The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA)

The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) is a public law that creates the framework for the proper management of hazardous and non-hazardous solid waste. Acts like RCRA and the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability (CERCLA) act provide federal aid to clean up hazardous waste sites if the responsible party is not identified or no longer has resources.

Sometimes, companies need to deal with hazardous waste products, hazardous chemicals, and other potentially dangerous matter. Unfortunately, companies don’t always do this correctly. Any company, no matter how cautious, could have a spill of hazardous waste. CERCLA and the RCRA hazardous waste act are meant to ensure that this doesn’t affect people and the environment seriously.

In the past, decades ago, companies that had a hazardous waste spill were on their own to clean them up. This often led to companies either not reporting their spills or not being able to clean them up in a timely fashion. Even if they wanted to, they might not have the resources. Some companies didn’t understand the depth of what had happened and how important it was to clean up hazardous spills, as it was not yet completely understood what happened to chemicals when they were introduced into the ecosystem.

The CERCLA act, sometimes known as Superfund, created government funding for the clean up of these types of spills so that companies alone weren’t responsible. The EPA was given the power to investigate and hold responsible parties liable to cooperate in the clean-up. If the EPA can’t identify the responsible party or they fail to act, the EPA will begin to clean-up. Through the CERCLA act, government entities had to be aware of chemical spills and other hazardous materials and were then able to help the companies (and the surrounding environment).

Without CERCLA and RCRA, it wouldn’t be possible to enforce cleanups of hazardous waste or environmental damage, because the companies themselves would still be governing their cleanup. So, while the Superfund sites provide money to companies, what they’re doing is protecting the environment and the citizens in the surrounding area. The follow-up Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) act also ensures that companies are responsible for reporting the chemicals they store to local firefighters, state boards, and the federal government. Through EPCRA, the government remains aware of toxic chemical use and inventory, and consequently able to react swiftly if an issue does occur.

CERCLA and RCRA do require extensive reporting from companies, and companies need to be aware not only of the chemicals they use but also the reporting requirements for those chemicals.

  • CERCLA and RCRA are acts that ensure that chemicals, hazardous materials, and non-hazardous materials are cleaned up if they are released by companies.
  • Before CERCLA, RCRA, and EPCRA, it was more difficult to manage these chemicals because each company was responsible for the storage, transportation, and disposal of its waste and chemicals.
  • The ultimate goal of these acts are to ensure that citizens and the environment are kept safe.
  • These acts do require extensive reporting by the company and their EHS professionals to ensure that everyone is prepared in the event of a release.‍

RCRA Training

Personnel who generate, handle, store, treat, or dispose of hazardous waste are required to undergo RCRA training. There are special training requirements, goals, and seminars that professionals must attend.

RCRA is more than just reporting standards. RCRA focuses on responsible waste management. RCRA training requirements are continuous and robust. Employees who handle hazardous RCRA metals or materials need to be RCRA trained. Training programs like McCoy and Lion provide industry leading resources.

RCRA cradle-to-grave explores the idea of responsibility for the materials from the very beginning (when it is first acquired) to when it is being disposed of (which has to be done properly). RCRA training for hazardous waste generators ensures that chemicals are being properly cared for from cradle-to-grave, throughout the process of using it. When it comes to RCRA vs CERCLA, CERCLA is more concerned with providing funds for clean up of non-operating sites contaminated with hazardous substances.

RCRA goals include proper disposal of non-hazardous and hazardous waste and RCRA training seminars ensure that everyone is more adequately equipped to manage these types of materials and chemicals. Through this training, employees are better able to prevent a potentially hazardous spill or non-hazardous and hazardous waste buildup. That being said, CERCLA and EPCRA also do concern themselves with prevention, but RCRA concerns itself with prevention more than these acts.

Hazardous waste generators need to be aware of the RCRA and ensure that all employees go through adequate training, both when onboarded and periodically throughout their employment. Seminars can help, as can classes. EHS software can help organizations track their RCRA training and refresh it as needed, which also creates a paper audit trail that indicates that the organization was following the requirements as it should have.

There are always potential events when it comes to hazardous and non-hazardous waste, and there are only ways to reduce risk not eliminate it. But by following RCRA, organizations can at the minimum show that they were doing what they were required to do, and at best they can potentially avoid a hazardous spill or contamination altogether.

  • RCRA training is required for those who are handling hazardous and non-hazardous waste.
  • Cradle-to-grave training governs the materials from when they are first sourced to when they are put away.
  • With proper RCRA training, there will ideally be fewer environmentally dangerous events.

RCRA Training PPT

RCRA training is very complex, from potentially harmless chemicals to RCRA drugs. RCRA training can be done through RCRA training Powerpoint (PPT) presentations and in state-specific training such as Texas and California, to learn the ins and outs of the act.

How do people start learning about RCRA and RCRA drugs? Who is affected under RCRA? RCRA state-specific training in California and Texas, and RCRA training near me, can start with something as simple as PPT presentations.

This is because RCRA training in Texas and RCRA training for year 2019 are important but not necessarily complex. What’s important is to understand the basic need for RCRA and the standards which can sometimes change year to year. A PPT can go over the changes that have been made from year to year, reporting standards, and best practices. Seminars can end with question and answer sessions. Because RCRA can be complex, the training should be done comprehensively and should be completed regularly.

RCRA training is essential for organizations that are operating with hazardous and non-hazardous waste materials because it can reduce the impact an organization will have on the environment, and reduce the chances that harmful contamination could potentially occur.

RCRA training can be completed through online certification courses, which makes it easier for EHS professionals to manage their employee certifications, and makes it easier for employees to obtain their certifications. It also makes the process far simpler for companies that are interested in maintaining their compliance. But EHS Professionals still need to track who needs to go through the certification process whether they have, and an EHS platform can help.

Companies may want to send their employees to training before they undergo the certification process, which will ensure that they acquire their certifications in a timely fashion. More hazardous waste training is always better. Many disasters occur because employees are new, have forgotten their protocols, or didn’t understand best practices. All-in-all, most companies have excellent processes for dealing with waste management, but the problem is that these processes cannot be deviated from. Once people start to deviate from these processes due to poor training, this is when issues occur.

  • RCRA training is not overly complex and can be started through the use of PPT presentations on a federal level or state specific training for states like California and Texas.
  • Online certification processes are available for those who want to complete their RCRA training.
  • EHS Professionals can use platforms to track whether their employees have gone through the right training.
  • Companies need to remain on top of their certifications to prevent potential environmental issues.

Subtitle D Landfill

As mentioned, RCRA is from cradle to grave. That means that eventually, things need to be disposed of. Landfills are covered in subtitle D of RCRA, which focuses on the planning, regulating, and implementing entities for non-hazardous solid waste, like household garbage and industrial solid waste.

There are areas in which CERCLA, RCRA, and other acts overlap, and one of them is related to the Solid Waste Disposal Act of 1965. Waste disposal has continuously been an issue for companies especially those in industrial sectors. Take a look at when was RCRA enacted, in 1976, and you can see that likely issues were leading up to it. CERCLA was enacted during a similar time. Both dealt with whether waste disposal was being handled correctly. RCRA governs how they are to be handled from cradle to grave. CERCLA handles how hazardous spills can be contained and how to clean up occurs.

A resource conservation and recovery act PDF will give relevant dates and times, but these acts were all responses to environmental hazards caused by creating unsafe dump sites. Before these acts, it wasn’t always completely understood how waste could intrude into the environment, and how chemicals could leech into groundwater and potentially harm humans. Thus, you see many resource conservation and recovery act headlines related to specific disasters, like the Bhopal disaster which lead to the EPCRA in 1986.

The benefits of CERCLA are that government funding is provided, and government planning, for cleanups. Superfund sites are CERCLA examples: sites where contamination was caused by a company and cleanup is provided through the government entities. This is necessary because the companies might not have the resources or wherewithal to do the clean up themselves, and that would be harmful to everyone. CERCLA impacts for the environment are massively positive, and CERCLA in real estate ensures that people are aware that they might be purchasing property next to a Superfund site.

RCRA and RCRA amendments concern all types of hazardous and non-hazardous waste disposal options including landfills, which are also a growing concern because there are so many landfills available. Landfills can be harmful to the environment as well, but an RCRA grant or guidance can be used to ultimately reduce the amount of waste that could be introduced harmfully. The RCRA and CERCLA overlap is relative to environmental controls and ensures that the environment is protected moving forward.

  • RCRA and CERCLA deal with hazardous waste and cleanup, but RCRA is concerned with non-hazardous waste and landfills, too.
  • Both emerged as a response to cleanups that could have been dangerous otherwise, as waste products are produced by many companies.
  • With RCRA, CERCLA, and EPCRA, the goal is to reduce the harm to the environment through government intervention.
  • Companies need to be well aware of all these acts if they are to protect the environment, people, and themselves.
  • There is some overlap for both RCRA and CERCLA, but all of them need to be followed.

If you’re interested in how Encamp helps EHS managers deliver consistent processes and first-rate compliance programs, request a demo.

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