Hazardous Waste Treatment, Storage, And Disposal
RCRA-C (Resource Conservation and Recovery Act) in New York State: Managing Hazardous Waste
New York State's strong commitment to protecting its citizens and environment from potentially devastating exposure to hazardous chemicals is illustrated in the Department of Environmental Conservation's RCRA-C Program. The Department is committed to reducing, recycling and controlling hazardous wastes and restoring the State's natural resources. The Department implements the multi-faceted RCRA-C program in partnership with the United States Environmental Protection Agency, industry and commerce, and concerned citizens.
The RCRA-C hazardous waste management program has gradually but dramatically changed the ways in which commerce and industry handle their most toxic forms of waste. Once improperly stored, inadequately treated and indiscriminately dumped, hazardous wastes are now stored, treated and disposed in an environmentally-sound manner. To protect human health and the environment, hazardous waste is regulated in New York State from the moment it is generated to its final disposition - a concept known as "cradle-to-grave" waste management.
The State's RCRA-C program has made great strides. It has prevented the emergence of new superfund sites, cleaned up previously contaminated sites, and upgraded or closed poorly-designed facilities that discharged contaminants into the environment.
The Division of Materials Management has the lead role implementing the authorized RCRA-C Program in New York State. The program is administered from the Central Office in conjunction with the Department's nine Regional Offices. Activities such as regulatory development, permit reviews, closure and corrective action approvals, development of technical guidance, maintenance of data bases, and development of annual program work plans are handled in the Central Office. Regional Offices also participate in permit reviews and closure and corrective action activities. The Regional Offices conduct the majority of compliance inspections.
Other Units/Divisions in the Department also participate in certain elements of the RCRA-C Program. The Division of Law Enforcement and the Office of General Counsel are involved in the enforcement of the State hazardous waste laws and regulations. The Office of General Counsel also provides counsel for legal interpretation and meeting program legal needs. The Division of Environmental Permits coordinates the issuance of all permits in the Department, including hazardous waste facility permits.
The State's comprehensive hazardous waste regulatory program is based on Subtitle C of the Federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act of 1976, known as the RCRA-C program. Regulations that implemented RCRA-C became effective on November 19, 1980, to address adverse impacts to human health and the environment that were being discovered with increasing regularity because of unsafe waste handling and disposal practices. In general, New York State's RCRA-C regulations, initially adopted in 1982, focus on: 1) the criteria to determine which wastes are hazardous; 2) the requirements for hazardous waste handlers: generators, transporters, and TSDFs (treatment, storage and disposal facilities); and 3) the technical standards for the design and safe operation of TSDFs. Regulations also address past environmental releases of contaminants through investigation and corrective action activities.
Hazardous Waste Manifest
The hazardous waste manifest program is a key element in controlling hazardous waste. Using a set of forms, reports and procedures, the manifest program tracks hazardous waste from the time it leaves the generator facility where it is produced, until it reaches the off-site waste management facility that will store, treat or dispose of the hazardous waste. This cradle-to-grave tracking system ensures that hazardous waste is transported from the place of generation to the place of ultimate disposal without being tampered with, dumped, or otherwise illegally disposed of along the way.