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New EPA Hazardous Waste Import/Export Regulations Finalized

Posted on 10/28/2016 by Roger Marks

On October 28, 2016, US EPA announced it will soon publish a Final Rule to revise the US hazardous waste import and export requirements. 

Under the Final Rule, EPA’s requirements for transboundary hazardous waste shipments will be more consistent with the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) import-export rules. Because nearly all import-export shipments of hazardous waste in and out of the US originate or are destined for other OECD nations, conforming the RCRA import-export rules at 40 CFR 262, Subpart H to OECD requirements is a logical step from EPA’s point of view.

Originally proposed about one year ago, the Final Rule will also:
  • Require shippers to electronically submit export- and import-related documents, like export notices and export annual reports, to EPA.
  • Require electronic validation of consent in the US Customs and Border Protection’s Automated Export System (AES) for export shipments subject to RCRA export consent requirements. 

The updated import/export rules will apply to all transboundary hazardous waste shipments, including RCRA hazardous wastes that may be managed under alternative standards—universal waste sent for recycling or disposal, spent lead-acid batteries (SLABs), recyclable materials shipped for precious metals recovery, and hazardous waste samples bigger than 25 kg shipped for characterization or treatability studies. 

The revisions in the Final Rule will not affect existing bilateral agreements between the US and Canada, the US and Mexico, or the import-only bilateral agreements between the US and Malaysia, Costa Rica, and the Philippines.  

Who Will the New Hazardous Waste Import/Export Rules Affect?

Hazardous waste import and export requirementsThe new Final Rule will primarliy affect four groups:
  1. Persons who export or import hazardous waste for recycling or disposal,
  2. Recycling and disposal facilities who receive hazardous waste imports,
  3. Persons who arrange for the export of conditionally excluded Cathode Ray Tues (CRTs) for recycling, and
  4. Persons who transport any of the export/import shipments described above.
The Final Rule will be effective December 31, 2016. A pre-publication copy is available at EPA’s website, here.

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Tags: EPA, hazardous waste, new rules, RCRA

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