Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA)

A federal law enacted in 1976 that established a regulatory system to track hazardous wastes from the point of generation to disposal. It is commonly referred to as the cradle to grave process for hazardous waste (spent oil, cleaning agents, pesticides, etc.). The law requires the use of safe and secure procedures in treating, transporting, storing, and disposing of hazardous wastes. The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) is authorized by the US Environmental Protection Agency to implement RCRA.

DHEC is currently working toward adopting the Definition of Solid Waste Rule and the Generator Improvements Rule. The status of each of these regulations can be found on DHEC's Hazardous Waste Management Regulations Update Status page.

Why do we need RCRA?

Prior to the RCRA program hazardous waste was not regulated by DHEC. Under RCRA is a set of state/federal regulations to control how hazardous waste is managed. To meet the regulatory requirements, facilities submit applications for a RCRA Hazardous Waste Management Permit. The Permit outlines the requirements for proper management of generated hazardous waste and sets up a corrective action program to manage and clean-up past contamination.

What does a RCRA permit do?

Sets up requirements outlining requirements for properly managing hazardous waste. Three types of Permits issued:

  1. Treatment- use processes to alter the character or composition of waste
  2. Storage- temporarily hold waste until they are treated or disposed of
  3. Disposal- permanently contain waste

Tracks the clean up of past contamination through the Corrective Action process:

  1. Investigation
  2. Clean-up
  3. Long Term Monitoring

What is the RCRA Corrective Action Process ?

Establishes a framework for facilities (Commercial, DoD, etc.) to investigate and clean-up hazardous waste contamination. The facilities are required to clean up all affected media (soil, groundwater, surface water, and air). DHEC oversees all stages of the process.

RCRA Public Participation

The goal of the Public Participation requirements in RCRA is to involve the public early and often in the permitting process. This allows the public multiple opportunities to learn about the facility operations and to provide their input both to DHEC and the facility. There are two types of public meetings held as part of the public participation process:

  • Facility led
  • DHEC led.

Facility led meetings

The RCRA regulations require the facility to hold a public meeting when:

  • They submit an application for a permit at a new facility
  • They submit a request to modify their current permit.

The Department is present at these meetings to help answer questions from the public and to hear public input prior to making a decision to issue a Permit.

DHEC led meetings

DHEC holds public meetings when draft permits are issued for:

  • A new permit
  • Permit renewal
  • Permit modification

For both facility led and DHEC led public meetings, comments should be submitted to:

Stacey French
Division of Waste Management
Bureau of Land and Waste Management
2600 Bull Street
Columbia, South Carolina 29201
(803) 898-0238

 Related Topics

Department of Defense Facilities


Environment Land & Waste