In the July 7, 2020 Federal Register, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized its updates to its regulations regarding the identification of ignitable hazardous waste and modernizing test methods that currently require the use of mercury thermometers. The finalized rule departs significantly from the proposed rule. EPA adopted revisions to the definition of aqueous but did not adopt revisions to the aqueous alcohol exclusion. EPA also did not adopt its proposal to codify existing guidance on sampling multiple phase wastes. The final rule becomes effective on September 8, 2020.
EPA finalized its revision to the definition of “aqueous” to mean “at least 50 percent water by weight.” This definition is only applicable to the use of “aqueous” within 40 CFR § 261.21. It does not affect other RCRA usage of “aqueous.”
The rule also changes the criteria for ignitable compressed gases and oxidizers to better align with the Department of Transportation’s Hazardous Materials Regulations.
EPA is incorporating by reference SW-846 Method 1010B, SW-846 Method 1020C, ASTM D8174-18, ASTM D8175-18, and ASTM E681-85 and SW-846 Test Methods 0010, 0011, 0020, 0023A, and 0051.
Although EPA did not formally codify its guidance in multiple phase waste, it reiterated and clarified in the preamble its existing guidance for hazardous waste determinations of ignitable liquids with multiple phases. A generator should consider the individual liquid phases of a multiple phase waste and non-liquid phases of a multiple phase waste when those liquid or solid phases are representative samples of the waste as a whole. When determining whether a waste contains multiple phases, generators should consider the waste’s physical properties during its likely management. A generator should consider the Paint Filter Liquids Test to be the minimum requirement for determining whether a solid phase waste contains a liquid phase.
EPA considers the revisions to the test methods to be neither more nor less stringent than existing test methods. Because of this, authorized states may, but are not required to, adopt these changes.
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