OSHA Versus EPA On Accidental Releases Posted on July 30, 2013 by Scott C. Dunsmore

Events such as the West, Texas fertilizer plant explosion in April and the explosions at two manufacturing facilities in Louisiana in June have renewed interest in the regulations that have been established regarding accidental release prevention and facility security.

In the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990, Congress directed the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to develop regulations to “prevent the accidental release and to minimize the consequences of any such release” of any regulated substance. In response to this directive, two major accidental release prevention provisions were created: OSHA’s process safety management (PSM) rules, and the U.S. EPA’s risk management planning (RMP) rules.

The PSM and RMP rules all apply to facilities that contain more than a designated amount of a specifically listed substance in a single process. While it is reasonable to assume that a facility subject to PSM rules is also subject to RMP rules, these two sets of rules are applied in notably different ways.


Processes Defined

One area where both the PSM and RMP standards align is in their definition of a “process.” Both rules define a process as one or more of these activities:

  • Use
  • Storage
  • Manufacturing
  • Handling
  • On-site movement

Under this definition, interconnected vessels, such as two tanks connected by a pipe, are considered one process. Some separated vessels also may be considered a single process when they can reasonably be expected to be involved in the same release. [29 CFR 1910.119(b); 40 CFR 68.3]




Materials and Thresholds Differ

To comply with both PSM and RMP rules, operators of covered processes must carefully examine the list of regulated substances and both the EPA and OSHA thresholds for these substances. Because OSHA and EPA promulgate their rules separately, the two programs’ lists of substances and thresholds differ. In some cases, one program lists a substance that the other program does not.

For example, the EPA includes the chemical peperidine (CAS # 110-89-4) in its list of regulated substances, but this substance is not on the OSHA PSM list of regulated substances. Similarly, OSHA includes ozone (CAS # 10028-15-6) on the PSM list of regulated substances, while the EPA does not include ozone on the RMP list. One substance involved in the West, Texas incident, ammonium nitrate, has been significantly discussed, but is neither on the PSM nor the RMP list.

Where the two agencies do list the same substances, their triggering thresholds may differ significantly. The following table highlights a few of these differing threshold quantities:

Substances CAS #   RMP (EPA) Threshold     PSM (OSHA) Threshold  
Acetaldehyde   75-07-0 10,000 2,500
Bromine 7726-95-6   10,000 1,500
Phosgene 75-44-5 500 100



Exceptions Differ

Being subject to one of the release prevention planning rules does not automatically mean you will be subject to them all. Equally, being excluded from one does not mean you are excluded from them all. There are different exclusions from the PSM and RMP standards. For example, the West, Texas facility used anhydrous ammonia in a process. Both the PSM and RMP rules regulate processes with anhydrous ammonia, and both list the same threshold: 10,000 lbs. It was reported that the facility exceeded this threshold and had prepared and submitted a risk management plan in accordance with 40 CFR Part 68.

However, the facility was excluded from OSHA’s process safety management planning requirements. That was because the facility was operating under an OSHA exclusion for “retail” establishments, which is defined by the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990 as facilities with more than half of their income coming from direct sales to the end user (i.e., local farmers purchasing their fertilizer products directly from the West, Texas facility).


 Other Important Release Planning Programs

While both the Process Safety Management and Risk Management Planning rules are intended to decrease the likelihood of accidental releases, it is important to note that some facilities also may be subject to planning regulations that are intended to diminish the likelihood of intentional releases. In particular, facilities should familiarize themselves with the following requirements:

  • U.S. DOT Cargo Security Planning (49 CFR 172, Subpart I): These confidential planning requirements apply to facilities that offer certain types of DOT-regulated hazardous materials in specific quantities (the standard also applies to carriers transporting the same materials and quantities).
  • Department of Homeland Security’s Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Planning (6 CFR 27): This rule, also known as CFATS, applies to facilities with quantities of specifically listed substances above a designated threshold. Covered facilities must complete a “top screen” risk assessment of the regulated substance and submit the results to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The DHS reviews the submissions and ranks the facilities based on their security threat risk. High-risk facilities must then prepare detailed security plan.

Any facility that stores, manufacturers, processes, handles, or offers for transport a chemical substance or mixture needs to carefully review its activities and materials against each of the planning rules separately to determine which requirements apply.

In response to recent tragic releases like the West, Texas incident, the EPA, OSHA, DOT, and DHS are working to better communicate and share information on chemical storage and catastrophic release planning information. Congress is also moving to strengthen the release prevention planning requirements by calling on the EPA to add ammonium nitrate to its list of regulated substances under RMP. Whatever the result, chemical storage and handling facilities can expect more scrutiny from local and Federal authorities regarding emergency release planning as agencies work to prevent future catastrophes.

Identify your emergency planning, release prevention, and reporting responsibilities under the EPA’s major programs at the Complete Environmental Regulations Workshop! The workshop covers core elements of the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, Safe Drinking Water Act, CERCLA/Superfund, FIFRA, EPCRA, RCRA, and more.

Spring 2013 Regulatory Agendas Now Available Posted on July 24, 2013 by James Griffin

On Tuesday July 23rd the Federal Register published a series of notices announcing the availability of the Spring 2013 Semiannual Agenda of Regulatory & Deregulatory Actions. The complete agendas were posted to reginfo.gov on July 5th. Tuesday’s Register contains excerpts and summaries of the full agendas to comply with the Regulatory Fexlibity Act.

Here are links to the brief agendas for EPA, DOT, DOL, and the DHS.

And for the complete Current Unifed Agenda.

Identifying Underlying Hazardous Constituents (UHCs) Posted on July 24, 2013 by Roseanne Bottone

One of the most confusing aspects of the land disposal restrictions is the determination of underlying hazardous constituents (UHCs). UHCs are trace amounts of hazardous chemicals (listed in 40 CFR 268.48) found in some hazardous wastes that do not in and of themselves cause the waste to be hazardous, but must be treated before the waste is deposited in a landfill. Due to a convoluted legal history, pre-disposal treatment for UHCs is only mandatory under certain conditions. When do we have to fulfill this requirement, and how do we go about doing it? Let’s walk through the process.

Determining Significant Hazardous Waste Codes

Per 40 CFR 262.11 when you generate solid waste, you must identify if that waste is listed as hazardous (F, K, P, and U codes from 40 CFR 261, Subpart D), and whether that waste exhibits any hazardous characteristics (D codes from 40 CFR 261, Subpart C). As a practical matter, you must also determine which codes are ‘significant’ for treatment purposes, since the treatment standards for listed hazardous waste codes never require treatment for UHCs. And in all but a few cases, the treatment standards for hazardous waste characteristics do require treatment for UHCs.



A hazardous waste will either:

  1. Be listed and not exhibit any hazardous waste characteristics,
    • In which case, all waste codes are significant.
  2. Not be listed and exhibit one or more hazardous waste characteristics,
    • In which case, all listed waste codes are significant.
  3. Be listed and exhibit one or more hazardous waste characteristics,
    • In which case, all listed waste codes are significant, and
    • Characteristic waste codes are significant only when the treatment standard for the listed waste code(s) does not already treat for the constituent(s) that caused the waste to exhibit the characteristic. [40 CFR 268.9(b)]

Example 1a: If you have spent solvent acetone that is listed as hazardous waste (F003) and ignitable (D001), the F003 code is significant (all listed codes are significant). But, since the treatment standard for F003 accounts for the ignitable acetone—the constituent that caused the D001 characteristic—the D001 is not a significant code, and you do not need to include it on your LDR notification (commonly referred to as a land ban). [40 CFR 268.7]

Example 2a: If you have that same spent solvent acetone (F003, and D001) that is contaminated with a toxic amount of lead (D008), then the D008 code is significant, because the standard for F003 does not treat for lead.

There are a couple of criteria that also help you determine when you need to treat for UHCs. First, we already mentioned that you must have significant D codes in order to trigger the treatment of UHCs. But in addition to that, you only need to treat for constituents you reasonably expect could be present in your waste, meaning you don’t have to look for every chemical on the list if you do not believe it could be present based on what you know about your waste. And if you have already treated for one of the constituents because it had a significant waste code to begin with, then you don’t have to treat for it a second time.

Why Does It Matter?

In order to comply with 40 CFR Part 268, you must ensure your waste is treated to appropriate standards before it is landfilled. A TSDF will treat the waste on your behalf before it goes to a landfill based on what waste codes and/or UHCs you tell them are present in your waste. TSDFs often charge based on the type of treatment a waste requires. The codes then dictate the amount and type of treatment a waste needs in order to legally go to a landfill. More treatment in turn could mean more money paid to the TSDF for the treatment.

Underlying Hazardous Constituents in Practice

Example 1b: Let’s consider the F003 spent acetone solvent that is a D001 ignitibility waste contaminated with toxic amounts of lead (D008).

  • We already determined that this waste does have a significant characteristic waste code—the D008.
  • The treatment standard for the D008 at the 40 CFR 268.40 LDR treatment standard table does indicate “…and meet §268.48 standards.” Therefore, we do have to consider UHCs.

In this case, however, lead is NOT a UHC because it will already be treated for by the treatment standard for the significant D008 waste code.

Example 2b: Let’s consider that same F003 spent acetone solvent that is a D001 ignitibility waste contaminated with lead (D008), but this time, it’s also contaminated with 15 mg/L of nickel.

  • We already determined that this waste does have a significant characteristic waste code—the D008.
  • The treatment standard for the D008 at the 40 CFR 268.40 LDR treatment standard table does indicate “…and meet §268.48 standards.” Therefore, we do have to consider UHCs.
  • We know from our previous example that lead is NOT a UHC because it will already be treated for by the treatment standard for the significant D008 waste code.
  • The significant waste codes F003 and D008 do not have a treatment standard for nickel, so we must consider it as a potential UHC.
  • Since the level of nickel in our waste is above that indicated on the §268.48 table, it is an underlying hazardous constituent.

Now that you’ve seen a few examples, go back and read the criteria you must ask yourself to determine whether or not you must treat your waste for UHCs and they will probably be clearer now.

Determine significant waste codes, learn to use the treatment standards table at 40 CFR 268.40, identify UHCs, and prepare your land disposal restrictions notifications (i.e., land ban form). On September 17, at 11:00 a.m. ET, Lion Technology will present the Land Disposal Restrictions Webinar. This two-hour webinar is designed to demystify the process meeting land disposal restrictions.

EPA Updates List of TRI Facilities Posted on July 22, 2013 by Anthony R. Cardno

On July 18, 2013, EPA issued both a Proposed Rule (78 FR 42910) and a Direct Final Rule (78 FR 42875 h) to require businesses to refer to the 2012 version of the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) when filing their Toxic Release Inventory (TRI). This change applies to TRI reports due July 1, 2014, which will cover releases and other activities for the 2013 calendar year.


What Is TRI?

EPA requires facilities in certain NAICS codes that have 10 or more full-time employees or the equivalent 20,000 hours worked per year that manufacture, process, or otherwise use toxic chemicals listed in 40 CFR 372.64 to report on the TRI.


What Is Changing?

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) revises the NAICS every five years, with the 2012 revision being the most recent. Therefore, EPA must make sure the NAICS codes it list in 40 CFR 372 conform to the OMB’s system. In the published rule, EPA has said that “updating the list of NAICS codes to reflect the 2012 OMB NAICS revision will not change the universe of facilities that are currently required to report to EPA and the States” and that “TRI reporting requirements will not change as a result of this direct final rule. This rule will simply revise the NAICS codes to reflect the OMB NAICS 2012 revision.”

The July 18th rulemakings primarily revise 40 CFR 372.23, paragraphs (b) and (c). The changes in paragraph (b) of the new rule largely relate to facilities that are excepted from TRI reporting. These include certain facilities listed in: 311 (food manufacturing), 312 (Beverage and Tobacco Product Manufacturing), 313 (Textile mills), 314 (Textile Product Mills), 315 (Apparel Manufacturing), 323 (Printing and Related Support Activities), 327 (Nonmetallic Mineral Product Manufacturing), and 334 (Computer and Electronic Product Manufacturing). The exact revisions can be found in the Direct Final Rule.

The only change in paragraph (c), designating TRI facilities in non-traditional industry sectors, is to limit the application of NAICS Code 221118 (Other Electric Power Generation) “…to facilities that combust coal and/or oil for the purpose of generating power for distribution in commerce.” Previously, the NAICS code for this category had been 221119.

USPS Hazmat Shipping Challenges Posted on July 17, 2013 by Scott C. Dunsmore

E-commerce is booming—often involving direct shipments to customers from manufacturers, suppliers, and online auctions—and the use of the United States Postal Service (Post Office) to ship small packages of hazardous materials is becoming more common. Add to this the Post Office’s “If it fits, it ships” marketing campaign for its Priority One service, and companies are enticed by more cost-effective options for shipping smaller packages. If you are considering using the Post Office as your hazmat carrier, here are a few of the critical challenges for you to evaluate.


DOT versus USPS Jurisdiction

It is important to remember that if a person is offering a hazardous material for transportation in commerce in the U.S., even by way of the Post Office, the U.S. DOT Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR) have primary jurisdiction. So, a shipment of hazardous materials must still be prepared in accordance with the requirements at 49 CFR 171-180, including shipments of limited quantities. The material must be of a hazard type and carry a Proper Shipping Name that DOT permits for limited quantity exception packaging.

The Post Office, as a special quasi-government corporation, has its own requirements for the preparation of any parcel shipped using its services. The regulations are located in the Mailing Standards of the United States Post Office, commonly known as the “Domestic Mail Manual” (DMM). Specifically, the DMM has provisions for the mailing of hazardous materials in Section 601, “Mailability,” Sub-section 10.0, “Hazardous Materials.”
[ http://pe.usps.com/text/dmm300/601.htm]


If It Qualifies, It Ships

While recognizing that the HMR takes precedent to hazmat shipments in the U.S., the Post Office’s DMM has additional restrictions on the type and amount of a hazmat that can be carried by the Post Office. According to the DMM,

“The USPS standards generally restrict the mailing of hazardous materials to ORM-D (permitted for surface transportation only until January 1, 2015), and consumer commodity or mailable limited quantity materials that meet USPS quantity limitations and packaging requirements. All exceptions are subject to the standards in 10.0. Detailed information on the mailability of specific hazardous materials is contained in Publication 52, Hazardous, Restricted, and Perishable Mail.” [DMM, Section 601, Subsection 10.3]

So, to prepare a hazmat package for shipment through the Post Office, shippers must employ a two-step process. They must first determine whether the HMR allows limited quantity, ORM-D shipments of their material. If so, then shippers must further evaluate the DMM and Publication 52 to determine additional restrictions or permission for shipment through the mail.


USPS and DOT Rules Not Harmonized

In pursuing this two-step process, the shipper will soon learn that the HMR and DMM are not harmonized. According to Post Office representatives, the Post Office will likely continue to have more stringent rules for hazmat mail shipments. The primary reasons include:

  • Target audience – the Post Office deals with the public, at large, and not just the commercial shipper. The general public’s knowledge of hazardous materials and the HMR is very limited. So, the Post Office establishes its rules based on the larger common denominator.
  • Size of the operations – The Post Office has over 34,000 facilities and other touch points for hazardous materials in its logistics stream. The effort (including costs) to coordinate and train personnel to handle hazmat shipments consistent with the DOT requirements is too large in light of increasing fiscal challenges.
  • Statutory restrictions – The Post Office does not have the same authority as the Department of Transportation to open packages. As a result, the Post Office has made risk-based decisions to further limit the type and amount of hazardous materials that can be packaged and moved through its system.

While the Post Office has indicated that it does plan on making revisions to the DMM, it does not anticipate to ever fully harmonize with the HMR.


Petitioning for Exception

If a shipper wishes to offer a hazmat shipment that does not conform to the DMM restrictions, he may petition the Post Office for an exception. However, it is important to realize that the Post Office does not have a formal, standardized approach that is similar to or consistent with the DOT’s Special Permit regulations at 49 CFR 107. In order to obtain a permission to ship a hazmat package that is not currently authorized by the DMM, the shipper must submit a formal written request to the Manager of Product Classification, located at: U.S. Postal Service, 475 L’Enfant Plaza SW, Room 4446, Washington, DC 20260-5015. To assist in the evaluation of the exception petition, the shipper should include at least the following information:

  • The types of hazardous materials to be shipped by mail;
  • The quantity of hazmats per package, per shipment, per annum; and
  • The frequency for shipping the hazardous material.

As there is no formal procedure for evaluating exceptions, the Post Office does not indicate how long the evaluation process will take, so it is important for shippers to plan ahead and allow for an adequate review period. Hazmat shipper trade associations have indicated efforts to petition for some broadly applicable exceptions. If you are a member of a transportation-related trade association and you are considering the use of the Post Office for your hazmat shipments, you may want to consult with them on their efforts.

Do you use USPS for your hazmat shipment? If so, have you encountered any shipping issues? Comment.

Understanding Superfund Discovery and Remediation Posted on July 10, 2013 by Anthony R. Cardno

On May 21, 2013, EPA announced the addition of 9 hazardous waste sites to the National Priorities List (NPL) and a proposal to add 9 more. This brings the total number of sites listed on the NPL to 1,685. According to EPA, 68% of those sites (1,145) have cleanup remedies in place.

So how does a site become a “Superfund site” and ultimately subject to remediation?

1. The site is discovered and EPA is notified. EPA discovers potential superfund sites through reports of releases of hazardous substances to the National Response Center required under 40 CFR 302. EPA may also learn of a potential superfund site through notices of releases in excess of permitted values, incidental observations by the public, and petitions by motivated citizens.

2. EPA conducts a preliminary assessment (PA), and a site inspection (SI) takes place. After discovering a potential cleanup site, the EPA sends a team to acquire and assess samples of contaminated air, water, soil, and other environmental media. The team also investigates pathways of chemical exposure and vulnerable target populations of citizens and natural habitat.

3. If warranted by the PA and SI, EPA will propose adding the site to the NPL. Using information garnered during the assessment and investigation, EPA ranks the site using its Hazard Ranking System. If a site scores highly, the Agency will propose adding it to the National Priorities List (NPL).
Understanding Superfund

4. Provided public comment does not change EPA’s opinion of the site’s hazards and cleanup requirements, EPA adds the site to the NPL. After deciding to propose a site as a candidate for the NPL, the EPA will publish a public notice in the Federal Register. This is an opportunity for the candidate site, and the affected community, to comment on the EPA’s decision.

The addition of a site to the NPL does not automatically initiate a cleanup action. A site’s ranking may rise or fall as new sites are added, delaying or hastening the initiation of cleanup. The ultimate goal of the NPL is to make sites safe and clean using new technology, focusing on the worst problems at the worst sites first.

However, when a site is listed on the NPL, liability is automatically assigned to any “potentially responsible party.” Liability is determined after a site is added to the NPL. If EPA cannot identify responsible parties for the newly listed sites, EPA is required to investigate the full extent of the contamination before commencing cleanup activities at the site.

Where are the Superfund sites? EPA has a searchable map!

Learn which of the EPA’s major programs apply to your facility and your responsibilities for emergency preparedness and reporting of releases into the air, water, or land. The two-day Complete Environmental Regulations Workshop covers the core elements of the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, Safe Drinking Water Act, FIFRA, CERCLA (Superfund), and more!

Procedures for Locking Out Hazardous Equipment Posted on July 02, 2013 by Joel Gregier

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires workers to follow specific procedures when disabling machinery or equipment during service and maintenance. Commonly called “lockout/tagout,” the goal of these rules is to prevent the release of potentially hazardous energy. Working on a machine that is still powered on can be very dangerous. When a machine is powered down for service or maintenance, non-maintenance employees should be aware that the machinery is off limits for normal use.

OSHA has a step-by-step process for both “application of control” (i.e., powering down a machine and affixing a lockout/tagout device) and “release from lockout or tagout” (i.e., removing the lockout/tagout device and starting the machine back up). The rules for these can be found at 29 CFR 1910.147(d)-(e).


Affixing a Lockout/Tagout Device

Lockout devices (i.e., blank flanges, bolted slip blinds, and key or combination locks) have specific requirements that they must meet. One of those requirements is that they must be “identifiable,” meaning that they indicate the identity of the employee applying the device. [29 CFR 1910.147(c)(5)(ii)(D)]
Lock Out/Tag Out Device

There is nothing in the rules that prevents multiple employees from using the same lock, but employers must provide a means of durably marking the employee’s name depending on who is locking out the machinery. Some companies may even choose to have locks assigned to specific employees.


Removing a Lockout/Tagout Device

Lockout/tagout devices may only be removed by the authorized employee who applied the device. There is an exception for this when the authorized employee is unavailable to remove it, but several requirements must be met.

The device may be removed under the direction of the employer, provided that specific procedures and training for such removal has been developed, documented, and incorporated into the employer’s energy control program.

In addition, the employer must be able to demonstrate that:

  • The authorized employee is not at the facility,
  • Reasonable efforts have been made to contact the authorized employee and inform him or her that the lockout/tagout device has been removed, and
  • The authorized employee has this knowledge before he or she resumes work at the facility. [29 CFR 1910.147(e)(3)]


RCRA Hazardous Waste Training - View Schedule


Following established lockout/tagout procedures for machinery is critical to protect employees from serious on-the-job injuries and even death. Ensure your team is prepared to identify and protect themselves from the hazards at your facility with convenient, easy-to-use online courses from Lion Technology. See the full catalog of online courses, available 24/7, at Lion.com

State-level Variations for Satellite Accumulation Areas Posted on June 25, 2013 by Roseanne Bottone

Under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), each state can operate its own hazardous waste regulatory program in lieu of Federal EPA standards. State-level programs must be at least as stringent as Federal regulations, but even when the rules are identical, the implementation can vary.


Federal Regulations Establish Satellite Waste Accumulation Option

At the Federal level, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) authorizes generators of hazardous waste to accumulate hazardous waste in containers at or near its point of generation under the control of the operator of the waste-generating process. These areas, commonly called the satellite accumulation areas, are subject to less stringent requirements than for wastes in central accumulation areas (i.e., 90- or 180-day rules). [40 CFR 262.34(a)(1)] 

States choosing to adopt the satellite accumulation option have the option under RCRA to be more stringent than the Federal requirements. The rules for satellite waste accumulation can vary widely between states. If you don’t comply with State laws, rules, or policies, the penalties and fines can be just as burdensome as violations of Federal standards. The following highlights some of the common State variations in implementing the satellite accumulation requirements.


State Variation of “At or Near”

Under Federal RCRA rules, you may initially accumulate your hazardous waste at or near the point where it was generated. The Federal rules do not have a definition of what constitutes “at or near.”

In the absence of an explicit definition of “at or near the point of generation,” what constitutes the “satellite accumulation area” is determined on a case-by-case basis by State or regional inspectors. Some states have a rule of thumb for maintaining containers “within the line of sight” or even within a certain distance from the point of generation. These rules of thumb may be found in the law, or regulation, but are often un-codified policies.

In addition, some states prohibit managing waste under the satellite rules in the same area or building where you have your central accumulation area.

In addition to following the Federal rules for satellite areas, your State environmental protection agency may require you to:

  • Keep a map indicating where you are managing waste under the satellite rules or post signs where wastes are accumulated under the satellite rules,
  • “Notify” your State agency when you begin/change managing waste under the satellite rules, or
  • Maintain a certain distance between satellite areas.


State Variation Defining Storage Device

The traditional example of satellite accumulation is a single 55-gallon drum collecting waste from an industrial process 1 gallon at a time. Once filled, the container is moved to a central area until an economically significant number of drums can be shipped away. But, the satellite rules have been applied to many other types of situations.

Under Federal rules, you may manage your waste only in containers (i.e., any portable device). There is no limit stated as to the number of containers that you may have at a single satellite area, nor is there a size limit per container.

Some State agencies may restrict the size or number of containers in a satellite accumulation area.


State Variation of Container Management

Federal regulations state containers must be kept closed (except when necessary to add or remove waste), in good condition, and compatible with the waste. Since they must be under the operator’s control, the EPA exempts satellite containers from the weekly inspections required for containers managed in accordance with the 90-day or 180-day requirements. Different states may have some additional precautions, like posting “no smoking” signs or restrictions on location if you are storing incompatible materials or ignitable or reactive wastes. The State EPA may require you to do weekly inspections and to document those inspections.


RCRA Hazardous Waste Training - View Citites


Various State Hazardous Waste Markings

As stated above, when the first quantity of waste is placed in a container, Federal rules require that the container be marked with the words “hazardous waste” or other identifying words. Upon exceeding 55 gallons of hazardous waste (or 1 quart of acutely hazardous waste), the container with the excess must be dated and within three days moved to central storage or off site. There is no other time limit.

Quite commonly, states require both the words “hazardous waste” and other identifying words. Some states may also require waste codes indicated on the containers. While the EPA requires you to mark any container with a date once you exceed 55 gallons, some states require the date be placed on the container once 55 gallons have been accumulated. A state may require a date on the container when the first drop/piece of waste is placed in it, and then limit you to a one-year maximum time frame for accumulation.


State Variation of the Three-day Clock Rule

Under Federal rules, when you exceed the quantity limits and date the container, you have three days to begin managing the waste under the 90-/180-day rules or to ship it off site. When you begin managing the waste under the 90-/180-day rules, you replace satellite markings with those of the 90- or 180-day requirements, including the accumulation start date. This date indicates the initial date was subject to the 90- or 180-day accumulation time limit.

Some states require you to begin managing your waste under the 90-/180-day rules immediately upon reaching or exceeding 55 gallons or by the end of the work day—they do not give you a 3-day waiting period and consider the “upon exceeding” date to also start the 90-/180-day clock. Check to see if your state allows you to re-date when you begin the 90-/180-day accumulation time period; the answer will impact the way you need to handle your waste.


State Variations of Personnel Training

Although it would be a good management practice to do so, the Federal regulations do not require formal RCRA training for satellite operators.

Your state may require RCRA training and documentation for these operators. States may specify the requirement for a written plan, as well as a time frame for initial and review training.

Knowing your state’s unique hazardous waste regulations is critical to effective compliance. Lion Members get access to 50 State LionCasts—on-demand webinar presentations that cover key variations for each state. To access LionCasts, log in here or learn more about Lion Membership here.

Labeling Small Limited Quantity Shipments Posted on June 18, 2013 by James Griffin

Over the next few years, the Department of Transportation is phasing out the old ORM-D classification for consumer commodities and replacing it with an expanded universe of limited quantity authorizations. In most cases, the only difference for the end-user will be replacing the rectangular ORM-D, CONSUMER COMMODITY marking with the new diamond Limited Quantity marking.

Many consumer commodity hazmats are transported in small packages, with dimensions only 4 or 6 inches wide. Because the DOT’s new limited quantity marking is larger than the older ORM-D, CONSUMER COMMODITY marking, shippers may have difficulty fitting all necessary marks and labels on smaller consumer commodity packages.

Hazmat Online Training - Register Now!

Whether the marks/labels are pre-printed or affixed at the time of shipping, it can be expensive to reorganize labels or affix them to the same side of a package to make them fit.

In response to questions from industry on this subject, PHSMA released a letter of interpretation on October 1, 2012, that authorizes the use of smaller limited quantity labels in some cases.

Lableing Small Packages vs. Labeling Average Size Packages


Hazardous Materials Administration Authorizes Reduced Marking

According to the Hazardous Materials Regulations, each limited quantity marking must be durable, legible, of a size relative to the package that is readily visible, and at least 100 mm (4 inches) on each side, unless the package size requires a reduced-size marking. [49 CFR 172.315; emphasis added]

This phrase has traditionally been interpreted by shippers to mean that reduced-size markings are authorized only when the full-sized marking will not fit on the package. In the letter of interpretation from October 1, 2012 (12-0177), however, PHSMA authorized reduced-size markings “…to the extent necessary to accommodate pre-printing of [the] additional information needed with the limited quantity marking.”

This means that you can use a reduced-size (down to 50 mm) limited quantity marking on a package, even when the full-sized (100 mm) marking will fit. This is similar to provisions that already exist in IATA By using a reduced-size label, you can free up room for other markings to ensure you communicate all the critical information on your package in a way that’s easy for shipping personnel, carriers, and first responders to recognize and use.

Learn the latest rules and exclusions available for shipping limited quantities of hazardous materials by ground, air, and ocean! The Shipping Limited Quantities and Consumer Commodities online course covers the 49 CFR, IATA, and IMDG rules your personnel must know to prepare limited quantity shipments for transport by any mode. 

Release Reporting Requirements—CERCLA vs. EPCRA Posted on June 11, 2013 by Anthony R. Cardno

The EPA oversees two major reporting programs aimed at facilitating immediate response and long-term cleanup of hazardous substances released into the environment. The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA)—also known as Superfund—was enacted in 1980 and authorizes the Federal government to respond directly to releases of hazardous substances. In 1986, Congress enacted the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA), which sets standards for sharing of critical information between chemical facilities and their surrounding communities.


The Big Picture: Intent

At the most basic level, there is a difference in the intent of each law. Reporting releases under the Comprehensive Emergency Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) is focused on reporting releases to make sure they are then cleaned up properly, while reports under the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) are more focused on reporting releases that have the potential to negatively impact the community outside a facility. Or, to put it another way, CERCLA is focused on preventing another Love Canal or Valley of the Drums, while EPCRA is focused on preventing another Bhopal Disaster.


CERCLA Release Reporting

WHAT: If a reportable quantity of any hazardous substance is released.

FROM: A facility, including “any building, structure, installation, equipment, pipe or pipeline, well, pit, pond, lagoon, impoundment, ditch, landfill, storage container, motor vehicle, rolling stock or aircraft.” [40 CFR 302.3]

EPA Release Photo TO: The Environment, including any and all surface water, ground water, drinking water supply, land surface, subsurface strata, or ambient air within or under the jurisdiction of the United States [40 CFR 302.3] (Note: this means even if the release does not leave your property, you must still report.)

WHEN: Immediately upon meeting/exceeding that substance’s reportable quantity (in a single release or in any combination of releases that occur within 24 hours of each other). (Reportable quantities, or “RQs”, ranging from 1 to 5,000 pounds are specified for each hazardous substance listed in 40 CFR 302.4.)

TO WHOM: The National Response Center (NRC).

HOW: By phone. You can reach the NRC at 800-424-8802.

FOLLOW-UP: No follow-up written report required under Federal regulations.

Note: The emergency notification and response functions of CERCLA are administered Federally. Some state-level environmental protection agencies have similar overlapping programs. These state-level programs may include additional substances, set alternate reportable quantities, and require distinct immediate notifications and/or written reports after the fact.

RCRA Hazardous Waste Training - View Schedule


EPCRA Release Reporting

WHAT: If any hazardous substance listed at 40 CFR 302.4 OR extremely hazardous substance listed at 40 CFR 355 Appendix A is released.

FROM: A facility, meaning “all buildings, equipment, structures, and other stationary items that are located on a single site or on contiguous or adjacent sites and which are owned or operated by the same person … for purposes of emergency release notification, the term includes motor vehicles, rolling stock, and aircraft.” [40 CFR 355.61]

TO: The environment, including all water, air, and land. [40 CFR 355.61]

WHEN: Immediately upon meeting/exceeding that substance’s reportable quantity (in a single release or in any combination of releases that occur within 24 hours of each other), IF the release “could result in exposure to persons outside the boundaries of the facility.” [40 CFR 355.43]

TO WHOM: ALL potentially affected LEPCs (Local Emergency Planning Committees) and SERCs (State Emergency Response Commissions). [40 CFR 355.42]

HOW: By phone. [40 CFR 355.41]

FOLLOW-UP: A follow-up written report must be submitted to any LEPC or SERC to whom a phone call was made, “as soon as is practicable” after the release. [40 CFR 355.43]

Identify and meet your legal responsibilities under the EPA’s major programs! The Complete Environmental Regulations Workshop provides an overview of the core elements of CERCLA, EPCRA, Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, TSCA, FIFRA, and more. Prepare your facility for effective compliance, prevent harm to the environment, and avoid the high costs incidents and releases.