(PAINT.ORG) On Oct. 28, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a pre-publication version of its final rule, Hazardous Waste Import and Export Regulations, which will be published in the Federal Register later this month. The rule is meant to streamline the hazardous waste export and import process, implement mandatory electronic reporting for international shipments and electronically link export information. The final version of the rule appears to be very similar to the proposed rule, which was released on Sept. 24, 2015. ACA did not submit any comments on the proposed rule.
The rule's regulatory changes will go into effect on Dec. 31, 2016.
The rule will affect transboundary shipments that are currently subject to 40 C.F.R. Part 262 Subpart H, which regulates recovery hazardous waste shipments sent between the United States and countries that are members of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), other than Mexico and Canada. The rule also affects shipments currently subject to Subparts E and F, which regulate all other hazardous waste imports and exports. The modifications make certain substantive changes to the requirements of Subpart H, as well as expand the scope of that subpart to cover transboundary shipments currently subject to Subparts E and F.
According to EPA, the final rule establishes the following:
- Consolidation of the regulations so that one set of protective requirements — the regulations currently in title 40 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 262 Subpart H implementing the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Council Decision controlling transboundary movements of recyclable hazardous waste — will apply to all imports and exports of hazardous waste;
- Mandatory electronic reporting to EPA that will enable increased sharing of hazardous waste import and export data with state programs, the general public, and individual hazardous waste exporters and importers;
- Linking the consent to export with the electronic export information submitted to U.S. Customs and Border Protection that will provide for more efficient compliance monitoring;
- Clearer matching of waste stream level export and import consent numbers with waste streams listed on the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) hazardous waste manifests for shipments; and
- Mandatory EPA identification (ID) numbers for all small quantity and large quantity hazardous waste exporters and importers, including those recognized traders arranging for export or import of hazardous waste.
By far, the mandatory electronic reporting to EPA of hazardous waste imports and exports will be the most direct impact of this rule to ACA members. Please note, however, only export notices requesting initial consent or renewal of consent for hazardous wastes are required to be submitted to EPA electronically after Dec. 31, 2016. EPA still needs to build and beta-test the electronic reporting system that is required by this rule, after which a compliance date will be announced in a separateFederal Register announcement.