Performance-Based Measurement System (PBMS)
EPA is actively working to implement the President's program for "reinventing" government and reforming regulatory policy. As part of this program, EPA has been working to break down barriers to using new monitoring techniques.
One barrier that the Office of Resource Conservation and Recovery (ORCR) is tackling is the requirement to use specific measurement methods or technologies in complying with Agency regulations. EPA's environmental monitoring community, members of the regulatory community, and Congress all agree that EPA needs to change the way it specifies monitoring requirements in regulations and permits. There is broad acceptance for use of a performance-based measurement system (PBMS). ORCR strongly supports this position and is committed to using this approach in the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) monitoring program, to the extent feasible.
Benefits of PBMS
The PBMS approach would provide many benefits to both regulators and the regulated community, including:
- Flexibility in method selection.
- Expedited approval of new and emerging technologies to meet mandated monitoring requirements.
- Development and use of cost-effective methods that meet program requirements and their associated performance criteria.
Where PBMS is implemented, the regulated community will be able to select an appropriate analytical method for use in complying with the RCRA regulations, including a method not found in EPA-published manuals that is cost-effective and meets the particular project criteria.
PBMS conveys "what" needs to be accomplished, but not prescriptively "how" to do it. EPA defines PBMS as a set of processes wherein the data needs, mandates, or limitations of a program or project are specified, and serve as criteria for selecting appropriate methods to meet those needs in a cost-effective manner. The criteria may be published in regulations, technical guidance documents, permits, work plans, or enforcement orders. Under a performance-based approach, EPA would specify:
- Questions to be answered by monitoring.
- Decisions to be supported by the data.
- Level of uncertainty acceptable for making decisions.
- Documentation to be generated to support this approach in the RCRA monitoring program.
For more information, read the Federal Register Notice - October 6, 1997
What is EPA Doing to Implement PBMS?
OSWER PBMS Implementation Plan
The Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response (OSWER) developed a plan (PDF) (55 pp, 152K) to implement PBMS in its programs. Wastes is a part of OSWER and contributed to the plan. The plan describes OSWER-wide goals for PBMS and actions for overcoming any obstacles to PBMS implementation. For each office within OSWER, the plan also provides details regarding completed and on-going PBMS implementation projects.
As part of EPA's effort to implement the PBMS approach, the following actions are being taken:
- Incorporating the PBMS philosophy into new regulations.
- Establishing data quality and performance requirements for RCRA-required
monitoring and including the requirements in the RCRA regulations, as
necessary, to assist the regulated community in method selection and
help assure successful PBMS implementation.
- Developing new sampling and testing methodologies which are compatible
with the PBMS approach and encouraging use of those methods.
- Fostering training and guidance to educate regulators and the regulated
community regarding the flexibility of PBMS, the inherent flexibility
of SW-846, and application of PBMS during RCRA-related monitoring.
- Removing some of the required uses for SW-846 methods from RCRA regulations, where the Agency believes these requirements are not necessary (in order to facilitate PBMS implementation), and thus removing regulatory barriers to the use of new and innovative technologies for RCRA-related monitoring.