The Environmental Protection Agency is reaching the home stretch in the long process of developing a national electronic manifest (e-Manifest) system, updating the current paper-based system of tracking hazardous waste to a more efficient electronic one. Over the past 15 years, the EPA has worked diligently with states, industry and other stakeholders to develop plans for the many key aspects of this system as well as address concerns of intersystem compatibility.
Below is a timeline that briefly illustrates the lengthy history behind the development of the EPA’s e-Manifest:
- 2001 – Proposed electronic manifest approach
- 2004 – First public meeting to produce consensus for centralized e-Manifest approach
- 2006 – Announced decision to develop a centralized web-based system for e-Manifest in FR
- 2006 – Bipartisan bill (S.3871) introduced in Senate
- October 5, 2012 – President Obama Signed into law, the Hazardous Waste Electronic Manifest Establishment Act (PDF)
- January 2014 – EPA released a final rule authorizing the use of e-Manifests to track hazardous wastes under the Resource Conservation & Recovery Act (RCRA)
- February 7, 2014 – e-Manifest Final “One Year” Rule issued
- November 20, 2014 -EPA hosted e-Manifest Webinar (View Presentation Slides)
- March 20, 2015 – eManifest Advisory Board Call for Nominations Due
- October 2015 – Establish Advisory Board
The final rule reached in January 2014 established the legal and policy framework for using electronic manifests as well as the system, compliance dates and initial fee structure. The various complex aspects of the system’s architecture include a strategy for industry and States system integration and data sharing, mobile strategy, an agency shared services integration plan (e.g. E-Enterprise), and system performance standards and hosting scenarios. Additional considerations include Helpdesk operations and Helpdesk cost model, as well as a strategy for data access and public reporting.
The massive task of switching to the new electronic approach comes with a multitude of benefits. The EPA’s new e-Manifest system will:
- Streamline the manifesting process
- Greatly reduce the millions of paper manifests currently produced each year
- Give emergency responders greater access to information about the types and sources of hazardous waste that are in transit between generator sites and waste management facilities
- Promote the greatest possible use of electronic manifests
- Ease the reporting burden on regulated entities, and provide the agency, states and the public with easier access to environmental data
- Reduce the time associated with preparing shipping manifests by between 300,000 and 700,000 hours, resulting in a significant cost savings of over $75 million per year for states and industry
As America’s leading environmental solutions provider and progenitor of innovative online technologies, we are abreast of these new e-Manifest system changes every step of the way. We promise to keep our customers well informed and educated throughout this exciting transition. Stay tuned!