Getting Involved in the Hazardous Waste Permitting Process
|Hazardous Waste Program fact sheet||
|Division of Environmental Quality Acting Director: Steve Feeler||
This fact sheet introduces Missouri citizens to some important features of the hazardous waste permitting process. Businesses should refer to the appropriate state and federal laws and regulations and review the U.S Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Web page, Typical Wastes Generated by Industry Sectors.
What is hazardous waste?
A hazardous waste is any solid waste that is ignitable, corrosive, reactive (tendency to react/ explode), toxic or listed as a hazardous waste in state or federal regulations. Solid waste includes the following materials:
- Abandoned materials having been or are intended to be disposed, burned or incinerated, or are being stored indefinitely instead of being disposed, burned or incinerated
- Recycled materials
- Inherently waste-like materials
- Waste military weapons and ammunition
Hazardous waste listings and definitions are located in Code of Federal Regulations 40 CFR 261, Subparts C and D, incorporated and modified in Code of State Regulations 10 CSR 25-4.261. Hazardous wastes can be wastes from manufacturing processes or discarded commercial products, including used solvents, electroplating chemicals, oil-refining sludge, banned pesticides and chemicals that can no longer be used.
What is a hazardous waste permit?
A hazardous waste permit is a legally enforceable regulatory instrument containing requirements related to the treatment, storage and disposal of hazardous wastes generated or received by companies. Hazardous waste permits may also contain provisions regarding long-term care for closed hazardous waste management units and investigation/clean-up of releases of hazardous waste and hazardous constituents to the environment. A typical hazardous waste permit contains the following information:
- A description of the facility’s design and operation
- Safety standards and activities the company must comply with, such as monitoring and reporting.
- Requirements regarding the development of emergency plans, providing insurance and financial backing, training employees handling or managing hazardous waste and closing and cleaning up the facility
- Facility-specific requirements such as long-term monitoring and maintenance activities or post-closure care for areas of the facility where hazardous waste or hazardous constituents will remain in place after closure is complete, such as landfills
Who needs a hazardous waste permit?
Companies actively treating, storing (for more than 90 days) or land disposing hazardous waste in Missouri are required to get a hazardous waste permit. Companies producing hazardous waste generally do not need a hazardous waste permit if they store it for less than 90 days and do not treat it. Companies only transporting hazardous waste may need other types of permits or licenses, but not a hazardous waste permit. Certain “inactive” hazardous waste treatment, storage or disposal facilities (i.e., those now closed, but were formerly granted interim status for hazardous waste treatment storage or disposal) may also be required to get a hazardous waste permit in order to investigate, monitor and clean up releases of hazardous waste and hazardous constituents to the environment at their facility.
Who issues hazardous waste permits in Missouri?
Hazardous waste permitting may involve two separate permits. In all cases, the Missouri Department of Natural Resources issues a permit called a Missouri Hazardous Waste Management Facility Part I Permit, commonly referred to as a Part I Permit. In some instances, EPA will issue a second permit, called a Hazardous and Solid Waste Amendments Part II Permit, or Part II Permit. If both permits are required, they are normally issued at the same time.
Why can there be two permits?
Several decades ago, the U.S. Congress passed laws to address public concerns about the management of hazardous waste. The laws are known as the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act of 1976 (RCRA) (pronounced "rick-rah"), and the Hazardous and Solid Waste Amendments of 1984 (HSWA). EPA wrote regulations to implement these laws and can authorize states to carry out all or part of these regulations. Missouri adopted the majority of the federal regulations, which are included by reference in the Code of State Regulations. For those adopted regulations, EPA authorized Missouri to implement its RCRA-equivalent hazardous waste program in lieu of the federal RCRA program. There are a few remaining federal regulations Missouri has either not yet adopted or has adopted but EPA has not yet authorized Missouri to administer.
The Part I Permit contains the requirements Missouri has adopted and EPA has authorized Missouri to administer. The Part II Permit contains federal requirements administered by EPA that Missouri has not adopted or does not have temporary or final authorization from EPA to administer. EPA does not issue a Part II Permit if it has no site-specific conditions for that particular facility and Missouri is fully authorized for all permitting requirements at that facility.
What are the steps in the permitting process?
Step 1: Start the Process
Before submitting a permit application to build, substantially alter or operate a hazardous waste land disposal facility (e.g., a landfill), state hazardous waste regulations require the company to submit a letter of intent to the department. The department conducts the public participation activities for the letter of intent, as described in 10 CSR 25-8.124(1)(B)1.B. The department arranges for the letter to be published once a week, for four consecutive weeks, in a newspaper serving the county where the facility is currently or proposed to be located.
Before submitting a permit application for a new hazardous waste treatment, storage or disposal facility, or for an existing facility where the permit is being renewed and the company is suggesting a major change to the facility’s operation, state hazardous waste regulations require the company to hold an informal public meeting. The company conducts the public participation activities for the “pre-application” public meeting, as described in 10 CSR 25-8.124(1)(B)1.E. The company notifies the public by placing a notice in a local newspaper, putting up a sign on or near the facility property and broadcasting an announcement on a local radio or television station. At the public meeting, the public can ask the company questions and offer suggestions regarding the facility and proposed operations. Company employees can also get an understanding of the public’s point of view and address any public concerns. The company makes a sign-in sheet available at the meeting for those who want to be included on the facility mailing list. People on this list receive updates from the company and the department about any major permitting and cleanup activities at the facility.
Step 2: Apply for a Permit
The company submits a two-part permit application to both the department and EPA. Part A of the application includes a form containing general information about the facility. Part B may be several volumes, made up of hundreds or thousands of pages, containing very detailed and highly technical information. The application focuses on the following information:
- How the facility will be designed, built, operated and maintained to be protective of public health and the environment
- How any emergencies and spills will be handled, if they occur
- How the company will remove and clean their equipment and structures when they no longer want to be permitted
- How the company will investigate, monitor and cleanup any releases of hazardous waste and hazardous constituents to soil, groundwater, surface water and sediment at their facility
- How the company will estimate the costs for the closure, post-closure care and any investigation and cleanup activities and how they will demonstrate financial resources are in place to make sure these activities are completed
Step 3: Receive, Review and Revise the Application
The Hazardous Waste Program’s (HWP) Permits Section reviews the permit application to make sure the company addressed all applicable areas of the hazardous waste regulations. Only the company’s attempt to address the areas of the regulations, not the technical accuracy of the application, is the focus during this stage. If the application is incomplete, the department sends a request to the company, listing the information necessary to make the permit application complete. When the department determines the permit application is complete, the department conducts the public participation activities described in 10 CSR 25-8.124(1)(B)2.B. The department places a legal notice in a local newspaper and sends a copy of the legal notice to everyone on the facility mailing list. The notice announces the department received a complete permit application and it is available for public review. The department then places a paper copy of the complete permit application and any supporting documents in a publicly accessible location near the facility, usually a public library.
After the application is complete, the department and, in limited instances, EPA carefully review the details of the application to make sure it follows applicable state and federal laws and regulations. The department and EPA also review the planned design and operation of the facility against sound engineering practices and principles. The application must contain information indicating the company can manage hazardous waste safely and responsibly. This technical review of the application may result in lengthy technical comments from the department or EPA and requests for the company to provide additional information. The company responds to the comments by sending responses or additional information and revising the permit application as needed. Each time the department and EPA receive a response from the company, the information is reviewed and, if necessary, additional comments are sent to the company, to which the company responds. This cycle continues until the application is technically adequate. As a result, technical review and revision of a permit application can take a long time to complete and requires a great deal of coordination between the department, EPA and the company. The overall technical review time depends on the quality of the permit application. The more complete and technically adequate the permit application, the less time it will take to review.
Step 4: Draft Permit
After the technical review, the department and EPA determine whether to prepare a draft permit or a notice of intent to deny the permit application. The permit application can be denied if it is inadequate or the company fails or refuses to make the requested changes. A draft permit is prepared if the permit application is complete, technically adequate and meets all applicable legal, regulatory and engineering requirements. The draft permit states the proposed conditions the facility will be required to operate under if the permit is approved. The department also prepares a fact sheet, briefly describing the facility activities and any legal or procedural issues considered when preparing the draft permit or notice of intent to deny.
The department and EPA notify the public when they release the draft permit or notice of intent to deny. The department conducts the public participation activities for their proposed decision, as described in 10 CSR 25-8.124(1)(A)10. If EPA prepares a draft Part II Permit, it conducts the public participation activities for their proposed decision, as described in 40 CFR 124.10. The department and EPA usually combine the public notice for both proposed decisions. The department places a legal notice in a local newspaper, sends a copy of the legal notice and fact sheet to everyone on the facility mailing list and broadcasts an announcement on at least one local radio station. For any draft permit including active land disposal of hazardous waste, the department will also issue a news release to the local media. The notices announce the draft permit or notice of intent to deny is available, along with the supporting documents, for public review and comment. The department places a paper copy of the draft permit or notice of intent to deny and supporting documents in the same publicly accessible location as the permit application.
In addition to the local information repository, the department and EPA make a paper copy of the documents available for public review at the department’s Elm Street Conference Center in Jefferson City, Mo. and EPA’s Library in Lenexa, Kan. The department also posts an electronic copy of the draft permit or notice of intent to deny on the department’s website. Supporting documents are not usually available on the department’s website because of their large file size.
Step 5: Public Comment Period
A 45-day public comment period for the documents begins the day the newspaper publishes the legal notice. During the public comment period, the public can review the draft permit or notice of intent to deny and send written comments to the department and EPA. The department has also provided an electronic Public Comment Form on the department’s website.
The department will automatically schedule a public hearing about any draft permit including active land disposal of hazardous waste. The department or EPA can also schedule, at their discretion, a public hearing for any draft permit that does not include active land disposal of hazardous waste. If one has not already been scheduled, anyone can submit a written request during the public comment period for a public hearing about any other draft permit or notice of intent to deny. The department or EPA may also hold a public meeting. In either case, the public is given 30-day’s notice before the hearing or meeting. The department notifies the public of the hearing or meeting the same way they did when they released the draft permit or notice of intent to deny.
Step 6: Final Permit Decision
After the close of the public comment period, the department and EPA review all written comments and any comments given at the public hearing, if one was held. If the department and EPA find their proposed decision to deny the permit application was incorrect, they will withdraw the notice of intent to deny and prepare a draft permit. If the department and EPA originally prepared a draft permit, the permit may be finalized as written, modified or denied based on technical or legal issues brought up by the public comments. Ultimately, the department and EPA prepare either a final decision to deny the permit or issue the final Part I and Part II Permits. If comments were submitted on the draft permit or notice of intent to deny, the department and EPA also issue with the final decision, a summary and response to all public comments and explain how each comment was addressed in the final decision, specifying any changes made to the draft permits.
The department and EPA notify the public when they issue the final decision. The department conducts the public participation activities for their final decision, as described in 10 CSR 25-8.124(1)(A)15. If EPA issues a final Part II Permit, EPA conducts the public participation activities for their final decision, as described in 40 CFR 124.15. The department and EPA usually combine the public notice for both final decisions. The department sends a notification letter to everyone on the facility mailing list and anyone who commented on the draft permit or notice of intent to deny. Those who commented also receive a copy of the Summary and Response to Comments. The department also issues a news release to the local media regarding the final permit decision. The department places a paper copy of the final decision and Summary and Response to Comments in the same publicly accessible location as the draft permit or notice of intent to deny.
In addition to the local information repository, the department and EPA also place a paper copy of the final decisions and Summary and Response to Comments in the department’s Elm Street Conference Center in Jefferson City, Mo. and EPA’s Library in Lenexa, Kan. The department also posts an electronic copy of the documents on the department’s website. Final Part I and Part II permits will remain on this Web page as long as they are in effect.
What happens after the hazardous waste permit is issued?
After issuing the permit, the department and EPA continue to monitor and inspect the construction, operation, maintenance, investigation, remediation and eventually final closure of the facility. The department and EPA make sure the company continues to follow applicable state and federal laws and regulations and the schedules of compliance activities required by their permit.
Part I and Part II permits are normally issued for a 10-year period, the maximum period currently allowed by state and federal laws and regulations. By limiting the length of the permit, the department can make sure it regularly reviews the company’s hazardous waste management activities. Companies wanting to continue their active permitted hazardous waste operations, or that are required to have their permit reissued to complete post-closure care or corrective action, must send the department and EPA a new permit application at least six months before their current permit expires. If the company submits a timely and complete permit application and, through no fault of the company, the department and EPA are unable to reissue the permit before it expires, state and federal regulations, 40 CFR 270.51, allow the facility to continue operating under the existing “continued” Part I and Part II permits until the department and EPA issue or deny a new permit.
During their term, Part I and Part II permits may become outdated due to changing facility conditions, scientific improvements or new laws or regulations. To address this, either the company, department or EPA can propose a change in the permit requirements through the permit modification process, as explained in detail in 40 CFR 270.41 and 40 CFR 270.42, which are incorporated by reference in the state hazardous waste regulations. The modification process allows the facility to improve operations, take advantage of business opportunities and make changes in response to new laws, regulations and guidance.
A permit modification can vary from minor adjustments to a complete overhaul of the permit. The more significant the proposed permit modification, the more opportunities for public comment. When a proposed permit modification requires an opportunity for public review and comment, only the new or changed permit conditions are open for public comment. All other conditions of the original permit remain in effect for the length of the permit, including any time during which the permit is continued before it is renewed. As electronic versions become available, the department is adding permit modifications to currently effective permits to the department’s website.
The department or EPA can revoke a facility’s permit if the company fails to follow state and federal laws and regulations or the activities required by their permit. Anyone can request a permit be revoked; however, a permit may only be revoked for the reasons specified in 40 CFR 270.41 or 40 CFR 270.43.
Can the department and EPA’s decisions regarding the hazardous waste permit be appealed?
Yes. The company or anyone negatively affected by the issuance or denial of the hazardous waste permit, specific conditions in the permit, modification of the permit or a permit revocation may be entitled to request an appeal within 30 days from the date of the final permit decision. The written petition for the department’s final permit decision must be filed with the Administrative Hearing Commission according to the procedures outlined in 10 CSR 25-2.020 and Missouri Revised Statutes, Sections 260.395.11 and 621.250, RSMo. The written petition for EPA’s final permit decision is filed with the federal Environmental Appeals Board according to the procedures outlined in 40 CFR 124.19(a).
The appeal petition must be limited to the issues brought up during the public comment period the company or person feels were insufficiently addressed in the final permit decision. The Administrative Hearing Commission and Environmental Appeals Board can also review petitions about additional requirements included in the final permit that were not in the original draft permit and, as a result, could not have been commented on during the public comment period.
With the exception of a permit revocation, the department’s final decisions are effective the date the department signs the decision. A final permit revocation decision becomes effective 30 days after the decision was signed, unless no comments were submitted on the proposed revocation, in which case the final permit revocation decision is effective the date the department signs the decision. EPA’s final decisions are effective the date EPA signs the decision if no comments were submitted on the proposed decisions. If comments were submitted, EPA’s final decisions become effective 30 days after the decision was signed.
How can the public become involved?
The department firmly believes those who must live with the outcome of an environmental decision are entitled to know what is going on, have the opportunity to raise relevant concerns and have an active role in the decision-making process. The public can contribute valuable information and ideas that can help the department and EPA reach better technical solutions, improve the quality of the company’s decisions about protection of human health and the environment and address environmental justice and other community-based concerns. The hazardous waste permitting process provides several opportunities for the public to express ideas and concerns and provide input, such as the pre-application meeting, public comment period and public hearing, where the public can speak with the company, the department and EPA. Listed below are additional things the public can do both during and outside the hazardous waste permitting process:
- Call or write to the department and ask to have your name added to the facility’s mailing list. By doing this, you will receive notice from the department or company on any major permitting and cleanup activities for that facility.
- Do your own research. Talk to local officials and research or industry organizations.
- Get involved with environmental, public interest and community groups interested in the facility. Become involved in their activities.
- Know who to call at the department and EPA for information. A department and EPA contact is listed on all HWP facility-specific fact sheets, public notices and various printed materials.
- If you need to know something about the facility or have the permitting process explained to you, call the department or EPA and ask. If there are several people needing something explained, ask to meet with the department or EPA to or request to have a public meeting. You can also call the company and ask for additional information, meet with their staff or tour the facility.
- If a comment is made during the public comment period, provide written, clear and to the point comments. Comments are only effective if they point out specific legal or technical issues in the permit application or proposed permit decisions. Comments that only generally support or oppose a permit will not affect the outcome or content of the final permit. Written comments are welcome any time up to the end of the public comment period.
- Go to the public hearing and other meetings. Share comments and concerns with the company, the department, EPA and other members of the community. Provide facts supporting your position. Remember, a public hearing generally will not be held unless someone from the public specifically requests one in writing. The department or EPA may decide to hold a public meeting due to overall community interest or other factors.
- Follow the process closely. Watch for the final permit and review the department’s and EPA’s summary and response to comments. Remember, you may be entitled to appeal the final decisions.
For more information
800-361-4827 or 573-751-3553
Active Hazardous Waste Permits, Orders and Regulatory Agreements (department Web page) http://dnr.mo.gov/env/hwp/permits/activepa.htm
Code of Federal Regulations http://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/ECFR?page=browse
Hazardous Waste Written Public Comment form http://dnr.mo.gov/env/hwp/public-comment.htm
Missouri Code of State Regulations for Department of Natural Resources http://www.sos.mo.gov/adrules/csr/current/10csr/10csr
Missouri Revised Statutes http://www.moga.mo.gov/mostatutes/statutesAna.html
Public Notices and Opportunities department Web page http://dnr.mo.gov/env/hwp/permits/notices.htm
Typical Wastes Generated by Industry Sectors https://www.epa.gov/hwgenerators/typical-wastes-generated-industry-sectors