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Solid Waste Management Board’s Final Action Amends Battery Rule

01.28.2013

By Bingham Greenebaum Doll LLP

The Indiana Solid Waste Management Board held its final meeting on December 18, 2012. The Board, together with the Air Pollution Control Board and Water Pollution Control Board will be abolished and replaced with the Environmental Rules Board, commonly referred to as the “Super Board,” at year’s end.  At its swansong meeting, the Board’s only rulemaking action was the final adoption of amendments to 329 IAC 3.1, Temporary Storage and Management of Spent Lead Acid Batteries. Additional information can be found in LSA Document # 09-365.

According to the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM), the amended rule allows staging of spent lead acid batteries at reclamation facilities, provides management standards for temporary storage of spent lead acid batteries, and requires reclamation facilities to comply with applicable federal requirements for solid and hazardous waste with the objective of preventing releases of contaminants into the environment.

Formerly, reclaimers of spent lead acid batteries were subject to federal regulations incorporated by 329 IAC 3.1-11-2(3).  The new rule, 329 IAC 3.1-11.1, which replaces 329 IAC 3.1-11-2(3), provides the requirements for handling spent lead acid batteries.  The new rule is applicable to retailers, wholesalers, and owners/operators of reclamation facilities, intermediate storage facilities, and other storage facilities that discard, dispose of, store, or recycle spent lead acid batteries.  Manufacturers of lead acid batteries are not covered by the rule.

329 IAC 3.1-11.1-3 sets standards for retailers and wholesalers of lead acid batteries.  Wholesalers and retailers that collect spent batteries for recycling must store them upright and secured in a building with a roof or in a covered container that is chemically compatible with the contents of the battery.  If batteries begin to leak, they must be transferred to a compatible container in good condition.

According to 329 IAC 3.1-11.1-4, intermediate storage facilities that collect batteries before they are sent for recycling must follow the same storage standards as retailers and wholesalers. They must dispose of any leaking batteries or spilled waste according to solid and hazardous waste rules.  Batteries must not be stored for more than 365 consecutive days.  Intermediate storage facilities that store large quantities of batteries must notify IDEM of the location of the site and provide contact information.

329 IAC 3.1-11.1-5 includes new requirements for facilities that recycle lead acid batteries.  Recycling facilities may stage spent batteries that have been transported by trailer inside the trailer at the reclamation facility on an asphalt or concrete surface or in a permitted storage area for fourteen days after receipt.  The staging areas must be inspected weekly, and if any evidence of leaking batteries is found, the entire trailer must be processed immediately or the batteries must be moved to a covered container that is chemically compatible with battery components.  Recyclers also must comply with state and federal requirements and permitting for solid and hazardous waste that is generated or brought on site as part of the process.  Spent batteries that are to be regenerated rather than recycled are exempt from this rule.

329 IAC 3.1-11.1-6 requires transporters of components of spent lead acid batteries to comply with state and federal regulations for transporters of hazardous waste; however, transporters of whole spent lead acid batteries are exempt from certain requirements.

Finally, 329 IAC 3.1-11.1-7 requires permitted facilities to comply with closure and post-closure requirements for solid and hazardous waste management units.

First notice of the proposed amendments was published in 2009 and the amendments were preliminarily adopted in 2011.  The Board received comments during the comment period objecting to classification of battery components as solid or hazardous waste rather than raw material that is part of the recycling process.  The Board had previously voted in 1991 to exempt this material from regulation.  IDEM responded that the new rule was required to make sure the playing field was even for all battery recyclers in Indiana following a 1992 containment building rule, 40 CFR Part 264, Subpart DD, adopted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.  IDEM also removed a portion of the preliminarily adopted rule that required facilities to control fugitive lead emissions because this requirement duplicated an existing Clean Air Act standard for secondary lead smelters.  After voting unanimously to approve changes proposed by IDEM that had been tabled at the last Board meeting, the Board then voted 9 to 1 for final adoption of the rule.

The final adopted rule now must be reviewed by the Attorney General and signed by the Governor.  It will become effective thirty days after filing with the Legislative Services Agency, expected in March 2013.

To view a complete PDF of the November/December 2012 issue of the Environmental Letter, click HERE.

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