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February 25, 2013
Get involved in e-manifesting now

Signed by President Obama on October 5, 2012, the Hazardous Waste Electronic Manifest Establishment Act directs the EPA to issue a final regulation establishing a hazardous waste e-manifesting system within one year following enactment and put the system to work by 2015.

The Agency recently announced three meetings that will be used to gather information from stakeholders and the public that will be useful in the rulemaking.

Legal impediments

While the EPA indicates that the meetings are a lead-in to the planning stages of the rule, the Agency has in fact been engaged in e-manifesting at least since 2001, when it published a notice announcing its intent to convert the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act’s paper manifesting system into an electronic format.  Feedback on the announcement was positive, but the EPA encountered significant roadblocks that stalled the effort for over a decade.

Primarily, the Agency would need legislative approval in three areas:

  1. To collect user fees for system-related activities and to deposit those fees in a special Treasury account from which funds could be expended only for system-related activities, including the development, operation, support, management, and future upgrade or enhancement of the e-manifest system;
  2. To enter into a contract with one or more information technology (IT) vendors who would be paid with funds from the user fees; and
  3. To ensure that the e-manifest system and the authorizing regulations developed by the EPA would be effective in all states on the same date.

Each of those authorities was provided by the Act.

E-manifest is optional

E-manifesting will extend to all federally and state-regulated wastes that require a manifest, but regulated entities will still have the option of using paper manifests.  The Act allows the EPA to apply user fees to enter paper manifests into the electronic system, and the Agency has stated that is exactly what it will do. 

While the meetings are open to all members of the public, the EPA has indicated that they will be of particular interest to state governmental staff, hazardous waste handlers (generators, transporters, waste management firms), and each of their IT staff.

Each meeting will cover the following topics:

  • e-manifest workflow, including mobile field component and handler submission,
  • e-manifest business rule processing,
  • Electronic signature (e-signature) and Cross-Media Electronic Reporting Regulation (CROMERR) conformance,
  • Paper manifest processing, and
  • Data access and reporting.

The meetings are scheduled for February 25–26, 2013, in Arlington, Virginia; March 14–15, 2013, in Chicago, Illinois; and March 21–22, 2013, in Denver, Colorado.

Click here for more information about e-manifesting efforts.

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