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The Info List - Solid Waste Disposal Act


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(i)

The RESOURCE CONSERVATION AND RECOVERY ACT (RCRA), enacted in 1976, is the principal federal law in the United States
United States
governing the disposal of solid waste and hazardous waste .

CONTENTS

* 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. * Energy conservation
Energy conservation
and natural resources . * Reducing the amount of waste generated, through source reduction and recycling * Ensuring the management of waste in an environmentally sound manner.

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.

IMPLEMENTATION

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
(EPA) has published waste management regulations , which are codified in Title 40 of the Code of Federal Regulations at parts 239 through 282. Regulations regarding management of hazardous waste begin in part 260. As noted below, most states have enacted laws and created regulations that are at least as stringent as the federal regulations. Furthermore, the RCRA statute authorizes states to carry out many of the functions of the federal law through their own hazardous waste programs (as well as their state laws) if such programs have been approved by the EPA.

PROVISIONS

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 United States
United States
who believe they were fired or suffered another adverse action related to enforcement of this law have 30 days to file a written complaint with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration . * Citizen Suits; Imminent Hazard suits * Petition for regulations; Public participation

SUBTITLE H: RESEARCH, DEVELOPMENT, DEMONSTRATION AND INFORMATION

* Research, Demonstrations, Training; Special Studies * Coordination, collection, dissemination of information

SUBTITLE I: UNDERGROUND STORAGE TANKS

Background

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:

* Groundwater
Groundwater
monitoring * Double liners * Release detection, prevention and correction * Spill control * Overfill control (for petroleum products) * Restrictions on land disposal of untreatable hazardous waste products.

The Superfund
Superfund
Amendments and Reauthorization Act of 1986 (SARA) required owners and operators of USTs to ensure corrective action is completed when a tank is in need of repair, or removal, when it is necessary to protect human health and the environment. It is also recommended that above-ground storage tanks are used whenever possible.

SUBTITLE J: MEDICAL WASTE (EXPIRED)

RCRA Subtitle J regulated medical waste in four states (New York , New Jersey
New Jersey
, Connecticut
Connecticut
, Rhode Island
Rhode Island
) and Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico
, and expired on March 22, 1991. (See Medical Waste Tracking Act
Medical Waste Tracking Act
.) If determined to be hazardous, medical waste is currently regulated by RCRA Subtitle C for hazardous wastes.

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).

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