Learn About the Hazardous Waste Electronic Manifest System (e-Manifest)
EPA is establishing a national system for tracking hazardous waste shipments electronically. This system, known as “e-Manifest,” will modernize the nation’s cradle-to-grave hazardous waste tracking process while saving valuable time, resources, and dollars for industry and states. EPA anticipates launching e-Manifest in June 2018.
EPA is establishing the e-Manifest system according to the Hazardous Waste Electronic Manifest Establishment Act, enacted into law on October 5, 2012. The “e-Manifest Act” authorizes the EPA to implement a national electronic manifest system and required that the costs of developing and operating the new e-Manifest system be recovered from user fees charged to those who use hazardous waste manifests to track off-site shipments of their wastes. EPA is currently in the process of finalizing the methodology for setting user fees based on the costs of processing manifests.
By enabling the transition from a paper-intensive process to an electronic system, the EPA estimates e-Manifest will ultimately reduce the burden associated with preparing shipping manifests by between 300,000 and 700,000 hours, saving state and industry users $75-$90M annually.
Benefits of the e-Manifest system include:
- Cost savings;
- Accurate and more timely information on waste shipments;
- Rapid notification of discrepancies or other problems related to a particular shipment;
- Creation of a single hub for one-stop reporting of manifest data for use by EPA and states;
- Increased effectiveness of compliance monitoring of waste shipments by regulators; and
- The potential for integrating manifest reporting with Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) biennial reporting process and other federal and state information systems.
On this Page:
- Background History of e-Manifest
- The Hazardous Waste Electronic Manifest Establishment Act
- Final Rule for the Modification of the Hazardous Waste Manifest System, Electronic Manifests
- Final Rule for User Fees for the e-Manifest System and Amendments to Manifest Regulations
- Frequent Questions about the e-Manifest Initiative
EPA’s initial proposal to transition from paper-based to electronic-based reporting occurred in May 2001. After receiving numerous comments, conducting several national stakeholder meetings, and proposing supplemental notices on the subject, the Agency was persuaded that electronic manifesting would produce numerous benefits. These benefits include cost savings, better, and more timely information on waste shipments, rapid notification of discrepancies or other problems related to a particular shipment, the creation of a single hub for one-stop reporting of manifest data to EPA and states, increased effectiveness of compliance monitoring of waste shipments by regulators, and the potential for integrating manifest reporting with the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) biennial reporting process and other federal and state information systems.
The Hazardous Waste Electronic Manifest Establishment Act authorizes EPA to establish a national e-manifest system to track hazardous waste shipments. The Act gives EPA authority to adopt regulations that 1) accept electronic-manifests in addition to the existing paper manifests and 2) set up user fees to offset the costs of developing and operating the e-Manifest system.
Key features of the Hazardous Waste Electronic Manifest Establishment Act are:
- e-Manifest extends to all federally and state-regulated wastes requiring manifests
- EPA encourages the use of electronic submittals, though the statute allows optional use of paper manifests. and authorizes central collection of data from electronic and paper manifests
- EPA is authorized to collect reasonable user fees for all system related costs including development and maintenance
- EPA must conduct annual Inspector General audits and submit biennial reports to Congress
- EPA must establish a uniform effective date in all states for e-Manifest, and must implement e-Manifest until states are authorized
In addition, the Act required that EPA establish a Federal Advisory Board Committee to provide critical input on the development and operation of e-Manifest. Learn more about the advisory board and its meetings. Final Rule for the Modification of the Hazardous Waste Manifest System; Electronic Manifest (One Year Rule)
Final Rule for the Modification of the Hazardous Waste Manifest System, Electronic Manifests (One Year Rule)
The final rule, published on February 7, 2014, known as the “One Year Rule” establishes the legal and policy framework for the use of electronic manifests. The purpose of the rule is to:
- Codify key provision of the Act touching upon the scope of the users and manifests eligible to participate in e-Manifest
- Codify the provisions of the Act requiring consistent implementation of electronic manifests in all the states
- Finalize EPA’s decisions to establish a national electronic hazardous waste manifest system
- Announce policy decisions related to using and implementing electronic manifests
- Read the One Year Rule in the Federal Register
The Hazardous Waste Electronic Manifest Establishment Act does not itself set e-Manifest user fees, but instead gives EPA discretion to establish user fees, through regulation, that the Administrator determines to be necessary to offset the costs of developing and operating the e-Manifest system. The final rule, signed on December 20, 2017, establishes the user fees and other actions necessary to establish the system.
- Basic Information on the Final Rule
- Read the Final Rule in the Federal Register
- Frequent Questions About the Rule
EPA compiled this collection of answers to frequent questions to provide additional information about ongoing e-manifest work. Below, please click anywhere in the gray boxes or the plus sign on the right to view the answer to each question. Aside from this collection, additional information can be found by:
- Will the e-Manifest system be linked to RCRAInfo?
Yes, e-Manifest will be linked to RCRAInfo and will have the ability to validate information entered on an electronic manifest against information in RCRAInfo. (RCRAInfo is a separate EPA information system that collects information on hazardous waste sites. The public can access information in RCRAInfo through RCRAInfo Web.)
- Will the e-Manifest system collect manifests for wastes that are not regulated as hazardous by EPA, but that are regulated as hazardous by a state?
Yes, the e-Manifest system will collect manifests for all wastes shipped on a manifest, whether regulated as hazardous waste by EPA or a state.
- Will the e-Manifest requirements become effective immediately on the same date in all states?
Yes, the e-Manifest requirements will become effective on the same date in all states. EPA will officially announce this date, which will be sometime in June 2018, by the end of the 2017 calendar year.
- Once e-Manifest becomes effective, can states collect, or continue to collect, manifests?
Once e-Manifest becomes effective, states may not collect copies of the manifest from the designated or receiving facility. Instead, states will have access to the manifest data in the e-Manifest system. (However, states may continue to collect paper copies of generators’ manifest as EPA will not be collecting these copies.)
- Can a state prohibit hazardous waste handlers from using the EPA e-Manifest system (and thus require facilities to continue to use paper manifests)?
No. A key tenet of the e-Manifest Act was that e-Manifest will be implemented consistently in all states as a unified, national program administered by EPA. Thus, e-Manifest will go into effect immediately in all states on the same date. States must then modify their hazardous waste programs to accommodate e-Manifest.
- I am a TSDF that accepts wastes from states other than my own. If a waste’s originating state requires a manifest for a waste that my state does not require, must I register and submit a manifest to the e-Manifest system?
Yes, per the e-Manifest act, if the waste has a manifesting requirement then the receiving facility must submit the manifest to the system and pay any applicable fees associated with that manifest.
- When the e-Manifest system goes live, will all hazardous waste handlers be required to use the system or can they still use paper manifests?
The use of electronic manifests is optional; EPA will collect both electronic and paper manifests once the e-Manifest system launches. However, EPA will strongly encourage the use of electronic manifests as these manifests will be the cheapest and easiest way to comply with the regulations.
- What options will hazardous waste handlers have for submitting manifests once the e-Manifest system launches?
Handlers will have a variety of options for submitting manifests to EPA, including submitting manifests directly in the e-Manifest system, uploading manifest data from an industry system, submitting a PDF copy of a manifest, and mailing in a hard copy manifest. Additionally, EPA is developing a process where the manifest starts as a paper manifest and then ends with an electronic submission of the manifest data.
- Will there be a fee to use the e-Manifest system when it goes live?
Yes, the e-Manifest Act authorized EPA to collect reasonable user fees for all system-related costs, including development and maintenance. EPA proposed that the destination or receiving facility pay a fee per manifest that would cover costs for the e-Manifest system. EPA did not propose fees for facilities that initiate manifests (i.e., generators) or those that would access e-Manifest system data, such as states and the general public. EPA will issue its final decisions on user fees in its final rule, expected December 2017.
- Will use of the e-Manifest system replace the federal biennial report (BR)?
The e-Manifest Act requires that EPA integrate the reporting of information in e-Manifest with the RCRA biennial report process. EPA remains committed to that goal, but will phase in this feature over time to ensure that manifest data are of high quality to support state and federal processes. Therefore, the use of e-Manifest will not yet replace the biennial report when the system launches in 2018.
- Will hazardous waste handlers be allowed to make corrections to data in e-Manifest?
Yes. EPA proposed a process for corrections in its July 2016 User Fee proposed rule. EPA will establish its final process for making corrections in its final rule, expected December 2017.
- How will use of e-Manifest relate to the Department of Transportation (DOT) hazardous material regulations (HMR) requirement to use a shipping paper?
EPA is coordinating with DOT during the development of e-Manifest. The system will generally allow a user to produce a manifest that satisfies the DOT HMR requirement for a shipping paper. One key point is that DOT currently requires the presence of a hard copy paper manifest during transportation. Therefore, handlers using e-Manifest will still need to comply with that requirement (e.g., print the manifest from the e-Manifest system) unless DOT modifies it.
- Does the use of e-Manifest satisfy EPA and Department of Transportation (DOT) hazardous material regulations (HMR) recordkeeping requirements for retention of the manifest?
Yes. Proper use of e-Manifest will satisfy the EPA RCRA recordkeeping requirements for hazardous waste generators, transporters, and receiving facilities. DOT HMR requires companies to retain a copy of the shipping paper (manifest), or an electronic image. DOT allows companies to retain shipping papers electronically, as long as a hard copy is provided to an authorized representative upon request.
- Will the data elements currently applicable to paper manifests change with the use of electronic manifests?
No, the basic regulations or instructions for completing an electronic manifest will not be materially different from today's regulations or instructions for completing a paper manifest. The data elements will remain the same, and the only differences involve completing an electronic form and signing the form electronically. EPA found that electronic manifests are the legal equivalent to paper manifests in all relevant respects (see 40 CFR 260.10, definition of “Electronic manifest”).
- Will a hazardous waste handler claim the data on their manifests as confidential business information (CBI) when submitting it to the e-Manifest system?
No. Manifest data is not subject to confidential business information claims or protections. Many manifests are already currently available to the public without restriction in a significant number of states.