Wastes must be an RCRA hazardous waste in order to be subject to the LDR program. In other words, unless a waste meets the definition of a solid and hazardous waste, its disposal is not regulated under the LDR program. Once a generator identifies its waste as hazardous (either listed, characteristic, or both), the waste is assigned a waste code. When U.S. EPA establishes a treatment standard for the waste code, the waste will then become restricted (i.e., subject to the LDR requirements). RCRA requires that U.S. EPA establish treatment standards for hazardous wastes within six months of promulgating a new listing or characteristic. Until U.S. EPA establishes a treatment standard for a waste, this newly identified or newly listed waste (i.e., waste for which U.S. EPA is yet to establish a treatment standard) can continue to be land disposed without treatment. When U.S. EPA promulgates a final treatment standard for a waste, handlers of the waste must manage it in accordance with all the LDR requirements and cannot dispose of it on the land until it meets all applicable treatment standards.

While the LDR program generally applies to all persons who generate, transport, treat, store, or dispose of restricted hazardous wastes, there are exclusions from the LDR requirements. The following wastes are not subject to the LDR program2:

1. Waste generated by CESQGs.

2. Waste pesticides and container residues disposed of by farmers on their own land.

3. Newly identified or newly listed hazardous wastes for which U.S. EPA is yet to promulgate treatment standards.

4. Certain waste releases that are mixed with a facility's wastewater and discharged pursuant to CWA.

Wastes meeting any of these descriptions may continue to be land disposed without being subject to the LDR program.

The LDR requirements attach to a hazardous waste at its point of generation. In other words, once a waste has been generated, identified, and assigned a waste code, it must be treated in accordance with LDR requirements before being disposed of. As a general principle, a hazardous waste must meet all applicable treatment standards to be eligible for land disposal. For the purposes of the LDR program, a generator of a listed hazardous waste must determine whether the waste also exhibits any hazardous waste characteristics. If it does, then the treatment standard for all waste codes must be met before land disposal.

12.7.2 LDR Prohibitions

The LDR program consists of prohibitions on1,2

1. Disposal

2. Dilution

3. Storage.

This series of prohibitions restricts how wastes subject to LDR requirements are handled. The most visible aspect of the LDR program is the disposal prohibition, which includes treatment standards, variances, alternative treatment standards (ATSs), and notification requirements. Land disposal means placement in or on the land, except in a corrective action unit, and includes, but is not limited to, placement in a landfill, surface impoundment, waste pile, injection well, land treatment facility, salt dome formation, salt bed formation, underground mine or cave, or placement in a concrete vault, or bunker intended for disposal purposes. The other two components work in tandem with the disposal prohibition to guide the regulated community in proper hazardous waste management. The dilution prohibition ensures that wastes are properly treated, and the storage prohibition ensures that waste will not be stored indefinitely to avoid treatment.

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