EPA Standardizes Hazardous Waste Manifest Form

The U.S. EPA has established a nationally standardized manifest form to improve the tracking of hazardous waste shipments. The national form replaced the various federal and state forms previously in use on September 5, 2006. Among other benefits, the new manifest form will enhance reporting of international waste shipments (exports and imports) by identifying the port of entry/exit.

EPA also proposed to make the manifest tracking form electronic (e-manifest). However, that effort is delayed indefinitely due to unresolved technological issues.

Background

Subtitle C of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) required EPA to establish a manifest system to track shipments of hazardous waste from a generator's site to the site where the hazardous waste is sent to be managed (that is, cradle-to-grave). EPA published regulations for a manifest system on February 26, 1980 and for more than 20 years hazardous waste generators and transporters have been required to use this system. The central element of the manifest system, the manifest form (EPA form 8700-22), provides a complete paper trail of a waste's progress from a generator through treatment, storage, and disposal. It identifies the type and quantity of the hazardous waste being shipped, and contains a generator's certification of waste minimization practices. Each waste handler must return a copy of the manifest to the generator. A missing form alerts a generator to investigate and find the waste. If the waste cannot be found, then the generator notifies either EPA or the state agency for appropriate action.

Soon after the 1980 regulations became effective; more than 20 states developed and required their own manifest forms. These forms met the minimal Federal requirements but also required additional state information. Significant confusion and compliance difficulties resulted from the differing manifest requirements. Often, it was necessary for generators to prepare multiple manifests for interstate shipments to satisfy the requirements of the states through which the hazardous waste traveled. Therefore, in 1984 EPA promulgated a Uniform Hazardous Waste Manifest form and procedures for its use. Under this system, EPA designed a form with both mandatory and state optional blocks (upper right-hand corner of form), the latter of which allowed states, at their option, to require the entry of additional specific information to serve their state's regulatory needs. Twenty-three states adapted the form with their own letterheads and added their own data requirements. The 1984 form (and state versions) was an improvement in terns of standardization; it eliminated the need for using multiple forms for interstate transport of hazardous waste. However, certain important aspects of waste shipments (e.g., international) were not adequately addressed by the form and there remained significant variation among state forms due to the optional blocks.

On March 4, 2005, EPA published new rules regarding the manifest system, including a standardized manifest form. The new system reduces or eliminates many of the variabilities in state manifest requirements. For example, the new manifest form uses check boxes and adds fields to better track "difficult" shipments, such as container residues, rejected wastes, and transboundary shipments. The new form is also intended to make it easier to collect data for hazardous waste reporting. The manifest will be printed to precise EPA specifications that ensure uniformity and each form will carry a unique preprinted manifest tracking number. The same manifest form will be used by every jurisdiction beginning September 5, 2006.

Affected facilities can obtain new forms from any source that has registered with the EPA to print and distribute the form. EPA will not distribute forms. Rather, the Agency will oversee the printing requirements and ensure that registered printers follow them. States may also register to print the new form, but State rules cannot establish the state as the exclusive source of forms. An affected facility can use a manifest from any registered source.

Impact on International Shipments

The new manifest form has an international shipments field (block 16), which includes:

  • check boxes to indicate if the waste is being imported to the U.S. or exported from the U.S.,
  • a space to indicate the port of entry/exit, and
  • a space for the transporters signature and “date leaving U.S.” (for exports only)

While revising the manifest system, EPA considered adding a new requirement for importers to leave a copy of the manifest with U.S. Customs at the port of entry. However, this requirement was dropped and a new provision was added that requires the receiving facility to mail a final signed copy of the manifest to EPA’s International Compliance Assurance Division in Washington, DC.

Changes to the Manifest Form and Continuation Sheet

At first glance, the new manifest form and continuation sheet look very similar to current federal and state forms. However, there are a number of significant changes that eliminate unnecessary aspects of the existing forms, help to minimize ambiguities, and/or improve waste tracking. The following are key changes:

  • Elimination of state optional data fields, including state manifest number, state ID numbers (generator, transporter, TSDF), phone numbers, and additional descriptions for materials.
  • Addition of an international waste shipment field (block 16). See Impact on International Shipments
  • Addition of a preprinted manifest tracking number (block 4) that replaces the manifest document number and state manifest number.
  • Addition of a generator’s site address block (in addition to the existing requirement for generator’s name and mailing address in block 5).
  • Addition of an emergency response phone number field (block 3).
  • Addition of a hazardous waste report management method field (block 19) that must be completed by TSDFs. The codes relate to biennial waste reporting codes and reflect the manner in which the TSDF handles the waste.
  • Expanded the waste code field (block 13) to allow for entry of up to six federal and state waste codes. Any combination of state and federal waste codes can be entered, but instructions specify that, "state waste codes that are not redundant with federal codes must be entered". Space is limited to six entries, so federal codes most representative of the properties of the waste should be entered.
  • The existing Discrepancy block (block 18) has been significantly changed to allow tracking of rejected and forwarded wastes and regulated container residues. Regulated container residues are residues that exceed the quantity limits for "empty" containers and as such remain subject to regulation and tracking requirements. Block18a is used to indicate the type of discrepancy. Block 18b is used to specify alternate facility information when waste is rejected back to the generator or forwarded to another facility. Block 18c is used by the alternate facility to sign for receipt of rejected or forwarded waste.

Additional Changes to the Manifest System

The new manifest rules go beyond changes to the manifest form. There are also changes or in some cases clarification to other aspects of the manifest system. Some key items include:

  • Clarification on use of fractions and decimals for entering waste quantity data. EPA does not want generators to enter decimals or fractions on the manifest form. Accurate data can be reported without use of decimals and fractions by properly selecting units of measure (e.g., report in pounds instead of tons).
  • Generators must report quantities of waste shipped accurately. It is unacceptable to report quantities based on the capacity of containers when the containers are not completely filled. It is the responsibility of the TSDF to report discrepancies concerning waste quantities shown on the manifest and those actually received.
  • Procedures for TSDF to follow in regard to the manifest form in the event that they reject a waste shipment.
  • Many years ago the DOT definition of bulk packaging was based on 110 gallons and RCRA regulations used the same number. DOT subsequently changed from 110 to 119 to be consistent with international standards. The manifest rule includes minor adjustments to RCRA regulations to conform to the DOT standard.

What is the Status of the E-Manifest?

When modifications to the Hazardous Waste Manifest System were proposed in May 2001, those modifications covered both the revised manifest form and the implementation of an electronic manifest system (e-manifest). However, on March 4, 2005, the uniform hazardous waste manifest rule was finalized, but not the e-manifest component. EPA said that too many significant issues were raised in response to the e-manifest proposal and that the agency had to continue analysis and outreach before the proposed system could be finalized.

For more than 20 years, the hazardous waste manifest system has relied on the creation of a paper trail to track hazardous waste shipments from cradle-to-grave. Waste generators create multicopy manifest forms to show the transportation routing of their waste shipments and the composition and quantity of the materials being shipped. Each handler signs the manifest by hand, until it is signed by the final waste management facility to show the waste shipment was received. Copies signed by all parties are retained in company files, and the final copy verifying receipt by the treatment, storage and disposal facility (TSDF) is mailed back to the generator to close the tracking loop. About 28 states also collect manifests from generators and TSDFs, and the data are manually keyed into state tracking databases to help oversee waste management trends and assess fees. Because of the volume of manifests circulated each year (more than 2.5 million) and the number of copies that must be signed sequentially and retained in files for inspection, the manifest system produces some of the largest paperwork burdens in the U.S. Compliance with the manifest system costs waste handlers and states more than $193 million annually. For this reason, EPA has been pursuing for several years a project that would transition the manifest from a paper-based system to an electronic approach.

Under EPA’s e-manifest plan, that agency would oversee the work of a private contractor who would develop and implement the e-manifest system. The contractor would be reimbursed for the system’s costs from fees assessed on hazardous waste generators using the electronic manifests.

State Variations

As of September 5, 2006, the new standardized manifest form (EPA Form 8700-22) and its continuation sheet (EPA Form 8700-22A) must be used in every state to track hazardous waste shipments. There will be no state variations of the new federal form and states may not require information to be included on the form that is in addition to that required by federal rules. That said, some differences between states may exist with regard to use of the form. These differences include:
  1. Some states designate used oil (or other non-hazardous federal wastes) as a hazardous waste and require use of the manifest to transport these wastes. Generators must determine whether the origination or consignment state require use of the manifest system for these state-specific hazardous wastes.
  2. Federal regulations specify exceptions that preclude use of a manifest. States are not required to recognize these exemptions. These include:
    1. Under federal rules CESQGs are exempt from the manifest system. Some states do not have a CESQG category and/or do not allow an exemption from the manifest system.
    2. Under federal rules, under certain circumstances, SQGs are exempt from the manifest system when shipping waste for reclamation. Not all states have adopted this exemption
  3. Data field 19 of the new manifest form must be used to enter state-specific hazardous waste codes, if they exist (this is a state variation only in the sense that state codes vary).
  4. The new manifest has six copies or pages. Federal rules require that signed manifest copies are retained/distributed as follows:
    1. generator retains copy 6 and copy 3, the latter of which is sent to the generator by the TSDF after the waste arrives at the TSDF;
    2. transporter (retains copy 5); and
    3. TSDF (retains copy 4, mails copy 3 to generator).
      States may require that copies of the manifest be distributed by the TSDF to the origination and destination state environmental agencies.
  5. Federal rules require LQGs and SQGs to perform certain activities and/or reporting (i.e., exception reports) if they have not received a signed returned copy of the manifest from the designated facility within given time periods (exact rule and time periods varies by generator category). Some states have adopted more stringent exception reporting rules that are generator-category specific.
  6. Federal rules require that manifests and exception reports must be kept for a period of three years (extended in event of unresolved enforcement action). Some states require longer retention periods.
The table below indicates for each state, where variation from federal rules exists. (Click on the "X" to review variation.)
State
Additional Wastes
Exemptions
State Waste Codes
Distribution
Reporting
Record-keeping
Other
AK
X
   
X
     
AL
X
         
X
AR
     
X
X
 
X
AZ
     
X
X
 
X
CA
X
   
X
X
 
X
CO
X
   
X
     
CT
 
X
 
X
   
X
DE
X
X
 
X
X
X
 
FL
X
   
X
   
X
GA
X
   
X
     
HI
             
IA
X
   
X
     
ID
X
   
X
     
IL
X
   
X
     
IN
X
   
X
X
 
X
KS
X
X
 
X
X
 
X
KY
X
X
 
X
X
X
X
LA
X
       
X
X
MA
       
X
 
X
MD
X
X
 
X
X
   
ME
X
   
X
     
MI
X
   
X
   
X
MN
     
X
X
 
X
MO
X
   
X
X
 
X
MS
             
MT
X
   
X
 
X
 
NC
X
   
X
   
X
ND
X
   
X
     
NE
             
NH
X
   
X
X
 
X
NJ
     
X
   
X
NM
X
   
X
     
NV
             
NY
X
   
X
   
X
OH
     
X
   
X
OK
X
   
X
   
X
OR
X
   
X
   
X
PA
X
   
X
   
X
RI
X
   
X
X
 
X
SC
X
   
X
   
X
SD
             
TN
       
X
   
TX
X
X
 
X
X
 
X
UT
X
   
X
     
VA
           
X
VT
X
   
X
     
WA
X
   
X
X
X
X
WI
     
X
X
   
WV
X
   
X
     
WY
             

Related Resources

The following include related documents and web pages that provide further explanation regarding EPA’s modifications to the hazardous waste manifest system.

Manifest Registry.  Information on EPA's web site on where to obtain manifest forms, and guidance on completing the forms, including examples.

Manifest Training Video.  A new training video that introduces the new manifest form, highlights the differences between the new and the previous manifest form.

Existing Federal Manifest Form

New Manifest Form

New Continuation Sheet

EPA web page: Modification of the Hazardous Waste Manifest System

EPA webpage: Modification of the Hazardous Waste Manifest System - Frequently Asked Questions.

EPA Fact Sheet: Hazardous Waste Manifest System Streamlined (February 2005)

Federal Register Notice (3/4/2005): Hazardous Waste Management System; Modification of the Hazardous Waste Manifest System