Regulatory Update EPA Finalizes Rule on Electronic Hazardous Waste Manifests

Earlier this month, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency published a final rule in the Federal Register to authorize the use of electronic manifests (e-Manifests) as a means to track off-site shipments of hazardous waste from a generator's site to the site of the receipt and disposition of the hazardous waste. This final rule also implements provisions of the Hazardous Waste Electronic Manifest Establishment Act, which directs EPA to establish an e-Manifest system, and to impose user fees to fund the development and operation of the system.

The final rule clarifies that electronic manifest documents obtained from the Agency's national e-Manifest system and completed in accordance with the regulation, are the legal equivalent of the paper manifest forms (EPA Forms 8700-22 and 8700-22A) that are currently authorized for use in tracking hazardous waste shipments. EPA states that upon completion of the e-Manifest system, the electronic manifest documents authorized by the rule will be available to manifest users as an alternative to the paper manifest forms, to comply with federal and state requirements respecting the use of the hazardous waste manifest.

EPA says that users who elect to opt out of the electronic submittal to the e-Manifest system may continue to use the paper manifest to track their shipments during transportation, which then will be submitted by the designated facility for inclusion in the e-Manifest system. EPA also recognizes that there will be a period of transition to electronic submittals, and the Agency will assess what measures might be effective to expedite the transition from paper to electronic manifests.

In addition, the final rule further clarifies those electronic signature methods that the Agency recommends for executing electronic manifests and specifies how issues of public access to manifest information will be addressed when manifest data are submitted and processed electronically. Finally, the regulation announces that the final electronic manifest requirements will be implemented in all states on the same effective date for the national e-Manifest system. Authorized states must adopt program revisions equivalent to and consistent with the federal requirements, but EPA will implement these electronic manifest regulations unless and until the states are fully authorized to implement them in lieu of EPA. The rule will take effect on April 6, 2014.

Click here for a copy of the rule.

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