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Preparing for the Unpredictable: Part 4

Natural Disaster Series: Special Requirement for LQG Waste Generators

Over the past few weeks, our blogs have been addressing issues pertaining to emergency response and natural disasters. A Large Quantity Generator (LQG) of hazardous waste must comply with prevention and preparedness standards that address daily management to prevent release, as well as develop a written Contingency Plan that documents how an imminent or actual release, fire, or explosion is mitigated and operations are returned to normal. Moving forward, new LQGs and LQGs updating their Contingency Plans will need to develop and distribute a Quick Reference Guide (QRG).

On November 28, 2016 the Generator Improvement Rules were published in the Federal Register, taking effect on May 30, 2017 in Iowa and Alaska. Over the past few months Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Georgia and Utah have also adopted the new rules. And while states that require legislative action for these changes have up to two years to adopt the more stringent portions, knowing the changes now can prepare you for when they take effect in your state. States are not required to adopt the less stringent requirements, but Quick Reference Guides are considered more stringent.

The Quick Reference Guide is required to be distributed to police departments, fire departments, hospitals and State and local emergency response teams that may be called upon to provide emergency services, and the Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC). Following the effective date of this updated regulation, new LQGs would be required to submit a Quick Reference Guide instead of the whole Contingency Plan when they update their Contingency Plans, and LQGs making modifications would only need to submit this new Quick Reference Guide.

Depending on the complexity of the facility, Contingency Plans can be quite lengthy. Contingency Plans include planning and response information which increases the complexity of the document. The size and complexity of the document can prevent first responders from identifying the relevant information needed to respond to an emergency situation. Having a shorter document that provides limited, relevant information for initial response is beneficial to both responders as well as facility operations management.

Required elements of the Quick Reference Guide are:

1. Type/names of hazardous wastes and the associated hazards;

2. Estimated maximum amount of each waste present at any one time;

3. Identification of hazardous wastes where exposure would require unique or special treatment by medical or hospital staff;

4. Map of the site where hazardous wastes are generated and accumulated and route to access the wastes;

5. Street map of the facility in relation to surrounding businesses, schools, and residential areas, how to best get to the facility or evacuate the community;

6. Locations of the water supply (i.e., fire hydrants and flow rates);

7. Identification of on-site notification systems (i.e., fire alarms, smoke alarms, release alarms, etc.); and

8. Name of emergency coordinator(s) and 24/7 phone number.

Heritage recommends submitting the Quick Reference Guide to your private emergency response provider(s) as well.

While the EPA is not formalizing the manner in which the Quick Reference Guide is submitted, they encourage generators to discuss with their local emergency responders how they would like the information conveyed. This could include incorporating the information into an existing application.

Heritage, in a continuing effort to support our customers, has created a model Quick Reference Guide. This document, which is approximately 5 pages in length, is a great place for generators to start in creating their own summary. Click here for the Example Quick Reference Guide 2017

What are the Hazardous Waste Generator Classes?

In last Tuesday’s post we talked about what constitutes a hazardous waste generator. In that post, I mentioned that because hazardous waste generators produce waste in different quantities Congress breaks them down into three distinct categories. Today we’re going to cover what those three categories are and what qualifies a generator for each one.

When the original generator regulations were published in May of 1980, they set regulations for people who generated 1000 kg or more of hazardous waste in a calendar month and people who generated more than 1 kg of acutely hazardous waste in one calendar month. People who generated less than that were considered conditionally exempt and had reduced regulatory requirements set.

The regulations were amended in 1984 to more stringently regulate people who generated between 100 and 1000 kg of hazardous waste in a calendar month and again in March of 1986 when the final regulations were published. These final regulations established a third class of generator and narrowed the scope of conditional exemption to those people generating 100kg or less of hazardous waste in a calendar month. Generators who produce 1 kg or acutely hazardous waste are also exempt.

Generators now fall into one of three categories depending on the amount of waste they generate in a calendar month. The three different classes are broken down in the table below.

Quantity Determines Which Regulations

What is a Large Quantity Generator?

Large Quantity Generators (or LQG’s) produce 1000 kg or more of hazardous waste or 1 kg or more of acutely hazardous waste per calendar month. These generators and wastes are subject to full regulation.

What is a Small Quantity Generator?

Small Quantity Generators (or SQG’s) produce between 100 kg and 1000 kg of hazardous waste per calendar month. These generators and wastes are subject to modified regulations.  Generally, SQG’s must comply with some, but not all, of the regulations LQG’s must follow.

What is a Conditionally Exempt Small Quantity Generator?

Conditionally Exempt Small Quantity Generators (or CESQG’s) produce 100 kg or less of hazardous waste per calendar month. This category also includes generators who produce 1 kg or less of acutely hazardous waste, or 100 kg or less of contaminated soil, waste, or debris resulting from the cleanup of an acute hazardous waste spill. CESQGs are exempt from Parts 262 through 270 if they comply with the requirements in §261.5.

What is an Episodic Generator?

Occasionally, generators exceed or fall below their normal generation limits in a calendar month. When this happens the generator must take care to determine if the increase or decrease places them into a different generator category. If it does, “he or she is responsible for complying with all applicable requirements of that category for all waste generated during that calendar month. For example, if a generator produces 300 kg of hazardous waste in March, that waste must be managed in accordance with the SQG regulations; if the same generator produces 1,500 kg of hazardous waste in April, that waste must be managed in accordance with the LQG regulations.”

All information for this blog post was gathered from the EPA document, “Introduction to Generators.”  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.