Ask the Expert, Environmental Permitting

Ask the Expert: When Working on Different Sections of a Pipeline, Do You Need Separate EPA ID Numbers?

EHS Hero® experts are tackling another question today! When working on a linear pipeline, there is the potential to generate hazardous waste at different locations along the line—does this affect considerations for EPA ID numbers? Read on for the full question and what the experts had to say in reply.

Pipeline

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Q: For a linear pipeline project where I might generate hazardous waste at dig locations along the pipeline, there are no physical assets, only the buried pipeline on the right-of-way. Do I need a separate EPA ID number for each location within the State?

The answer to this question is, unfortunately, not spelled out in the RCRA regulations. An answer can be determined, however, by reviewing EPA memorandums, policies, and responses to questions the EPA has answered over the last few decades. Consequently, it would be prudent to consult with your state environmental protection agency to verify the answer described below or to learn of the policy the state agency follows for the scenario you have described.

The answer to your question revolves around the pipeline being determined to be an “elongated” continuous site. A “contiguous site” is a geographically contiguous property. An example of a contiguous site (where only one EPA ID number is required) is when a single company operates three laboratories on a single piece of property. All three laboratories will be assigned the same ID number. Relevant to you is an “elongated contiguous site” of which a pipeline on a right-of-way is a prime example.

According to the U.S. EPA document “RCRA Subtitle C EPA Identification Number, Site Status, and Site Tracking Guidance for Managing Data in RCRA Info, March 21, 2005 “elongated contiguous sites may typically cover large distances and may even span county, borough, or state lines. Generally, all portions of an elongated contiguous site under a single EPA ID number would generally be located within the state issuing the EPA ID number. Examples of elongated contiguous sites are pipelines, sewer systems, and city transit stations without distinct addresses. Requests for an EPA ID number by elongated contiguous property should be evaluated based on the criteria of land ownership, allocation of the waste generation to entities, and context of the project (one-time versus ongoing waste generation). If the site is issued one EPA ID number, the site file should document the decision and provide a map of the points of waste generation covered by the EPA ID number (if possible).” [Note that this EPA document was written, in part, “to assist EPA and state (Implementer) personnel by providing summaries of existing EPA statutory and regulatory requirements, interpretations, and policies in the area of EPA ID numbers”.

As a result of a review of relevant regulations and the above-mentioned EPA document, it is logical to conclude that each dig location along the pipeline would not require its own EPA ID number. The EPA ID number assigned to the dig locations would be that assigned to the “elongated contiguous site” which is the pipeline. The owner of the pipeline is considered the generator of the hazardous waste at the pipeline dig locations.

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