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Solid Waste and Emergency Response

Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA)
Permitting Process

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The public plays an important role in the permitting process for both hazardous and municipal solid waste facilities. Facilities applying for a permit must involve the public in some aspects of the process. Businesses and the state or federal permitting agency also must make information available to the public. The public has opportunities to submit comments and request public hearings. Many avenues exist for people to learn about and participate in what is happening around them.

Cleaning up hazardous waste facilities, known as corrective action, is also of concern to citizens and local communities. Since spills from treatment, storage, and disposal facilities (TSDFs) affect communities, RCRA guarantees that the public will have a role in the facility cleanup process. For example, the corrective action process gives the public access to facility information and allows the opportunity for participation in the remedy selection process through public comment.

Public participation initiatives are also used to help remedy the disproportionate effects of environmental pollution on particular groups, such as minority and low-income populations. For example, through efforts to ensure environmental justice, EPA is taking steps to incorporate public participation into decisions concerning the siting of hazardous waste facilities and the prioritization of corrective action cleanups - Public Participation Manual (PDF) (34 pp, 91K, about PDF).

Click on each of the boxes below to learn more about how the current RCRA Permitting Processes are designed and ways you can actively participate. Note: Mandated steps in the permitting process reflect Federal regulations. State permitting process may contain variations.

Mandated steps in the permitting process reflect Federal regulations. State permitting process may contain variations. For additional information on state-specific permitting process, please visit the Additional Resources section.

Community Engagement Opportunities
RCRA Permitting Process RCRA Permitting Process
Community Engagement Initiative (CEI)

Communities should be involved in all phases of the RCRA Permitting Process, as well as the life of the permit, so that contamination is found and addressed in a way that protects human health and the environment – now and in the future. Communities need to provide input on how the cleanup will be conducted, and understand how it may affect community plans and goals. All participants in the RCRA permitting process are presented with the opportunity to strive for environmental justice, equal opportunity to participate in permitting, and equal access to information - Public Participation Manual (PDF), pg. 2 (34 pp, 91K, about PDF)


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