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Hazardous Waste SW-846 Process Streamlined

Fact Sheet

February 2005


The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is allowing more flexibility in the use
of alternative methods outside of those listed in EPA publication, SW-846, Test Methods for Evaluating Solid Waste, Physical/Chemical Methods. This document is the Agency's official compendium of analytical and sampling methods that have been evaluated and approved for use in complying with regulations under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA).

This rule clarifies the difference between SW-846 methods that are required and those that are intended as guidance methods. In addition, some required uses of SW-846 methods--known as method-defined parameters--remain regulated in situations where a particular procedure is the only one capable of properly measuring for sampling and analysis. The Agency also is finalizing Update IIIB to the Third Edition of SW-846, and removing unnecessarily required uses of Chapter Nine, "Sampling Plan." In addition, this rule is amending Sections 7.3.3 and 7.3.4 of SW-846, Chapter Seven, to withdraw the cyanide and sulfide reactivity guidance. The required uses of reactive cyanide and sulfide methods and threshold levels from conditional delistings also are removed.


SW-846 was first published in 1980 to support the hazardous and nonhazardous testing requirements. At the time, SW-846 was intended to serve as a guidance manual of generally appropriate and reliable analytical methods for testing and monitoring waste. Some of the regulations required the use of SW-846 methods in general, and therefore all of the publication had to be incorporated by reference at 40 CFR 260.11(a) . EPA has determined that some of the required uses of SW-846 are not necessary. In addition, members of the regulated community requested the opportunity to use other reliable methods to comply with hazardous waste regulations. On May
8, 1998 (63 FR 25430-25438)(PDF) (9 pp, 197K, About PDF), EPA proposed to remove certain required uses of SW-846 methods, and to allow more flexibility in test method selection.

Subsequently, on October 30, 2002 (67 FR 66251-66301)(PDF) (50 pp, 380K, About PDF), the Agency proposed to amend the hazardous and nonhazardous solid waste regulations for testing and monitoring activities from the RCRA regulations.

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