EPA Launches Electronic Hazmat Waste Tracking System
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has launched e-Manifest, a new national electronic system for tracking hazardous waste shipments across the country.
The system’s goal is to reduce costs and improve regulatory oversight and the quality of data available on hazardous waste shipments nationwide.
The new requirements affect all U.S. companies that handle waste requiring a Resource Conservation and Recovery Act manifest—roughly 150,000 companies across at least 45 industry segments.
“The system will improve access to higher quality and more timely hazardous waste shipment data and save industry and states valuable time and resources to the tune of $90 million annually,” the EPA said in a statement.
The e-Manifest system, formally launched June 30, was authorized by the 2012 e-Manifest Act and is designed to enable electronic tracking of hazardous waste.
It will also serve as a national reporting hub and database for hazardous waste manifests and shipping data.
EPA says it will phase in the complete transition to electronic manifests and continue to do outreach to states and the industry to educate users on the new system.
“We are confident that updating these systems will yield a reduction of regulatory burden, saving time and resources, and improving protection of human health and the environment,” said Alexandra Dunn, regional administrator of the EPA’s New England office.
Among the facilities and operations the new system covers are hazardous waste generators, hazardous waste transporters, and owners and operators of treatment, storage, and disposal facilities. Under the new system, owners and operators of Connecticut facilities no longer need send copies of manifests to DEEP.
Under the new system, as of June 30, owners and operators of Connecticut treatment, storage, and disposal facilities no longer need send copies of manifests to the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, according to guidelines DEEP issued.
Instead, the manifests must be submitted to e-Manifest.
This can be done by mailing a paper manifest, uploading a scanned image of the manifest to e-Manifest, uploading a data file, or creating, signing, and submitting an electronic manifest.
Fees the EPA charges for each submitted manifest depends how it is submitted, ranging from $20 for a mailed paper manifest to $4 for an electronic manifest.
Under the new system, owners and operators of Connecticut facilities no longer need send copies of manifests to DEEP.
- Facilities that receive hazardous waste that requires manifesting must submit manifests to the EPA
- Companies or facilities that generate, transport, and dispose of hazardous waste may transmit waste manifest data electronically through the e-Manifest system.
The new requirement that receiving facilities submit all manifests to the EPA is considered a major change.
However, EPA will give receiving facilities extra time to submit paper manifests during the first few months after the June 30 launch.
Under the new regulations, receiving facilities must submit paper manifests to EPA within 30 days.
But EPA will allow receiving facilities to submit paper manifests they get between June 30 and Sept. 1, 2018 by Sept. 30,2018—an extra 60 days over the existing 30 days provided in the regulations.
Before this new system was implemented, hazardous waste shipments across state borders had the potential to cause jurisdictional problems for states with more stringent regulations.
If a disposal site in the midwest received materials from an eastern state that was classified as hazardous under the eastern state's law but not under the midwest state’s law, then the midwest site may or may not have submitted the manifest to the eastern state.
That meant the eastern state could not enforce its collection.
But under the new system, federal and state regulators can access complete records—from generation to disposal—from the mandatory e-Manifest system.
Waste handling facilities are advised to review the waste and manifest requirements pertaining to their business, and understand the laws and regulations for the generating and receiving state.
Waste defined as hazardous by the generating or receiving state, or any state requiring tracking on a Resource Conservation and Recovery Act manifest, is subject to the new e-Manifest requirements.
The new requirements will also impact any RCRA-permitted disposal facilities and non-permitted facilities that receive waste that is either non-hazardous but requires an RCRA manifest or is hazardous under the regulations of the state where it was generated.
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