When a facility generates hazardous waste, the waste is often sent to a management facility elsewhere to be stored, treated, or disposed. Currently, we require industry to track and keep records of type, volume, sources and destinations of hazardous waste shipments through a set of paper forms (manifests), reports, and procedures that follow the shipments from cradle-to-grave. This process produces millions of manifests each year in an often inefficient process.
EPA is working with states, industry, and other stakeholders to modernize this process by allowing for electronic manifests (e-Manifest). I am excited that the first step in developing a national e-Manifest program authorizing the use of e-manifests to track hazardous wastes under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act has been finalized. This will allow the current process, which requires paper forms, to be streamlined and greatly reduce the millions of paper manifests produced each year.
This program supports the Agency-wide effort in making it easier for industry and other stakeholders to follow federal regulations. EPA estimates that tracking hazardous waste shipments electronically will save between 300,000 and 700,000 hours annually, and save more than $75 million per year for industry and states.
The e-Manifest system will significantly improve access to higher quality and more timely waste shipment data, and provide more rapid notification and responses to problems or discrepancies encountered with shipments or deliveries. Once implemented, the system will also provide greater access for emergency responders and the public about the types and sources of hazardous waste that are in movement between generator sites and waste management facilities.
Several more steps will be needed before the e-Manifest program can be implemented. These include establishing the system and initial fee structure. As part of EPA Administrator McCarthy’s e-Enterprise initiative, I am committed to finding and implementing opportunities to protect human health and the environment in an innovative, cost-effective, and efficient manner.