EPA implements electronic hazardous waste documentation system

January 22, 2014

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is one of the government’s leading agencies on reducing waste, but it was using a paper-based documentation system to record the trail of hazardous waste.

Known as the “Hazardous Waste Manifest System,” the EPA provided a slew of documents that businesses had to fill out when hazardous waste was produced, traveled to and disposed of. The agency hopes that its latest round of finalizing rules will end this method of documentation, Environmental Leader reported.

The current database management service that is in place is costing the agency about $75 million per year, in addition to 300,000-700,000 labor hours. A lot of this is from time wasted to identify previous hazardous waste in transit. Going with this new solution will streamline communication between the EPA, emergency responders and businesses.

The electronic documentation system allows the agency to find Information on the expected transporter and the business responsible for off-site treatment. Previously, with so much paper to go through, it may have been harder to identify who was responsible for the waste’s disposal.

To ensure all 50 states will be on board with the electronic system, the EPA will visit stakeholders in many states and industries to ensure interoperability capabilities will be installed. As of January 22, there is no clear deadline on compliance dates and fees for the new electronic documentation system, as well as penalties for companies that fail to participate in the program.

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