Letter from Office of Solid Waste (name changed to Office of Resource Conservation and Recovery on January 18, 2009) Director to Safety-Kleen
NOTE: This document has been altered from its original format.
Ms. Catherine A. McCord, Manager
Regulatory Programs and
Business Integration Division
1000 North Randall Road
Elgin, IL 60213-7857
Dear Ms. McCord:
In May, 1996, you and Larry Davenport first met with my staff in the Hazardous Waste Identification Division (HWID) to discuss the use of automated information technologies in the hazardous waste manifest system. During this meeting, you indicated that Safety-Kleen Corp. (Safety-Kleen) had developed the capability to store manifest records electronically at its recycle facility in Denton, Texas. Since Safety-Kleen may wish to implement this system on a national basis, you asked HWID to clarify if this electronic record system complied with current Subtitle C requirements for the use and retention of the Uniform Manifest. By this letter, I am pleased to provide you with the requested clarification.
Based on the information provided to EPA staff by Safety-Kleens representatives, I conclude that the automated manifest record system operated by the company at its Denton, Texas recycle facility complies with current RCRA record retention and access requirements. This conclusion follows from our finding that the image files stored by Safety-Kleens system meet the requirements in our current manifest regulations for maintaining manifest copies that bear the handwritten signatures of the generator and subsequent waste handlers. Safety-Kleens automated system is able to reproduce high quality copies of manifests that include the images of the original handwritten signatures. In addition, the Safety-Kleen image file system appears to incorporate data integrity and security features which further ensure the trustworthiness of the records and their general admissibility into evidence. Finally, we find that the indexing and automated retrieval features included in the system satisfy RCRA statutory provisions which require facilities to provide RCRA inspectors with reasonable access to their facilities and to their hazardous waste records, including the ability to inspect and copy records. In the enclosure included with this response, we explain this interpretation and our findings in greater detail.
I understand that you have previously received a consistent interpretation from officials in the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission, which implements the authorized RCRA hazardous waste program in the State of Texas. To the extent that Safety-Kleen expands its automated record system to facilities in other states, you must verify with the appropriate state agencies that the system will comply with each States manifest retention regulations and the Rules of Evidence that govern the admissibility of computer generated records in that States Courts and agencies. Authorized states may implement RCRA programs that include requirements more stringent than the federal requirements, and not every state has adopted Rules of Evidence that are as liberal as the Federal Rules insofar as admitting electronic copies of documents into evidence.
This response is directed specifically at the system as configured in Denton and described to EPA and OMB staff by Safety-Kleens representatives at a meeting here on October 3, 1996. However, similar systems used by others could also meet our requirements, if they are designed and operated in accordance with the guidance contained in this letter and the enclosure. In this regard, the generation and storage of image files that include handwritten signatures, the inclusion of design and operating controls which ensure record accuracy, integrity and security, and the inclusion of indexing and file retrieval features which ensure reasonable inspector access are the key factors in this decision.
Thank you for taking the time to share with us information about your companys innovative efforts in adopting an automated approach to manifest record keeping. We believe that systems such as these will demonstrate that automated information technologies can indeed reduce record keeping burdens, while making access to the data more efficient and timely.
If you have any questions about this response, please contact Michele Anders, Chief of the Generator and Recycling Branch, on 703-308-8551, or Richard LaShier on 703-308-8796.
Michael Shapiro, Director
Office of Solid Waste (name changed to Office of Resource Conservation and Recovery on January 18, 2009)
Enclosure: Office of Solid Waste (name changed to Office of Resource Conservation and Recovery on January 18, 2009)s Interpretation and Findings Regarding Safety-Kleen Corps Automated Manifest Record Storage System