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On Monday December 9, 2019 EPA published the final rule in the Federal Register adding Aerosol Cans to the Universal Waste Regulations. The rule becomes effective on February 7, 2020 at the federal level and in Kentucky since we adopted the Universal Waste Regulations without an effective date of the regulation. The rule will affect facilities that currently generate, transport, treat, recycle or dispose of hazardous waste aerosol cans. Back in March 2018 EPA published the proposed rule which received several comments from the regulated community. EPA has addressed those concerns in the final rule.  I am providing information on the small quantity handler here.

What do you need to know as a generator?

EPA has defined Aerosol Can – “a non-refillable receptacle containing a gas compressed, liquefied, or dissolved under pressure, the sole purpose of which is to expel a liquid, paste, or powder and fitted with a self-closing release device allowing the contents to be ejected by the gas.

Aerosol cans as defined in § 273.9 that contain pesticides may be managed as aerosol can universal waste under § 273.13(e) or § 273.33(e).

Universal waste aerosol cans (i.e., each aerosol can), or the container in which the aerosol cans are contained, must be labeled with any of the following phrases: ‘‘Universal Waste—Aerosol Can(s),’’ ‘‘Waste Aerosol Can(s),’’ or ‘‘Used Aerosol Can(s)’’.

A small quantity handler of universal waste must manage waste aerosol cans in a way that prevents releases of any waste or component of a waste:
(1) Universal waste aerosol cans must be accumulated in a container that is structurally sound, compatible with the contents of the aerosol cans, lacks evidence of leakage, spillage, or damage
that could cause leakage, and is protected from sources of heat.
(2) Universal waste aerosol cans that show evidence of leakage must be packaged in a separate closed container or overpacked with absorbents, or immediately punctured and drained.
(3) As each individual aerosol can is not breached and remains intact,  a small quantity handler of universal waste may sort aerosol cans by type, mix intact cans in one container, and remove actuators to reduce the risk of accidental release.

If your facility punctures aerosol cans you have the following requirements.

A small quantity handler who punctures and drains their aerosol cans must recycle the empty punctured aerosol cans and meet the following requirements while puncturing and draining:
(i) Conduct puncturing and draining activities using a device specifically designed to safely puncture aerosol cans and effectively contain the residual contents and any emissions.
(ii) Establish and follow a written procedure detailing how to safely puncture and drain the can; maintain a copy of the manufacturer’s specification and instruction on site; and ensure
employees operating the device are trained in the proper procedures.
(iii) Ensure that puncturing of the can is done in a manner designed to prevent fires and to prevent the release of any component of waste to the environment.
(iv) Immediately transfer the contents from the waste aerosol can or puncturing device, if applicable, to a container or tank that meets the applicable requirements of 40 CFR
262.14, 262.15, 262.16, or 262.17.
(v) Conduct a hazardous waste determination on the contents of the emptied aerosol can per 40 CFR 262.11. Any hazardous waste generated as a
result of puncturing and draining the aerosol can is subject to all applicable requirements of 40 CFR parts 260 through 272.
(vii) A written procedure must be in place in the event of a spill or leak and a spill clean-up kit must be provided.

Karen Thompson is a CHMM and Professional Geologist with Smith Management Group.  She can be reached at karent@smithmanage.com.

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A permitted manufacturing facility in Kentucky had stopped using equipment and wanted to make operational changes which were not reflected on their air permit. Large old boilers which had not been used for several years were still active on the site’s air permit. Additionally, the facility wanted to increase operating hours for certain affected facilities.
The old boilers were the reason that the site had federally enforceable limits for sulfur dioxide in their permit and were subject to the National Emission Standard for Hazardous Air Pollutants for Industrial, Commercial, and Institutional Boilers Area Sources. This status resulted in additional requirements, higher monitoring and reporting costs, and higher fees to the regulatory agency. Changes to operations required a reevaluation of the site’s potential emissions.


Smith Management Group evaluated the permit requirements and operational data. SMG calculated the potential to emit without the large boilers and with the expanded hours. SMG’s assisted the facility in updating the correspondence and permit with the regulatory authority to change the facility status to minor source.


SMG helped the source update their air permit to represent current site conditions and allow for expanded operations. The source fully decommissioned the large oil boilers in place, successfully transitioned from a permit with federal limits (FEDOOP/FESOP) to a minor source permit and updated their potential-to-emit calculations to represent new operating parameters. These changes saved the facility money in monitoring, reporting, and fees and also allowed for expanded operations in compliance with air regulations.