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EPA Self-Audit and Inspection Guide
Organic Finishing of Metals

Table of Contents

Solid and Hazardous Waste Regulations

The following is a summary of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act and its amendments, as contained in Title 42, Chapter 82 of the United States Code []. This information is provided as an aide to help understand the requirements of the federal statute, as they pertain to specific industrial or manufacturing operations. This information is not provided nor intended to act as a substitute for legal or other professional services. The full text version of the statute can be viewed by clicking HERE and following the directions.

The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) (40 CFR Parts 240-299) of 1976, as amended by the Hazardous and Solid Waste Amendments of 1984, directs the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to regulate and control the generation, treatment, storage, disposal, and transportation of solid and hazardous wastes. Concern over the “disposal of solid and hazardous waste in or on the land without careful planning and management” prompted Congress to enact RCRA so that “whenever feasible, the generation of hazardous waste is to be reduced or eliminated as expeditiously as possible. Waste that is nonetheless generated should be treated, stored, or disposed of so as to minimize the present and future threat to human health and the environment.” RCRA encourages responsible use and proper management of non-hazardous solid waste and establish a national “cradle-to-grave” management system for the tracking and control of hazardous wastes.

Key Provisions of the Subtitles of RCRA

Subtitle A: General Provisions

Subtitle A contains the motivation and objectives of the Act.

Subtitle B: Office of Solid Waste; Authorities of the Administrator

Subtitle B creates the Office of Solid Waste within the EPA and requires the EPA Administrator to submit an Annual Report to Congress and the President on all activities of the Office.

Subtitle C: Hazardous Waste Management

Subtitle C establishes the hazardous waste management system (40 CFR Part 260) for tracking and controlling hazardous wastes through the use of hazardous waste manifests that accompany the waste from the point of generation to the ultimate point of treatment, storage, or disposal. States are granted the authorization to administer state hazardous waste programs.

Subtitle C defines two key issues of interest to organic finishing facilities. Identification of solid and hazardous wastes (40 CFR Part 261) provides guidelines for classifying generated waste as either hazardous waste, solid waste, or exempted from this regulation. Standards for Generators of Hazardous Waste (40 CFR Part 262) provides the responsibilities that hazardous waste generators must meet to comply with RCRA requirements. Among these, hazardous waste generators must obtain an ID number, prepare a manifest, ensure proper packaging and labeling, meet standards for waste accumulation units, and comply with recordkeeping and reports standards.

Even though most RCRA standards and requirements are not industry-specific, they do apply to any industry or source that generates, treats, stores, transports, or disposes of hazardous waste.

Subtitle D: State or Regional Solid Waste Plans

Subtitle D designates States as responsible for regulation of non-hazardous solid waste. By supporting and adopting solid waste plans, States are eligible for funding and technical assistance from the EPA in carrying out plans. This Subtitle establishes requirements for municipal solid waste landfill units, including the use of composite liners to prevent contamination of groundwater sources.

Subtitle E: Duties of the Secretary of Commerce in Resource and Recovery

Subtitle E mandates commercialization of resource recovery technology.

Subtitle F: Federal Responsibilities

Subtitle F requires all federal facilities to comply with the regulations and promotes the procurement of products manufactured from secondary materials.

Subtitle G: Miscellaneous Provisions

Subtitle G provides citizens to file actions against any person, including the U.S., for violating the regulation.

Subtitle H: Research, Development, Demonstration, and Information

Subtitle H instructs the EPA to conduct and promote the coordination of research, investigations, experiments, training, demonstrations, surveys, public education programs, and studies relating to topics such as waste management, resource recovery, and waste reduction.

Subtitle I: Regulation of Underground Storage Tanks

Subtitle I establishes requirements for underground storage tanks.

Subtitle J: Demonstration Medical Waste Tracking Program

Subtitle J assesses issues with medical waste.

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