In December, 2021, representatives of the timber and paper industry petitioned the EPA to ease restrictions on the burning of railroad ties and paper residuals as fuel without triggering strict hazardous waste combustion emission requirements. The EPA previously denied the coalition’s petition to revise the Nonhazardous Secondary Material criteria for treated railroad ties and certain paper residuals. As outlined in its March 29 request for reconsideration, the issue is whether the railroad ties and paper residuals can be burned as “fuel” in boilers and avoid tougher emissions limits designated for incinerators. When a material is designated as fuel under the… Read more
On March 1, 2018, EPA proposed rules to amend several provisions of the Disposal of Coal Combustion Residuals from Electric Utilities final rule (the “CCR Rule”). EPA accepted written comments on this proposal through Regulations.gov under Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OLEM-2017-0286 and held a hearing on the proposed rule on April 24, 2018. The comment period ended on April 30, 2018. As noted in EPA’s public hearing announcement, EPA estimates that the proposed rules would save the regulated community between $31 million and $100 million per year. Despite EPA’s proposed amendments, Bloomberg Environment recently reported that Duke Energy and the Tennessee… Read more
In August, EPA announced a Consent Order with ChemArt Company of Lincoln, Rhode Island to correct alleged violations of EPA’s Risk Management Program (RMP) under the Clean Air Act. The Consent Order included a civil penalty of $221,326 and a supplemental environmental project (SEP) requiring ChemArt to reduce its stockpile of hazardous materials, including chlorine, and to update manufacturing equipment to reduce the likelihood and consequences of a release. In the waning days of the Obama Administration, EPA issued a final rule updating the RMP and imposing new requirements. On June 14, the Trump Administration EPA issued a final rule… Read more
The comment period on EPA’s proposed Management Standards for Hazardous Waste Pharmaceuticals closed on December 24. Comments on the proposed rule raised several concerns and lauded some of its provisions. The principal item criticized was the rule’s classification of pharmaceuticals in the “reverse distribution” process as waste. Healthcare facilities and retailers send unused or unsold pharmaceuticals to a central location, and receive credit from the manufacturer. Pharmaceuticals received at the location that are determined to be waste are then disposed in a manner compliant with the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). Comments on the proposed rule took the position… Read more
In a first-time ruling, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Washington ruled in January that manure from a dairy is solid waste regulated under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), and that excessive spreading of manure on agricultural fields, and leachate from storage lagoons, present an imminent and substantial endangerment that can be enjoined through a citizen suit under RCRA. Community Association for Restoration of the Environment (CARE) v. Cow Palace, LLC, No. 13-CV-3016-TOR (E.D. Wash. 1/14/15). Judge Thomas Rice granted summary judgment to CARE, holding that when excessive manure is applied to crops without regard for… Read more
In response to a report of its Inspector General (IG), EPA has announced plans to require wastewater treatment plants to monitor additional chemical pollutants and notify regulators when limits are exceeded. Issued September 29, the final IG report, entitled “More Action is Needed to Protect Water Resources From Unmonitored Hazardous Chemicals”, identified a gap in monitoring and reporting on over 300 chemicals that would be considered hazardous waste under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), but are exempted from regulation because they are discharged to wastewater treatment plants. However, most publicly owned treatment works (POTWs) do not monitor for… Read more
On August 20, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit held that the diesel exhaust emissions of two railyards were not subject to regulation under the Resource Recovery and Conservation Act (RCRA). The environmental advocates that brought the suit argued that the diesel emissions were solid waste that was disposed of when the emissions were “transported by wind and air currents” to the land and water surrounding the railyards. The Ninth Circuit disagreed, holding that the regulation of diesel fuel emissions fell under the Clean Air Act rather than the RCRA. The Court rejected the argument that releasing… Read more
The Environmental Protection Agency has finalized its rule authorizing the use of electronic manifests to track hazardous waste shipments under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. Under the rule, the use of electronic manifests is voluntary; however, the EPA has indicated that it will promote their use to the greatest extent possible. Rules have yet to be published regarding the initial fee structure as well as implementation and compliance dates. Those rules are expected to be published later this year. For more information regarding this rule or any other environmental issue, please contact Phillip Hoover.
The House has approved a bill to modify the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act and the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act which, if enacted, grants to states a greater role in the management and oversight of site cleanups. Specifically, the bill would eliminate a requirement that the EPA review states’ waste regulations every three years, grant to states a greater role in site cleanups, and force federal facilities to follow state and local laws during site cleanups under the Superfund Statute. The bill sponsor, Representative Bill Johnson (R-Ohio), claims the measure “reduces unnecessary red tape” and aims “to… Read more
The U.S. EPA has finalized a rule excluding disposable solvent-contaminated wipes from regulation as a hazardous waste under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (“RCRA”). The application of hazardous waste rules to solvent contaminated wipes have, historically, been inherently difficult for industry to implement, and the exemption is expected to greatly reduce the regulatory burden. To qualify for the exclusion, businesses will have to manage the wipes in closed, labeled containers, and the wipes cannot contain free liquids when sent for cleaning or disposal. For more information, contact Phillip Hoover or Steve O’Day.