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What is the Operating Record Referred to in the RCRA Regulations of the USEPA?

What is the Operating Record Referred to in the RCRA Regulations of the USEPA?

The operating record is a term referred to in the RCRA regulations in several places applicable to generators of hazardous waste.  For example, at 40 CFR 265.37(b) – applicable to Small Quantity Generators, Large Quantity Generators, and Treatment Storage and Disposal Facilities – we read,

Where State or local authorities decline to enter into such arrangements, the owner or operator must document the refusal in the operating record.

And, 40 CFR 265.56(i) – applicable to Large Quantity Generators and Treatment Storage and Disposal Facilities – reads in part,

The owner or operator must note in the operating record the time, date, and details of any incident that requires implementing the contingency plan. Within 15 days after the incident, he must submit a written report on the incident to the Regional Administrator.

In both of the above citations, the use of the term “operating record” may be confusing to an SQG or LQG, but should not be to a hazardous waste TSDF.  Why is that?  Because nowhere in the regulations applicable to an SQG or LQG will you find an explanation of what the USEPA means by the term operating record.  But in the regulations applicable to a TSDF at §264.73 (if permitted) or §265.73 (if interim status) one may read a detailed explanation of what the USEPA requires in an operating record.

Unfortunately, most of the information required to be maintained in an operating record applies solely to a TSDF (eg. methods of treatment, storage, and disposal at the facility, post-closure cost estimates, etc.) and means little to a facility that generates and manages its own hazardous waste, therefore I won’t list them here.  Suffice to say that the operating record must be a written document (paper or electronic format) that is a compilation of various files, forms, data, databases, records, and reports.  In short: All the information necessary for a TSDF to verify its compliance with USEPA regulations.  Unless indicated otherwise, it must be kept at the facility until its closure.

For an LQG or SQG, the operating record isn’t anything more than a collection of the records maintained at its facility to demonstrate compliance.  If necessary, an SQG or LQG may need to add to it the documentation required by §265.37(b) and §265.56(i).

Operating record is a term of which most generators of hazardous waste must be aware.  But, an explanation can’t be found without digging into a part of the regulations that most generators of hazardous waste never need to go.  Another regulation found at 40 CFR 265.16 applies to LQGs as well as TSDFs.  It is a requirement to train all facility personnel annually on the applicable RCRA regulations and emergency response procedures.  Contact me to provide this training.