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Cleanups and Closures at Hazardous Waste Permitted Facilities

Describes cleanup and closure requirements for hazardous waste permitted facilities.

Industrial and hazardous waste-permitted facilities are subject to requirements of 30 Texas Administrative Code Chapter 335 as well as federal regulations. Corresponding federal regulations are in Title 40 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), in particular Part 264, Subparts A through EEExit the TCEQ (Standards for Owners and Operators of Hazardous Waste Treatment, Storage and Disposal Facilities).

In addition to proper waste management, these requirements address assessment and cleanup of contaminated media and closure of waste management units.

For site assessments, cleanups and closures, facilities with hazardous waste permits may have to comply with several different regulatory scenarios. It is important to understand the regulatory context of the cleanup to determine all the requirements that apply. Types of units and areas specific to hazardous waste permitted facilities include:

  • Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA)-permitted units. These units are subject to both state and federal requirements. Review and approval of closure plans and reports for these units are generally part of the permitting process.
  • Areas with contaminated groundwater. If there have been releases of hazardous constituents to groundwater from RCRA regulated units, a compliance plan may be issued in conjunction with the permit. Compliance plans outline the activities required to monitor and remediate contaminated groundwater.
  • RFI Units. Permits or compliance plans also contain requirements to complete a RCRA Facility Investigation (RFI) at certain solid waste management units at the facility. These RFI units are typically identified during the initial RCRA Facility Assessment (RFA) part of the permitting process. Permits and compliance plans also have requirements to add units for assessment if new units or areas of concern are discovered after issuance of the permit or compliance plan. If releases of hazardous waste or hazardous constituents are found at RFI units, then cleanup must be done in accordance with state cleanup regulations and the RCRA/Hazardous and Solid Waste Amendments (HSWA) corrective action Exit the TCEQ process. This process includes public notice for remedy selection. The permit or compliance plan modifications may also be required to implement the cleanup.

For RCRA-regulated units and some RFI Units (depending on the level and anticipated duration of the cleanup), an owner-operator is required to provide assurance that funds to cover costs of closure and corrective action are available through the life of the RCRA permit. Financial assurance may also be required for post-closure care. Financial assurance options include any combination of 1) a trust fund maintained with annual deposits, 2) a surety bond guaranteeing payment into a trust fund, 3) a surety bond guaranteeing performance, 4) an irrevocable standby letter of credit, 5) insurance, or 6) a financial test and corporate guarantee. See 40 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) §264.143 and .145. For interim status units, financial requirements are in 40 CFR §265.143 and .145 Exit the TCEQ.

Other Considerations

The special requirements related to the RCRA regulations and the hazardous waste permit or compliance plan are in addition to closure, assessment and cleanup requirements set forth by state rules. Cleanups may also be constrained by formal (Agreed Order or Agreed Final Judgment) or informal enforcement actions. The enforcement document generally contains site-specific cleanup requirements.