2024 Chemical Data Reporting Starts… Now!

Well, June 1st, actually. The submission period for this quadrennial report is from June 1 through September 30, 2024. The Chemical Data Reporting (CDR) Rule requires that facilities manufacturing or importing more than threshold quantities of chemicals listed on the Toxic Substances Control Act Chemical Substances Inventory (TSCA Inventory) report information on the manufacture, importation, processing and use of the chemical. EPA uses the information to determine potential exposure, health and environmental effects of the chemicals in commerce.

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OSHA Revises the Hazard Communication Standard

On May 20, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) published its final rule updating the Hazard Communication Standard (29 CFR 1910). The updated Standard includes revised criteria for
classification of certain health and physical hazards; revised provisions for
updating labels; new labeling provisions for small containers; and technical
amendments related to the contents of safety data sheets (SDSs). The updated rule also includes new provisions related to trade secrets and related revisions to definitions of terms used in the standard. The revised Standard takes effect on July 19, 2024.

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5 Things to Know About Episodic Hazardous Waste Generation

With the Hazardous Waste Generator Improvements Rule, EPA provided relief for so-called “episodic hazardous waste generation” events – occasions when a facility that is usually a small quantity generator (SQG) or a very small quantity generator (VSQG, formerly conditionally exempt small quantity generator) of hazardous waste generates more than its monthly limits, potentially elevating the facility into a higher generator category.

Now that the rule change has passed and been adopted by many states (including Florida, Georgia and Alabama), your facility may be able to maintain its normal generator status in the event of a one-time exceedance of your monthly threshold (i.e., 100 kilograms or 220 pounds per month for VSQGs, 1,000 kilos per month for SQGs with more limited thresholds for listed, “acute” hazardous waste). The Hazardous Waste Generator Improvements Rule established criteria (at 40 CFR 262, Subpart L) for episodic generation of hazardous waste that allow you to continue to comply with the rules applicable to your usual generator status.

Here are 5 key things to keep in mind when dealing with an episodic hazardous waste generation event.

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Don’t Flush Those Drugs! Rules for Managing (Waste) Pharmaceuticals

On February 22, EPA published new rules for management of hazardous waste pharmaceuticals that will affect healthcare facilities, including hospitals, clinics, dentist offices, nursing care facilities, veterinary clinics, outpatient care centers, pharmacies and drug stores, even supermarkets, that generate, accumulate, or otherwise handle prescription pharmaceuticals. The rule becomes effective six months from the publication date, or on August 21, 2019.

Some pharmaceuticals are regulated as hazardous waste under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) when discarded. The new rule creates a regulatory program – part 266 subpart P in Chapter 40 of the Code of Federal Regulations – for the management of hazardous waste pharmaceuticals by healthcare facilities (including veterinary) and reverse distributors (e.g., of unused or expired drugs).

Healthcare facilities and reverse distributors will manage their hazardous waste pharmaceuticals under this new set of sector-specific standards rather than the regulations that apply to hazardous waste generators, generally. Manufacturers of pharmaceuticals, however, cannot use these alternative standards, except for their reverse distribution activities.

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Thinking about Changes to the Hazardous Waste Manifest, EPA is

In a notice of proposed information collection request published on February 8, the EPA has indicated that it is considering revisions to the RCRA Hazardous Waste Manifest, both electronic (“e-Manifest”) and paper versions. EPA invites and will accept comments on proposed changes to the manifest document through April 9, 2019.

The suggested changes include:

  • additional options for reporting waste quantities, using decimal numbers and alternative units of measure;
  • additional items for international shipments, such as including a separate data field for import/export consent numbers and making sure both the generator and exporter EPA ID numbers, if different, are captured on the manifest, and adding information from the Movement Document to the manifest;
  • providing source and form code and density information on the (paper) manifest document to integrate better with the biennial hazardous waste report.

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Oil Spill Prevention: Understanding the Memorandum of Understanding

(Or, where DOT ended, EPA begins!)

A recurring question often arises when we prepare Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasure (SPCC) Plans for clients who load or unload tankers, deliver oils to customer locations, or maintain a fleet of tanker trucks or railroad cars that may or may not remain at their facilities for a time. Are these road or rail tankers subject to SPCC requirements when they’re parked at the facility? And so, do we need to count the tanker capacity when determining if the SPCC rule even applies?

The answer is complicated (of course). It requires an understanding of when or if the truck or rail tanker ceases to be “transportation-related” equipment subject to regulation by the Department of Transportation and instead should be considered “non-transportation-related” equipment addressed by the EPA’s Oil Pollution Prevention rules (40 CFR Part 112).

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Waters of the US: A New Hope

On December 11, 2018, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of the Army (Army) proposed a revised definition for “waters of the United States,” intended to establish the scope of federal regulatory authority under the Clean Water Act in a more clear and understandable way. With the understanding that the federal role under the Clean Water Act is  derived from Congress’ commerce power over navigation, the proposal attempts to limit “waters of the United States” under the Clean Water Act to those that are physically and meaningfully connected to traditional “navigable” waters.

Six (6) categories of waters that would be considered “waters of the United States” are described:
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Defining “Waters of the US” – A Continuing Saga

On July 12, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Army Corps of Engineers continued the seemingly interminable project to construct a working, regulatory definition of “Waters of the United States” (or, WOTUS) for various environmental regulatory programs administered under Title 40 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR). This “supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking” purports “to clarify, supplement and seek additional comment” on the July 2017 proposal to repeal the 2015 Rule Defining Waters of the United States” which amended previously existing sections of the CFR that the 2015 Rule sought, well, to clarify.

The current proposal, if finalized, will repeal the 2015 Rule and restore the text that existed before publication of the 2015 Rule, “as informed by guidance in effect at that time.” EPA has previously (February 2018) published a rule extending the applicability date of the 2015 Rule to February 2020, and implementation of the 2015 Rule has been stayed by judicial proceedings, so in effect we’ve been working with the preexisting text, informed by EPA’s prior guidance, since that time.

Meanwhile, whether groundwater can ever be considered “Waters of the US” under whatever rules are in place continues to be a hot topic.

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