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This is our final post in the SAA FAQ’s series! Remember, original and complete information from this post can be found in the EPA document on closed containers here. If you would like us to compile an eBook of these questions let us know in the comments section!

Question: Do generators have to include the hazardous waste in SAAs in the monthly quantities for determining generator status (i.e., SQG or LQG)?

Answer: Yes. Generators must include all the hazardous waste in the various SAAs in their monthly quantities for determining generator status. Sections 261.5(c) and (d) identify hazardous wastes that do not have to be counted when determining generator status. Hazardous waste stored in SAAs is not on this list; therefore, hazardous waste in SAAs must be included in the generator’s monthly quantity determination.

Question: When a facility has equipment that discharges hazardous wastes to attached containers, do the containers that collect such wastes have to be in compliance with the SAA regulations?

Answer: Yes. Even if the discharging unit is not regulated under RCRA, the attached containers that collect hazardous wastes from such equipment must be in compliance with the SAA regulations, if those containers collect wastes that are listed or characteristic hazardous wastes. Waste containers in SAAs must be:

  • In good condition (265.171),
  • Compatible with their contents (265.172),
  • Labeled with “words that identify the contents of the container” or the words “hazardous waste” (262.34(c)(l)( ii)).

In addition, the containers in SAAs must be closed, except when adding or removing hazardous waste (265.173(a)). Generators would not be required to keep such containers closed while hazardous waste is being added to the container; but generators would need to keep them closed when the hazardous waste is not being discharged to the attached container.

The container(s) attached to such equipment is a point of generation. It is possible for there to be multiple pieces of equipment within one SAA, and thus multiple points of generation within a single SAA, provided all the pieces of equipment are “at or near” each other and “under the control of the operator of the process generating the waste.” Under this scenario, the total amount of hazardous waste in the SAA would be limited to 55 gallons (or 1 quart of acute hazardous waste) and a generator would be allowed to consolidate like hazardous wastes: from multiple discharging units.

Question: If a facility has very small containers (e.g., vials or tubes) of hazardous waste that are too small to label with the words “hazardous waste” or “other words that identify the contents of the container”, how should the containers be labeled?

Answer: Generally, we would expect the small containers to be placed in properly labeled larger containers, which would have the added benefit of secondary containment should the small containers break. However, other approaches that would achieve the same result also would be acceptable.

Information for this blog post was gathered from the EPA Memorandum on Closed Containers. 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.    

Today we will be continuing with part three of our series of the top questions EPA has received about satellite accumulation areas. Original and complete information from this post can be found in the EPA document on closed containers here.

Question: The preamble to the final rule that added 262.34(c), states, “…only one waste will normally be accumulated at each satellite area.” Can there be more than one hazardous waste at an SAA? Can there be more than one container at an SAA?

Answer: Yes. It’s permissible to have more than one hazardous waste in an SAA. Likewise, it’s permissible to have more than one container of hazardous waste in an SAA. The regulations do not limit the number of hazardous wastes or the number of containers that can be placed in an SAA. The regulations limit only the total volume of hazardous waste at a single SAA to 55 gallons (or 1 quart of acute hazardous waste). If there are multiple containers of hazardous waste in an SAA, each container must be labeled in accordance with 262.34{c)(I)(ii). Because the Agency did not anticipate that generators would accumulate multiple hazardous wastes/containers in an SAA, a cross-reference to the requirements for the safe storage of incompatible wastes was not included as part of the container management standards for SAAs. Nevertheless, good management practices clearly dictate that incompatible wastes should be stored separately. Furthermore, in the event that any wastes, including incompatible wastes, are stored in such a way that they may pose an imminent and substantial threat to health or the environment, §7003 of RCRA allows the Agency to take enforcement action to eliminate the threat.

Question: Can a facility have multiple SAAs?

Answer: Yes. The regulations do not limit the total number of SAAs at a generator’s facility. Likewise, the regulations do not limit the total amount of hazardous waste that can be accumulated at various SAAs across a facility. The regulations limit only the volume of hazardous waste that can be accumulated at a single SAA to 55 gallons (or I quart of acute hazardous waste). It’s not possible in a memo for the Agency to delineate for all situations what constitutes a single SAA versus what constitutes separate SAAs. The regulations state that a generator may accumulate hazardous waste “in containers at or near any point of generation where wastes initially accumulate, which is under the control of the operator of the process generating the waste.” For additional guidance about the Agency’s intent, refer to the preamble to the final rule for SAAs, which states, “Certainly…a row of full 55 gallon drums spaced 5 feet apart along the factory wall,” is not a row of distinct SAAs, but is one SAA.

Question:  If a facility has multiple SAAs, can hazardous waste be moved from one SAA to another?

Answer: No. Generators may not move hazardous wastes between SAAs. Once a hazardous waste leaves an SAA, it must be destined for a central accumulation area that is regulated under 262.34(a) or (d) or for final   treatment or disposal at a facility with a permit or interim status. However, a single SAA may have multiple points of generation. Movement or consolidation of hazardous waste within an SAA is permissible, as long as it remains “at or near” the “point of generation” and “under the control of the operator of the process generating the waste.”

In addition, a generator may have more than one 90-day or 180-day central accumulation area, and the regulations do not prohibit the movement of hazardous waste from one fully regulated central accumulation area to another, as long as the hazardous waste remains on-site. However, the 90-day or 180-day “clock” for accumulation does not restart if the hazardous waste is moved to another central accumulation area.

Information for this blog post was gathered from the EPA Memorandum on Closed Containers. 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.

Today we will be continuing our series of the top questions EPA has received about satellite accumulation areas. Original and complete information from this post can be found in the EPA document on closed containers here.

Question: The container management standards of 265.173(a) state. “A container holding hazardous waste must always be closed during storage, except when it is necessary to add or remove waste.” Does this mean that hazardous wastes have to be managed and/or disposed in the containers in which they were originally accumulated?

Answer: No. Generators may transfer hazardous waste between containers to facilitate storage, transportation, or treatment.” For example, a generator may wish to consolidate several partially full containers of the same hazardous waste from an SAA into one container before transferring it to a central accumulation area. Generators also may transfer hazardous waste between containers in central accumulation areas. However, the 90-day or 180-day “clock” for accumulation does not restart if the hazardous waste is transferred to another container.

Question: Do containers in SAAs have to comply with the air emission standards of Part 265 Subparts AA, BB, and CC?

Answer: No. Containers in SAAs are not required to comply with the air emission standards of Part 265 Subparts AA, BB, and CC. Likewise, SQGs are not required to comply with the air emission standards at their 180-day accumulation areas. LQGs, however, are required to comply with the RCRA air emission standards at their 90-day accumulation areas. Therefore, when an LQG transfers waste from an SAA to a 90-day central accumulation area, the applicable portions of the air emission standards of Part 265 Subparts AA, BB, and CC must be met at the 90-day central accumulation area.

Question: Section 265.174 of Subpart 1 requires that containers be inspected at least weekly for leaks and deterioration caused by corrosion or other factors. Both LQGs and SQGs must inspect containers in their central accumulation areas.  Are SQGs or LQGs required to inspect hazardous waste containers in SAAs?

Answer: No. Inspections of containers (whether weekly or some other frequency) in SAAs are not required, so long as the provisions of 262.34(c) are met.  Section 265.174, which requires inspections, is not among the provisions listed in 262.34(c) for SAAs. However, the SAA regulations do require that waste containers in an SAA must be under the control of the operator of the process generating the waste, in good condition (265.171), compatible with  its contents  (265.172), and closed except  when adding or removing waste (265.173), which  should achieve the goal of inspections: containers that are free of leaks and deterioration.

Question: SQGs must conduct training in accordance with 262.34(d)(5)(iii) and LQGs must conduct training in accordance with 265.16. Do the RCRA regulations require training of personnel working in SAAs?

Answer: No. The RCRA regulations do not require training of personnel working in SAAs. Personnel that have access to or work in central accumulation areas, including those that move hazardous waste from a SAA to a central accumulation area, must be trained. As the ones actually generating hazardous waste, however, personnel working in SAAs need to be familiar enough with the chemicals with which they are working to know when they have generated a hazardous waste so that it will be managed in accordance with the RCRA regulations.

Information for this blog post was gathered from the EPA Memorandum on Closed Containers. 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.

In their memo on closed containers the EPA provided several frequently asked questions and their answers. In our next couple of posts we will be breaking down this long list of FAQ’s into more manageable chunks of information. All this information can be found in its original context here.

Question: Can a small quantity generator (SQG) establish satellite accumulation areas according to 262.34(c) for their hazardous waste?

Answer: Yes. Both large quantity generators (LQGs) and small quantity generators (SQGs) may take advantage of the reduced requirements while hazardous waste is in SAAs, provided it is managed in accordance with all the provisions of40 CFR 262.34(c). If an SQG or LQG accumulates more than 55 gallons of hazardous waste (or 1 quart of acute hazardous waste) at an SAA, the excess must be removed within three days. If after that period, the excess is not removed, LQGs must comply with 262.34(a) and SQGs must comply with 262.34(d), with respect to the excess amounts.

Question: If a generator accumulates more than 55 gallons of hazardous waste (or 1 quart of acute hazardous waste) at an SAA, when should the generator date the container(s)? When 55 gallons of hazardous waste (or 1 quart of acute hazardous waste) is exceeded, or when the container is moved to the central accumulation area?

Answer: When 55 gallons of hazardous waste (or 1 quart of acute hazardous waste) is exceeded in an SAA, the generator needs to date the container, so that the generator can move the excess to the 90 day or 180-day area within three days (262.34(c)(2)). Then when 3 days have passed, or when the container is moved to the central accumulation area, the generator needs to date the container again, so that it can be moved off-site within 90 or 180 days (262.34(a)(2) and 262.34(d)(4), respectively. (Of course, the container does not need to be dated after it is removed from the SAA if the excess waste is moved directly to a permitted or interim status unit). This means that an LQG has up to 93 days and a SQG has up to 183 days for on-site accumulation time once 55 gallons of hazardous waste (or 1 quart of acute hazardous waste) has been exceeded at the SAA- up to three days in the SAA, followed by up to 90 or 180 days in the central accumulation area.

Question: When a generator accumulates more than 55 gallons of hazardous waste (or 1 quart of acute hazardous waste) at an SAA, the excess of 55 gallons (or the excess of 1 quart of acute hazardous waste) needs to be removed from the SAA within three days. What is meant by “three days”?

Answer: Three days means three consecutive days. It does not mean three working days or three business days. Originally, the Agency had proposed to use 72 hours as the time limit but realized that determining when 72 hours had elapsed would have required placing both the date and time of day on containers. In the final rule the Agency switched to using three days so that generators only need to date containers that hold the excess of 55 gallons of hazardous waste (or 1 quart of acute hazardous waste).

Question: lf an SAA has a full 4-gallon container of hazardous waste, does the generator have to remove the container from the SAA within three days of being filled?

Answer: No. There is no federal  requirement that full containers of hazardous waste be removed from an SAA within three days of being filled. Only the excess of 55 gallons of hazardous waste (or the excess of 1 quart of acutely hazardous waste) must be removed within three days.

Information for this blog post was gathered from the EPA Memorandum on Closed Containers. 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.