MEDEP To Allow Weekly Hazardous Waste Inspection, Align Hazardous Matter Reporting Rules

In a set of proposals just released, the Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is set to reform its hazardous waste and hazardous matter rules for the first time in years.  Perhaps more significantly, the rules would be revised to accord with federal regulations to simplify reporting and hazardous waste compliance.

Hazardous waste containers are now required to be inspected daily during regular business days under Maine regulations, but many have questioned if such frequent inspection is necessary.  Because containers must be in good condition and closed, and can only be held on site for 90 days or less by most facilities (or are at the point of waste generation and under the control of the operator), federal rules and those of most states only require a weekly inspection.  The DEP is now proposing to recognize that weekly inspection is adequate.    

Separately, Maine law requires reporting of “Hazardous Matter” discharges, but the list identifying hazardous matter is taken from the 1970s, and is woefully out of date.  Because the federal list of federal reportable hazardous substances is current and is already familiar to those who handle and report hazardous matter, DEP proposes to adopt that list, which is more widely available and will simplify reporting to both federal and state officials. 

A public hearing will be held in mid-June, with written comments due to DEP by June 28, 2013.

If you believe these reforms are improvements, it will be important to support them by providing positive comments to the DEP.  We expect to be working with clients to draft favorable and succinct comments, and to point out some corrections that should be added.  We would be pleased to assist you.

If you have questions, or if you want a copy of the proposals, please contact Ken Gray (207-791-1212 or @KennethFGray), Dixon Pike (or 207-791-1374), or John Formella (603-373-2010 or @JohnFormella).

For more frequent updates, follow the Pierce Atwood Environmental Practice Group on Twitter @PierceAtwoodEnv.