Is Your Facility Complying With EPA's Parts 270 and 264?

Posted by Don Jackson on 1/11/2016

How NOT to store Hazardous Waste - A field of
3,000 neglected and abandoned waste drums in
East Baton Rouge, Louisiana, circa 1973.

If your facility is generating more than 1000 Kg of hazardous waste or more than 1 Kg of acutely hazardous waste, even if only in one month, you must have a written contingency plan as described in 40 CFR Parts 270 and 264. These are federal requirements. Your state division of environmental protection may be even stricter.

As you probably know, EPA established three hazardous waste generating statuses: large, small, and conditionally exempt. Small quantity and conditionally exempt generators are not required to have detailed, written contingency plans.

Although small quantity generators are exempt, they must minimize potential risks from fires, explosions or other accidents. Therefore, their facility must be equipped with:

  • Internal communications or alarm systems capable of providing emergency information to all personnel.
  • With a device, such as a telephone or hand-held radio capable of summoning emergency assistance from local police, fire departments or emergency response teams.
  • Portable fire extinguishers, fire control devices, spill control materials, and decontamination supplies.
  • Water at adequate pressure and volume to supply water hose streams, foam producing equipment, automatic sprinklers, or water spray systems.
Again, while small quantity and conditionally exempt generators are exempt from having a written contingency plan, it is highly recommended that they do and remembering that all contingency plans should be coordinated with local police, fire departments  and local hospitals.

What topics does your contingency plan need to cover?

First, there must at least be one primary emergency coordinator available at all times. All employees must be informed that the primary emergency coordinator should be contacted first in the event of an emergency. If he/she is not available, an alternate emergency coordinator should be called in the order listed.

Once the emergency coordinator has been assigned, the following topics must be covered in the contingency plan. Applicable paragraphs to EPA Title 40 Code of Federal Regulations have been noted.

  1. Prepare a list of emergency phone numbers of organizations (police, fire, hospitals, State and local emergency response teams, etc.) that may be contacted by the emergency coordinator in the event of an emergency pursuant to§264.37.

  2. The telephone list must include a list of all emergency equipment at the facility (such as fire extinguishing systems, spill control equipment, communications and alarm systems (internal and external), and decontamination equipment), where this equipment is required. The list must be kept up to date.

  3. Post a copy of the emergency phone numbers and emergency equipment list at each telephone location throughout the facility.

  4. Focusing on the written plan itself, it must include:

    1. A cover which identifies the name of the facility and its address.
    2. A site map showing the location of the facility and neighboring buildings, schools, etc.
    3. An evacuation plan for facility personnel where there is a possibility that evacuation could be necessary. This plan must describe signal(s) to be used to begin evacuation, evacuation routes, and alternate evacuation routes (in cases where the primary routes could be blocked by releases of hazardous waste or fires.) 270.14(b)(7); 264.56
    4. A list of hazardous waste on-hand at the facility which will need to be identified in the event of a fire/explosion and/or spill, (If needed, the emergency coordinator will also refer to facility records and employee reports.) Once the material is identified, control measures must be implemented. 270.14(b)(7); 264.52(a); 264.56(d)
    5. A description of the method for immediate notification of facility personnel and necessary state and local agencies. 270.14(b)(7); 264.56(a)
    6. A means of identifying hazardous materials, i.e., observation, records or manifest, or chemical analysis. 270.14(b)(7); 264.56(b)
    7. Control measures or actions facility personnel must take in response to fires, explosions, or any unplanned release of hazardous waste to air, soil, or surface water. 270.14(b)(7); 264.52(a)
    8. Measures which include stopping processes and operations, collecting and containing release of waste, and removing or isolating containers. 270.14(b)(7); 264.56(c),(d)
    9. Post emergency operations in which the emergency coordinator provides for treating, storing, and disposing of recovered waste. 270.14(b)(7); 264.56(h)(1)
    10. Waiting until cleanup is complete and ensuring that incompatible waste is not stored together. 270.14(b)(7); 264.56(h)(1)
    11. Performing decontamination of personnel and emergency equipment and supplies. 270.14(b)(7); 264.56(h)(2)  - See additional details below.
    12. Notification of Federal, State and Local Authorities before Resuming Operations within 15 days of occurrence. 270.14(b)(7); 264.56(i)
Immediately after an emergency event requiring the implementation of the contingency plan, all emergency equipment utilized must be inspected for proper function, completeness and condition.  The equipment must be evaluated for hazardous characteristics, decontaminated, or properly disposed of in containers.  Decontamination procedures include a pressurized water rinse, scrubbing equipment with brushes and water-compatible solvent cleaning solutions or steam cleaning.  If the equipment remains contaminated, additional decontamination efforts must be completed. 

Rinseates from equipment decontamination must be collected in containers.  The rinseates which contacted hazardous waste and resulting residue must be managed as hazardous waste unless laboratory results indicate otherwise. 

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