Hazardous Waste Management

The Washington Department of Ecology (“DOE”) wrongly accused a waste container recycling facility of operating without a required Treatment Storage or Disposal Facility permit for management of hazardous and dangerous waste.  Environmental Compliance defended against Ecology’s enforcement action by demonstrating that federal law pertaining to the management of “non-conforming” shipments of hazardous waste provided a basis for the client’s limited management of the waste pending arrangement for appropriate off-site disposal.  On another issue Environmental Compliance demonstrated that “designation as” a dangerous waste, as referenced in Washington rules, refers to the listings and characteristics set out in statute rather than (as Ecology argued) to the generator’s actual management decisions regarding the waste.  In other words, the actual characteristics (or source) of the waste determine whether it is “hazardous” or “dangerous”, not any “designation” by the generator.  Administrative rules adopted pursuant to the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act and its counterparts in State statutes continue to be misinterpreted and misapplied by government employees whose “group think” mentality and biases contravene the original rule promulgations.  If a Department inspection brings up hazardous or dangerous waste issues you should contact an expert in this area of the law (Environmental Compliance) immediately, or else be forced to accept what may not be a sensible, or lawful, interpretation of applicable rules.