Maryland Department of the Environment’s Revises Its Hazardous Waste Regulations
Written September 9, 2021
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In July of 2021, the Maryland Department of the Environment’s (MDE) revised hazardous waste regulations became effective. The revisions to the regulations were designed to align their regulations with EPA’s Hazardous Waste Generator Improvements Rule. In the revisions to the regulations, the MDE decided to maintain only two categories of hazardous waste generators, which is more stringent than EPA’s three categories.
The two categories of generators in Maryland are “Maryland-defined small quantity generators” or a “fully regulated generator”. For printing operations, the key criteria for a Maryland defined small quantity generator is a facility that generates less than 100 kilograms (220 pounds) and does not accumulate at any time more than 100 kilograms (220 pounds) of hazardous waste per month. Many printing operations would be “fully regulated”.
The revised regulations also make some relaxed provisions of the federal regulations that apply to federally defined small quantity generators available to Maryland generators who would qualify as a small quantity generator under federal regulations.
The changes to the regulations fall into three primary categories:
Changes intended to improve the understandability of the regulations
- Reorganizing the regulations so that they appear in a more logical order
- Stating requirements directly rather than relying on references to other sections of the regulations
- More clearly defining Maryland’s hazardous waste generator categories
- Explaining the relationship between Maryland’s generator categories and the generator categories under the federal regulations,
- Explaining when a Maryland generator’s federal generator category matters for compliance purposes
Changes to adopt new, more stringent requirements adopted at the federal level
- Periodic renotification requirement for generators due by September 1, 2021
- Additional labeling/marking requirements to better indicate the hazards of wastes being managed
- Record keeping requirements for hazardous waste determinations
- Notification of closure by generators
Changes allowing greater flexibility
- “Episodic” generation provisions, allowing Maryland-defined small quantity generators to maintain that generator status under certain conditions despite a temporary increase in waste generation
- Relaxation of a 50-foot setback requirement for ignitable wastes for generators who would not be categorized as a large quantity generator under federal regulations
- Allowance for additional time for waste to be kept in a “satellite accumulation area” at or near the point of generation of the waste
- Subject to certain requirements, allowing consolidation of waste from off-site generators without having to obtain a hazardous waste facility permit if the off-site generators are Maryland-defined small quantity generators under the control of the person operating the consolidation point
The MDE has developed a guidance document that provides more detailed explanation of the revisions.