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EPA Reports Progress on Hazardous Waste E-Manifests

Posted on 9/29/2015 by James Griffin

On October 5, 2012, President Obama signed the Hazardous Waste Electronic Manifest Establishment Act into law. The Act requires EPA to establish and implement an IT system to track hazardous waste shipments in lieu of the current paper-based system. Once developed, the system will allow users to create and transmit manifests electronically.

However, pursuant to the Act, any e-Manifest approach adopted by regulation will be voluntary; paper manifest and continuation sheet forms would remain available to those entities that prefer this method.

On February 7, 2014, at 79 FR 7518, EPA established a regulatory foundation for phasing out paper manifests. It goes without saying that EPA must first develop an e-Manifest system before generators, transporters, and disposal facilities can use it. Under the law, EPA must establish an e-Manifest system no later than October 2015. As of September 24, 2015, the Agency hasn't completed a system, but has made progress toward one.

Employees prepare electronic hazmat shipping papers

EPA's Progress Toward E-Manifests

On February 18, 2015, at 80 FR 8643, EPA solicited nominations for a "Hazardous Waste Electronic Manifest Advisory Board." Representing State waste management agencies, information technology professionals, and transporters and managers of hazardous waste, the Board will advise EPA on the operations of the e-Manifest System. EPA expects the Board to begin operations by October 2015.

EPA began the process of soliciting bids from vendors to establish an e-Manifest system earlier this year, as shown on the FedBizOpps.gov website on May 19, 2015. Bids were due in by June 3, 2015.

While the Agency won't finalize a fee schedule until it has the e-Manifest system in place, EPA expects to propose a fee schedule for the e-Manifest system in May 2016 and finalize it November 2017.

US Department of Transportation Hazmat E-Shipping Papers

US DOT ran its own pilot program on electronic hazmat shipping papers, as required under the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act, or MAP 21. DOT released two information papers regarding its pilot program, one for shippers and carriers and one for emergency response information providers and first responders.

DOT issued two public notices and requests for information in July and November of 2013, and outlined its plans for an electronic hazard communication to Congress in September 2014. Per this recent status update from PHMSA, the pilot programs ran from February through April 2015. PHMSA anticipates releasing a report to Congress by October 1, 2015.

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Tags: EPA, hazardous waste, manifest, new rules

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