EPA Strengthens Haz Waste Shipment Regs

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is strengthening the regulations that govern the shipping of hazardous waste for recycling between the United States and other countries. The new measures are meant to increase the level of regulatory oversight, provide stricter controls, and greater transparency. The final rule announced today aligns EPA’s hazardous waste import/export/transit shipment regulations with the procedures of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), an international consortium that comprises 30 countries including the United States.

EPA’s new measures bolster regulations regarding hazardous waste shipments into or out of the United States and strengthen the extensive set of regulations under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) governing the shipment of hazardous waste within the United States.

Specifically, this rule revises:
Existing RCRA regulation regarding the transboundary movement of hazardous wastes for recovery among countries belonging to the OECD to conform to legally required revisions made by the OECD, such as:
- requiring U.S. recovery facilities to submit a certificate after recovery of the waste has been completed,
- adding provisions to ensure that hazardous wastes are returned to the country of export in a more timely and documented manner when it is necessary to do so, and
- adding new procedures for imported hazardous wastes that are initially managed at U.S. accumulation and transfer facilities to better track and document that subsequent recovery by a separate recycling facility is completed in an environmentally sound manner.

RCRA regulations for spent lead-acid batteries (SLAB) to add export notification and consent requirements to provide stricter controls and greater transparency for exports of SLABs to any country, and should ensure that the batteries are sent to countries and reclamation facilities in those countries that can manage the SLABs in an environmentally sound manner.

Hazardous waste import-related requirements for U.S. hazardous waste management facilities to confirm individual import shipments comply with the terms of EPA’s consent.

The address to which export exception reports are to be sent.

The United States participates in a number of bilateral waste agreements between countries and in the multilateral waste agreement controlling the shipment of hazardous waste for recovery between OECD member countries.

More information on the final rule: http://www.epa.gov/epawaste/hazard/international/oecd-slab-rule.htm

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