Tag Archive for: Regulatory Compliance Assistance

Top Ten Hazardous Waste Generator Violations

With its ongoing importance, we want to update and inform on this old topic! Local, state and federal environmental agencies use the inspection process to verify that hazardous waste generators are following the rules. Over the last number of years, and with the implementation of the Generator Improvement Rules, we have a better understanding of what rules are consistently looked at, and can result in citations and fines if not followed. Below you will find rule violations and how to avoid them.

 Failure to Make a Waste Determination

Avoid this by:

  • Make a determination on all waste generated on-site.
  • Treat unknown material as a hazardous waste during the determination process (label, close, date, etc.)
  • Keep necessary documentation for both hazardous and non-hazardous waste.

Knowing what you generate and if it is hazardous will help you make the determination as to what size generator you are, and what rules you need to follow…as well as ensuring that you aren’t improperly disposing of hazardous waste as non-hazardous and creating liability issues for your company.


 Adequate Aisle Space

Avoid this by:

  • Ensuring that you can get to all of your containers in your 90/180 accumulation area
  • Ensuring that if a container has an issue, emergency responders can get to that container
  • Ensure that incompatibles are separated in some way (dike, berm, wall) to reduce risk of fire, release, explosion

The regulations do not indicate a specific distance for adequate aisle space. Check state regulations for any state guidelines, or even fire marshal guidance.



Failure to Perform Weekly Inspections of Hazardous Waste Storage Areas

Avoid this by:

  • Perform the inspections on the same day every week
  • Mondays and Fridays are not a good choice
  • Have a back-up inspector
  • Document inspections on an inspection log

Make sure that your employees aren’t just documenting what issues they found, but also how the either mitigated them at that time, or if the issue was mitigated at a late      time, how and when. Under the Generator Improvement Rules, remember that weekly inspections must now be completed “at least weekly” and must specifically look for containers that are leaking AND containers that have deteriorated due to corrosion.



 Contingency Planning Violations

Avoid this by:

  • Designate an emergency coordinator
  • Keep information up to date and on-site
  • Ensure all required elements are included
  • For LQG’s, document submittals to local authorities

Do you know your capabilities? Do you know your local emergency responder’s capabilities for large release mitigation? Have you considered contracting with Heritage for your emergency response if you or your local responders aren’t able to mitigate large emergencies or decontamination’s?



Marking and Labeling of Containers

Either with “hazardous waste” OR Words describing the container contents

Avoid this by:

  • Review and understand the definition of a satellite accumulation area
  • Label your container once the first drop of hazardous waste is added to the container.

The GIR requires the words “Hazardous Waste” as well as an indication of the hazard (DOT diamond, GHS pictogram, etc.) in both satellite and central accumulation areas. Proper marking of containers will reduce the mixing of incompatible wastes, and potentially and emergency situation.



Separate incompatibles

Avoid this by:

  • Appropriately marking and labeling your containers
  • Training your employees about certain incompatibles (acids and caustics in the same container) based on waste determinations
  • Not placing materials in an unwashed container

The more you know about the wastes you have, the better prepared you are for reducing the risk of fires, releases or explosions.




Avoid this by:

  • Knowing what your training requirements are based on your generator status
  • Documenting when you received your training
  • Documenting what training you are providing your employees based on their job responsibilities

LQGs are required to have training annually, have a written training plan and that employees are training within 6 months of being hired to work in the company’s hazardous waste program. SQG employers need to show that the employees understand the rules based on their performance (i.e., do they know the rules and how they apply to the job).



Open Container Violations

Avoid this by:

  •  Rule of Thumb- if the contents would spill if the container was overturned, then the container is considered open
  • Close and latch funnels; screw in bungs; use drum rings and tighten bolts
  • Train employees to close containers when not adding or removing waste

Satellite and central accumulations area containers, as well as those for used oil, contaminated wipes, universal wastes, must be kept closed unless adding or removing material from the container. Are you ensuring that your containers are adequately closed?



Storage Area Accumulation Date Violations

Avoid this by:

  • Once 55 gallons of hazardous waste or 1 quart of acute hazardous waste is exceeded at the satellite accumulation area, storage area dating requirements apply after three days.
  • Make sure all containers of hazardous waste in storage are marked with waste accumulation dates during weekly inspections.



90/180-day violations

Avoid this by:

  • Knowing what hazardous waste you generate and how much you generate in a given month
  • Notify your state EPA office that you are a hazardous waste generate
  • Know the rules that apply based on your generator status

This really captures all of the responsibilities you have as a generator in one major category. If you don’t do waste determinations, you don’t know what hazardous waste you generate and what size generator you are. From there, you may not know how long you are allowed to store hazardous waste on site, and when it needs to be transported for disposal. This could lead to storage violations, and a host of other violations based on how the rules apply to you, and if you follow them.

Learn more about our Hazardous Waste Services.

Avoid Hazardous Waste Generator Violations in 10 Simple Steps

We first distributed this blog in November of 2014, but it has continued to be helpful and useful and wanted to share it with you again! Hazardous waste generators are under constant scrutiny to avoid violating regulations set by RCRA as well as national and state government. In order to help you avoid any potential violations we have developed the following list of 10 steps. If you manage your waste with these ten things in mind you should be able to maintain a safe and compliant workplace.

1. Remember to mark storage containers with an accumulation date.

Containers of hazardous waste in a 90 or 180-day storage area must be marked with an accumulation date. Check that yours are each week during your inspection of the storage area. You could also consider using a log or spreadsheet to track wastes in addition to review of dates during your area inspections.

2.  Make sure used oil containers are properly labeled.

Remember, “Used oil is defined as any oil that was refined from crude oil or any synthetic oil, and that is used and as a result of such use is contaminated by physical or chemical impurities.” Any container holding used oil must be marked “Used Oil.” Additionally, pipes used to transfer used oil to a UST must be marked “Used Oil.”

3.  Ensure that your containers are kept closed.

Except in the instances of adding or removing waste containers should always remain closed. This means closing and latching funnels, screwing in bungs, using drum rings, and tightening bolts. Remember, if the contents would spill if the container was overturned, then the container is considered open.

4. Keep tabs on your universal wastes.

Make sure you understand the regulations for universal wastes (things like batteries and used lamps). Properly label the wastes as “Universal Waste Batteries” and “Universal Waste Lamps.” Check your local state regulations as well.

5. Label all containers in your storage areas.

Containers in a 90 or 180-day storage area must be marked with the words “Hazardous Waste” as well as listing: generator name and address, accumulation start date, contents, physical state, and hazardous properties.

6. Have a contingency plan in place.

Whether you’re a small quantity or large quantity generator, you must have a contingency plan in place. You can help make sure you avoid violations by designating an emergency coordinator, keeping information up to date and on-site, ensuring all required elements are included in your plan, and for LQG’s, document submittals to local authorities.

7. Have a hazardous waste reduction plan on-site.

A hazardous waste reduction plan (often referred to as a waste minimization plan) is required for all hazardous waste generators. To keep yourself compliant make sure you keep a copy on-site, update that copy annually to ensure accuracy, make sure it’s signed by management, and ensure all applicable elements are included.

8. Properly label waste in satellite accumulation areas.

Utilizing satellite accumulation areas can be very beneficial to hazardous waste generators but it is imperative that all requirements listed in 40CFR are followed. Keep yourself violation free by reviewing and understanding the definition of a satellite accumulation area and by labeling your container once the first drop of hazardous waste is added.

9. Perform weekly inspections of hazardous waste storage areas.

Ensure consistency in your inspections by designating one day a week to perform them. Remember that Monday’s and Friday’s are not typically the best choices since they are often spent catching up from the weekend or readying for the weekend respectively. Have a back-up inspector and make sure that all inspections are documented in an inspection log.

10. Always make a hazardous waste determination.

You must make a hazardous waste determination for all wastes generated on your site. You should also make a list of each kind of hazardous waste generated. Determine if any exemptions apply to your wastes and figure out if your wastes are listed or characteristic hazardous wastes. Treat any unknown waste as hazardous until a determination has been made. Document everything and hold on to the documentation.  

Limited Quantity (LQ) and ORM-D Mini Primer

The following post is an excerpt from our September 2015 Regulatory Corner, a new Heritage news bulletin we will be including in future e-newsletters. To subscribe to our newsletter (and never miss an upcoming Regulatory Corner) click here.

In the January 19, 2011 Federal Register, DOT announced the elimination and replacement of the ORM-D marking for small quantities of hazardous materials shipments. The ORM-D marking has been mostly replaced with Limited Quantity (LQ), which is a diamond-shaped marking with black tips on the top and bottom. ORM-D may still be used, but only for ground shipments, until the deadline of December 31, 2020 (see January 7, 2013 extension notice). Additionally, to take advantage of ORM-D provisions your material also has to meet the DOT definition of a consumer commodity. This definition will also be removed, and is not a requirement to use the newer LQ designation.    

The usage of ORM-D/LQ has benefits which can include:

  • Shipping a DOT hazardous material without a shipping paper/hazardous materials bill of lading;
  • Shipping a DOT hazardous material without applying a Proper Shipping Name (PSN) to the package; and
  • Shipping a DOT hazardous material in a strong outer packaging rather than a DOT specification package.

How does ORM-D/LQ work?

A full discussion of these requirements is outside the scope of this post, but the key steps are as follows, using UN1759 Corrosive Solids, NOS as an example:

  • Determine what Proper Shipping Name (PSN) would normally apply to the material intended for shipment.
  • Review Column 8A of the Hazardous Materials Table (HMT) for your PSN to determine if a packaging exception is available. If no exception is identified in column 8A, then your hazardous material is mostly likely ineligible to be a Limited Quantity/ORM-D. Most exceptions are found in the 49 CFR 173.150s range of the DOT regulations. The PSN entry for UN1759, PGII and PGIII reference 49 CFR 173.154 in column 8A, however UN1759, PGI does not have an exception for LQ.
  • Read the exception and check that there is a Limited Quantity or ORM-D portion, such as 49 CFR 173.154(b) in our example above.
  • Ensure that your package conforms to the inner container limits for the applicable packing group, and that your gross package weight is within the limits (66 pounds gross weight maximum in most cases).
  • Apply the Limited Quantity diamond DOT mark to your package and ship.

As mentioned above, these are the key steps only, and many different situations may be applicable. For example, if you are shipping RCRA hazardous wastes or exceed a DOT Reportable Quantity (RQ) for a single package, in most cases you will only be able to take advantage of the no DOT specification package aspect of the Limited Quantity/ORM-D exception provisions. Please review the requirements for each particular situation and ship your hazardous materials with a focus on safety.

What is an EPA ID Number and How Do I Get One?

According to the EPA, “The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) requires individuals who generate or transport hazardous waste, or who operate a facility for recycling, treating, storing, or disposing (TSD) of hazardous waste, to notify EPA or their authorized State waste management agency of their regulated waste activities and obtain a US EPA Identification (ID) Number (also known as a RCRA ID Number). Handlers of some Universal Waste, Used Oil, and Boilers/Industrial Furnace may require a US EPA ID Number, too. If you are regulated and do not comply with the RCRA notification requirements, you may be subject to civil and criminal penalties.” [1]

EPA ID numbers are specific to individual sites (except when they are issued to transporters) and permanent. There is an exception to the permanency in the case of provisional numbers which last for just 90 days and can be used in case of emergency or temporary one time clean-ups. After the 90 days they are no longer valid and are deleted from the national registry.

What if our site moves?

EPA ID numbers do not move in the event that the owner/operator should relocate (unless the owner or operator is a transporter). EPA ID numbers are so important because they help the EPA to track wastes through the entire cradle-to-grave cycle which follows waste from the point of generation to the point of disposal. So, “Once a US EPA ID number is assigned to a specific physical location, it belongs solely to that location and will belong to any owners/operators at that location.” [2]

Should a generator decide to move the location of their operations (even if it is just to a different place in the same town) they would need to inactivate their old ID number for the former location and request a new ID number for their new location. The EPA does note that, “If at the new location, a RCRA hazardous waste ID number had previously been issued to the former owner/operator, the number for that physical location will then be assigned to the new requester.” If not you would simply need to fill out a form as normal.

What forms do we have to fill out?

The EPA provides the Notification of Regulated Waste Activity (EPA Form 8700-12) and associated instructions in order to help these generators, transporters, and individuals determine whether or not they need to notify the EPA or authorized state of their regulated waste activities. If they do, they must submit the RCRA Subtitle C Site Identification (Site ID) Form including the following:

  • “Initial Notification of Regulated Waste Activity
  • Subsequent Notification of Regulated Waste Activity
  • First RCRA Hazardous Waste Part A Permit Application
  • Revised RCRA Hazardous Waste Part A Permit Application
  • Hazardous Waste Report
  • Notification for eligible academic entities opting into or withdrawing from managing laboratory hazardous wastes pursuant to 40 CFR Part 262 Subpart K (if in an eligible State)
  • Notification for facilities managing hazardous secondary material pursuant to 40 CFR 260.42 (if in an eligible State)” [3]

Remember, some states have additional or different requirements than the Federal requirements. It is always best to check with your state government in addition to the EPA.

“In order to determine if your location already has been assigned a US EPA Hazardous Waste ID number, look in EPA’s Envirofacts Warehouse database by the physical location first (be sure to put in the State you want to search within).” [4]

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.

RCRA Comparable Fuels Exclusion

Written by: Angie Martin, PE CHMM & Jim Brossman, Senior Consultant


According to the EPA, “”On June 27, 2014, the United States Court of Appeals vacated the ‘Comparable Fuels Rule’, which provided an exclusion from RCRA hazardous waste regulations for certain fuels derived from hazardous waste. EPA, recognizing the potential impact of this decision, has filed a motion with the court requesting a 30-day delay in the effective date of the decision (currently scheduled for August 11, 2014, absent petitions for appeal or rehearing) in order to gather information to help plan for orderly transition consistent with the opinion. At the end of that time, EPA may seek a further stay of the mandate if it determines that additional time is necessary for facilities to come into compliance with the applicable requirements.”

Update: On August 7, 2014, the court granted a stay of the mandate through September 17, 2014.

We expect to see a notice in the Federal Register very soon withdrawing the rule (40 CFR 261.4(a)(16) and 261.38). States are expected to follow so as not to be less stringent than the federal government. Generators using this exemption will need to do a proper waste determination on wastes and possibly will need to ship wastes that were being burned onsite to an off-site Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) permitted facility (TSD) — presumably incinerator or supplemental fuel/cement kiln.

What was the Comparable Fuels Exemption?

The comparable fuels exclusion was an exemption only available for liquids that met the comparable fuels specifications for BTU value, viscosity, and maximum hazardous constituent concentration. Materials that met the specifications would not be solid wastes (and therefore not hazardous wastes) if burned in an industrial furnace, utility boiler or hazardous waste incinerator.

The types of materials EPA thought would meet the terms of the exclusion included alcohols, oils, and other organic liquid wastes. In addition to BTU and viscosity requirements, there were hazardous constituent concentration limits for over 200 compounds included in the exclusion. The standard for most of these constituents was non-detection.

Due to the low specifications, and restrictions on blending to meet most specifications, the types of facilities that claimed the exemption were usually pharmaceutical manufacturers or other facilities that generated large volumes of lightly contaminated spent solvents which they typically wanted to burn in an on-site boiler. Although it was self-implementing, general market knowledge indicated that few facilities attempted to qualify for this exclusion due to the low constituent standards and the analytical burden required to demonstrate compliance.

Does this affect other fuel type exclusions?

No. Fuel-for-fuel and Used Oil exclusions are still in effect as before.

This decision does not appear to impact the reclamation and reuse of off-specification fuels since those materials are not solid wastes (or hazardous wastes) when destined for recovery and reuse as fuel.

What does this mean for generators? 

If you are a generator who has been using this exemption, it may be time to consider performing a new proper waste determination and a review of your disposal arrangements. Be sure to include a review of compliance concerns regarding tanks that were product tanks becoming waste accumulation tanks. Don’t hesitate to seek environmental compliance help if you are unsure of the specific implications for your materials and facilities.

For further information on this subject visit the EPA’s webpage on the Comparable Fuels Rule.

If you believe that you may be using this exemption, Heritage can assist you in making a proper waste determination, disposal arrangements, as well as compliance consulting regarding a potential change in generator status or tanks that were product tanks becoming waste accumulation tanks. Contact a Heritage Representative today.

The RCRA 8’s: An Infographic

A couple of weeks back we did a post on the RCRA 8 Metals which people really seemed to enjoy. This week we are going to take it a step further with the infographic below! This infographic covers the basics of the RCRA 8’s (including their designated degrees of concentration). Additionally, the size of this infographic is perfect for printing at 12″x36″ size! Just click the image below to download!

RCRA 8 Infographic resized 600

Quoted and cited information (unless otherwise noted) for this blog post was gathered from the eHow article, A List of RCRA Metals and the Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry. 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 the RCRA 8 Metals?

In the past we’ve discussed several of the criteria for identifying hazardous wastes including hazardous waste characteristics and wastes which are listed. RCRA monitors a long list of elements and solid wastes that are considered environmentally hazardous because they exhibit characteristics of corrosivity, toxicity, ignitability, or reactivity.

On this list there are eight RCRA monitored metals, known as the RCRA 8s. These eight metals include: arsenic, barium, cadmium, chromium, lead, mercury, selenium and silver. Each metal is discussed further below with the designated degrees of concentration identified for each metal.


The first RCRA 8 metal is arsenic. While small quantities of arsenic can be found in food, water, and household products it becomes very dangerous at high concentrations. At 250 parts per million (ppm) it becomes toxic. As you may know, arsenic is monitored by RCRA because it is toxic to humans. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) hazardous waste code for arsenic is D004, and its allowable limit in waste is 5 ppm.


Barium is a rather common element which has a multitude of applications. Barium is used as rat poison, in the coloring of fireworks, and in the productions of items like fluorescent light bulbs and tiles. It can often be found on the tips of drill bits at oil refineries. “Barium most commonly finds its way to humans through well water supplies and near oil refineries. Barium’s EPA hazardous waste code is D005, and its regulated level is 100 ppm.”


According to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), “Cadmium is a natural element in the earth’s crust. It is usually found as a mineral combined with other elements such as oxygen (cadmium oxide), chlorine (cadmium chloride), or sulfur (cadmium sulfate, cadmium sulfide). Most cadmium used in the United States is extracted during the production of other metals like zinc, lead, and copper. Cadmium does not corrode easily and has many uses, including batteries, pigments, metal coatings, and plastics.” Cadmium’s EPA hazardous waste code is D006, and its regulated level is 1 ppm.


Small amounts of chromium, an element found naturally in rocks, soil, plants, and even animals, are needed for human health. That said, when it is included in compounds created during the manufacture of other products it can become dangerous. Chromium’s EPA hazardous waste code is D007, and its regulated level is 5 ppm.


Lead is a naturally occurring element which can be found in small quantities in the earth’s crust. The majority, however, comes from human activities like burning fossil fuels, mining, and manufacturing. In recent years the use of lead has been diminished but it is still needed and used in things like the production of batteries, ammunition, metal products (solder and pipes), and devices to shield X-rays. Lead’s EPA hazardous waste code is D008; its regulation level is 5 ppm.


According to eHow, “Mercury is a naturally occurring metal that in the past was used in thermometers, dental fillings and batteries. Mercury enters the atmosphere from burning coal, manufacturing plants and mining. When combined with other elements, the resulting mercury compounds become more dangerous to human health.” The EPA hazardous waste code for mercury is D009, and its regulated level is 0.2 ppm.


Much like chromium, small doses of selenium are necessary to maintain good health. It is exposure to large doses that becomes dangerous. According to the ATSDR, “most processed selenium is used in the electronics industry, but it is also used: as a nutritional supplement; in the glass industry; as a component of pigments in plastics, paints, enamels, inks, and rubber; in the preparation of pharmaceuticals; as a nutritional feed additive for poultry and livestock; in pesticide formulations; in rubber production; as an ingredient in antidandruff shampoos; and as a constituent of fungicides.” Selenium’s EPA hazardous waste code is D010; its regulation level is 1.0 ppm.


Silver is a naturally occurring substance which according to ATSDR is, “often found as a by-product during the retrieval of copper, lead, zinc, and gold ores. Silver is used to make jewelry, silverware, electronic equipment, and dental fillings. It is also used to make photographs, in brazing alloys and solders, to disinfect drinking water and water in swimming pools, and as an antibacterial agent. Silver has also been used in lozenges and chewing gum to help people stop smoking.” Silver’s EPA hazardous waste code is D011, and its regulation level is 5 ppm.

Quoted and cited information (unless otherwise noted) for this blog post was gathered from the eHow article, A List of RCRA Metals and the Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry. 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.

New Whitepaper! E-Manifest Ruling

For over a decade, the US EPA, states, industry and related stakeholders have had a mutual interest in developing a national electronic manifest system that would facilitate the electronic transmission of the uniform manifest form and make the use of the uniform manifest much more cost-effective and convenient for users [source].

In our newest whitepaper, Heritage Corporate Compliance Program Manager, Terry Ferrill, will walk you through several topics relating to the new system. These topics include the cost of implementation, the centralized system, regulations concerning paper vs. electronic, e-signatures, data security and accessibility, and mail elimination, among others.

If you would like to receive a copy of this new Whitepaper simply click this link E-Manifest Final Rule Whitepaper and you’ll be taken to the download form. Also, if there are any other regulatory issues you would like us to write about please let us know in the comments section!

E Manifest Final Rule Whitepaper

About the Author

Terry Ferrill has been in the environmental and hazardous waste business at Heritage for nearly 30 years. Mr. Ferrill has held positions within Heritage as a consultant, business analyst, and hazardous waste facility compliance manager. He currently works in Heritage’s corporate compliance department, where he specializes in regulatory research to support internal business development and assist customers with thorny compliance issues.

EPA’s Solvent-Contaminated Wipes Rule: Free Whitepaper!

Did you know that the EPA has a new rule that will exclude reusable and disposable wipes, rags and absorbents that are contaminated with F001 through F005 solvents from the hazardous waste regulations? The federal rule goes into effect January 31, 2014 in states where EPA runs the RCRA program. Other states will need to adopt the new rule before it is effective in their state.

Under the new rules generators may store contaminated wipes on-site up to 180 days in leak proof containers labeled “Excluded Solvent-Contaminated Wipes.” When it’s time to ship the wipes off-site for disposal or cleaning at an approved facility, generators must follow EPA-approved methods to make sure there are no free liquids in the containers. Although shipment with a hazardous waste manifest is not required, shipment of contaminated wipes must meet all DOT requirements and records of shipments must be retained by the generator.

Solvent-contaminated wipes that will be disposed must be sent to approved landfills or combustion facilities that meet EPA or state specifications. Wipes that will be cleaned and reused must be sent to industrial laundries or dry cleaners that are in compliance with the requirements of the Clean Water Act.

To help explain what these new regulations mean a team of Heritage experts put together an informative whitepaper. This whitepaper lays out pertinent information about this new regulation including:

  • Applicable Wipes,
  • Issues to Consider,
  • Generator Requirements for Solvent-Contaminated Wipes that will be Disposed, and
  • Generator Requirements for Solvent-Contaminated Wipes that will be Cleaned and Reused. 

New eBook: Hazardous Waste Cheat Sheet

Good news, blog friends! We have a new eBook to tell you about today! If you are subscribed to our email newsletter you will have gotten early access to this last week; now it is available to everyone though!

You may be wondering what the new eBook is about so let me tell you! We’re calling it a Hazardous Waste Cheat Sheet and it lives up to its name. Within this short eBook you will find information on a few different basics of hazardous waste, including:

  • The Definition of Hazardous Waste
  • The Characteristics of Hazardous Waste
  • The Different Hazardous Waste Classes and
  • Common Hazardous Material/Waste Acronyms and Recognized Abbreviations