July 10, 2017

Manifests Required for Wastes from OCS Off-Shore Oil Platforms

In previous guidance (no longer on EPA’s FAQ Database), EPA determined that RCRA regulations apply to off-shore platforms within state or federal jurisdiction. Platforms within state territorial waters are subject to state RCRA regulation if the state is authorized to administer RCRA, and those located beyond state territorial waters but still within the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) are subject to federal RCRA regulation. The OCS is generally defined as everything within 200 nautical miles seaward from the coast.

Somewhat oddly, EPA made a location-based distinction for determining if a manifest must accompany shipments of hazardous wastes generated on off-shore drilling platforms that were being sent to U.S. ports. For oil platforms located in state territorial waters, the agency required a manifest to accompany the shipments. However, no manifest was required if the platform was located beyond state territorial waters but still within the OCS—resulting in an unusual situation, where the port receiving these non-manifested wastes effectively became the “cradle” for the “cradle-to-grave” manifest tracking system.

According to RO 14889, EPA has confirmed that RCRA regulations apply to these off-shore platforms, but has reconsidered how manifesting requirements apply. The agency now believes that shipments of hazardous waste from oil platforms outside state territorial waters but within the OCS must also be accompanied by a manifest. Thus, all hazardous waste shipments from off-shore platforms located within state territorial or U.S. waters must be accompanied by a manifest. This, in turn, means that the on-shore facility receiving the shipment at the U.S. port must be either 1) a designated RCRA treatment, storage, or disposal facility, or 2) a transfer facility.


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