Hazardous materials are substances or chemicals that pose a health hazard, a physical hazard, or harm to the environment. Hazardous materials are defined and regulated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), and U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). To reduce the introduction of hazardous materials into GSA-controlled space, GSA's Green Purchasing Plan requires GSA to buy products that have a lesser or reduced effect on human health and the environment. In particular, the Plan gives preference to the procurement of products that do not contain toxic chemicals and hazardous substances, which helps to reduce the amount of hazardous waste generated. To learn more about green purchasing to minimize hazardous waste, visit GSA's Green Procurement Compilation (GPC) site.
EMERGENCY PLANNING AND COMMUNITY RIGHT-TO-KNOW ACT (EPCRA)
GSA requires compliance with the EPA's regulations promulgated under the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA). In particular, Tier II forms are annually submitted through State programs, as required under Section 312 of EPCRA, to provide State and local emergency planning officials and the public with specific information on hazardous chemicals present at a facility.
Executive Order (EO) 13693, Planning for Federal Sustainability in the Next Decade, signed by President Barack Obama on March 19, 2015, requires Federal agencies to advance waste prevention and pollution prevention by reporting in accordance with sections 301 through 313 of EPCRA. Additionally, EO 13693 agencies must require contractors to provide information needed by Federal facilities to comply with EPCRA.
EPA regulations establish the requirements for hazardous waste management from the point of generation to final disposal. These rules can be enforced either by the EPA or the State in which the waste is managed. All Federal agencies in GSA-controlled space are individually and jointly responsible for complying with the more stringent Hazardous and Universal Wastes requirements.
Certain generators of hazardous waste are required to obtain an EPA Identification (ID) Number, which is used to track hazardous wastes from generation to disposal. Requirements for an EPA ID Numbers vary by jurisdiction, whereby one jurisdiction may require each agency (GSA and its tenants) generating hazardous waste within the same building to have a separate EPA ID number. And other jurisdiction may authorize only one EPA ID Number for the building, regardless of the number of agencies generating hazardous waste within the building.
In accordance with Federal environmental laws and regulations, GSA policies, procedures, and contracts require proper hazardous waste management to minimize potential risks to human health and to the environment. These wastes may be generated through routine activities, such as cleaning, operating, and maintaining a building, and through small and large construction projects including certain common hazardous wastes such as batteries, pesticides, mercury-containing equipment and light bulbs. GSA's Public Buildings Service (PBS) and tenant Federal agencies work collaboratively to identify, manage, and reduce the risks posed by hazardous waste in government-owned and leased facilities.
GSA promotes responsible refrigerant management practices in compliance with EPA regulations to protect the ozone layer. GSA requires contractors to recover, recycle, and reclaim refrigerant in accordance with EPA regulations, and implement operations and maintenance practices to reduce fugitive emissions associated with hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) refrigrants from air conditioning equipment. For additional information regarding EPA-approved substitutes to Ozone Depleting Substances and refrigerants with high Global Warming Potential (HFCs), as well as approved refrigerant reclaimers, visit the EPA's Ozone Layer Protection website.