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California Generator Environmental Compliance Extensions Amid COVID-19

California Generator Environmental Compliance Extensions Amid COVID-19

As all businesses deemed non-essential during this time, many businesses that generate hazardous waste in California are struggling to meet various environmental compliance deadlines. These businesses are facing challenges derived from recent stay-at-home orders requiring social distancing in efforts to prevent the coronavirus spread. Because of this, conducting weekly inspections of your facility’s waste storage area may feel like a low priority when trying to maintain regular business operations and keeping employees safe. However, EPA and DTSC regulatory requirements remain in effect. However, with the various public health orders and recommended practices established to stop the spread of the virus, DTSC is willing to consider limited environmental compliance extensions.

All California hazardous waste generators are required to submit their hazardous materials business plan (HMBP) in the California Environmental Reporting System (CERS) annually. This is to track the waste generated in the facility and ensure workers are up-to-date on hazardous waste training. Generators are still required to comply with pertinent requirements for the satellite accumulation area (SAA) and central accumulation area (CAA). DTSC, Cal/EPA and EPA expect that all parties will comply with applicable requirements. For example, the DTSC recognizes the struggles generators face due to coronavirus prevention measures but states that:

“Hazardous waste generators, transporters, electronic waste handlers, and tiered permit facilities must comply with all statutory and regulatory requirements.”

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If compliance is not possible, the DTSC guidance document states that waste generators should document the specific requirement, and give the reason why the delay occurred and how the requirement will be fulfilled. Generators may request an extension for RCRA and/or Non-RCRA wastes during these uncontrollable circumstances. This is consistent with the statement on compliance from Cal/EPA (parent organization of the DTSC).

Extensions for RCRA Wastes

If you must store RCRA regulated wastes for longer than 90 days, an extension of up to 30 days may be permitted by the DTSC depending on the circumstances. If RCRA wastes are combined with non-RCRA wastes, they are considered RCRA wastes. For additional information, visit the DTSC website where you can also obtain an application for an extension.

Extensions for Non-RCRA Wastes

Section 66262.35 in Title 22 of the California Code of Regulations allows an extension of the accumulation time limits for non-RCRA hazardous wastes. If non-RCRA or RCRA-exempt hazardous waste must be kept onsite longer than the applicable accumulation period, the generator may be allowed a one-time 90-day extension beyond the applicable accumulation time provided all of the conditions outlined in section 66262.35 are met.

So, California environmental agencies concur that generators may apply for environmental compliance extensions or exemptions under specific conditions. However, they need to take every measure to properly dispose of waste in a safe and timely manner in compliance with other applicable requirements, even while facing challenges caused by COVID-19 closures and regulations. Our highly skilled waste service team at HTS is here to support you through these challenging times. For more information, contact our environmental health and safety department at (562) 906-2633 or info@htsenvironmental.com.

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