California Hazardous Waste Labeling Requirements

As we learned in Part 1 of this 3-part series, RCRA rules for container labeling (as well as labeling of tanks and containment buildings) were recently revised as part of the “Generator Improvement Rule” (GIR) process and updated regulations can be found in title 40 of the Code of Federal Regulations, Part 262 (40 CFR § 262).

Under RCRA, individual states are also allowed to establish their own regulations that are more stringent than RCRA requirements, including waste container labeling requirements. Some state-specific variations to RCRA container labeling requirements are relatively minor. For example, the State of Washington requires that wording on waste container labels be “clearly visible” from 25 feet away or have lettering size at least ½” in height. In California, the differences in labeling requirements are a little more significant, mainly due to other differences in California hazardous waste regulations.

Similar to the RCRA requirements, California regulations (22 CCR § 66262.34(f)) require the following on each waste container:

  • The words “Hazardous Waste”
  • The accumulation start date (the date the first waste was placed in the container)
  • The hazardous properties of the waste (i.e., flammable, corrosive, reactive, toxic)
  • Composition and physical state of the waste
  • Name and address of the person producing the waste

The accumulation start date for California generators (SQGs and LQGs – see Part 1 for definitions) is the date that waste was first placed in the container. This date must be indicated on all hazardous waste container labels, even SAA labels, because California regulations (22 CCR § 66262(e)) limit accumulation time to a maximum of year, even if the waste is kept in an SAA.

  • As an alternative, some local California regulators allow generators to indicate “Emptied Weekly” or “Emptied Daily” for accumulation start date on SAA containers that are consolidated into larger containers, as long as the consolidation containers are labeled appropriately.

In addition to the accumulation start date, waste containers should also be marked with the date they exceeded SAA quantity limits and/or were moved to CAA to demonstrate compliance with the CAA time limit of 90 or 180 days, depending on generator status.

That’s it for California hazardous waste accumulation area labeling. Part 1 of this 3-part series addressed RCRA requirements for waste accumulation and Part 3 will conclude the series with a discussion of labeling requirements when shipping your waste off site for disposal.

If you have any questions about California regulations, container labeling or any other hazardous waste issues, ACTenviro is available to help! Contact us at [email protected].

– James Kapin, MPH, CIH, CSP
Director of EM Services

RCRA Hazardous Waste Labeling Requirements

As a hazardous waste generator, you know your waste containers need to be labeled, but sometimes it is not clear exactly what needs to be included on those labels. Requirements can vary depending on your state, where in your facility the waste is kept (Satellite Accumulation Area or Central Accumulation Area) and what you are doing with the waste (“accumulating” or “transporting”).

We will review waste labeling requirements below, but first let’s clear up some terminology. When waste is being collected in “satellite accumulation areas” (SAAs) or “central accumulation areas” (CAAs) at a generator site, it is being “accumulated”, not “stored” (assuming the accumulation is consistent with state or federal SAA/CAA regulations). “Storage” is when waste is kept on site in excess of applicable SAA/CAA time limits and requires a permit (like at a TSD facility). So what we are talking about in the generator world are hazardous waste “accumulation” labels, not hazardous waste “storage” labels.

EPA Labeling Requirements
At the federal level, RCRA rules for container labeling (as well as labeling of tanks and containment buildings) were recently revised as part of the “Generator Improvement Rule” (GIR) process. The updated regulations are found in title 40 of the Code of Federal Regulations, Part 262 (40 CFR § 262). Specific GIR provisions are still being adopted by individual states, and some states may have additional requirements, but under RCRA, hazardous waste in containers in CAAs must be labeled with the following:

  • The words “Hazardous Waste”
  • The date accumulation began (the date the waste exceeded SAA quantity limits or was moved into a CAA)
  • An indication of the hazards of the waste

As long as containers are compatible with the materials they contain, containers holding incompatible materials are segregated, leaks and spills are addressed promptly and other large or small quantity generator responsibilities are met, then waste containers in SAAs only need to be labeled with the words “Hazardous Waste” and an indication of the hazards, since RCRA regulations do not establish time limits for waste in SAAs. See 40 CFR § 262.15 for more information.

The GIR updates (if adopted by states) allow generators to maintain a “lower” generator status for a single planned or unplanned waste generation event that would otherwise push them into a higher generator status. Waste generated from these “episodic” events should be labeled with the words “Episodic Hazardous Waste” as well as an indication of hazards and the date the episodic event began.

These requirements apply whether you are a whether you are a large-quantity generator (LQG) or Small Quantity Generator (SQG). See 40 CFR §262.16 or 40 CFR §262.17 for more information on requirements for SQGs and LQGs.

What does “indication of the hazards” mean?
RCRA regulations allow generators to use any of the following methods to indicate the hazards of the waste in the containers:

  • Words indicating the applicable U.S. EPA hazardous waste characteristic(s): ignitable, corrosive, reactive or toxic
  • DOT hazard communication pictograms indicating applicable DOT hazard class/division
  • A hazard statement or pictogram consistent with the OSHA Hazard Communication Standard (29 CFR § 1910.1200)
  • A chemical hazard label consistent with the National Fire Protection Association Standard 704 (NFPA 704 – Standard System for the Identification of the Hazards of Materials for Emergency Response)

Examples of acceptable hazard indicators for a flammable liquid waste can be seen in the image accompanying this piece.

That’s it for federal hazardous waste accumulation labels, but things are different in California, and there are other requirements when shipping waste off-site. Part 2 of our series will review hazardous waste accumulation labeling requirements for California generators and Part 3 will conclude the series with a discussion of hazardous waste shipping labels for off-site transport and disposal.

If you have any questions about DOT shipping, container labeling or any other hazardous waste issues, ACTenviro is available to help! Contact us at [email protected].

– James Kapin, MPH, CIH, CSP
Director of EM Services

ACTenviro Is at California CUPA Conference 2020!

Come visit us in booth 46 during this week’s California CUPA Conference at Hyatt Regency SFO! At various times, our contingent will include Shawn Ball, Mariana Sabich, Adam Brandin, Jason Catalano, Nicole Martinez, Omar Numair and Chris Maddox, all of whom would love to tell you how our creative solutions can save you money and help the planet. #tradeshows #sustainability #creativesolutions

California HMBP Requirements Have Changed!

California Assembly Bill 1429, which was signed into law in July of 2019, effected a variety of changes in reporting requirements related to Hazardous Materials Business Plans (HMBPs), and we are here to help walk you through them.

As of January 1, 2020, many California businesses only need to submit an HMBP into the California Environmental Reporting System (CERS) every three years, instead of annually. Affected businesses will still need to certify the HMBP annually, though.

Key points to keep in mind:

  • Businesses that have over 10,000 pounds of hazardous materials (or over 500 pounds of Extremely Hazardous Substances) are subject to Tier II of the federal Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) and must continue to submit their HMBP every year.
  • Businesses that have more than 1,320 gallons of petroleum or petroleum products in tanks or tanks systems (55 gallons or greater) are subject to the Aboveground Petroleum Storage Act (APSA) and must also submit annually. Note that this includes oil-filled equipment.
  • Businesses that are not subject to EPCRA Tier II reporting or APSA, but that do store hazardous materials above California threshold amounts, must review and certify their HMBP annually (even if there are no changes) but only need to re-submit their HMBP every three years.

Businesses Subject to EPCRA or APSA Requirements
Businesses subject to EPCRA or APSA must continue to submit their HMBP information into CERS annually by the local CUPA submittal date or annually on or before March 1 if there is no locally-established date.

Businesses NOT subject to EPCRA or APSA
California business that are not subject to EPCRA or APSA but that store more than 55 gallons of a liquid, 200 cubic feet of a gas or 500 pounds of a solid must submit an HMBP – but now, under AB1429, these businesses only need to re-submit their HMBP into CERS every three years.

  • However, there are some exceptions and also some more restrictive local requirements.

In other years, if there are no HMBP changes, these businesses only need to certify that their information in CERS remains the same (unless there are more restrictive local requirements, like a local ordinance that requires an annual HMBP submittal). Businesses should check with their local CUPA for clarification.

Businesses must continue to update and resubmit their HMBP within 30 days if there are significant changes, including:

  • A 100% or greater increase for a chemical in the inventory or a reportable quantity of a new chemical.
  • Changes in where or how chemicals are used at the facility that could affect emergency response, changes to business name, ownership or address or other substantive change in operations.

CERS Certification Process
To submit the annual certification (if there are no changes):

  • Log into CERS and select business and facility.
  • Click the “Create All HMBP Submittal Elements” option, confirm and submit

For more information, please request our ASSEMBLY BILL 1429 (AB 1429) BUSINESS PLAN SUBMITTAL UPDATE fact sheet from your account manager or by emailing [email protected].

And please do not hesitate to contact us through either of these channels if we can provide any assistance with your HMBP or any other safety or environmental issues!

– James Kapin, Director of EM Services

Happy Holidays from ACTenviro

With over $175,000 in company donations to charity this year, our annual toy drive in San Jose was just the tip of the iceberg.

Wishing you and yours all the best this holiday season!

On-Site Services Team at Major Client Honored with Award

Congrats to some of our hard-working employees “embedded” on site with a major client in the semiconductor space! They were given an award by their customer-side counterparts “For your Commitment to Being a Partner in Our Success.” According to ACTenviro team leader JP Rousset, this commendation was likely in acknowledgement not only of our long and successful shared history but the projects we have in the works for the future.

Pictured at a celebratory lunch are (clockwise from left) Dana Lee, Ricardo Lopez, Cory Hartley, Jose Cortes-Aleman and JP in front. Nice work, team!

If you’re at our headquarters anytime soon, look for the stylish acrylic award displayed in the trophy case in our lobby. And if you’re with a company that is also in need of on-site services, please check out the info on our website and give us a call or drop us a line!