Transporting hazardous waste is an important job and one that comes with a lot of rules and regulations. These rules and regulations are in place to not only protect the environment, but also the general public and even those who are doing the transporting.
On June 30th, 2018, the US EPA will be launching their new Electronic Hazardous Waste Manifest (e-Manifest) system, which is designed to trace the hazardous wastes from the point it originates until it arrives at treatment, storage, and/or disposal facilities (TSDFs). This new system will mark a major change for those who work in the hazardous waste materials industry.
Advantages of the e-Manifests System
Once the new system is fully in place, it will provide for a number of different advantages. These benefits will help not just the government that is tracking the waste, but also the companies that manage hazardous waste materials, and even those who do the direct transporting. The following are some of the most significant advantages to this system:
- Real-Time Tracking – This system will allow authorized individuals to track where the hazardous waste shipments are at any time along with their journey.
- Accuracy – The system will make it easier for people to accurately enter in information. Compared to paper entries, there are far fewer opportunities for inaccurate information to be kept.
- Error Correction – When errors do occur in the system, they will be much easier to identify and correct in a timely manner.
- Fine Reduction – Fines involved should go down considerably because errors or other problems can be corrected more quickly, often before any fines are triggered.
- Centralized Storage – This system will create a single centralized storage location where all reporting and manifest data will be kept. This makes it easier to access for those who need it.
Transitioning to e-Manifest Systems
The deadline for hazardous waste transporters to start using the e-manifest system is June 30th, but there are some options for transitioning more smoothly. Many companies are still using the paper tracking system that has been in place for a long time. The EPA will allow companies to transition to a ‘hybrid’ reporting option.
The hybrid option will have the transporters complete and sign the paper reporting first, and then it will be entered into the electronic system by someone else in the company when available. This is ideal for companies that haven’t yet updated all their facilities and other equipment to be able to access the e-manifest system.
All states are required to use the new system as well, which means any specific state-regulated wastes must also go through this new system. Having all the states on this system will help to streamline the tracking of hazardous waste transportation since it ensures all regulated waste is in one central location. This is also important because there are many times when hazardous waste has to be transported across state lines to get to its final destination. Having a consistent system throughout the country will, in the long run, make it easier for all companies involved.
Using the E-Manifests System
Accessing the new e-manifests system is quite simple, and can be done from almost any web-enabled device. To access the system and create new manifests, users will go to https://RCRAinfo.epa.gov. This will give everyone a single destination for entering and tracking their hazardous materials transporting from beginning to end.
This system has been up and running for quite some time now, and early adopters of the e-manifest system have been using it for a variety of RCRA recordkeeping and reporting activities. This includes biennial reports as well as site notifications. Adding the e-manifests system to this location will further consolidate the activities that are required by the EPA.
Making the Change
This is undoubtedly a major change in the way things are done for many hazardous waste transporters. Whenever there are new rules and regulations that have to be followed, it is important to take the time to get to know them and learn what you can. As with their other requirements, the EPA is willing to work with companies to ensure they are doing everything properly. They have made their web interface very intuitive and easy to use so there shouldn’t be any significant problems remaining in compliance.
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