I CAN’T DRIVE (over) 55!

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Whenever I hear the song “I Can’t Drive 55”, which made light of the fines and penalties for exceeding the maximum 55 mile an hour national speed limit, implemented by Gerald Ford during the energy crisis of the 1970s, it makes me think of the penalties for exceeding the federal satellite accumulation 55 gallon storage time requirements.

Once a generator of hazardous waste has accumulated 55 gallons of non-acute hazardous waste in their satellite accumulation area (SAA) but, for some reason cannot move that 55 gallons (ie; drum) of hazardous waste out of the satellite accumulation area, and they decide to start accumulating waste in a new drum, one of the containers must be marked with an accumulation date. Do you know which one?

Under the new EPA hazardous waste generator improvements rule, EPA has defined two types of storage areas for hazardous waste, satellite accumulation(SAA) and central accumulation(CAA). Satellite accumulation is where most generators fill their drums and the central accumulation is where they store them, once filled. In fact, the definition of a central accumulation area is an area away from the operators generating the waste, basically, where the 90 or 180 on site accumulation period begins.

Once a container is moved to the central accumulation area, small quantity generators (SQG) must comply with weekly inspections, storage time and marking requirements. Then in addition to the aforementioned SQG requirements, large quantity generators (LQG) also have requirements under AA, BB, CC of Part 265 for clean air

(https://www.hazmat-tsp.com/40-cfr-part-265-subparts-aaee), containers and tanks, storage locations, training and unit closures, once a container is moved to the LQG central accumulation area. Link to Rob’s Blog Better Small Than Large - (https://www.hazmat-tsp.com/robsblog/2018/4/10/better-small-than-large)


With all that being said and even though it was only the satellite accumulation date marking requirements that I was hoping to clarify, I must tell you first, under this new rule, generators of hazardous waste in their satellite accumulation areas, are only given three calendar days to move excess waste out of the satellite area. Which upon failure to, would then elevate the SAA to a CAA, triggering the additional requirements mentioned above for small and large quantity generators.

“Excess hazardous waste” (over the 55 gallons) is the key here!  The 55 gallon drum is not required to be moved from the satellite accumulation area, ever. OK, most generators once the 55 gallon drum is full would move the drum to the central accumulation area and start a new drum of hazardous waste in the satellite accumulation area. 

 But, that’s not the point, the way the regulations are written, a full drum of non-acute hazardous waste or up to 55 gallons, stored in a satellite accumulation area, would never fall under the three day rule under the federal requirements, only excess hazardous waste generated over the 55 gallons, would fall under the three day rule. The full drum is not the issue, it’s the excess waste that EPA is worried about.


OK, now back to my question, if an operator filled a 55 gallon drum of hazardous waste in a satellite accumulation area, then decided to put a second container into the satellite accumulation area, as the operator of the process would like to continue the production run without a shut down, would the generator be required to mark the full drum with the date, or would the generator be required to mark the new container of excess waste with a start date, to comply with the three day rule?

 Well it seems in 40 CFR, the Environmental Protection Agency Part 262, Standards applicable to generators of hazardous waste in sub-paragraph 262.15 (a) (6), states the generator must mark the second container holding the excess waste.

During the three-consecutive-calendar-day period the generator must continue to comply with paragraphs (a)(1) through (5) of this section. The generator must mark or label the container(s) holding the excess accumulation of hazardous waste with the date the excess amount began accumulating.”

It kind of makes sense to me, regardless of or as to whatever issue this situation has arisen, I could see a generator, with both a full drum of non-acute hazardous waste and a drum that was being filled in SSA, within three calendar days, moving the full drum of hazardous waste to the central accumulation area, marking the 90 or 180 day accumulation date on the full drum, then returning to wipe the date off the excess waste container that remained in the satellite accumulation area, as there is no requirement to mark the single drum in the satellite accumulation area under the federal requirements. Or, if the state had “a one year on-site accumulation storage rule”, like California and Pennsylvania, the generator could just leave the excess accumulation date on the drum to document its new start date.


It also seems in the past, many small and large quantity generators would bypass the central accumulation area and send hazardous waste off their site, from the satellite accumulation area for disposal, bypassing the requirements for inclusion of the SAA’s in their Preparedness and Prevention and Contingency Plans. This loophole is now closed, because the new rule requires both satellite and central accumulation areas to be included in the generators Preparedness, Prevention and Contingency Plans under 40 CFR 262.16 (7) and (8).


 It should also be mentioned, in addition to any accumulation start dates, and regardless of whether a container is in the central or satellite accumulation area, it must be marked with the words “Hazardous Waste “ and an “indication of the hazard”  for the waste inside the drum, such as a DOT hazard class label, OSHA, GHS pictogram or the name of it’s EPA Hazardous Waste Characteristic. 

I think generators should always try to take advantage of the satellite accumulation exceptions, because it’s better to start your 90 or 180 day suspension …ur……… I mean accumulation start date, with the full drum as opposed to starting it with an empty one. If you have any questions on satellite or central accumulation areas, come to my seminar, send an email or give me a call.

Thank you for your leadership and support.

Robert J Keegan

Publisher and President

Hazardous Materials Publishing Company

Transportation Skills Program Inc



The UN International Harmonization of the 49 CFR hazardous material and waste shipping regulations are driving me crazy. I am talking about the diamond shaped Department of Transportation, hazard class labels, required on containers of hazardous material and hazardous waste. See last October, I wrote a blog telling everyone, not to throw out the older DOT hazard class labels just yet, if their inner border lines were only 1mm wide, even though the DOT and the UN or United Nations Committee of Dangerous Goods Experts were now requiring the border line be increased to 2mm.

See. I knew about the label’s inner borders, were beefed up to 2 mm wide, as I had mentioned in my October blog “It’s a Thin Line” (Link to blog - https://www.hazmat-tsp.com/robsblog/2018/10/31/it-is-a-thin-line ). But, I should have more, carefully read the label revisions in the Final rule in the November 7, 2018 Federal Register, (Link- to https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/FR-2018-11-07/pdf/2018-23965.pd   page 55806).  

The November Federal Register stated that the labels with the 1 mm lines were still authorized, but only domestically until the end of their service life, which would authorize both a 1mm or 2mm inner border line, on the label “But only if the packages were labeled before January 1, 2017”.  So, If they aren't stuck, your out of luck.

For domestic transportation, a packaging labeled prior to January 1, 2017, and in conformance with the requirements of this paragraph in effect on December 31, 2014, may continue in service until the end of its useful life.”

Also, be aware, when reducing labels on smaller containers. Instead of having to maintain the 5 mm label edge to inner border, the whole label can be reduced proportionately in size. 

“If the size of the package so requires, the dimensions of the label and its features may be reduced proportionally provided the symbol and other elements of the label remain clearly visible”.

I should have known about the label changes and updated you, It is important to frequently and thoroughly read any and all proposed and final rule changes, that affect your company’s compliance , in the current e-regs, (https://gov.ecfr.io/cgi-bin/ECFR ). Or, at the very least, go to our website where Lisa, goes through the Hazardous Material, (DOT), Hazardous Waste, (EPA) and  Hazardous Substance and Chemical, (OSHA) regulations every day, then posts all of the proposed and final rules for both you and me, (https://www.hazmat-tsp.com/new-blog). They change all the time.

Thank you for your support and readership

Robert J. Keegan
Publisher and President 
Hazardous Materials Publishing Company 




The term ’’under the control of the operator,’’ for Satellite Accumulation Areas (SAA), was never really defined in the original final rule of the, 40 CFR Environmental Protection Agency Part 262 Hazardous Waste Generators Regulations.

Well, it seems to be a situation where, an operator would have “adequate” control over the satellite waste, be familiar with the operation generating the hazardous waste and be aware of and able to attend to the operations, if needed.

 I only say that with such certainty because an in-house seminar attendee, recently sent me a question on it. So, based on our policy of “service after the sale”, I was forced to look it up in the preamble to the EPA Hazardous Waste Generator Improvements Final Rule. This final rule, which is now in effect in most states, was published in the Federal Register in Vol. 81, No. 228 on Monday, November 28, 2016. Well, wouldn’t you know, it contains a “under the control of operator” interpretation, on page 85767 (8. middle column).

Link to the federal register Hazardous Waste Generator Improvements Rule at 


 Or, on the EPA’s Hazardous Waste Generator Improvements Rule webpage at

https://www.epa.gov/hwgenerators/final-rule-hazardous-waste-generator-improvements to find out how to start your 90 or 180 day hazardous Waste storage time, with full drums, not empty ones, by taking advantage of Section 262.15 Satellite accumulation for large and small quality generators.

 To paraphrase the preamble, the federal EPA suggests that if the operator controls access to an area, building, or room in which the SAA is located, or if the operator accumulates waste in a locked cabinet, that would be considered to be ‘‘under the control of the operator” even “if the cabinet were stored inside a room to which access is not controlled”.

And apparently, there can be more than one operator per each SAA, as in the case of employee shift changes, so that the role of the operator can be transferred from one worker to another. They also have no problem with more than one operator using the same SAA, at the same time. Such a situations where lab operators in the same room are all sharing the same hazardous waste container, located in a single SAA. 

EPA writes regulations, but others enforce them. The Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality and the Association of State and Territorial Solid Waste Management Officials (ASTSWMO) in the preamble seemed to feel it was where the operator is regularly within view of the SAA during the course of their job, or where the operator can observe individuals that enter or exit the SAA. Which seems to be in stark contrast to the District of Columbia (DC) Department of Energy and Environment, who commented , “under control of the operator” would not include situations where the waste cannot be seen unless the area is equipped with 24 hour video surveillance or 24 hour sensor surveillance. 

That being said, you should be aware of what is not up for interpretation, such as the time waste over 55 gallons may now be accumulated in the satellite accumulation area. States will now require any excess waste over 55 gallons be moved to the central accumulation area within 3 calendar days and that any container containing waste in excess of the 55 gallons, that remains in the satellite accumulation area be marked with its accumulation start date. Failure to move containers containing waste in excess of 55 gallons, within 3 days in a satellite accumulation area would make it, a Central Accumulation Area, that could trigger weekly inspections, record keeping and clean-closure requirements.

None of this precludes, any additional mandatory state requirements  such as in California, Washington and Pennsylvania, just to name a few, for marking, recordkeeping and storage times that are more restrictive.

I am sure glad that I don’t generate, store or dispose of hazardous waste, even though I have to spend most of my time thinking about it. So, if you have a question, regardless of whether you are a past, present or future seminar attendee, (or not), let me earn my keep, as wait for my first seminar with the new 2019/2020 Hazardous Material, Substances and Waste Compliance Guide in Anchorage in September.

Thanks for your readership and support.

Robert J Keegan 
Publisher and President 
Hazardous Materials Publishing Company
Transportation Skills Programs Inc