Have you ever been driving down the road and seen a truck with a colorful diamond shaped placard on its side or end?
Under State and federal regulations, shipments of hazardous materials and hazardous wastes must have a notification placard and must be accompanied by shipping papers or, in the case of hazardous wastes, a tracking document known as the hazardous waste manifest.
The hazardous waste manifest tracks the shipment from “cradle to grave,” or from the time it leaves the generator facility until it reaches the off-site waste management facility that will store, treat, or dispose of the hazardous waste. The tracking system allows the hazardous waste generator to verify that its waste has been properly delivered, and that no waste has been lost or unaccounted for in the process.
The placarding requirement is in place in case of emergency, so officials know what kind of materials or wastes they are dealing with in the event of a spill or other release. Beginning on September 5, 2006, an amendment to federal regulations will take effect that will result in major changes to the hazardous waste manifest.
The first major change will require that all states use the same federal manifest form. Currently, states are allowed to require a state-specific manifest to provide additional information. The new federal form will replace all the various State manifest forms after September 5, 2006, when all current state manifest forms will become obsolete. Hazardous waste generators will be able to purchase the new federal manifest forms from any printer/vendor approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The EPA maintains a registry of approved manifest providers on its manifest website at http://www.epa.gov/epawaste/hazard/transportation/manifest/
Additional changes to the manifest include better documentation of regulated residues from non-empty containers and rejected wastes that are not accepted by a treatment, storage and disposal facility. The new form will also provide expanded information in which the facility operator either acknowledges receipt of the materials or identifies specific rejected items as either partially or fully rejected. By providing this mandatory detailed reason for rejection, the designated facility can avoid any possible discrepancies.
The new form also clarifies manifest requirements for international shipments of regulated wastes. A new portion of the form helps to capture separate and detailed data on the importation and exportation of hazardous waste through the state.
To incorporate these federal changes, MDE will adopt amendments to its regulations, which will be published for review and comment in the July 7 issue of the Maryland Register. Background information on the new manifest requirements may be found on the EPA manifest website. Maryland-specific information will be posted on the MDE website. Questions can be forwarded to Edward Hammerberg or John Jacobs of MDE’s Hazardous Waste Program at 410-537-3345 or toll free at 800-633-6101 x3345