EPA’s final Hazardous Waste Generator Improvements Rule (“Rule”), which goes into effect on May 30, 2017, contains approximately 60 revisions to the hazardous waste generator regulatory program. The revisions focus on improving efficiency, and compliance for hazardous waste generators—which is quite appropriate given EPA’s estimated hazardous waste non-compliance rate of 20 to 30 percent. See Final Rule Preamble at IX.B(1). The Rule also results in a significant reorganization of the hazardous waste generator regulations, which have historically been confusing in their layout and configuration.
Although the Rule is scheduled to go “into effect” on May 30, 2017, that date will prove inconsequential for most jurisdictions. The May 30, 2017 effective date only applies to states and territories without an authorized RCRA program: Alaska, Iowa, Indian Nations, Puerto Rico, American Samoa, Northern Mariana Islands, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Moreover, under RCRA, authorized states are required to adopt only provisions of the Rule that are “more stringent” than their authorized state programs and are not required to adopt provisions of the Rule that are “less stringent” than their authorized state programs. Therefore, some states may not adopt all of the Rule’s provisions.
By way of background, hazardous waste generators are regulated according to the amount of various types of waste they generate in a calendar month, with larger generators being regulated more strictly–