On March 1st 2022 the USEPA announced a Proposed Rule that may lead to some significant changes in the implementation of the e-Manifest program. The rule will need to be published in the Federal Register and be available for public comment for 60 days prior to being adopted. Public comment may shape how the rule becomes final. WTS will monitor the process and advise accordingly. The rule addresses international shipments (export), the manifest form itself, regulatory changes in various manifest reports requirements, changes to PCB manifest regulations and some discussion around the e-Manifest and Biennial reporting requirements. The following are highlights from the Proposed Rule (with comments by WTS in red):
- “Incorporating hazardous waste export manifests into the e-Manifest system, which includes designating the exporter as the party responsible for submitting the manifest and paying the requisite user fee.” Prior to now, export shipments of hazardous waste and the associated fees were excluded from the e-Manifest program.
- “Expanding the required international shipment data elements on the manifest form.” The proposed changes would require exporters and importers to record the hazardous waste stream consent numbers for export and import shipments in new, distinct fields on the continuation sheet as well as make allowances for documentation of an EPA Identification Number for recognized “traders” if so utilized.
- “Revising the movement document requirements to more closely link the manifest data with the movement document data for manifest tracking purposes as well as to assist with integration of EPA’s Waste Import Export Tracking System (WIETS) into RCRAInfo.” This basically appears to encourage and allow the use of the e-Manifest platform for export shipments with a particular focus on making the transporter who delivers the shipment to a foreign facility, railroad or to a seaport responsible for either sending paper copies or images of the manifest and continuation sheet to the exporter or transmitting the manifest and continuation sheet directly to the RCRA info site.
- “Revising aspects of the manifest form to improve compliance with import and export consents and tracking requirements, which includes adding an email address field to Item 5 of the generator block of the paper manifest, allowing for greater precision in waste data reported in the manifest fields at Items 11 (Total Quantity) and 12 (Units of Measure), and adding form codes to the DESIGNATED FACILITY field of the manifest, such as in Item 19.” EPA is proposing removing the current international shipment field from the manifest itself and moving it to a revised Continuation Page which would then be required for all international shipments as well as adding new fields for consent numbers and the exporter’s EPA Identification number. EPA is also proposing that an email address for the generator or exporter be added to section 5 of the manifest, adding form codes in conjunction with management method codes in Section 19 to facilitate the ease of Biennial reporting information and making it mandatory that all weights in Item 11 be net weights and not gross weights. EPA is also seeking comment on allowing the use of decimals or fractions or smaller units of measure in Item 11.
- “Regulatory changes regarding Exception Reports, Discrepancy Reports, and Unmanifested Waste Reports, which includes using the system to identify when reports may be required, allowing electronic submittal of required reports in e-Manifest, and adjusting timeframes to account for EPA’s Paper Processing Center.” Currently these reports are typically submitted via paper to regional regulatory agencies. The EPA is proposing that the exception report can be submitted electronically to the e-Manifest portal if the original shipments were transacted via electronic manifests (hybrid or fully electronic). EPA is also proposing changing the time frame for exception reporting from 35 to 40 days for LQG utilizing paper manifests. If the status of the shipment is not resolved within 50 days (from the start of transport), the LQG must file an Exception Report with the EPA Regional Administrator (or state Agency in authorized states). No changes are proposed for SQG. EPA Is proposing that Discrepancy reports can be submitted electronically by receiving facilities for all manifest submissions (paper or electronic) and to allow for 20 days to reconcile differences (currently 15 days) prior to the filing of a discrepancy report. The agency is also considering elimination of the discrepancy reporting requirement altogether if the necessary corrections can be made electronically. EPA is proposing to accept only electronic submissions of Unmanifested Waste Reports to the system by the receiving facility. EPA would not accept Unmanifested Waste Reports through a written, hard copy report. EPA is also proposing that it be mandated that generators register and obtain e-Manifest accounts for access to the e-Manifest system to view their copies of completed manifests.
- “Conforming changes to PCB manifest regulations under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), and other technical corrections to remove obsolete requirements, correct typographical errors, establish definitions, and/or improve alignment with the e-Manifest program.” EPA is proposing to clarify that the e-Manifest system may be used to fulfill the waste tracking and recordkeeping requirements when transporting PCB’s even though they are not a Federal RCRA waste.
- “Discussion regarding potential future integration of the e-Manifest system with Biennial Reporting requirements.” EPA is proposing that Receiving facilities be able to use their collected e-Manifest data to report their Waste Received volumes via a new e-Manifest data transfer table (thus, the importance of incorporating the Form Code data as noted above). There is additional conceptual language regarding further e-Manifest integration with the biennial report.
As always, should you have any questions on this matter, please do not hesitate to contact your WTS Technical Representative and please keep in mind that this is a Proposed Rule and there very well may be significant changes to the final rule once published.