The commissioner shall provide for the establishment of a technical and research assistance program for generators of hazardous and industrial waste in the state. The program must be designed to assist generators in the state to obtain information about management of hazardous and industrial wastes, to identify and apply methods of reducing the generation of hazardous and industrial wastes, to facilitate improved management of hazardous and industrial waste and compliance with hazardous and industrial waste rules, and for other similar purposes. The program must emphasize assistance to smaller businesses that have inadequate technical and financial resources for obtaining information, assessing waste management methods, and developing and applying waste reduction techniques. Information and techniques developed under this program must be made available through the program to all generators in the state.
The assistance program must include at least the following elements:
(1) outreach programs including on-site consultation at locations where hazardous and industrial waste is generated, seminars, workshops, training programs, and other similar activities designed to assist generators to evaluate their hazardous and industrial waste generation and management practices, identify opportunities for waste reduction and improved management, and identify subjects that require additional information and research;
(2) a program to assemble, catalog, and disseminate information about hazardous and industrial waste reduction and management methods, available commercial waste management facilities and consultant services, and regulatory programs (provided that specific questions by generators about interpretation or application of waste management rules should be referred to appropriate regulatory agencies);
(3) evaluation and interpretation of information needed by generators to improve their management of hazardous and industrial waste; and
(4) informational and technical research to identify alternative technical solutions that can be applied by specific generators to reduce the generation of hazardous and industrial waste.
The assistance program must be coordinated with other public and private programs that provide management and technical assistance to smaller businesses and generators of small quantities of hazardous and industrial waste, including programs operated by public and private educational institutions. The commissioner may make grants to a public or private person or association that will establish and operate the elements of the program, but the grants must require that the assistance be provided at no cost to the generators and that the grantees provide periodic reports on the improvements in waste management, waste reduction, and regulatory compliance achieved by generators through the assistance provided.