RCRA Training: What It Is and Why You Need It
Think your company doesn’t need to know about RCRA? Think again. If your company produces hazardous waste, it needs to dispose of it properly—or it could face legal consequences. Here’s an overview of RCRA regulations—and how training in this area can benefit both employees and companies.
What is RCRA?
“RCRA” stands for the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. Established in 1976, it’s the primary law controlling how solid and hazardous waste are disposed of. Its goal is to protect human health and the environment from the dangers of municipal and industrial waste, as well as reducing the amount of that waste produced and conserving energy and natural resources in the process.
What are the basic RCRA provisions?
RCRA is implemented at the Federal level and provides a baseline guide for states in handling their hazardous waste. However, some states have enacted waste management guidelines that are even more stringent than the Federal requirements, so the actual hazardous and solid waste management requirements in your town may vary from the original statute depending on which state you live in.
The law is extensive, but there are a few regulatory provisions that stand out. One is Subtitle C, sometimes referred to as the “Cradle to Grave” requirement. This provision requires the monitoring of hazardous waste’s journey to disposal from its original point of creation to its transport, treatment and final disposal. The tracking requirements are extensive and often complex for companies to carry out, requiring very detailed bookkeeping and reporting on transportation methods, treatment methods, storage and disposal. Because of this, RCRA-educated professionals are often a huge boon to companies looking to satisfy this requirement.
Another interesting provision in RCRA legislation is its whistleblower protection clause. It prohibits discrimination against employees who report their employers’ failure to comply with RCRA regulations. Anyone who has cause to believe they were fired or negatively affected at work because they reported noncompliance can file a written complaint with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration within 30 days.
RCRA also requires that polluters clean up their messes. RCRA has a corrective action program designed to investigate contamination and guide companies’ clean up efforts of air, groundwater, soil or surface water that has been contaminated by hazardous waste.
How is RCRA enforced?
The EPA runs an RCRA enforcement program that ensures states and companies are complying with the regulations by inspecting companies that handle and dispose of hazardous and solid waste. The agency operates on a carrot-and-stick policy: it will take legal action if it finds an instance of noncompliance, but it will also offer incentives and assistance to companies for complying.
Why should I undergo RCRA training?
RCRA law requires exacting compliance—and it can be difficult and expensive to comply with the strict hazardous waste disposal requirements. As a result, professionals who understand how to keep their companies RCRA-compliant—and how to do it as cost-effectively and efficiently as possible—can be valuable in a wide range of industries.
How do I demonstrate my RCRA expertise?
Take a course in RCRA compliance. Start with a basic overview of RCRA law; this will give you a broad understanding of what’s required for compliance.
To deepen your knowledge, take a class in a specific facet of RCRA legislation—such as RCRA Hazardous Waste Management for Generators, site investigation and remediation, liability, enforcement or RCRA permitting. Choose a class that focuses on specific issues your company or industry faces in RCRA compliance. If you need to update prior RCRA knowledge, take a RCRA and DOT refresher course online that will give you an overview of recent changes in the law and how they might affect your company.
RCRA training is valuable for anyone working in an industry where hazardous waste disposal is an issue. Employees with this kind of specialized knowledge are highly valuable to employers; especially those whose RCRA expertise is tailored to the company’s industry. With an online class in RCRA compliance, you can learn how to guide your company’s hazardous waste disposal process safely and in compliance with all relevant laws.
Online RCRA Courses
To make life a bit easier, there are a number of online institutions that offer RCRA training courses that have been specifically designed to be flexible options for individuals with busy life schedules. Here is a small list of some RCRA Training courses that are available online:
- RCRA Hazardous Waste Management for Generators
- RCRA in Day to Day Operations
- Resource Conservation and Recovery Act
- Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (Intermediate)
- Resource Conservation Recovery Act (RCRA): What the Law Requires
US Environmental Protection Agency: RCRA Online
Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality: Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) Program
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