- On Aug. 31, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator proposed two new hazardous waste rules that will be published in the Federal Register within the next few weeks.
- The Hazardous Waste Generator Improvements Rule is a proposed update to the current regulations, which will make it easier to understand and execute the rules, while closing important gaps. The proposal includes "allowing a hazardous waste generator to avoid increased burden of a higher generator status when generating episodic waste provided it is properly managed;" and "allowing a conditionally exempt small-quantity generator to send its hazardous waste to a large-quantity generator under control of the same person."
- The Management Standards for Hazardous Waste Pharmaceuticals Rule proposes regulations for the management of hazardous waste pharmaceuticals by healthcare facilities and reverse distributors. The proposal will make water safer and healthier by reducing the amount of pharmaceuticals entering waterways. It is projected to prevent the flushing of more than 6,400 tons of hazardous waste pharmaceuticals annually by banning healthcare facilities from flushing them down the sink and toilet.
Hazardous waste is a tricky subject in the industry, especially with pharmaceuticals. Depressants are one such example causing harm for the environment; if the SSRIs in depressants enter groundwater, the drug compounds can be released into the environment and negatively affect other living organisms.
By announcing the proposed rules, the EPA is showing a clear focus on public and environmental safety.
"These rules provide businesses with certainty and the flexibility they need to successfully operate in today’s marketplace," said Mathy Stanislaus, assistant administrator of EPA’s Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response, in a news release. "The proposals will improve the safety and health of our communities by providing clear, flexible, and protective hazardous waste management standards."