In response to its PFAS Strategic Roadmap, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) initiated two regulatory actions under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) to tackle PFAS pollution. Once implemented, these measures will empower federal and state agencies with advanced tools for PFAS remediation.
The initial proposed regulation intends to designate specific PFAS as “hazardous constituents” within RCRA’s framework, making them subject to detailed scrutiny and cleanup actions at sites handling hazardous waste.
The second proposed rule aims to affirm that new contaminants, including certain PFAS that are not currently classified as “hazardous wastes” yet align with the definition of “hazardous waste” in RCRA section 1004(5), should be managed equivalently to traditional hazardous wastes in the context of corrective actions. Listing these PFAS as RCRA hazardous constituents does not make them, or the wastes containing them, RCRA hazardous wastes.
On February 8, 2024, the EPA proposed to add nine PFAS compounds to the list of “hazardous constituents” to be considered “in RCRA facility assessments and, where necessary, further investigation and cleanup through the RCRA corrective action process.” Appendix VIII to Part 261 – Hazardous Constituents shown at right.
If finalized, this hazardous constituent listing would form part of the basis for any future action the EPA may take to list these substances as hazardous waste.
EPA’s criteria for listing substances as hazardous constituents under RCRA require that they have been shown in scientific studies to have toxic, carcinogenic, mutagenic, or teratogenic effects on humans or other life forms.
Entities potentially affected by the proposed rule include hazardous waste treatment, storage, and disposal facilities (TSDFs) with solid waste management units (SWMUs) that have released or could release any of the PFAS proposed to be listed as RCRA hazardous constituents. EPA has identified 1,740 such facilities, which could be subject to additional corrective action requirements. “Waste Management and Remediation Services” had the highest number of facilities (359) with a high likelihood of handling PFAS.
The primary goal of the suggested amendment is to update 40 CFR 264.101 so that it accurately mirrors the requirements for corrective action cleanups at hazardous waste Treatment, Storage, and Disposal Facilities (TSDFs) as specified by RCRA sections 3004(u) and (v). The modifications are designed to clarify that the management of hazardous waste releases, including those not categorized as hazardous under current regulations but fitting the broader definition in RCRA section 1004(5), should adhere to the established protocols for hazardous waste under the corrective action program. Focusing on Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS), this regulatory action is a crucial part of the EPA’s PFAS Strategic Roadmap.
Should this proposed regulation be adopted, it would mean that PFAS would be specifically included as hazardous constituents to be considered during facility assessments and, where necessary, further investigation and cleanup under the RCRA corrective action process at hazardous waste TSDFs.
The proposed regulation states that “solid waste disposal facilities, such as those for municipal waste or construction and demolition debris, would not be subject to RCRA corrective action requirements unless they also function as hazardous waste TSDFs.”
Subtitle D of RCRA covers non-hazardous solid waste management, including municipal solid waste landfills, which are subject to different regulations than hazardous waste facilities (regulated under Subtitle C).
Although the recent proposal by the EPA to revise RCRA does not aim at mandating corrective actions at municipal solid waste (MSW) landfills, it sets the stage for probable future amendments under Subtitle C that might classify certain PFAS-containing waste streams, currently considered non-hazardous, as hazardous waste (e.g., listed or characteristic wastes).
While it is premature to predict the impact of future hazardous waste regulations on MSW landfills, it is appropriate to begin collecting information on PFAS waste and assessing potential effects now. Landfills that have implemented special waste review programs (for example, for non-hazardous industrial wastes like wastewater treatment sludge) are advised to expand their waste characterization efforts within these programs to include requests for data on the presence and concentration of the nine PFAS constituents highlighted in the proposed RCRA rule. Additionally, landfills without such review programs are encouraged to consider establishing them.
Jeff Marshall, PE, is a Vice President of SCS Engineers, Environmental Services Practice Leader for SCS offices in the Mid-Atlantic region, and our National Expert on Emerging Contaminants and Innovative Technologies. His four decades of experience include a diversified project engineering and management background, emphasizing environmental chemistry, hazardous materials, waste, and human health risk issues. Focus areas include environmental permitting, regulatory compliance, and hazardous materials treatment and remediation. He is a licensed professional engineer in Virginia, Maryland, West Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina.
David L. Palmerton, Jr., PG, has more than 35 years of experience in environmental consulting in environmental liability assessment, investigation, remediation, due diligence, and construction quality control. His experience includes consulting with large commercial, industrial, and academic entities. He also has extensive experience with the energy industry, specifically oil and gas upstream operations. He has managed strategic and technical environmental consulting issues for Fortune 100 companies throughout the United States. Mr. Palmerton is a professional geologist in several states and a former Certified Hazardous Materials Manager.
Proposed PFAS Hazardous Constituents Under RCRA
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing to amend its regulation under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) by adding nine specific per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), their salts, and their structural isomers to its list of hazardous constituents. EPA’s criteria for listing substances as hazardous constituents under RCRA require that they have been shown in scientific studies to have toxic, carcinogenic, mutagenic, or teratogenic effects on humans or other life forms.
Entities potentially affected by this action include hazardous waste treatment, storage, and disposal facilities (TSDFs) with solid waste management units (SWMUs) that have released or could release any of the PFAS proposed to be listed as RCRA hazardous constituents. EPA has identified 1,740 such facilities, which could be subject to additional corrective action requirements (under RCRA section 3004(u) and (v)) to address releases not already subject to corrective action under EPA’s corrective action regulations.
The nine PFAS and common uses are as follows:
EPA will collect comments on this PFAS to RCRA’s hazardous constituents proposal for 60 days once published in the Federal Register. Read a prepublication copy of this proposal.
Submit your comments on the Federal eRulemaking Portal: https://www.regulations.gov and identified by Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OLEM-2023-0278.
As a result of this proposed rule, if finalized, when imposing corrective action requirements at a facility, these PFAS would be among the hazardous constituents expressly identified for consideration in RCRA facility assessments and, where necessary, further investigation and cleanup through the RCRA corrective action process at RCRA treatment, storage, and disposal facilities. Contact SCS Engineers for guidance about your facility at .
For additional information regarding EPA’s proposed RCRA PFAS rules, see:
(l) Liquids addition. The owner or operator of a designated facility with a design capacity equal to or greater than 2.5 million megagrams and 2.5 million cubic meters that has employed leachate recirculation or added liquids based on a Research, Development, and Demonstration permit (issued through Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), subtitle D, part 258) within the last 10 years must submit to the Administrator, annually, following the procedure specified in paragraph (j)(2) of this section, the following information:
(1) Volume of leachate recirculated (gallons per year) and the reported basis of those estimates (records or engineering estimates).
(2) Total volume of all other liquids added (gallons per year) and the reported basis of those estimates (records or engineering estimates).
(3) Surface area (acres) over which the leachate is recirculated (or otherwise applied).
(4) Surface area (acres) over which any other liquids are applied.
(5) The total waste disposed (megagrams) in the areas with recirculated leachate and/or added liquids based on on-site records to the extent data are available, or engineering estimates and the reported basis of those estimates.
(6) The annual waste acceptance rates (megagrams per year) in the areas with recirculated leachate and/or added liquids, based on on-site records to the extent data are available, or engineering estimates.
(7) The initial report must contain items in paragraph (l)(1) through (6) of this section per year for the most recent 365 days as well as for each of the previous 10 years, to the extent historical data are available in on-site records, and the report must be submitted no later than June 21, 2022.
(8) Subsequent annual reports must contain items in paragraph (l)(1) through (6) of this section for the 365-day period following the 365-day period included in the previous annual report, and the report must be submitted no later than 365 days after the date the previous report was submitted.
If you need assitance meeting the regulations, please contact your project manager or send a request to
The EPA Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) requires landfill operators to maintain post-closure care for 30 years, though states will adjust the term according to when they determine ending this care will not threaten human health or the environment. Industry stakeholders say it’s not enough guidance because it does not provide how states should assess for impact on human health or the environment, nor how to determine when to transition from active post-closure care to custodial care. Regulators tend to default to an extension of terms. Again data collection plays a significant role in determining the post-closure care term.
“The whole purpose of the post-closure care term is to provide enough time for landfills to become stable. One way to assess is by determining if functional stability has been achieved, which entails looking at performance metrics like leachate management, settlement, landfill gas control, and groundwater monitoring,” says Bob Gardner, of SCS Engineers.
Looking at these metrics, once it’s determined that functional stability has been achieved, these active systems may be able to be turned off, with only passive controls like cover remaining in place.
Monitoring may be done less frequently or not at all. “EPA acknowledges that back in the 1980s, it did not know how systems, primarily liner systems, would perform under new Subtitle D rules. But based on monitoring of these systems over the past 25 years, we know that they perform well to prevent migration of contaminants to groundwater,” says Gardner.
Read the Waste360 article Stakeholders Call for More Certain Landfill Post-closure Care Terms
Investigate why over 600 landfills use SCS eTools® to track, report, and store important data.
The Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs announced the release of the Agenda of Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions. The Agenda reports on the actions administrative agencies plan to issue in the near and long term. Of note:
The EPA published an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) regarding possible revisions to the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) Subtitle D part 258 regulations for municipal solid waste (MSW) landfills that may provide regulatory flexibility to encourage accelerated waste decomposition in the presence of water. In light of advances in landfill technology, the EPA is considering whether to revise part 258 to create new national standards for the management of liquids in “wet” landfills and bioreactor landfills, including the possibility of removing the prohibition on the addition of bulk liquids, to foster accelerated waste decomposition. Through the ANPRM, the EPA requested information and data on the performance of bioreactor landfills and wet landfills, including information on appropriate liquids management. In addition, the EPA requested comments on whether new national standards for bioreactor landfills and wet landfills are appropriate, and if so, what regulatory changes the EPA should consider in developing any proposal.
This proposal address the agency’s residual risk and technology review (RTR) of the National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP) for Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) Landfills. The MSW Landfills NESHAP, subpart AAAA, was promulgated pursuant to section 112(d) of the Clean Air Act (CAA) on January 16, 2003. The NESHAP established emission limitations based on maximum achievable control technology (MACT) for controlling emissions of hazardous air pollutants (HAP) and helped implement the Urban Air Toxics Strategy developed under section 112(k) of the CAA. The HAP emitted by MSW landfills includes, but are not limited to, vinyl chloride, ethylbenzene, toluene, and benzene. This action implements the residual risk review requirements of CAA section 112(f)(2) and the technology review requirements of CAA section 112(d)(6). The statute directs the EPA to promulgate emission standards under CAA 112(f)(2) if such standards are required to provide an ample margin of safety to protect public health or to prevent, taking relevant factors into account, an adverse environmental effect. Any such standards are to be promulgated within 8 years after the promulgation of MACT standards under CAA section 112(d). CAA section 112(d)(6) requires the EPA to review and revise the MACT standards as necessary, taking into account developments in practices, processes and control technologies, no less often than every 8 years. Pursuant to a court order, the EPA is obligated to complete the final action by March 13, 2020. In consideration of this deadline, which also applies to 19 other RTR source categories, we established an internal schedule for this RTR to be proposed and finalized prior to the consent decree deadline. The EPA currently plans to complete this action by July 2019.
The EPA finalized the Emission Guidelines and Compliance Times for Municipal Solid Waste Landfills on August 29, 2016 (81 FR 59276). The requirements for state and federal plans implementing the Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) Landfills Emission Guidelines are specified in subpart B – 40 CFR 60.20-60 (referred to as the implementing regulations), which is cross-referenced in the emission guidelines issued by the Agency.
In August 2018, the EPA proposed changes to the implementing regulations governing emission guidelines under a new 40 CFR part 60, subpart Ba. This action aligns the regulatory text in the MSW Landfills Emission Guidelines with a cross-reference to the new subpart Ba for the timing requirements of state and federal plans.
By asking good questions Chris Jimieson, PE, Senior Geological Engineer at SCS Engineers challenges his clients to think critically about how their facility could be better prepared to navigate a spill response. The answers help a facility’s spill contingency plan become more tailored to best serve that particular facility while meeting the necessary regulatory requirements.
Each facility is different, so the best means of preparedness should fit the operational structure and practices of the facility to ultimately limit your facility’s potential vulnerability during a spill. Chris takes his readers through several examples and ideas of useful tools and processes that help them become better prepared, such as adding infographics as attachments to a spill contingency plan.
His advice is directed toward the printing industry but is applicable in many industries.
Chad Milligan, P.G. of SCS Engineers is presenting a holistic approach to water quality treatment at mines.
About the Presentation:
Disposal of produced fluids from industrial processes is becoming more challenging with time. Options such as surface discharge through NPDES or trucking can be cost prohibitive, requiring an evaluation of alternative methods such as disposal via deep will injection.
Such problems have arisen for three coal mines in Illinois. Two of the mines generate high chloride native groundwater that infiltrates the mine and is then pumped to surface retention ponds prior to treatment and disposal. The third mine generates fluids from multiple sources including a coal fire power generating plant and a coal combustion residual landfill. These fluids will be also stored in surface retention ponds prior to treatment and disposal.
An evaluation was performed of the treatment and disposal of native groundwater infiltrating the mines using a holistic approach. The approach includes an evaluation of the water quality by assessing the chemical and physical characteristics of water, water quantities, water treatment system, geochemistry, and applicable disposal well characteristics. Current evaluations have identified specific minerals that may be precipitating within the disposal well diminishing well capacity and biological fouling originating within the mine itself that has substantially increased pretreatment filtering costs.
The treatment and disposal of produced powered generating fluids has introduced a new level of review by not only including the general physical and chemical characteristics of water treatment, but also the review and evaluation of the plant-wide water budget identifying the source of fluids within the plant, and also a thorough characterization and review of solid waste regulations such as the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act.
This presentation will compare the source and treatment options of the produced waters from these three coal mines.
About Chad Milligan
Chad Milligan is a licensed professional geologist in the states of Kansas, Louisiana, and Illinois. He has a Bachelors degree in Environmental Chemistry from Emporia State University and a Master’s degree in Environmental Science from Wichita State University. Chad is responsible for the permitting and regulatory compliance of Class I and Class II disposal wells, Class III salt solution mining wells, LPG storage caverns, and Class V cavern stabilization wells.
SCS Engineers provides a free guide to the most common environmental reports due at the federal and state levels. Each guide includes an overview of the reporting due along with the date each state requires submission.
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If your state is not listed, contact the nearest SCS office to speak with a compliance professional in your area and in your business sector; SCS is nationwide.
If you have questions or need help sorting out details such as which reports apply to your business or step-by-step support on how to prepare your reports in the states listed above, contact our regional professionals.
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Ann O’Brien 1-773-775-6362
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Cheryl Moran 1-608-216-7325