The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, or RCRA, is the law that creates the framework for the management of hazardous and non-hazardous solid waste from the EPA. It’s not just another set of regulations to make the job more complex. More than that, RCRA and HAZPOWER are required since they’ve both been designed to assist organizations in creating a safe working environment and become more efficient with their day-to-day operations.
Here’s a quick overview of what RCRA’s all about and why it’s important:
Who needs RCRA and who is in charge of monitoring it?
In order to protect the environment and the health of everyone, EPA is continuously in contact with its federal, state, and tribal regulatory partners to assure that compliance with guidelines and regulations are met by organizations. EPA also oversees the compliance monitoring activities in the RCRA program to make sure that facilities are appropriately and regularly inspected. Simply put, RCRA establishes the framework for a national system of solid waste control.
How can RCRA help mitigate the impact of improper waste management?
The losses for an organization without an effective and sustainable waste management program can be financially devastating and crippling to its reputation. In addition, the EPA can charge penalties that could go as high as $37,500 for each day of noncompliance. In just a single month, an organization may find itself in a position to lose $1,162,500 and put its reputation at risk permanently.
What are the areas covered in the RCRA?
RCRA looks at different program areas to ensure that EPA compliance is met when it comes to the management of hazardous wastes and underground storage tanks:
- EPA and its regulatory partners prioritize inspecting facilities that generate, transport, treat, store or dispose of hazardous waste to check their compliance with its applicable regulations.
- Universal wastes include batteries, pesticides, lamp bulbs, and mercury-containing equipment such as light switches.
- Mixed waste contains both radioactive and hazardous waste components. This contains low-level mixed waste (LLMW) and technologically-enhanced, naturally-occurring, and/or accelerator-produced radioactive material (NARM) containing hazardous wastes.
- Land disposal and waste treatment standards.
- In addition, the RCRA guidelines also cover hazardous waste injection, underground storage tanks, used oil, solid waste, permitting requirements, and other miscellaneous provisions.
Do my organization and employees really need to get RCRA trained?
Hazardous waste is proven to cause hazards in any workplace as well as its community. The responsibility to determine if a material is considered hazardous and to label as such is indeed the responsibility of third-party distributors. However, determining what to do with those products as well as handling them is usually up to the companies that’ll use them. Learning all of these, along with codes for communicating on labels (U codes, P codes, etc.) is like learning a whole new language. This is why RCRA training is recommended so that organizations and their employees will be equipped with the right knowledge and tools that will help them build a competitive and secure waste management plan.