address benzene, but EPA has adjusted the level for each to 10 mg/kg.”

This process helped the EPA not only because it streamlined existing treatment standards but also because it served as a stepping off point for wastes that would be identified or listed in the future. “When a new waste contains hazardous constituents that EPA has already addressed in UTS, the Agency [can] apply the existing BDAT-based numeric standards for those particular constituents.”  Similarly, if a new waste component is discovered it can be added to the UTS list.

All information for this blog post was gathered from the EPA document, “Introduction to Land Disposal Restrictions.” As always, this blog post is not intended to be comprehensive and it is always best to check with the EPA and local government for full, up-to-date, rules and regulations.

Why did the EPA Develop LDR Treatment Standards?

We’ve talked about LDR a few times in the past. If you missed the previous posts it might help you to check out the Intro to LDR post. For those who may not know, LDR stands for Land Disposal Restrictions. The primary focus of LDR is to protect the groundwater (we’ve written a bit about this topic in a previous post). The two ways the EPA decided on for the protection of groundwater are treatment and stabilization. Today we are going to focus on treatment, and in particular on treatment standards.

If hazardous wastes are going to be placed on the land LDR requires that waste handlers fundamentally change the threat the waste poses. Different waste types have different restrictions and thresholds for adequate treatment. These set thresholds are called treatment standards. Once the EPA restricts a waste and sets its treatment standard the waste is prohibited from being land disposed prior to meeting said set standard.

The EPA is required to create treatment standards that reduce toxicity or mobility of hazardous components in order to protect human health and the environment. To do this in the best manner the EPA decided to base treatment standards on technical practicability as opposed to risk assessment. In order to do this the EPA does research into available technologies in order to select the ones that work best to minimize mobility and/or toxicity of a material. These selected technologies are called the Best Demonstrated Available Technology (BDAT).

Once the BDAT has been determined for a waste stream the EPA develops waste-code specific treatment standards. These standards are based on the BDAT and incorporate any existing constituent treatment levels specified as universal treatment standards (UTS). We will discuss UTS’s in a later post. The finalized treatment standards are then expressed by the EPA as either concentration levels or required technologies.

When the EPA sets treatment standards as concentration levels generators and handlers are not limited to using only the BDAT to treat the waste. In these cases the BDAT is utilized to find the appropriate treatment level which can then be reached via other technologies assuming the technology would be impermissible dilution.

When the treatment standard is a required technology the generator or treatment facility must use that technology unless they can demonstrate a different method that will achieve an equivalent performance. Because allowing for different treatment processes leads to more innovation the EPA prefers to use numeric treatment standards whenever possible.

Physical and chemical composition of a waste has a major impact on the effectiveness of a given treatment technology. Because of this the EPA divides the treatment standards for each waste code into two categories, wastewaters and nonwastewaters.

According to the EPA, “ these two categories [are defined] based on the percentages of total organic carbon (TOC) and total suspended solids (TSS) present in a waste, since these factors commonly impact the effectiveness of treatment methods. Wastewaters contain less than one percent TOC by weight and less than one percent TSS by weight. Nonwastewaters include wastes that do not meet the definition of wastewater (§268.2).”

The EPA also developed alternative treatment standards for soil, debris, and lab pack wastes. Let us know in the comments section if you would like to see posts about these alternative methods in an upcoming post.

All information for this blog post was gathered from the EPA document, “Introduction to Land Disposal Restrictions.” As always, this blog post is not intended to be comprehensive and it is always best to check with the EPA and local government for full, up-to-date, rules and regulations.