EPA issues tougher rules for shipping hazardous waste
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
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 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
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,
Requiring United States recovery facilities to submit
a certificate after recovery of the waste has been
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 United States accumulation
and transfer facilities to better track and document
that subsequent recovery by a separate recycling
facility is completed in an environmentally sound
RCRA regulations for spent lead-acid batteries (SLAB)
have also been revised 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 are now to confirm
that individual import shipments comply with the terms
of EPA’s consent.
Finally, the address to which export exception reports
are to be sent has been revised as well.
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.