Written by: Joe Mangiardi, NES, Inc.
EPA’s e-Manifest system is set to go live June 30, 2018.
E-Manifest System for Manifest Submittals
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has scheduled the launch of its newly developed e-Manifest system for June 30, 2018. This is the date on which receiving facilities will have to submit electronic and/or paper manifests to EPA along with certain fees for using the system.
EPA estimates that, in transitioning away from having to use paper manifests, the e-Manifest system will save between 300,000 and 700,000 hours of labor time and $75 – $90M annually for businesses required to prepare shipping manifests (EPA e-Manifest information page: Learn About the Hazardous Waste Electronic Manifest System (e-Manifest)). Beyond the time and cost savings benefits, the system is also expected to make manifesting more accurate, timely, and efficient and will offer integration opportunities with the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) biennial reporting process and with other federal and state systems.
History of the e-Manifest System
EPA’s transition to a paperless manifest system began with the proposal of the idea in May 2001. EPA received an abundance of comments on the issue, held stakeholder meetings, and performed research into the potential benefits that could be derived from adapting a more streamlined manifesting system.
The Hazardous Waste Electronic Manifest Establishment Act (e-Manifest Act) was enacted into law on October 5, 2012, authorizing EPA to develop, implement, and collect fees for using a national electronic manifest system. This was followed on February 7, 2014 by a final rule, referred to as the “One Year Rule”, which further delineated regulatory and administrative elements for an electronic manifest system. Then on December 20, 2017 another final rule, the “User Fee Final Rule”, was published assigning discretion to EPA for the determination and collection of user fees for use of the electronic manifest system and granting permission for other relevant actions to be performed by EPA in developing the system. The e-Manifest system is therefore the culmination of many years of legislation.
Want to try out the beta version of the system? Release 2 of the e-Manifest system is now live and can be tested by visiting this page.
User Fees in the e-Manifest System
According to the EPA’s e-Manifest information page Frequent Questions about the Final Rule: User Fees for the Electronic Hazardous Waste Manifest System (E-Manifest) and Amendments to Manifest Regulations, “The Hazardous Waste Electronic Manifest Establishment Act (e-Manifest Act) does not itself set e-Manifest user fees, but instead confers discretion upon EPA 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. With this final rule, EPA is establishing the methodology upon which the Agency will set its user fees for the e-Manifest system.”
Receiving facilities, often referred to as treatment, storage, and disposal facilities (TSDFs), will have to pay a fee for each final manifest copy submitted to the e-Manifest system, which will be determined based on the type of submission. A receiving facility will also be required to pay fees for manifests in instances where rejected wastes are returned by that facility to the generator of the waste.
As the e-Manifest system currently stands, generators will not be directly responsible for paying these fees, though it is expected that TSDFs will pass the costs associated with the system back to them.
The fees are being implemented by EPA to ensure that the varying costs of processing differing manifests and manifest submittal methods will be fully recovered. It will be important to note that, due to the greater quality assurance required and data entry burden imposed, paper manifests will incur the greatest fees as compared to those submitted completely electronically.
The fee schedule for manifest submittals has yet to be determined, but EPA has released estimates for the fees that will likely be in effect for the first year of the e-Manifest system. Certain assumptions were made in approximating the eventual pricing scheme, which were informed by the overall volume and distribution of manifest types projected to be received by the system. The fees factor in system setup and hosting costs as well as those that must be absorbed by EPA to operate the paper processing center. These estimates (per manifest) are represented in the following chart:
The above per-manifest fee chart was adapted from the EPA’s e-Manifest Final Rule FAQ page (cited previously).
EPA states that it will publish an official two-year schedule of the manifest submittal fees on the e-Manifest website when pending elements about the e-Manifest budget and contracts awards are finalized.
EPA e-Manifest Webinar
On January 31, 2018 EPA held a two-session webinar event providing information on the e-Manifest System (PowerPoint slides from both sessions are available to view and download here).
NES E-Manifest Webinar
Even with all the publications available from EPA, navigating the new rules and requirements can be difficult. That is why NES has scheduled a webinar on the e-Manifest system for April 25, 2018 entitled Federal EPA e-Manifest Implementation Webinar. This presentation will explore the explain EPA’s e-Manifest User Fee Final Rule. Generators, receiving facility personnel, and transporters of hazardous wastes are encouraged to attend.
The webinar covers who is affected, changes to the transportation and tracking of hazardous wastes, associated fees, and the implementation schedule.
EPA e-Manifest Information Page: Learn About the Hazardous Waste Electronic Manifest System (e-Manifest)
Hazardous Waste Electronic Manifest Establishment Act (e-Manifest Act)
E-Manifest Release 2 Test Page: How to Participate: Testing the Hazardous Waste Electronic Manifest System System (e-Manifest)
EPA e-Manifest FAQ Page: Frequent Questions about the Final Rule: User Fees for the Electronic Hazardous Waste Manifest System (E-Manifest) and Amendments to Manifest Regulations