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e-Manifest Frequent Questions

Will e-Manifest be like other shipment tracking systems that I’m familiar with?

E-Manifest will provide information to users indicating where the waste is in the shipping process (i.e., ‘In Transit’, ‘Delivered’, etc.) after a manifest is signed. Conceptually, this type of shipment tracking is very similar to other shipment tracking systems that report on the status when a package is scanned. There are some distinct differences about hazardous waste manifests:

  1. A hazardous waste manifest applies to an entire shipment, as opposed to individual packages
  2. A hazardous waste manifest tracks additional information (different from other commercial shipment systems) that are unique to the tracking of hazardous waste, and
  3. Because manifests are required by 40 CFR, the electronic signatures used as part of the manifest process must meet the EPA's standards and requirements for ensuring legal defensibility of electronic signatures. Currently, this standard is referred to as EPA's Cross Media Electronic Reporting Rule (CROMERR). CROMERR is unique to EPA, and EPA is evaluating options that will both meet the CROMERR requirements and be acceptable to the user community.
Will data be publicly available?

EPA envisions that the data in e-Manifest will be made publicly available 90 days after a shipment is accepted by a TSDF and the data is verified. We recognize that hazardous waste shipments are live commercial transactions, and that manifest access should be restricted during the time that a shipment is in process. From the comments on the draft rule and other past notices, EPA recognizes that there may be some sensitivity about the aggregation of data collected from manifests and how aggregate data might be used for competitive purposes. EPA clarified this issue in the "One Year Rule" published February 2014.

EPA envisions that the e-Manifest system would contain data from all manifests, including paper manifests. The Hazardous Waste Electronic Manifest Establishment Act (The Act) includes authority for EPA to include, via rulemaking, such requirements that may be necessary to facilitate the transition from paper to electronic manifests, including accommodating the processing of data from paper manifests, and collecting reasonable service fees to recover the costs of processing paper manifests. As EPA evaluates the fee structure for e-Manifest, we will explore how to balance the cost of paper versus electronic manifests to ensure that EPA can recover the costs of processing the paper manifests.

Will data be publicly available?

EPA envisions that the data in e-Manifest will be made publicly available once a shipment is accepted by a TSDF and the data is verified. We recognize that hazardous waste shipments are live commercial transactions, and that manifest access should be restricted during the time that a shipment is in process. From the comments on the draft rule and other past notices, EPA recognizes that there may be some sensitivity about the aggregation of data collected from manifests and how aggregate data might be used for competitive purposes. EPA clarified this issue in the ‘One Year Rule’ that is due to be published in October 2013.

EPA is conducting a requirements analysis that may explore approaches for making the data publicly available, the timing for making thedata available, and meeting the needs of the stakeholders for data access.

Will the system include all manifests, or just those electronically submitted?

EPA envisions that the e-Manifest system would contain data from all manifests, including paper manifests. The Hazardous Waste Electronic Manifest Establishment Act (The Act) includes authority for EPA to include, via rulemaking, such requirements that may be necessary to facilitate the transition from paper to electronic manifests, including accommodating the processing of data from paper manifests, and collecting reasonable service fees to recover the costs of processing paper manifests. As EPA evaluates the fee structure for e-Manifest, we will explore how to balance the cost of paper versus electronic manifests to ensure that EPA can recover the costs of processing the paper manifests.

Will I still be able to use paper manifests?

The Act acknowledges that the use of electronic manifests is at the option of the users, and it calls for EPA to facilitate the transition from paper to electronic manifests. EPA will continue to accept paper manifests to accommodate this transition, and we will process the data from those manifests so that they are included in the e-Manifest system. As EPA evaluates the fee structure for e-Manifest, we will explore how to balance the cost of paper versus electronic manifests to ensure that EPA can recover the costs of processing the paper manifests.

How will e-Manifest accommodate non-RCRA wastes that require a manifest under state law?

Under the Act, the scope of the e-Manifest system extends to both Federal RCRA hazardous wastes and to state-regulated wastes for which a manifest requirement is imposed under state law. Many states regulate additional wastes as hazardous or special wastes under their state regulatory programs, and the states may require shipments involving these non-RCRA wastes to be tracked with the hazardous waste manifest. To avoid the need for a separate tracking system for state-regulated wastes, the Act authorizes EPA to establish the national e-Manifest system to track the Federal RCRA and state-regulated wastes.

Will States be permitted to require different or additional electronic manifests?

No. The hazardous waste manifest is required to be a uniform shipping document under both RCRA and the hazardous materials transportation laws. Since 2006, EPA has required the use of a Uniform Manifest form that precludes state variations, other than tracking states’ additional wastes subject to the manifest, and entering state waste codes and facility ID numbers that are not redundant with RCRA waste codes and ID numbers. The electronic manifest will operate in the same manner, and EPA and the national e-Manifest system will support only the uniform electronic manifest format that EPA will establish as the national standard once the e-Manifest is implemented. States will be precluded from requiring different or additional formats or requirements.

When does EPA expect the system to be online?

The EPA anticipates the system will be online approximately spring 2018.

How will e-Manifest impact the Biennial Report?

The Act defines one of the performance goals of the system to be: “…provides the waste receipt data applicable to the biennial reports…” Through the implementation of e-Manifest, EPA will be evaluating how best to implement this goal. It should be noted, however, that the waste receipt portion of the Biennial Report (BR) is only one portion of the report (the ‘Waste Received From Off-Site’ or ‘WR’ form). EPA will need to evaluate how best to incorporate information contained in the ‘Waste Generation and Management’ or ‘GM’ form. Information historically reported on the GM form for waste that is shipped off-site has the potential to also be included in e-Manifest. Waste managed on-site likely could not be included as part of e-Manifest, and would still need to be reported via the Biennial Report.

How will the Department Of Transportation (DOT) shipping paper requirements factor into e-Manifest?

Until DOT updates its regulations, a paper copy will still be required to meet DOT purposes. EPA is working closely with DOT to ensure that the new e-Manifest system will continue to meet DOT needs, as well as the needs of first responders.

Where can I find the legislation?

The Hazardous Waste Electronic Manifest Establishment Act was signed into law in October 2012. It is Senate Bill 710 (S 710) in the 112th Congress.

What new rules will be needed to implement e-Manifest?

EPA has completed the One Year Rule (February 7, 2014) which authorizes electronic manifests. The One Year Rule is the rule that EPA promulgated in order to comply with the Hazardous Waste Electronic Manifest Establishment Act, which required EPA to issue a regulation authorizing electronic manifests by October 5, 2013. In issuing this rule, EPA completed an important step that must precede the development of a national e-Manifest system, as required by the Hazardous Waste Electronic Manifest Establishment Act. This rule simply codifies several of the essential provisions of the Act, provides the legal and policy framework to authorize use of electronic manifests, and amends the existing manifest regulations to announce policy on electronic signatures and access to information (CBI).

EPA however will need to establish the initial fee structure for the use of e-Manifest. EPA envisions needing one more rule to implement e-Manifest. The next rule (ie, the Fee Rule) will establish the initial fee structure for e-Manifests and announce the actual implementation and compliance date for their use.

How will the fees be set?

The Act calls for EPA to set the initial fees via a rulemaking in consultation with IT vendor(s). This proposed rule is rulemaking is envisioned to be published approximately spring 2016. The initial fees will be set to cover not only operation and maintenance costs, but also the costs of developing the system. The Act also calls for the establishment of a Hazardous Waste Electronic Manifest System Advisory Board that consists of at least two people with expertise in information technology, three people with experience in using or representing users of the e-Manifest system, and three State representatives. This board was established with Congress in August 2015 and Board members will be selected no later than December 2015. EPA will consult with this board to make adjustments to the fees once the board is established.

What is EPA’s system development approach and how will users be involved?

The EPA’s system development work is focused on ensuring user needs are met from day one of national system deployment. To accomplish this, the agency is conducting user-centered design and development, and is utilizing agile software development methodologies. This approach embodies continuous improvement through pilots and testing, using iterative processes, and continued regular engagement with users and stakeholders throughout the process to provide on-going opportunities for input.

This type of iterative software development and testing/releases will continue until a full scale system is complete and fully tested by all entities.

The EPA has begun working closely with some large TSDF users and state users on system development and will expand to all user groups over time.

How will e-Manifest impact RCRAInfo?

e-Manifest would be a separate system from RCRAInfo. With e-Manifest development and implementation over the next three years, EPA does not see any immediate impact to the RCRAInfo system or its users. EPA’s planning and requirements gathering efforts for e-Manifest will explore possible linkages between the e-Manifest system and RCRAInfo, especially in identifying valid hazardous waste handler identifiers (the EPA ID from the Uniform Manifest and the Site ID form) and providing valid look-up values (i.e., valid waste codes, units of measure, etc.).

 

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