March 2020

USEPA Addresses COVID-19

  • On Thursday 3/26/20 the USEPA announced a policy for Enforcement Discretion during the current pandemic. The complete notice is attached.
  • The policy is temporary and applies to potential civil violations during these turbulent times.
  • USEPA is stating that they expect all regulated parties to continue to make every effort possible to remain in total compliance but understands that some special circumstances may develop and as a result they will offer relief from some normal enforcement actions.
  • Note that is incumbent on the regulated party to document any decisions and activities that are undertaken with respect to how the non-compliance was caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The expectation of the agency is that these will be rare occurrences and there will be a return to compliance as soon as the party is able.
  • Of particular interest to WTS and our stakeholders is language regarding Hazardous Waste generators and potential issues around on-site accumulation, off-site shipments and generator status. Please review the following:
    • ”If a facility is a generator of hazardous waste and, due to disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, is unable to transfer the waste off-site within the time periods required under RCRA to maintain its generator status, the facility should continue to properly label and store such waste and take the steps identified under Part I.A, above. If these steps are met, as an exercise of enforcement discretion, the EPA will treat such entities to be hazardous waste generators, and not treatment, storage and disposal facilities. In addition, as an exercise of enforcement discretion, the EPA will treat Very Small Quantity Generators and Small Quantity Generators as retaining that status, even if the amount of hazardous waste stored on site exceeds a regulatory volume threshold due to the generator’s inability to arrange for shipping of hazardous waste off of the generator’s site due to the COVID-19 pandemic.”
  • Generators should also continue to monitor any correspondence from their respective state agencies on this issue.
  • WTS will continue to monitor this and any other relevant developments and will advise our stakeholders accordingly.
  • You should also know that WTS is constantly monitoring the supply chain and will be diligent in reporting any disruptions post-haste. To date we have not experienced any significant disruptions.