WSR 16-05-098
[Order 16-03—Filed February 17, 2016, 9:32 a.m.]
Subject of Possible Rule Making: This rule making will amend chapter 173-303 WAC, Dangerous waste regulations. These regulations set standards for the safe management of dangerous wastes. The department of ecology (ecology) plans to amend specific sections of the dangerous waste regulations to incorporate new federal hazardous waste rules, including but not limited to: (1) Management standards for hazardous waste pharmaceuticals; (2) conditional exclusions for solvent-contaminated wipes; (3) definition of solid waste revisions to solid waste variances and to the definition of legitimacy; and (4) revisions to the export provisions of the cathode ray tube (CRT) rule. Amendments will also include several minor technical and editorial corrections and clarifications.
Rule Background Information:
Management Standards for Hazardous Waste Pharmaceuticals. These rules are currently proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as a sector-specific regulatory framework for managing hazardous waste pharmaceuticals at health care facilities and pharmaceutical reverse distributors. Although these are a streamlined set of regulations for generators of pharmaceuticals, EPA proposes to make them mandatory standards which states must adopt and affected generators must follow. Ecology plans to adopt the same standards for state-only pharmaceuticals to help ensure consistent, safe management of all pharmaceutical wastes.
Conditional Exclusions for Solvent-Contaminated Wipes. The EPA rule conditionally excludes solvent-contaminated wipes (also called shop towels or rags) from dangerous waste regulation when they are laundered and reused. Ecology plans to adopt this part of the rule. EPA's rule also excludes solvent-contaminated wipes that are disposed. Ecology will ask for stakeholder input during the rule-making process to help determine if the wipes disposal option should also be adopted.
Definition of Solid Waste: Revisions to Solid Waste Variances and to the Definition of Legitimacy. Ecology plans to adopt certain standards as required by EPA's January 13, 2015, definition of solid waste rule. This includes rules codifying existing recycling legitimacy criteria guidance and updates to recycling variance requirements. During this rule making we do not plan to adopt optional exclusions for hazardous secondary materials being reclaimed.
Revisions to the Export Provisions of the CRT Rule. The EPA rule revises certain export provisions of the CRT exclusion ecology adopted in 2007. EPA implements export regulations, and these revisions will allow EPA to better track exports of CRTs for reuse and recycling ensuring safer management of these materials.
Statutes Authorizing the Agency to Adopt Rules on this Subject: Chapter 70.105 RCW, Hazardous Waste Management Act.
Reasons Why Rules on this Subject may be Needed and What They Might Accomplish: Ecology is required to adopt certain federal hazardous waste rules to remain authorized by EPA and consistent with EPA regulations. A key reason for starting rule making now on the pharmaceutical rule is to resolve problems with pharmaceutical waste management. A health care sector stakeholder group recommended ecology adopt newly proposed EPA rules for management of hazardous waste pharmaceuticals, and ecology's hazardous waste and toxics reduction (HWTR) program agrees with this approach. Adopting new pharmaceutical waste rules will help health care facilities and waste management vendors properly manage this waste stream, reduce the regulatory burden associated with waste management, and reduce confusion. Additionally, the new rules prohibit disposal of drugs to the sewer, resulting in fewer toxic chemicals in our waterways. Adopting the solvent wipes rule allows more flexibility to safely manage dangerous waste wipes while reducing regulatory requirements.
Other Federal and State Agencies that Regulate this Subject and the Process Coordinating the Rule with These Agencies: EPA has authority to regulate hazardous waste within Washington state. Ecology will keep EPA informed about our rule-making efforts, and provide drafts and formal rule proposals for their review. We will communicate and coordinate with EPA throughout the process. Ecology will work closely with other interested state and local government agencies and encourage them to provide input in development of rule language.
Process for Developing New Rule: Ecology will follow the standard process for the adoption of rules under the Administrative Procedure Act (chapter 34.05 RCW).
Interested parties can participate in the decision to adopt the new rule and formulation of the proposed rule before publication by contacting Rule Coordinator, Robert Rieck, Hazardous Waste and Toxics Reduction Program, P.O. Box 47600, Olympia, WA 98504-7600, phone (360) 407-6751, e-mail Important: Interested parties can join the dangerous waste rule-making listserv
Participation of Interested Parties: Stakeholders and governmental entities including local, state and tribal governments will be notified of various ecology actions as the rule making progresses. We will use the Dangerous Waste Rules listserv, Turbowaste annual report e-mail contacts, ShopTalk, and the HWTR rule-making web site to keep the regulated community updated about the changes. Early draft rule language will be available for review and comments. These comments will be considered as ecology writes the formal proposed rules. Ecology expects to hold at least one informal public meeting about the planned rule changes. Depending on responses from that meeting, we may hold additional meetings for affected regulatory sectors and interested governmental entities. Visit the HWTR rule-making web site at
February 16, 2016
Ken Zarker
Pollution Prevention and
Regulatory Assistance
Section Manager
Hazardous Waste and
Toxics Reduction Program