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Hazardous Waste Regulation: 10 Major Differences Between Federal RCRA and California Hazardous Waste Regulations

Instructor: James  T. Dufour
Product ID: 701875
  • Duration: 90 Min

recorded version

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Training CD

$199.00
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Read Frequently Asked Questions

This training program will offer a comparison of RCRA and California hazardous waste characterization. It will detail the enactment of the California Hazardous Waste Control Law in 1972 before RCRA in 1976. The course will also discuss permits required to treat most hazardous wastes that would be exempt from permitting under RCRA.

Why Should You Attend:

California has unique hazardous waste regulations that include, but substantially exceed requirements of the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) regulations generally in effect in other states. It is also hard to navigate California’s hazardous waste requirements because of the dramatic differences in substantive requirements, enforced by pervasive local city and county agencies deputized as Certified Unified Program Agencies (CUPAs) and result in surprising violations and onerous penalties.

These national and international corporations did not know they were doing anything wrong because, under RCRA, most of these offenses would not be violations, and rarely are the relatively modest offenses so harshly enforced. However, due to widely-varying resources and competence, there are large gaps in compliance assurance, which inevitably leads to intervention by the state DTSC or even U.S. EPA Region 9, usually resulting in substantial penalties.

Attend the webinar to understand the differences between federal and most other states hazardous waste management requirements and California’s rules to avoiding such harsh consequences by internalizing compliance assurance.

Areas Covered in the Webinar:

  • Enactment of the California Hazardous Waste Control Law in 1972 before RCRA in 1976; there was no federal model.
  • Understand the universe of hazardous waste which is much more expensive in California.
  • Comparison of RCRA and California hazardous waste characterization.
  • Conditional Small Quantity Generator exemption in California.
  • Point-of-generation requirements in California vs under RCRA.
  • Satellite accumulation rules differ and is limited to 1 year in California.
  • Large quantity generators (LQGs) - requirements for training, emergency response, and contingency plan documentation.
  • No sewer exclusion in California, unlike RCRA, more pre-treatment and hazardous waste tank compliance.
  • Permits are required to treat most hazardous wastes that would be exempt from permitting under RCRA.
  • There are more universal wastes regulated in California.

Handout Materials:

The webinar will include various tables that summarize differences between California and federal penalties and standards, as well as links to regulations/standards and sources of information.

Who Will Benefit:


The webinar is designed to be sufficiently basic that non-environmental professionals and lawyers, like managers, facility managers, and others assigned to handle environmental safety and health matters will benefit. Environmental professionals, consultants, and attorneys who practice in these areas will find nuances of California law and updates on recent changes in law/regulation useful
  • Management
  • EH&S
  • Facility management personnel
  • Operations personnel with responsibility for environmental compliance in California, or with multi-state responsibility that includes this state.
  • For recent transfers to California in positions with environmental oversight or responsibilities, this webinar is a “must attend.”

Instructor Profile:

James T. Dufour, MS, JD, CIH is an attorney with a background in environmental management and industrial hygiene and workplace safety with more than 3 decades of experience, including private law practice since 1987 effectively representing clients in federal, California, and other state OSHA appeals and administrative, civil and criminal environmental cases. Recognized as a proficient strategist, his preventive and post-enforcement cost-effective compliance/clean-up plans have been highly regarded by clients, regulators, and judges. (www.dufourlegal.com)

He also has devised corporate regulatory compliance programs in response to new standards and regulations for corporations and trade association membership, including compliance manuals on OSHA and environmental compliance topics published by the California Chamber of Commerce and other trade groups, including the best selling Injury & Illness Prevention Program Compliance Manual (first edition – 54,000 copies), Cal/OSHA Basics and Written Programs, OSHA Compliance in 10 Practical Steps, Proposition 65, and the California Environmental Compliance and Hazardous Waste Handbooks.

James also has instructed thousands of participants in seminars and webinars sponsored by Dufour Seminars & Training, corporate and association clients, and webinar producers since 1986.

Topic Back ground:

The California Hazardous waste Control Law (HWCL) [California Health and Safety Code §§ 25100, et seq.] was enacted in 1972, fully four years prior to enactment of the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) in 1976. This simple piece of background information explains the reason for many of the differences between California and federal hazardous waste requirements; for example:

  • The HWCL says that all hazardous waste treatment had to be permitted or authorized by the Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC). RCRA exempted many forms of treatment by generators when enacted.
  • California law authorized adoption of a list of hazardous wastes (22 CCR § 66261, Appendix X) more than 10 years prior to RCRA listed hazardous wastes (40 CFR § 261), and a toxicity characteristic more than 10 years before the RCRA counterpart.
  • RCRA has“sewer exclusion” for wastes subject to Clean Water Act regulation. There is no sewer exclusion in state law, as confirmed by state courts (Peo. v. Sangani).
  • Excluded recyclable materials are a matter of federal regulation under RCRA; state law in California.

These examples of the fundamental differences between RCRA and California hazardous waste law are only the tip of the iceberg compared to regulatory differences. More examples based on state regulations:

  • Hazardous waste toxicity characteristic includes a score of constituents not federally regulated, like copper, zinc, fluorides, nickel, etc.
  • The state toxicity characteristic includes soluble constituent limits like the federal characteristic, but also total constituent limits.
  • The state’s expanded toxicity characteristic includes other criteria, like presence of carcinogens and bioassay testing (aquatic 96-hour acute toxicity test).
  • There is a solid corrosively characteristic.
  • Any RCRA hazardous waste excluded from regulation is a California-only non-RCRA hazardous waste unless state law or regulation excludes it.
  • Waste lubricating oil is a hazardous waste.
  • There is no conditionally exempt small quantity generator relief in the state
  • There are many more universal wastes and similarly regulated hazardous wastes, like treated wood waste, in California.

The universe of hazard waste is more expensive including used oil, solid corrosives, broader toxicity characteristic, and any hazardous waste that is federally exempt or excluded is a California-only hazardous waste, or subject to additional conditions.

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