A Basic Guide to RCRA: Understanding Solid and Hazardous Waste Management

by Salvatore Caccavale, CHMM

Published by ASSE, 1800 E. Oakton St., Des Plaines, IL 60018-2187. Phone (847) 699-2929. 1998, softcover, glossary and index; $16.95 members/$19.95 nonmembers. ISBN 1-885581-15-7. ASSE Order #4372.

It is great to have a safety professional with an environmental background explain complex environmental laws and EPA regulations, such as RCRA. A Basic Guide to RCRA is intended for safety professionals who are picking up environmental responsibilities or are interested in understanding environmental requirements.

The author points out that safety professionals have been used to dealing with OSHA performance standards, but the EPA standards are typically much more extensive and specification-oriented. Just learning what the multitudes of acronyms stand for and the copious terminology that has to be defined is a major effort. The author's safety background helps in explaining the rules.

This book is an excellent reference for safety professionals and others who are in the process of becoming an environmental compliance resource and who need to quickly gain an understanding of RCRA, its specific requirements, and its impact on the organizations they serve. Mr. Caccavale tells us in the preface that he gained his understanding from recently implementing a RCRA program and experiencing the "trials and errors" of that endeavor. He is not, he says, part of the "original RCRA generation" of the late 70's and early 80's.

Major topics covered include: legislative history; applicable responsibilities; waste determination; management of hazardous waste; hazardous waste manifests; transportation of hazardous waste; personnel training; waste minimization; and selecting a hazardous waste transporter and treatment, storage or disposal facility. There is also an extensive glossary, including acronyms, and appendices listing the parts of the RCRA regulation and resources for additional assistance.

As the author takes the reader through these topics, he outlines the requirements and also provides insights from his own experiences. There are pictures and various exhibits and examples included to reinforce the points being made.

This book presents RCRA from a safety professional's viewpoint. It is an excellent resource for the safety professional who is adding environmental to his/her expertise or who needs to understand what their organization and/or their environmental colleagues face in complying with RCRA.

Reviewed by
Tom Lawrence, CSP
Ballwin, MO