The regulations of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act applicable to generators of hazardous waste, codified at 40 CFR 262-268 mandate the creation of a variety of reports, inspection logs, notifications, certifications, manifest, records, etc. In order to demonstrate compliance with these regulations a generator of hazardous waste must maintain a copy of the applicable document as a record. These records must be provided to an agent of the US EPA or their designee upon request. You can read more about your responsibility to make these records available to an inspector here: Making RCRA Records Available for Federal and State Inspectors.
The purpose of this article is to look closely at a single recordkeeping requirement of the US EPA for a generator of hazardous waste. Since these are the Federal regulations, you will need to check with your State environmental agency in order to confirm compliance.
This article: Land Disposal Restriction (LDR or LandBan) paperwork
The Land Disposal Restriction regulations found at 40 CFR 268 apply to both Large Quantity Generators and Small Quantity Generators of hazardous waste ; Conditionally Exempt Small Quantity Generators are exempt from compliance with Part 268 at 40 CFR 261.5(b). A complete understanding of the LDR regulations is beyond the scope of this article, but a brief summary of the requirements of 40 CFR 268 for an LQG or SQG are:
- Determine if Land Disposal Restrictions apply to your hazardous waste.
- Determine if your hazardous waste requires treatment to meet the LDR established for that waste, or if it already meets the treatment standard. This determination must be made based on the condition of the hazardous waste at its point of generation.
- Provide either a certification (the hazardous waste meets the LDR) or a notification (the hazardous waste does not meet the LDR) to the TSDF. This is a one-time responsibility for each hazardous waste. It is not required to be updated unless the nature of the hazardous waste changes.
- The generator must maintain a signed copy of the Notification or Certification.
Since the point of this article is the requirement to maintain records of RCRA compliance documents, we will look more closely at the last bullet-point of the above list. Pursuant to 40 CFR 268.7(a)(8), copies of the LDR paperwork (the notification or certification, and any support documents) must be retained on-site (that means at the geographic location identified as the generator of the hazardous waste, not a central office or database) for at least three years from the date the waste was last sent to treatment, storage, or disposal (either on-site or off-site). USEPA allows the use of electronic copies of LDR paperwork to comply with this requirement. Therefore, a scanned copy of an original document with a handwritten signature is acceptable to fulfill this recordkeeping responsibility (62 FR 26004).
An interesting note is that prior to August 11, 1997 the retention requirement for LDR paperwork was five years and not three. This raises a question: If you have been continuously generating a hazardous waste from prior to 8.11.97 to present, and you then cease generating the waste and send your last shipment off-site for disposal on April 1, 2013; how long must you retain records of the LDR paperwork? Three years per the existing regulations? or five years since those were the regulations in affect at the time the LDR notification was submitted? Answer: Three years. USEPA intended for the new recordkeeping requirement for LDR paperwork to apply retroactively. All records of LDR paperwork need only be retained for three years from the last date of treatment, storage, or disposal (RO 14429).