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Pollution

U.S. EPA launches electronic hazardous waste reporting

by Jeff Johnson, special to C&EN
July 6, 2018 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 96, ISSUE 28

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U.S. companies now must submit hazardous waste manifests electronically or pay higher processing fees.

The U.S. EPA has begun a long-awaited shift to an electronic rather than a paper reporting system to track the movement of hazardous waste from waste generator to treater to storage and disposal facilities. The new manifest system will be funded by charges to waste-receiving companies. EPA says companies that handle hazardous waste may choose to continue reporting on paper; however, such companies will pay higher processing fees to cover EPA’s costs to transfer the information into the electronic system. EPA has been studying how to shift to electronic reporting since 2001, according to agency material. In 2012, Congress forced the issue by passing a law that set an implementation deadline of June 30 this year, says Christopher Bryant, a former agency official and industry consultant with the law firm Bergeson & Campbell. Some 600,000 U.S. firms generate hazardous waste, and more than 1 million shipping manifests are filled out annually, Bryant estimates. EPA claims the new system will save waste handlers and states overseeing hazardous waste programs $90 million per year in paperwork reductions. The agency did not respond to implementation questions.

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