December 30, 2020
The Hazardous Waste Electronic Manifest Establishment Act (e-Manifest Act) directed the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to establish a hazardous waste e-manifesting system. The EPA recently proposed a system of user fees for e-manifests. Today we will take a look at how these fees are intended to work and who will actually end up paying for the e-manifest system. Tomorrow we will talk about how the e-manifest fee proposal would affect hazardous waste generators and hazardous waste transporters.
One of the issues that has bogged down the transition to e-manifesting is obtaining the funding to run a system that affects 160,000 entities in at least 45 industries and currently generates between 4.5 million and 5.6 million manifests. Under the e-Manifest Act, the EPA is required to recover all of the costs of developing and operating the system. As such, the e-manifest system will be entirely supported by user fees.
EPA’s recent proposal is to levy user fees on the facilities that receive manifested waste shipments, i.e., hazardous waste treatment, storage, and disposal facilities (TSDFs).
Since all manifested waste shipments are delivered to a TSDF, and these TSDFs are relatively few in number relative to hazardous waste generators, the EPA determined it would be more efficient to limit fee collection and payment activities to the TSDFs that receive manifested wastes from off-site.
The fees would be tailored to whether paper or electronic manifests are submitted to the system. Paper is a lot more expensive to handle and process, so the Agency proposes to set up a system so that paper becomes the choice of last resort. Accordingly, the EPA is going to make it much more expensive to use paper manifests.
As a part of the economic analysis the EPA conducted for its fee formula options, the Agency developed estimates of the marginal human labor cost of processing paper manifests received in the mail, image files uploaded to the EPA, data (XML) files uploaded to the EPA with image files, and fully electronic manifests into e-Manifest.
The initial fee formula would result in higher fees for paper manifests mailed to the system and somewhat lower fees for paper manifests submitted as image files or as data file uploads to the system. This is called the “Marginal Cost Differentiated Fee Option.”
If the use of the initial user fee formula does not produce a 75% user rate for electronic manifests within the initial 4 years of e-manifest operations, the proposed rule would shift to a different fee formula that imposes greater fees on paper manifests. This is called the “Marginal Cost Highly Differentiated Fee Option.” Under this formula, paper manifests mailed to the EPA for processing would incur a per-manifest fee about 88% greater than the fee for electronic manifests. Under this formula, paper manifest submissions uploaded by TSDFs as XML files may only be 15% greater than the electronic manifests.
The proposed fee rule would also allow the EPA to revise fees every 2 years without any new rulemaking.
Over time, as more users adopt electronic manifests, the EPA expects the costs to fall and benefits to rise. Over the first 6 years of operation, costs savings are expected to be $34 million per year.
It is important that your organization understand all of the fees and formulas associated with the Hazardous Waste eManifest Act.
When you need the best non-hazardous waste management & disposal company in Arizona, call TransChem Environmental or contact TCE today!