In this edition of the Weekly Compliance Digest, we cover a rule by the U.S. EPA that finalizes changes to existing hazardous waste export and import regulations.
Final Rule: Hazardous Waste Export-Import Revisions
What is it?
On October 28, 2016, the EPA announced a rule that finalizes changes to existing Hazardous Waste Export and Import Regulations. The updated regulations streamline the hazardous waste export and import process, implement mandatory electronic reporting for international shipments and electronically link export information.
Who is affected?
The final rule affects all entities that export or import (or arrange for the export or import of) hazardous waste for recycling or disposal, including those hazardous wastes subject to the alternate management standards for:
- Universal waste for recycling or disposal.
- Spent lead-acid batteries (SLABs) being shipped for reclamation.
- Industrial ethyl alcohol being shipped for reclamation.
- Hazardous waste samples of more than 25 kilograms being shipped for waste characterization or treatability studies.
- Hazardous recyclable materials being shipped for precious metal recovery.
Potentially affected industries may include, but are not limited to:
- Oil and Gas Extraction
- Food Manufacturing
- Petroleum and Coal Products Manufacturing
- Chemical Manufacturing
- Industrial Manufacturing
- Motor Vehicle and Parts Dealers
The final rule also affects all recycling and disposal facilities that receive imports of such hazardous wastes for recycling or disposal, as well as all entities that transport any export and import shipments.
What are the requirements?
Main provisions of the final rule include:
- Mandatory electronic reporting to EPA. While some electronic reporting will be required when the rule becomes effective, the full range of electronic reporting will not be mandatory until the respective electronic reporting functions are built and beta tested, at which point a compliance date will be announced in a separate Federal Register announcement. Under the rule, the following paper documents will be required to be electronically submitted:
- Export notices for hazardous waste or cathode ray tubes (CRTs) being shipped for recycling.
- Import notices for hazardous waste where the country of export does not control as hazardous waste export.
- Export annual reports for hazardous waste or CRTs being shipped for recycling.
- Export exception reports for hazardous waste.
- Export confirmations of receipt submitted by foreign facility under contract terms.
- Export confirmations of completing recovery or disposal submitted by foreign facility under contract terms.
- Import confirmations of receipt.
- Import confirmations of completing recovery or disposal.
- Import notifications regarding the need to make alternate arrangements or the need to return waste shipment.
- 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 OECD Council Decision controlling transboundary movements of recyclable hazardous waste – will apply to all imports and exports of hazardous waste.
- Linking the consent to export with the electronic export information submitted to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).
The rule also includes provisions designed to improve export and import shipment tracking (e.g. Clearer matching of waste stream consent numbers with waste streams listed on RCRA hazardous waste manifests for shipments; and mandatory EPA ID numbers for all hazardous waste exporters and importers).
What is next?
The final rule was signed by the EPA Administrator on October 28, 2016 and it will be published in the Federal Register in the upcoming weeks. The rule will be effective on December 31, 2016 to comply with Executive Order 13659 concerning the electronic management of international trade data by the U.S. Government as part of the International Trade Data System. Implementation will be phased in.
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To learn more about EHS, Sustainability and Risk trends, we encourage you to read the NAEM 2016 Trends Report: Planning for a Sustainable Future, which presents the ideas and issues that will shape EHS and Sustainability Management in 2016 and beyond.