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EPA Proposing Regulation of Aerosol Cans as Universal Waste
WRITTEN BYKaren Thompson, P.G.
EPA is seeking comments to the proposed rule regulating aerosol cans as universal waste. The comment period ends May 15, 2018, and Kentucky has provided a 30-day notice that it will incorporate the regulation as finalized by EPA.
If your company currently punctures and recycles the cans, you should read the proposed rule in the Federal Register. Under the proposed rule, aerosol cans could be punctured if the following conditions are met:
- Punctured aerosol cans are recycled.
- Puncturing is conducted using a device specifically designed to safely puncture aerosol cans and contain residual contents and air emissions.
- A written procedure is established detailing safe puncturing measures, including a copy of the puncturing device manufacturer instructions, and spill/release response.
- Employees operating the puncturing device are trained in the proper procedures.
- Puncturing is performed in a manner designed to prevent fires and releases into the environment, including locating the equipment on a solid, flat surface in a well-ventilated area.
- Contents from the punctured aerosol can are transferred to a container or tank meeting RCRA standards for the applicable generator category.
- A hazardous waste determination is conducted for the emptied aerosol can contents.
- A spill kit is provided.
As a universal waste, the cans could be managed in a way that prevents a release into the environment, with accumulation of the aerosol cans in a container that is structurally sound and compatible with the contents of the aerosol cans. There is no specific closed-container requirements. The rule would allow for sorting of aerosol cans by type, consolidating intact cans in larger containers, and removing nozzles to reduce risk of accidental release. As with other universal wastes, you would be able to accumulate the aerosol cans for up to a year.
Karen Thompson is a CHMM and Professional Geologist with Smith Management Group. She can be reached at email@example.com.
New Facility Permitting
A large alcoholic beverage company was planning to construct a distillery along a lake in Kentucky and use the fresh limestone water for bourbon production. The proposed site was a former farm with historic activities dating back to the 1880s. A water intake structure was required in the lake and along the adjacent shoreline which was owned by others. Several ephemeral and intermittent streams would be impacted by the construction. The client needed a US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Clean Water Act (CWA) Section 404 Permit, a Kentucky Division of Water 401 Water Quality Certification, a water withdrawal permit, a permit for construction in and along a stream, and a construction stormwater permit. Additionally, an air permit was required prior to construction for the aging warehouses, distillery equipment, and other emission units. Evaluation for cultural and historic resources and endangered species evaluations were required under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and Endangered Species Act (ESA).
As the construction proceeded and operations began, a number of operating permits and environmental and hazardous materials compliance plans were required. The project required coordination with the nearby city for drinking water use and industrial wastewater pretreatment and discharge. Recordkeeping and reporting were needed prior to facility personnel being mobilized to the site. Set up and management of environmental systems during the transition to full operations was needed.
During the planning and initial construction phases, SMG managed the environmental permitting and environmental compliance for the site. The process involved application preparation and coordination with multiple regulatory agencies including the USACE, Kentucky Division of Water, Kentucky Division of Air Quality, US Fish and Wildlife Services, Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources, Kentucky Heritage Council, and local agencies. Permits included stream mitigation, cultural and historic resources investigation, coordination with state and federal Fish and Wildlife agencies, and State 401 water quality certification, and the Section 404 permit, which required wetland and stream delineation. SMG coordinated with the client’s project team to minimize stream impacts and to adhere to the schedule by expediting the permit processing. State stream construction, water withdrawal, and air permits were also obtained. SMG provided onsite observation to assess contractor compliance with the stormwater permit and managed environmental permit reporting.
During the later construction phase, SMG managed the environmental permitting and compliance for the new distillery. The initial environmental and hazardous material compliance plans (GPP, HMPC, and SWPPP) were prepared and applications for operating permits, such as industrial wastewater pretreatment and discharge and industrial stormwater discharge, were readied and submitted. SMG provided training to the initial employees regarding hazardous material management and groundwater/stormwater protection. SMG worked with the new Risk Manager for the site to transition responsibility for environmental and hazardous material compliance.
SMG’s management of the environmental planning and permitting for the facility, successfully supported the construction schedule and managed environmental compliance for the initial site operations. SMG continued to work with the owner to obtain remaining operational permits and to transition environmental compliance responsibilities to the new facility staff to support startup and initial operations. The facility was completed on schedule and provides a significant economic benefit to the surrounding community.