The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has launched the Hazardous Waste Electronic Manifest System (e-Manifest), which will improve access to higher quality and more timely hazardous waste shipment data and save industry and states valuable time and resources to the tune of $90 million annually.
"Creation of the e-Manifest system demonstrates EPA’s commitment to innovation and robust collaboration with states and the private sector," said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt in a statement. "Through this extensive modernization of the hazardous waste program, the e-Manifest system will significantly reduce regulatory burdens and save businesses and states valuable time and resources, while improving protection of human health and the environment."
As of June 30, users must submit all manifests, whether paper or electronic, to EPA's e-Manifest system. There will be several ways to submit manifests to EPA, ranging from mailing conventional paper to full electronic delivery. Receiving facilities will pay a fee that varies based on how the manifest is submitted.
"EPA is very excited to partner closely with the waste management industry to bring much-needed efficiency and modernization to how companies track and manage wastes, and how they work with government agencies," said Alexandra Dunn, regional administrator of EPA’s New England office, in a statement. "We are confident that updating these systems will yield a reduction of regulatory burden, saving time and resources, and improving protection of human health and the environment."
The e-Manifest system, authorized by the 2012 e-Manifest Act, enables electronic tracking of hazardous wastes and will serve as a national reporting hub and database for all hazardous waste manifests and shipment data. Once electronic practices are widely adopted, EPA estimates e-Manifest will ultimately reduce the burden associated with preparing paper shipping manifests, saving state and industry users, on average, about $90 million annually. Complete transition to electronic manifests will be phased in. EPA will continue to conduct ongoing outreach to states and industry.
"The successful launch of EPA's E-Manifest system is a very significant accomplishment," said Terri Goldberg, executive director of Northeast Waste Management Officials' Association, in a statement. "The New England State environmental agencies are eager to work with EPA Region 1 on implementing the new system and look forward to having the enhanced access to data and information that it will provide. Once the online system is fully functioning and all parties are utilizing its features, the New England States believe that it will reduce the reporting burdens on generators, haulers and TSDFs and help all parties save time and associated costs."
EPA will also re-evaluate whether additional security measures are necessary for a small subset of manifest data about certain acute hazardous wastes. In the interim, EPA will be working directly with impacted receiving facilities on specific procedures related to those manifests. Additionally, EPA recently announced it would grant receiving facilities extra time to submit paper manifests in the initial months after system launch to further support industry implementation. Facilities that receive manifested waste between June 30, 2018, and September 1, 2018, will now have until September 30, 2018, to send those paper manifests to EPA.