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The Environmental Protection Agency has issued a request for information about existing technologies and funding options for implementing a national electronic system to track shipments of hazardous waste.
In a request for information announced May 22, EPA specifically sought input from industry groups and other stakeholders on whether existing electronic manifest technology could be adapted to track shipped hazardous wastes as defined by the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act and on how to meet “the significant funding challenge” associated with implementing the system.
If technology does not exist or cannot be modified into an e-manifest system, EPA asked for “innovative recommendations” on technologies that would not have to be custom-coded.
The agency also asked for information on a system that would allow the remote storage of information through “innovating cloud hosting” and how to provide help to users of the system, many of whom will be truck drivers without access to a help desk.
Responses to the request for information must be received by June 3, according to the notice.
President Obama signed the Hazardous Waste Electronic Manifest Establishment Act (Pub. L. No. 112-195), which authorized EPA to develop an e-manifest system for tracking hazardous waste, in October.
In its request for information, EPA said it anticipates “limited appropriated funding to support this initiative throughout the system's development and beyond as well.”
The agency developed four potential solutions in anticipation of limited funding in consultation with industry and seeks comments on which of the approaches is preferred. All four are different compensation structures for the contractors who will develop and build the system.
Once completed, users will pay fees to utilize the e-manifest system, but EPA said it does not anticipate collecting any revenue from user fees until fiscal year 2015-2016.
EPA previously issued a request for information in December related to “initial planning” for the system. The agency held three public meetings and has hosted several webinars as it has worked to develop the system this spring.
An official told attendees at the first public meeting in February that EPA envisioned issuing two rules to implement the e-manifest system. One of the rules, which must be finalized by Oct. 5 under the statute, would authorize the system, while a second rule that is likely to be issued in 2014 would outline a proposed fee structure.
Industry groups have said moving to an electronic tracking system will save millions annually. Section 3002 of RCRA requires a manifest system to track shipments of hazardous waste.
Responses to the request for information should be submitted to EPA contracting officer Bradley Austin at firstname.lastname@example.org by 4 p.m. EST on June 3.
EPA's request for information is available at http://www.epa.gov/oamhpod1/admin_placement/emanifest/index.htm.
Additional information on the e-manifest system is available at http://www.epa.gov/osw/hazard/transportation/manifest/e-man.htm.
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