On January 3, 2018, US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued its new E-Manifest Rule that will become effective June 30, 2018. The rule is being promulgated to fulfill the directives set by Congress in its Hazardous Waste Electronic Manifest Establishment Act. 42 U.S.C. 6339(g).

The rule authorizes EPA to implement a national electronic manifest system for tracking the transportation and disposal of RCRA and state hazardous wastes. It authorizes costs to develop and operate the e-Manifest system be recovered from fees charged to those who use the manifests to track off-site waste shipments. The fee will be paid by the receiving facility, not the generator or transporter. However, the receiving facilities will most likely pass these costs on to their customers. Estimated fees for the first year for each type of manifest from the EPA Frequent Questions about the Final Rule web site are summarized below :

Mailed Paper Manifest                                 $20.00 per copy

Paper Manifest Images Uploads                $13.00 per upload

Data File Uploads                                         $ 7.00 per upload

Electronic Manifest                                      $ 4.00 per entry

The rule will be effective in all states, regardless if the state is authorized to run the RCRA program or not. Authorized states must amend their states rules to adopt the program.

The rule also provides the following changes to the current regulation:

  • Under certain circumstances, it allows changes to the transporters designated on a manifest while the shipment is in route;
  • Explains how manifest corrections in the system can be made; and
  • Revises the previous e-Manifest regulation (the One Year Rule), in certain instances, to allow mixed paper and electronic manifest to track a hazardous waste shipment.

According to the EPA, the proposed e-Manifest is expected to save approximately $66 million annually and enhance their ability to track and extract data on waste shipments by storing and distributing these data in a central, accessible location.

EPA intends to phase out paper manifests after three years of operation. During the phase-out period, a generator may still use a paper manifest, but the receiving facility will be required to transfer the data in digital format to EPA. EPA’s goal is to eliminate paper manifests after 5 years.

Paper manifest users must use a new 5-copy manifest form with a revised copy distribution after June 30, 2018.

Generators, transporters, and treatment, storage and disposal facilities will be required to register for the e-Manifest system to submit manifests directly to EPA.

Ken Kirk is a Professional Geologist at Smith Management Group and can be reached at kenk@smithmanage.com.