One Step Closer to Hazardous Waste Electronic Manifesting

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued the final rule on January 15, 2014 on the development of the national electronic manifest (e-Manifest) system.  The new system will upgrade the current paper system of tracking hazardous waste to an electronic one.

The final rule falls under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) and authorizes the use of e-Manifests to track hazardous waste.  This should streamline the process and reduce millions of paper manifests that are produced each year.

“Today’s action is a key step in bringing the oversight of these potentially dangerous materials into the 21st century,” said Mathy Stanislaus, EPA assistant administrator for the Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response. “Once fully implemented, the national e-Manifest system will provide greater access for emergency responders to information about the types and sources of hazardous waste that are in transit between generator sites and waste management facilities.”

The EPA has estimated that the e-Manifest system will reduce the burden of preparing manifests by 300,000 to 700,000 hours and will save more than $75 million per year for states and industry.  This information will be publicly available in the electronic format.  The EPA hopes this will “empower communities through increased transparency and more accurate information on completed waste shipments and management trends”.

There are a number of steps required before the e-Manifest system can be implemented including establishing the system and determining an initial fee structure.  Once the proposed rule becomes available, it will be open for comments.  In the meantime, the EPA will work with states, industry and other stakeholders to develop the plans for many key aspects on the e-Manifest system.

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