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Final Rule: Methods Innovation Rule (MIR)

The Methods Innovation Rule (MIR) is an important step toward a performance-based measurement system (PBMS), and part of the Agency's efforts toward "Innovating for Better Results." In general, the MIR allows more flexibility when conducting Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA)-related sampling and analysis.

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Rule Summary

On June 14, 2005, EPA implemented an action amending the RCRA test methods regulatory requirements in Title 40 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), Parts 63, 258, 260, 261, 264, 265, 266, 268, 270, 271, and 279. This ruling is applicable to:

The rule allows for some flexibility in most SW-846 methods. As a result of the rule’s passing, laboratories may:

  • Modify SW-846 methods, provided the modified method meets the defined quality assurance (QA) parameters established in the method or defined for the project
  • Use non-SW-846 methods, provided the method falls within EPA’s parameter to protect human health and the environment

All SW-846 methods are covered by this rule except for methods that involve determination of method-defined parameters (MDPs), listed below, which must be followed to the letter for regulatory compliance.

EPA made seven technical corrections to improve the clarity of the Methods Innovation Rule on August 1, 2005. These changes correct minor spelling errors and table inconsistencies.

Method-Defined Parameters

Method-defined parameters are physical or chemical properties of materials determined with specific methods used to evaluate whether the materials comply with certain RCRA Subtitle C regulations. Method-defined parameters can only be determined by the methods prescribed in RCRA regulations because the methods are part of the regulations. These methods (listed below) must be followed exactly as written, or the resulting data cannot be used to ensure regulatory compliance. In addition to the table below, a list of method-defined parameters may be found at 40 CFR Section 260.11.

MDP Method Number MDP Method Title
0010 Modified Method 5 Sampling Train
0011 Sampling for Selected Aldehyde and Ketone Emissions from Stationary Sources
0020 Source Assessment sampling System (SASS)
0023A Sampling Method for Polychlorinated Dibenzo-p-Dioxins and Polychlorinated Dibenzofuran Emissions from Stationary Sources
0030 Volatile Organics Sampling Train
0031 Sampling Method For Volatile Organic Compounds (SMVOC)
0040 Sampling of Principle Organic Hazardous Constituents From Combustion Sources Using Tedlar® Bags
0050 Isokinetic HCl/Cl2 Emission Sampling Train
0051 Midget Impinger HCl/Cl2 Emission Sampling Train
0060 Determination of Metals in Stack Emissions
0061 Determinations of Hexavalent Chromium Emissions from Stationary Sources
1010A Test Methods for Flash Point by Pensky-Martens Closed-Cup Tester
1020B Standard Test Methods for Flash Point by Setaflash (Small Scale) Closed-Cup Apparatus
1110A Corrosivity Toward Steel
1310B Extraction Procedure (EP) Toxicity Test Method and Structural Integrity Test
1311 Toxicity Characteristic Leaching Procedure
1312 Synthetic Precipitation Leaching Procedure
1320 Multiple Extraction Procedure
1330A Extraction Procedure for Oily Wastes
3542 Extraction of Semivolatile Analytes Collected Using Method 0010 (Modified Method 5 Sampling Train)
5041A Analysis for Desorption of Sorbent Cartridges from Volatile Organic Sampling Train (VOST)
9010C Total and Amenable Cyanide: Distillation
9012B Total and Amenable Cyanide (Automated Colorimetric, with Off-Line Distillation)
9040C pH Electrometric Measurement
9045D Soil and Waste pH
9060A Total Organic Carbon
9070A n-Hexane Extractable Material (HEM) for Aqueous Samples
See Method 1664, Publication No. EPA-821-R-98-002
9071B n-Hexane Extractable Material (HEM) for Sludge, Sediment, and Solid Samples
9095B Paint Filter Liquids Test

Rule History

EPA first released the SW-846 publication in 1980 to support RCRA-related sampling and analysis. The compendium intended to serve as a guidance manual of generally appropriate and reliable analytical methods for environmental monitoring and compliance. Some of the regulations required the use of SW-846 methods, and therefore the publication was incorporated by reference at 40 CFR Section 260.11(a).

Revisiting SW-846: Notice of Intent

Since the 1980s, EPA determined that some of the required uses of SW-846 were not necessary. In addition, members of the regulated community requested the opportunity to use other reliable methods to comply with RCRA. On May 8, 1998, EPA proposed to remove certain required uses of SW-846 methods, and to allow more flexibility in test method selection.

Proposing Methods Innovation Rule

Subsequently, on October 30, 2002, the Agency proposed to amend the hazardous and nonhazardous solid waste regulations for testing and monitoring activities.

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