March 24, 2019

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Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Hazardous Waste E-Manifest Final Rule Released; Second EPA Rule Establishing Fees and Vendor Contracts Establishing System Details Yet To Come

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator has signed a final rule that establishes new requirements governing the use of electronic manifests (or e-Manifests) as a means to track hazardous waste under RCRA. The rule has not yet been published in the Federal Register and will become effective 180 days after publication. However, the e-Manifest system will not be up and running until October 2015, at the earliest. The specific date will be announced in a separate Federal Register notice.

The final rule decides the following issues:

  1. An electronic signature must be a legally valid and enforceable signature; and must be designed and implemented in a manner that EPA considers to be as cost-effective and practical as possible.

  2. Manifest information (including aggregated data) is not protected from disclosure as confidential business information. However, EPA will not make it available on-line until after 90 days, when it is considered to be a “complete and final document.” This policy does not affect FOIA requests or State release of manifest information.

  3. Generators can “opt-out” of the electronic system. Also, generators can only use the electronic system for waste shipments if they know that all persons handling the shipment also will use electronic manifests.

  4. Even if the generator and transporter use paper manifests, the destination facility must provide the data from the paper manifest to the electronic system.

  5. A paper copy of the e-Manifest must be printed out and accompany the waste, thereby meeting DOT shipping paper requirements.

  6. The electronic manifest meets RCRA record retention requirements.

  7. If the electronic signature method used is undergoing a pilot or demonstration test, all parties must put an ink signature on the DOT shipping paper and that paper must be retained by the destination facility for 3 years.

  8. The e-Manifest system shall: (a) take effect in each state on the same date; (b) supersede any less stringent or inconsistent provision of a state program; and (c) be carried out by EPA in an authorized state except where the state has received final authorization for state program revisions implementing the electronic manifest requirements.

The following issues will be addressed in an EPA contract with a vendor:

  1. The technical details of system design, operation, and security. EPA currently intends to host the e-Manifest system on its CDX portal or other system designated by the Administrator.

  2. Approved electronic signature systems. The EPA rule-making preamble says that first generation electronic signatures will include both a pin/password and a digitized handwritten signature.

A copy of the final rule is available on EPA’s website here:



About this Author

Charles Denton, Barnes Thornburg Law Firm, Grand Rapids and Atlanta, Environmental and Litigation Law Attorney

Charles M. Denton is a partner in the Grand Rapids and Atlanta offices of Barnes & Thornburg LLP and is a member of the firm’s national Environmental Law Department, which was recently recognized as Tier 1 for National Environmental Law and Environmental Litigation in the annual “Best Law Firms” ranking by U.S. News and Best Lawyers. He focuses his practice on environmental agency enforcement defense, toxic torts and class action litigation, “Brownfields” redevelopment, environmental compliance counseling, pollution insurance coverage and alternative dispute...

Tammy Helminski, Barnes Thornburg Law Firm, Grand Rapids, Environmental Law Attorney

Tammy L. Helminski is an associate in the Grand Rapids office of Barnes & Thornburg, and a member of the firm’s Environmental Law Department. Ms. Helminski has experience with environmental due diligence and risk evaluation, project management of large-scale remediation sites involving numerous parties, and assisting manufacturing and developer clients with environmental auditing and compliance. Her litigation experience includes representing clients in cases involving CERCLA, NEPA, RCRA and NREPA, as well as product liability, mold, asbestos, construction and contract litigation...

Michael T. Scanlon, Barnes Thornburg Law Firm, Indianapolis, Environmental Litigation Law Attorney

Michael T. Scanlon, a partner in Barnes & Thornburg LLP’s Indianapolis, Indiana office, concentrates his practice in environmental law. He joined Barnes & Thornburg’s Environmental Law Department in 1996 after serving for more than eight years as the environmental services director for Ulrich Chemical, Inc., in Indianapolis. Prior to that, he worked for the Indiana Department of Environmental Management and the Air Pollution Control Division of the city of Indianapolis. Mr. Scanlon has served as an adjunct instructor at the School of Public and Environmental Affairs, Indiana...

Bruce White, Barnes Thornburg law firm, Chicago, Environmental, Intellectual Property and Litigation Law Attorney

Mr. White has more than 30 years of experience in litigation, arbitration and mediation of environmental disputes, and in administrative permitting and enforcement proceedings throughout the country. His experience includes representation of industrial, commercial, and governmental clients in matters involving Superfund, RCRA/HSWA, TSCA, CWA, CAA, NEPA, Federal and State regulations, toxic torts, and insurance coverage for environmental claims.

The bulk of Mr. White’s practice is spent on the litigation and negotiation of settlements of environmental issues in various contexts,...