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MassDEP Hazardous Waste Management Guidance During the COVID-19 Pandemic

The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) recently amended its April 8, 2020 Hazardous Waste Management Guidance During the State of Emergency for the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Effective August 26, 2020, MassDEP is implementing the following amended guidance resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic for the items noted below related to hazardous waste management. Learn what you need to do in order to comply with the new regulation:

  • Compliance with hazardous waste container and tank inspection requirements for Small Quantity Generator (SQG) and Large Quantity Generator (LQG) facilities (described at 310 CMR 30.686 and 30.696, respectively) if the facility is closed during the State of Emergency- A facility that is normally subject to container and tank inspection requirements but is closed during the State of Emergency, should make every reasonable effort to do applicable daily/weekly inspections. If employers have concerns about having their employees onsite to do the inspections, then they should contact the DEP at 617-292-5898. In these situations, the DEP will be open to the waste being shipped off-site as soon as possible.

By November 1, 2020, regulated entities must fully comply with the inspection requirements for waste containers and tanks for SQGs and LQGs.

  • Agreement to authorize the shipments of hazardous waste via the electronic signing of a hazardous waste manifest in order to maintain social distancing- A generator may enter into an agreement, by electronic mail or otherwise, with a waste transporter in which the transporter may sign on behalf of the generator. The generator should, if possible, be present when the waste is shipped off-site. The generator must maintain a copy of the agreement and make it available to the DEP upon request. Generators should continue to comply with EPA’s hazardous waste manifest instructions and follow the August 20, 2020 enforcement instructions pertaining to hazardous waste transporters signing as an agent of the generator on hazardous waste manifests.
  • Compliance with SQG and LQG accumulation time limits during the State of Emergency- If a facility is a generator of hazardous waste and, due to disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, is unable to transfer the waste off-site within the required time to maintain its generator status, the facility should continue to properly label and store all waste and notify the DEP via email ([email protected]). If these steps are met, the DEP will treat such entities to be hazardous waste generators, and not treatment, storage, and disposal facilities. In addition, the DEP will treat VSQGs and SQGs as retaining that status, even if the amount of hazardous waste stored on-site exceeds a regulatory volume threshold due to the generator’s inability to arrange for shipping of hazardous waste off of the generator’s site due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

By November 1, 2020, regulated entities must fully comply with the accumulation time limits for SQGs (180 days) and for LQGs (90 days).

All other hazardous waste requirements in the MassDEP Hazardous Waste Regulations at 310 CMR 30.000 not noted above, are in effect and must be complied with.

For more information on compliance with the hazardous waste regulations during the COVID-19 pandemic, please email [email protected].

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