- WEB EXCLUSIVE
- PE COFFEEHAUS
Prior to 2008, many in industry were frustrated by the EPA's hazardous regulations, which include stringent control guidance and expected practices created before many companies were interested in recycling their materials. The agency in 2003, and again in 2007, proposed a new DSW rule that allowed many types of hazardous secondary materials to avoid being classified (and treated) as solid wastes for the purposes of recycling. The rule, passed in 2008, streamlined regulation of hazardous secondary materials, and revised the definition of "solid waste" to exclude certain hazardous secondary materials, such as solvents, metals, and certain other chemicals, from RCRA regulation to provide for the recycling of such materials. According to the EPA, the 2008 change was "de-regulatory in nature because certain recyclable materials that have heretofore been subject to the hazardous waste regulations would no longer be regulated as hazardous waste." EPA stated at the time that the proposed revisions are "not intended to bring new wastes into the RCRA regulatory system." However it seems the agency now believes it might have gone too far under the previous administration.
The proposal is open for public comment, as is the agency's draft expanded environmental justice analysis of the 2008 DSW final rule, which evaluates the rule's potential impact on low-income and minority communities. The EPA is requesting public comment on the environmental justice analysis as well as on suggested changes received from peer review.
The agency's re-examination of the 2008 DSW final rule identified areas in the regulations that could be improved to better protect public health and the environment with a particular focus on adjacent communities by ensuring better management of hazardous waste. The 2011 proposal includes provisions to address those areas through increased transparency and oversight and accountability for hazardous materials recycling. Facilities that recycle onsite or within the same company under the reduced regulatory requirements retained under the proposal would be subject to enhanced storage and recordkeeping requirements as compared to the 2008 rule. Companies that send their hazardous materials offsite for recycling would have tailored storage standards, while being required to send their materials to a permitted hazardous waste recycling facility. The proposed rule also creates a level playing field according to the EPA, by requiring all forms of hazardous waste recycling to meet requirements designed to ensure materials are legitimately recycled and not being disposed of illegally.
The agency will accept comment on this proposal for 60 days after publication in the Federal Register, giving a likely end date of Friday, Sept. 9. The docket for the rulemaking is EPA-HQ-RCRA-2010-0742 and can be accessed at http://www.regulations.gov once the proposal is published.
More information about this rulemaking: http://www.epa.gov/waste/hazard/dsw/rulemaking.htm
SOURCE: EPA Press release, previous coverage by PE.