August 12, 2013

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On July 31, 2013, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) modified its hazardous waste management regulations under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) to conditionally exclude solvent-contaminated wipes from hazardous waste regulations as long as businesses clean or dispose of the wipes properly.  EPA altered the rule after concluding that wipes contaminated with certain hazardous solvents, when managed properly, pose no significant risk to human health and the environment.  This regulatory change is expected to save industry between $21.7 and $27.8 million per year.

To be excluded from regulation, facilities using solvent-contaminated wipes must meet the following conditions:

(1)    Wipes must be managed in closed, labeled containers;
(2)    Wipes and the containers they are stored in cannot contain free liquids when sent for cleaning or disposal;
(3)    Facilities must maintain certain recordkeeping requirements; and
(4)    Facilities may not accumulate wipes for more than 180 days.

The Final Rule is available here.