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Midwest Businesses Could See Waste-Tracking Cost Savings from Illinois EPA Proposal

Going paperless is generally seen as a cost-savings initiative. But, consistent with Governor Rauner’s “Cutting the Red Tape” initiative, the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (Illinois EPA) proposed a rule that would allow Illinois businesses to track state-regulated, non-hazardous special wastes using paper waste manifests, the way that they had tracked these wastes before June 2018. The change would actually save significant money for generators, transporters, and receiving facilities dealing in state-regulated, non-hazardous special wastes, because they would no longer have to use the e-Manifest and pay its per-manifest fees.

By way of background, in June 2018, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) launched the e-Manifest system, a national system for tracking hazardous waste shipments electronically. The federal e-Manifest rules allow hazardous waste generators and transporters to use the paper Uniform Hazardous Waste Manifest (Uniform Manifests) to track their waste shipments, but receiving facilities must use the e-Manifest system to track any federally regulated and state-regulated waste for which a Uniform Manifest is required. Additionally, the rules require receiving facilities to pay a per-manifest fee. The EPA incentivizes the use of the e-Manifest system by offering receiving facilities that use electronic manifests a big discount of five dollars per manifest (compared to the $15 per-manifest charge to submit a paper manifest by mail).

Illinois law currently requires Illinois businesses to use the EPA’s e-Manifest system to track shipments of both hazardous and state-regulated non-hazardous special wastes, which includes pollution control waste, potentially infectious medical waste, and industrial process waste. Illinois law has long required businesses to use the EPA’s Uniform Manifest to track shipments of all special waste. Therefore, because the new federal e-Manifest rules require use of the electronic manifest in states where tracking is done via the EPA’s Uniform Manifest, Illinois receiving facilities must manifest all state-regulated special wastes via the e-Manifest system.

The Illinois EPA’s proposed rule would reverse course by allowing Illinois businesses to use a paper manifest provided by the Illinois EPA in lieu of the e-Manifest system to track shipments of state regulated non-hazardous special wastes. According to the Illinois EPA, this rule would reduce regulatory and administrative burdens for generators, transporters, and receiving facilities in several ways:

  • Fewer fees
  • Less staff time needed for e-Manifest data entry
  • Less frequent reporting requirements
  • Avoidance of federal fines and penalties for noncompliance

The Illinois EPA states the money saved by the rulemaking can be “reinvested into those Illinois businesses and the communities they help to grow and support.” If the rule is adopted, Illinois businesses will still have to use the e-Manifest system to track shipments of federally and state-regulated hazardous waste.

The Illinois Pollution Control Board has yet to set a date for the public hearing on this proposed rule. 

© 2020 Schiff Hardin LLP


About this Author

Alex Garel-Frantzen, Schiff Hardin, Environmental attorney, EPA regulation lawyer, air toxins legal counsel, environment law enforcement

Alex Garel-Frantzen is an associate at Schiff Hardin who works with the Environmental group on issues like EPA regulations, air toxins, and environmental law enforcement and compliance.


  • University of Illinois College of Law, J.D., 2015, magna cum laude

    • University of Illinois Law Review, Managing Notes Editor

    • Environmental Moot Court, editor and national team member

    • ...

Amy Antoniolli, environmental attorney, Schiff Hardin, permit appeals legal counsel, environment regulations lawyer, Illinois Pollution Control law
Staff Attorney

Amy Antoniolli concentrates her practice on environmental matters, advising clients on compliance with relevant laws and regulations and representing them in permit appeals, requests for relief from regulations and in rulemakings.

Amy’s prior experience as Assistant Attorney for the Illinois Pollution Control Board and as Assistant Counsel to the Illinois House of Representatives informs her work at Schiff Hardin and regularly benefits her clients.

Having advised the Board Members of the Illinois Pollution Control Board on environmental statutory and regulatory interpretation, she is better able to advise her clients on compliance with the law in the multitude of environmental matters that come under the Board’s jurisdiction and control. Because Amy served as an Illinois Pollution Control Board Hearing Officer, she is better able to ensure her clients’ perspectives are heard— and favorably acted upon.

When her clients’ site-specific situation clearly falls outside the rules, Amy’s experience with the Illinois legislature, where she drafted legislation and advised representatives on proposed legislation, has aided her in crafting site-specific new rule proposals for her clients— rules that have been adopted and, more importantly, have allowed her clients to proceed beyond the costly standstill of regulatory non-compliance.