Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) Corrective Action and Closure Programs
The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), an amendment to the Solid Waste Disposal Act, was enacted in 1976 to address the huge volumes of municipal and industrial solid waste generated nationwide. RCRA Subtitle C established a federal program to manage hazardous wastes from cradle to grave. The objective of the Subtitle C program is to ensure that hazardous waste is handled in a manner that protects human health and the environment. To this end, there are Subtitle C regulations for the generation, transportation, and treatment, storage, or disposal of hazardous wastes. Under Subtitle C, in the authorization process, EPA reviews a state’s hazardous waste program and, if it is at least as stringent as the federal program, grants the state authority to implement its own program in lieu of the federal program. These states are known as authorized states. Maine is an authorized state, and administers the Corrective Action and Closure programs.
The primary purpose of the Corrective Action Program is to clean up releases of hazardous wastes that threaten human health or the environment. Corrective actions can be the result of spills or discharges discovered as part of a Facility’s operation, investigations by or for the DEP, or enforcement actions. They can be voluntary or as part of a license or Administrative Order.
There are 5 phases to Corrective Action:
- Facility Assessment
- Facility Investigation
- Corrective measures Study
- Corrective Measures Implementation
- Corrective Actions Completed
Any Small Quantity or Large Quantity Generators, abbreviated, interim, or TSD licensed Facilities who plan to cease operation of hazardous waste, move to or vacate a property, or has a change of installation ownership must notify the Department at least 45 days prior to closure. Facilities that generate less than 220 pounds of hazardous waste per month and accumulate less than 440 pounds of hazardous waste at any time, do not require a hazardous waste license, are not a central accumulation facility, or are not hazardous waste consolidators are exempt from RCRA closures. At the point in time that the facility ceases operation and will no longer be generating hazardous wastes, moves, or has a change in Facility ownership, the site must undergo certified closure in accordance with the Maine Hazardous Waste Rules, and submit a closure report and certification to the Department within 90 days. Below are outlines of acceptable documents:
- Hazardous Waste Generator Closure Report and Certification
- Hazardous Waste License Closure certification
Pamela Davis Green