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What Specific Areas Must a Hazardous Waste Permit Address?

Hazardous waste permits provide treatment, storage, and disposal facilities (TSDFs) with the legal authority to treat, store, or dispose of hazardous waste and detail how the facility must comply with the regulations in Title 40 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) parts 260 through 270 and applicable state requirements. Compliance with the permit ensures that hazardous waste is handled in a controlled manner that is protective of human health and the environment.

Owners and operators must provide specific information in their application for a permit including basic information about the facility, such as the name of the facility owner and operator, the facility location, the hazardous waste management processes, the design capacity of these processes and the hazardous waste that will actually be handled at the facility. Additionally, applicants must provide site-specific details associated with the waste management activities that will be conducted at the facility, including geologic, hydrologic and engineering data.

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Air Emissions

Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) regulations require TSDFs to control the emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from process vents in certain hazardous waste treatment processes; hazardous waste management equipment (e.g., valves, pumps, compressors); and containers, tanks, and surface impoundments. See also: RCRA Organic Air Emission Standards for TSDFs and Generators.

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EPA established closure requirements for hazardous waste management units to ensure that once TSDFs cease operations and stop managing hazardous waste, they will not pose a future threat to human health and the environment. There are general closure and post-closure care requirements applicable to all hazardous waste management units, as well as unit specific requirements for each type of unit (e.g., landfill, tank, surface impoundment). See Closure and Post-Closure Care Requirements for Hazardous Waste Treatment, Storage, and Disposal Facilities.

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Hazardous Waste Cleanup known as Corrective Action

Corrective action is a requirement under RCRA that TSDFs investigate and clean up hazardous releases into soil, ground water, surface water and air. RCRA permits issued to TSDFs must include provisions for corrective action as well as financial assurance to cover the costs of implementing those cleanup measures.

EPA amended the regulations governing closure of land-based units that have released hazardous constituents to allow certain units to be addressed through the Corrective Action program.

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Financial Assurance

RCRA requires all TSDFs to demonstrate that they will have the financial resources to properly close a facility or unit when its operational life is over, or provide the appropriate emergency response in case of an accidental release. The financial assurance requirements establish several mechanisms for TSDF owners to demonstrate these resources will be available when needed. See Financial Assurance Requirements for Hazardous Waste Treatment, Storage, and Disposal Facilities.

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Ground Water Monitoring

RCRA requires TSDFs to monitor the ground water beneath their facilities to ensure they are not contaminating this valuable resource. The regulations require the installation of groundwater monitoring wells and the establishment of a groundwater sampling regimen. See Ground Water Monitoring Requirements for Hazardous Waste Treatment, Storage, and Disposal Facilities.

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Land Disposal Restrictions

EPA established the land disposal restrictions (LDR) program to further protect groundwater from hazardous waste contamination. The LDR standards require all hazardous waste to be treated prior to being land disposed.

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