Draft Revisions to The New York State Hazardous Waste Management Regulations are Open for Public Comment

Environmental Law

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (“NYSDEC”) released a draft of proposed amendments to the Hazardous Waste Management Regulations (6 NYCRR Parts 370-374 and 376) on February 4, 2015. The proposed amendments were released as a “Draft for Consideration” (DFC) that is being made available for informal public comments before the draft regulations are formally proposed and published in the State Register. NYSDEC will accept written comments to the proposed amendments through April 6, 2015.

As an authorized state for the hazardous waste management program in lieu of the United States Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”), the State must adopt regulations at least as stringent as EPA’s hazardous waste regulations. The draft amendments propose to incorporate thirty-seven (37) federal rules that were federally adopted from January 2002 through April 2012. The State is not mandated to adopt federal rules that decrease regulatory stringency and a number of less stringent rules will not be adopted.

In addition, NYSDEC is proposing several State-initiated changes to the existing regulations to provide clarification and to correct errors. Some of the proposed State-initiated changes will make certain regulations less stringent than they are currently, but not less stringent than EPA’s regulations. They will improve management of waste streams or processes, while maintaining protection of public health and the environment.

NYSDEC is seeking comments on the proposal to adopt the following EPA rules:

  • EPA’s Solvent Contaminated Wipes Rule of July 31, 2013—This rule revises the definition of solid waste to conditionally exclude solvent-contaminated wipes that are cleaned and reused and revises the definition of hazardous waste to conditionally exclude solvent-contaminated wipes that are disposed. NYSDEC currently has a policy that encourages reuse of industrial rags and soiled clothing (Policy DSW-HW-03-09, “Regulatory Status of Laundered Industrial Rags and Soiled Clothing”). However, since the state policy is less stringent in several ways than the EPA rule, NYSDEC must either rescind or revise the policy, or promulgate regulations. To read about the options NYSDEC is exploring, see http://www.dec.ny.gov/regulations/100442.html
  • EPA’s Carbon Dioxide Sequestration Rule of January 3, 2014—Captured Carbon Dioxide (CO2) is not typically considered a waste under the hazardous waste regulations. However, CO2 that is injected in underground injection control wells solely for the purpose of long-term storage is considered by EPA to be a “discarded material,” and thus a waste, and potentially a hazardous waste. This rule would exclude carbon dioxide streams from being classified as hazardous waste if certain conditions are met. For more information about the Carbon Dioxide Sequestration Rule, see http://www.dec.ny.gov/regulations/100557.html
  • EPA’s Hazardous Waste Electronic Manifest (e-Manifest) Rule—This rule provides the legal and policy framework to authorize the use of electronic manifests. The electronic system must go into effect in all states at the same time, regardless of whether the individual states have adopted effective regulations. Although the start-up date has not been established yet, it is expected to be later in 2015. Authorized states are required to adopt equivalent and consistent provisions. NYSDEC is considering no longer collecting hard copy forms from hazardous waste generators, transporters, and disposal facilities using the e-manifest system. For more information about the Electronic Manifest Rule, see http://www.dec.ny.gov/regulations/100585.html
  • EPA’s 2008 Definition of Solid Waste Rule, as amended in January 2015—This rule redefines “hazardous secondary materials” and is intended to make it easier and more cost-effective to safely recycle hazardous secondary material. In order to maintain regulations that are as stringent as EPA’s regulations, NYSDEC must adopt the revised definition of “legitimate recycling,” the prohibition of sham recycling, and new record-keeping requirements to demonstrate that material is not accumulated speculatively. If NYSDEC does not meet the deadline to adopt the more stringent provisions, EPA will have the authority to enforce those provisions in New York State. For more information on the Definition of Solid Waste Rule, see http://www.dec.ny.gov/regulations/100652.html
  • Amendments to NYSDEC’s Used Oil Management Regulations (6 NYCRR Subparts 374-2 and 360-14)—These amendments include possible revisions that would no longer require Petroleum Bulk Storage (PBS) registration for certain small used oil tanks; possible revisions that allow used oil collection centers collecting used oil in small volumes to obtain a Part 360 registration and more closely follow EPA requirements in lieu of obtaining a Part 360 permit; possible revisions to replace the current vehicle-to-vehicle exemption and 10-day exemption with a Part 360 registration requirement; and possible revisions to time required to retain certain records from 7 years to 3 years to more closely conform with the state’s Part 370-374 and 376 hazardous waste management regulations, and EPA’s Part 279 used oil management regulations. For more information on the proposed changes to the Used Oil Management Regulations, see http://www.dec.ny.gov/regulations/100657.html

 

To assist the public in understanding the draft regulations, NYSDEC will hold a public information meeting at the NYSDEC Central Office on 625 Broadway in Albany, on March 10, 2015, 1:00 pm – 3:00pm. Pre-registration is encouraged.

For more information on hazardous waste management, please contact Miriam Villani or Jenna Gallagher.

Posted by Miriam Villani