Date: Mon, 5 Jun 2006 10:06:59 -0400
Reply-To: Ralph Stuart <rstuart**At_Symbol_Here**uvm.edu>
Sender: DCHAS-L Discussion List <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**LIST.UVM.EDU>
From: Ralph Stuart <rstuart**At_Symbol_Here**uvm.edu>
Subject: CHE article on New Lab Rule
Comments: To: SAFETY , lcee-l**At_Symbol_Here**list.uvm.edu

Here is an article published today by the Chronicle of Higher  
Education about the new lab rule. I disagree with it on two key points:

1. The labeling requirement goes beyond simply saying "unwanted  
material" - information about the materials and process must be  
provided to the EHS professional for the material to be picked up;  
however, the EHS department gets to decide what information must be  
included, rather than the EPA

2. Colleges would _not_ need to submit a Laboratory Management Plan  
to the EPA; they would simply have to notify the EPA that they will  
"opt it" to this approach to lab waste. My expectation is that the  
plan is likely to be reviewed by the field inspector at the time of  
the inspection, unless a state adds a submittal requirement to its  
version of the rule.

- Ralph

Monday, June 5, 2006

Colleges Welcome EPA Proposal to Ease Campus Rules for Hazardous- 
Waste Removal

By KELLY FIELD

News Headlines From The Chronicle

After years of negotiation with college officials and associations,  
the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has issued a proposed rule  
that would ease the waste-management burden in academe.

The rule, which was published last month in the Federal Register,  
lays out a new path to compliance with the Resource Conservation and  
Recovery Act, a 30-year-old federal law that governs waste management  
at both college laboratories and large industrial plants. Under the  
rule, colleges would have the option of managing their waste under  
the proposed regulation or continuing to comply with existing  
regulations.

The new regulation's most significant feature would allow colleges to  
make determinations whether or not materials are hazardous waste in  
central accumulation areas or treatment facilities, as long as the  
decision was made within four days of the waste's arrival.

That change would shift the burden of identifying hazardous waste  
from professors and students, who generally made the determination on  
site, to personnel trained in environmental health and safety issues.  
Students and professors would simply label used chemicals as  
"unwanted material" and leave it up to the health and safety  
professionals to identify the waste and dispose of it according to  
federal requirements.

The new rule would also enable colleges that produce less waste,  
known as "small-quantity generators," to conduct annual laboratory  
"clean outs" of old chemicals without being bumped up to "large- 
quantity generator" status. Large-quantity generators may accumulate  
hazardous waste on their campuses for up to 90 days without a permit,  
half as long as small-quantity generators.

To be considered for the compliance alternative, colleges would need  
to submit a Laboratory Management Plan to the EPA detailing how they  
would train their employees and meet the law's requirements.

The new rule would apply only to large-quantity generators (those  
that produce more than 1,000 kilograms of hazardous waste per month)  
and small-quantity generators (101 to 999 kilograms a month). It  
would not apply to "conditionally exempt small-quantity generators,"  
which produce less than 100 kilograms per month, because such  
colleges are not subject to many of the requirements that apply to  
larger generators. For those institutions, the new rule would be more  
stringent than the existing one.

In the announcement of the proposed rule, the EPA requests comment on  
whether the new compliance option should be extended to conditionally  
exempt small-quantity generators.

Colleges have long complained that the hazardous-waste law is an  
awkward fit for academe, which produces only a small fraction of the  
nation's waste. Written with industry in mind, the law was tailored  
to large-scale producers of hazardous waste, typically companies that  
generate large volumes of a few types of waste. Colleges, by  
contrast, tend to produce smaller quantities, but larger varieties,  
of hazardous wastes. The proposed rule refers to that as a "beakerful  
vs. barrelful" distinction.

And while industrial plants are typically centralized, college  
campuses tend to consist of many separate labs and art and  
photography studios, run by many individual professors and students.  
That decentralized structure, coupled with high student turnover,  
makes it difficult for colleges to maintain uniform waste-management  
practices, colleges say.

Anne Gross, vice president for regulatory affairs at the National  
Association of College and University Business Officers, said the new  
rule acknowledges those distinctions.

"We have been looking for recognition from the EPA that college and  
university labs are different from other generators of hazardous  
waste for 20 years," she said. "We're delighted to have them  
officially recognize that."

The proposed rule would also eliminate a requirement that waste  
containers, which can be as large as 55 gallons, be kept closed  
except when material is being added or removed. EPA inspectors have  
been very strict about the capping requirement in the past, said  
Peter A. Reinhardt, the environmental, health, and safety director  
for the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

"It got to a point where inspectors were counting the number of caps  
that were off and charging a dollar per cap," he said.

The rule would also give laboratories 10 days, rather than the  
current three, to remove hazardous waste once the 55-gallon limit was  
reached.

The agency is accepting comments on the proposed rule until August  
21, 2006. Comments may be sent by e-mail to RCRA-docket**At_Symbol_Here**epamail.epa.gov.

Copyright  2006 by The Chronicle of Higher Education




Monday, June 5, 2006

Colleges Welcome EPA Proposal to Ease Campus Rules for Hazardous- 
Waste Removal

By KELLY FIELD

News Headlines From The Chronicle

After years of negotiation with college officials and associations,  
the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has issued a proposed rule  
that would ease the waste-management burden in academe.

The rule, which was published last month in the Federal Register,  
lays out a new path to compliance with the Resource Conservation and  
Recovery Act, a 30-year-old federal law that governs waste management  
at both college laboratories and large industrial plants. Under the  
rule, colleges would have the option of managing their waste under  
the proposed regulation or continuing to comply with existing  
regulations.

The new regulation's most significant feature would allow colleges to  
make determinations whether or not materials are hazardous waste in  
central accumulation areas or treatment facilities, as long as the  
decision was made within four days of the waste's arrival.

That change would shift the burden of identifying hazardous waste  
from professors and students, who generally made the determination on  
site, to personnel trained in environmental health and safety issues.  
Students and professors would simply label used chemicals as  
"unwanted material" and leave it up to the health and safety  
professionals to identify the waste and dispose of it according to  
federal requirements.

The new rule would also enable colleges that produce less waste,  
known as "small-quantity generators," to conduct annual laboratory  
"clean outs" of old chemicals without being bumped up to "large- 
quantity generator" status. Large-quantity generators may accumulate  
hazardous waste on their campuses for up to 90 days without a permit,  
half as long as small-quantity generators.

To be considered for the compliance alternative, colleges would need  
to submit a Laboratory Management Plan to the EPA detailing how they  
would train their employees and meet the law's requirements.

The new rule would apply only to large-quantity generators (those  
that produce more than 1,000 kilograms of hazardous waste per month)  
and small-quantity generators (101 to 999 kilograms a month). It  
would not apply to "conditionally exempt small-quantity generators,"  
which produce less than 100 kilograms per month, because such  
colleges are not subject to many of the requirements that apply to  
larger generators. For those institutions, the new rule would be more  
stringent than the existing one.

In the announcement of the proposed rule, the EPA requests comment on  
whether the new compliance option should be extended to conditionally  
exempt small-quantity generators.

Colleges have long complained that the hazardous-waste law is an  
awkward fit for academe, which produces only a small fraction of the  
nation's waste. Written with industry in mind, the law was tailored  
to large-scale producers of hazardous waste, typically companies that  
generate large volumes of a few types of waste. Colleges, by  
contrast, tend to produce smaller quantities, but larger varieties,  
of hazardous wastes. The proposed rule refers to that as a "beakerful  
vs. barrelful" distinction.

And while industrial plants are typically centralized, college  
campuses tend to consist of many separate labs and art and  
photography studios, run by many individual professors and students.  
That decentralized structure, coupled with high student turnover,  
makes it difficult for colleges to maintain uniform waste-management  
practices, colleges say.

Anne Gross, vice president for regulatory affairs at the National  
Association of College and University Business Officers, said the new  
rule acknowledges those distinctions.

"We have been looking for recognition from the EPA that college and  
university labs are different from other generators of hazardous  
waste for 20 years," she said. "We're delighted to have them  
officially recognize that."

The proposed rule would also eliminate a requirement that waste  
containers, which can be as large as 55 gallons, be kept closed  
except when material is being added or removed. EPA inspectors have  
been very strict about the capping requirement in the past, said  
Peter A. Reinhardt, the environmental, health, and safety director  
for the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

"It got to a point where inspectors were counting the number of caps  
that were off and charging a dollar per cap," he said.

The rule would also give laboratories 10 days, rather than the  
current three, to remove hazardous waste once the 55-gallon limit was  
reached.

The agency is accepting comments on the proposed rule until August  
21, 2006. Comments may be sent by e-mail to RCRA-docket**At_Symbol_Here**epamail.epa.gov.

Copyright  2006 by The Chronicle of Higher Education

Previous post   |  Top of Page   |   Next post



The content of this page reflects the personal opinion(s) of the author(s) only, not the American Chemical Society, ILPI, Safety Emporium, or any other party. Use of any information on this page is at the reader's own risk. Unauthorized reproduction of these materials is prohibited. Send questions/comments about the archive to secretary@dchas.org.
The maintenance and hosting of the DCHAS-L archive is provided through the generous support of Safety Emporium.