U.S. EPA Mixed Waste Team
Regulatory History of Mixed Waste
1976The Resource, Conservation, and Recovery Act (RCRA) gives EPA the authority to regulate hazardous waste from "cradle-to-grave." However, RCRA specifically excludes source, special nuclear, or byproduct material as defined by the Atomic Energy Act of 1954 from the definition of solid waste. Hazardous waste is a subset of solid waste. Therefore source, special nuclear, and by-product materials are not considered hazardous under RCRA. In the event that AEA and RCRA are found to be inconsistent, AEA will take precedence.
1981NRC recognizes joint regulation for mixed waste in rulemaking to establish land disposal regulations for radioactive waste (10 CFR 61.56 (a)(8)) "Waste containing hazardous, biological, pathogenic, or infectious material must be treated to reduce to the maximum extent practicable the potential hazard from the non-radiological materials."
1984In LEAF vs. Hodell, the court mandated that RCRA applied to DOE's hazardous waste but was unclear with respect to source, special nuclear, and by-product material.
Hazardous Solid Waste Amendments to RCRA increase the stringency of hazardous waste requirements.
1986EPA publishes notice clarifying RCRA jurisdiction for mixed waste and indicates that States must include mixed waste in RCRA base authorization (July 3rd, 51 FR 24504). This action tied mixed waste to the HSWA Land Disposal Restrictions.
1987NRC & EPA publish draft joint guidance on the definition and identificatin of LLMW. (1/87; revised on 10/89)
1988DOE Order 5820.2A, Management of Defense LLW, establishes policies for handling LLW. Under Order 5820.2A, Chapter IV, all DOE waste containing Naturally Occurring or Accelerator Produced Radioactive Materials (NARM) shall be managed as hazardous waste under the authority of RCRA.
1990EPA promulgates the last third of the HSWA mandated requirements including alternative standards for four groups of mixed waste:
A conditional 10 year no-migration variance for limited amount of untreated
waste for the purposes of testing and experimentation was granted to the
DOE WIPP facility (55 FR 47700, November 14, 1990).
Superfund's 1990 National Oil and Hazardous Substances Pollution Contingency Plan (NCP) addresses radioactive and mixed waste in the Hazard Ranking System (HRS) [December 14, 1990 : 55 FR 51583]. "In general, sites containing mixed radioactive and other substances involve more evaluation than sites containing only radionuclides," (40 CFR 300, Appendix A, 7.0).
1992EPA issued a policy of giving a reduced priority to civil enforcement of the RCRA storage prohibition. This was based upon a determination that there is inadequate treatment capacity available for these wastes. The waste covered under this variance must be stored in accordance with RCRA requirements until treatment or disposal capacity becomes available.
1994In April EPA extended policy of giving a reduced priority to civil enforcement of the RCRA strorage prohibition for two years.
1995In August, EPA/NRC published "Draft Guidance on the Storage of LLMW." This guidance is designed to assist persons currently storing mixed waste to meet the regulatory requirements of both the AEA and RCRA. The guidance describes procedures that are generally acceptable to both NRC and EPA and resolves issues of concern which have been identified to the agencies by licensees and generators.
1996On January 22, NRC published in the Federal Register (61 FR 1608-1625) the "Draft Technical Position of Cesium-137 Contaminated Emission Control Dust and other Incident Related Materials" for a 60 day public comment period. The position provides the policy and technical bases for supporting a potential decision, by appropriate regulatory authorities and others, to dispose of a specifically defined mixed waste in hazardous waste disposal facilities not licensed under the Atomic Energy Act.
The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) published, "Final Technical Position
of Cesium-137 Contaminated Emission Control Dust and other Incident Related
Materialsts." [March 19, 1997 : 62 FR 13176] The position provides the
bases that, with the approval of appropriate regulatory authorities (e.g.,
State-permitting agencies) and others (e.g., disposal site operators),
and with possible public input, could be used to allow disposal of stabilized
waste at Subtitle C, RCRA-permitted, hazardous waste disposal facilities.
The final position can be downloaded (624 kBytes, Adobe PDF).
EPA temporarily suspends the call-in and processing of RCRA Part B applications and the issuance of RCRA permits for facilities which have interim status for the on-site storage of commercial mixed wastes. This permit suspension only applies where the facility is not otherwise subject to RCRA permitting requirements. Moreover, OSW does not recommend any suspension for facilities where Regions or States find a particular environmental concern that merits the call-in or issuance of such a permit. This will eliminate a potentially needless expenditure of resources while EPA evaluates a possible exemption. The full text of the May 21, 1997 letter from EPA's Office of Solid Waste to EPA Regions and Authorized State RCRA programs with mixed waste authorization can be downloaded (8.8 kBytes, Adobe PDF). The April 7, 1997 letter to Douglas H. Green is also available (5.7 kBytes, Adobe PDF).
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and the Environmental Protection
Agency (EPA) have jointly published final guidance on the testing requirements
for mixed radioactive and hazardous waste (mixed waste) in the Federal
Register on November 20, 1997 (62 FR 62079 - 62094). The full text of
the EPA/NRC Mixed Waste Testing Guidance can be downloaded
(285 kBytes, Adobe PDF).
1998EPA has extended its interim extension of its policy (61 FR 18588, April 26, 1996) on the civil enforcement of the storage prohibition in section 3004(j) of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) at facilities that generate ‘‘mixed waste.’’ This action (effective April 21, 1998) extends the April 1996 policy until October 31, 1998. The policy affects only mixed wastes that are prohibited from land disposal under the RCRA land disposal restrictions and for which there are no available options for treatment or disposal. The full text of this extension (63 FR 17414, April 9, 1998) can be found at the following Federal Register notice [Adobe PDF, 12 kBytes].
Maintained by: ORIA Webmaster URL: http://www.epa.gov/radiation/mixed-waste/mw_pg4.htm Last Updated: April 9, 1998.
Last Updated: April 9, 1998.