MassDEP Proposes Amendments to Hazardous Waste Regulations

02/20/2019 - Blog

In January, MassDEP published a 65-page document with key proposals and revisions to hazardous waste regulations 310 CMR 30.000.

Outlined below are the key proposals which are open for public commentary until March 20, 2019.

Adoption of Federal Rules for Academic Laboratories

The Department is proposing to adopt federal regulation 40 CFR Part 262, Subpart K which would apply to Eligible Academic Entities (colleges, universities, teaching hospitals and non-profit research institutes that are either owned by or formally affiliated with a college or university) that choose to opt into the rule. This is an optional, alternative set of regulations with the intention to:

  • Provide Eligible Academic Entities flexibility to make hazardous waste determinations in the laboratory, at an on-site central accumulation area, or at an on-site treatment, storage, or disposal facility;
  • Incentivize clearing out old and expired chemicals that may pose unnecessary risk; and
  • Develop Laboratory Management Plans (LMPs) resulting in safer laboratory practices and increased awareness of hazardous waste management.

This new rule (the Academic Laboratories Rule) will replace the University Laboratories XL Project at 310 CMR 30.354. Eligible Academic Entities that choose not to opt into the new rule remain subject to the existing hazardous waste generator requirements.

Addition of 56 Federal Hazardous Waste Codes

Currently, the Department is unauthorized to enforce several federal waste codes. By adding these codes to 310 CMR 30.130, it will be able to enforce them along with the EPA:

  • Wood Preserving Wastes (F032, F034, F035);
  • Coke By-Product Wastes (K141, K142, K143, K144, K145, K147 and K148);
  • Carbamate Wastes (K156, K157, K158, K159, K161, P127, P128, P185, P189, P190, P191, P192, P194, P196, P197, P198, P199, P201, P202, P203, P205, U271, U278, U279, U280, U364, U367, U372, U373, U387, U389, U394, U395, U404, U409, U410, and U411);
  • Petroleum Refining Wastes (K169, K170, K171 and K172);
  • Organic Chemicals (K174 and K175); and
  • Inorganic Chemicals (K176, K177 and K178).

Clarification on Shipping Requirements of Silver Recovery Cartridges

This amendment will clarify the shipping requirements for silver recovery cartridges that fail the Toxicity Characteristic for silver, provided that the silver recovery cartridge has been used for wastewater treatment and is being shipped for reclamation of its silver content. Important clarifications include:

  • A silver recovery cartridge that has been utilized for wastewater treatment destined for reclamation of its silver content can be managed as a Class A regulated recyclable material.
  • However, spent fixer from photo processing is regulated differently because it is a spent material. Used silver bearing photo fixer that is hazardous waste is a spent material and if sent off site for reclamation, must be managed as a Class B(4) RRM.

Restrictions on Fluorescent Lamp Crushing by VSQGs and Universal Waste Handlers

The Department is proposing to phase out allowing the use of drum-top crushers by VSQGs without a treatment license because of the significant potential for mercury emissions. Massachusetts is the only New England member state in the Northeast Waste Management Officials’ Association (NEWMOA) that allows the use of drum-top crushers without a permit. Under this proposal:

  • VSQGs that do not own a drum-top crusher on the effective date of these proposed regulations will not be allowed to use drum-top crushers to manage fluorescent lamps without first obtaining a treatment license;
  • VSQGs that own a drum-top crusher on the effective date of these regulations will have one year to obtain a license to continue operating their drum top crusher;
  • Universal waste handlers will no longer be allowed to crush and dismantle fluorescent lamps under the authority of a hazardous waste recycling permit.

Adoption of Federal Rules on Cathode Ray Tubes

To be more consistent with the federal RCRA hazardous waste program, the Department is proposing to adopt regulations equivalent to the federal CRT Rule that will streamline requirements for recycling used CRTs and glass removed from CRTs.

Adoption of EPA’s Conditional Exemption for Solvent-Contaminated Wipes

Following the EPA’s conditional exemption for solvent-contaminated wipes (i.e., rags, shop towels, swabs) put forth in 2013, the Department proposes a rule that will:

  • Exclude from regulation as a hazardous waste reusable solvent-contaminated wipes that are cleaned and reused and those that are disposed;
  • Require enhanced documentation of liquid extraction from wipes and laundry processes;
  • Prohibit the disposal of solvent contaminated wipes that are hazardous due to the presence of trichloroethylene in landfills or combustors as a non-hazardous waste.


According to the Department, these amendments will result in better management and control of hazardous wastes, increased recycling and reuse of regulated materials, streamlined requirements, and greater regulatory certainty. Several public hearings are already scheduled, and the Department welcomes public commentary at or outside of these hearings. The full background document with proposed amendments is available at the MassDEP website.

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