The RESOURCE CONSERVATION AND RECOVERY ACT (RCRA), enacted in 1976,
is the principal federal law in the
* 1 History and goals * 2 Implementation
* 3 Provisions
* 3.1 Subtitle A: General Provisions * 3.2 Subtitle B: Office of Solid Waste; Authorities of the Administrator * 3.3 Subtitle C: "Cradle to Grave" requirements * 3.4 Subtitle D: Non-hazardous Solid Wastes * 3.5 Subtitle E: Department of Commerce responsibilities * 3.6 Subtitle F: Federal responsibilities * 3.7 Subtitle G: Miscellaneous provisions * 3.8 Subtitle H: Research, Development, Demonstration and Information * 3.9 Subtitle I: Underground Storage Tanks * 3.10 Subtitle J: Medical Waste (expired)
* 4 Amendments and related legislation * 5 Treatment, storage, and disposal facility permits * 6 See also * 7 References * 8 External links
HISTORY AND GOALS
Congress enacted RCRA to address the increasing problems the nation faced from its growing volume of municipal and industrial waste. RCRA amended the Solid Waste Disposal Act of 1965 . It set national goals for:
* Protecting human health and the natural environment from the
potential hazards of waste disposal.
It is now most widely known for the regulations promulgated under RCRA that set standards for the treatment, storage and disposal of hazardous waste in the United States.
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
SUBTITLE A: GENERAL PROVISIONS
* Congressional Findings; Objectives and National Policy * Definitions * Interstate Cooperation; Application of Act and Integration with Other Acts * Financial Disclosure; Solid Waste Management Information and Guidelines
SUBTITLE B: OFFICE OF SOLID WASTE; AUTHORITIES OF THE ADMINISTRATOR
* Office of Solid Waste and Interagency Coordinating Committee * Authorities of EPA Administrator * Resource Recovery and Conservation Panels; Grants * Annual Report; Office of Ombudsman
SUBTITLE C: "CRADLE TO GRAVE" REQUIREMENTS
Arguably the most notable provisions of the RCRA statute are included in Subtitle C, which directs EPA to establish controls on the management of hazardous wastes from their point of generation, through their transportation and treatment, storage and/or disposal. Because RCRA requires controls on hazardous waste generators (i.e., sites that generate hazardous waste), transporters, and treatment, storage and disposal facilities (i.e., facilities that ultimately treat/dispose of or recycle the hazardous waste), the overall regulatory framework has become known as the "cradle to grave" system. The program imposes stringent recordkeeping and reporting requirements on generators, transporters, and operators of treatment, storage and disposal facilities handling hazardous waste.
SUBTITLE D: NON-HAZARDOUS SOLID WASTES
Non-hazardous solid wastes include certain hazardous wastes which are exempted from the Subtitle C regulations, such as hazardous wastes from households and from conditionally exempt small quantity generators. Oil and gas exploration and production wastes, such as drill cuttings, produced water, and drilling fluids are categorized as "special wastes" and are also exempt from Subtitle C. Subtitle D also includes garbage (e.g., food containers, coffee grounds), non-recycled household appliances, residue from incinerated automobile tires, refuse such as metal scrap, construction materials, and sludge from industrial and municipal waste water facilities and drinking water treatment plants.
SUBTITLE E: DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE RESPONSIBILITIES
* Development of Specifications for secondary materials; Development of markets for recovered material. * Technology promotion
SUBTITLE F: FEDERAL RESPONSIBILITIES
* Application of Federal, State and Local Law to Federal Facilities * Federal procurement * Cooperation with EPA; Applicability of solid waste disposal guidelines to executive agencies
SUBTITLE G: MISCELLANEOUS PROVISIONS
Whistleblower protection. Employees in the
SUBTITLE H: RESEARCH, DEVELOPMENT, DEMONSTRATION AND INFORMATION
* Research, Demonstrations, Training; Special Studies * Coordination, collection, dissemination of information
SUBTITLE I: UNDERGROUND STORAGE TANKS
The operation of underground storage tanks (USTs) became subject to the RCRA regulatory program with enactment of the Hazardous and Solid Waste Amendments of 1984 (HSWA). At that time there were about 2.1 million tanks subject to federal regulation, and the EPA program led to closure and removal of most substandard tanks. As of 2009 there were approximately 600,000 active USTs at 223,000 sites subject to federal regulation. Regulatory requirements
The federal UST regulations cover tanks storing petroleum or listed hazardous substances, and define the types of tanks permitted. EPA established a tank notification system to track UST status. UST regulatory programs are principally administered by state and U.S. territorial agencies.
The regulations set standards for:
SUBTITLE J: MEDICAL WASTE (EXPIRED)
RCRA Subtitle J regulated medical waste in four states (New York ,
AMENDMENTS AND RELATED LEGISLATION
The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), also known as "Superfund," was enacted in 1980 to address the problem of remediating abandoned hazardous waste sites, by establishing legal liability , as well as a trust fund for cleanup activities. In general CERCLA applies to contaminated sites, while RCRA's focus is on controlling the ongoing generation and management of particular waste streams. RCRA, like CERCLA, has provisions to require cleanup of contaminated sites that occurred in the past.
In 1984 Congress expanded the scope of RCRA with the enactment of Hazardous and Solid Waste Amendments (HSWA).