By: E. Lynn Grayson
EPA signed a final rule authorizing the use of electronic manifests for hazardous waste transportation as an alternative to paper manifests traditionally relied upon. The final rule will authorize the use of electronic hazardous waste manifests that will become available when EPA establishes a new electronic hazardous waste manifest system (e-manifest). The modification will provide waste handlers with the option to complete, sign, transmit, and store manifest information electronically in the electronic system. States that currently receive and collect paper manifest copies will receive copies of manifest data electronically from the system.
On October 5, 2012, President Obama signed into law, the Hazardous Waste Electronic Manifest Establishment Act which authorizes the EPA to implement a national electronic manifest system. Commonly referred to as "e-manifest", this national system is envisioned to be implemented by the EPA in partnership with industry and states.
Milestones for EPA Actions:
- The Act requires that the e-Manifest Information Technology (IT) system must be up and running within three years after the Act is passed
- The EPA must issue regulation authorizing use of electronic manifests within one year after the Act is passed
- The EPA must establish a System Advisory Board within three years after the Act is passed in order to advise the EPA on system performance and user fees
- e-Manifest extends to all federally- and state-regulated wastes requiring manifests
- Allows that the use of electronic manifests is optional for users, and authorizes centralized collection of data from electronic and paper manifests
Fee and spending provisions:
- Authorizes the EPA to collect reasonable user fees for all system related costs including development and maintenance
The rule is intended to streamline the uniform manifest system making it more cost-effective and user friendly. A pre-publication version of the final rule is available on the EPA website via http://www.epa.gov/epawaste/hazard/transportation/manifest/e-man.htm.