January 12, 2018

e-Manifest System Launch Date and Fees Set

EPA has announced that June 30, 2018 is the date it plans to launch and begin operation of the e-manifest system. This announcement was included in a January 3, 2018 rulemaking, in which EPA finalized the method it will use to set and revise e-manifest user fees. [83 FR 420] Although paper manifests may continue to be used after that date, in addition to the electronic version, there will be higher fees for using paper manifests.

The final rule requires receiving facilities—not hazardous waste generators or transporters—to pay the fees. (There are approximately 400 TSD facilities in the United States that receive hazardous waste shipments.) These receiving facilities will receive monthly electronic invoices showing their actual manifest activity during the previous month. The agency will not charge members of the public any user fees for accessing manifest data from the e-manifest system.

e-Manifest user fees

When up and running, EPA envisions four types of manifests from which data will be entered into the e-manifest system: 1) paper manifests that receiving facilities will mail to EPA, 2) paper manifests that receiving facilities will scan into an image file and transmit to the agency, 3) paper manifests that receiving facilities will submit as an image file along with a corresponding data file (e.g., XML file), and 4) fully electronic manifests that have been completed and distributed electronically using the system. For the first three types, there will be varying additional costs associated with a “paper processing center” (where data from paper copies will be entered into the system), and these additional costs will be factored into the per-manifest fees.

The rule contains complicated formulas that EPA will use initially to calculate per-manifest user fees; they include system development costs, operating costs, and indirect costs (e.g., overhead, maintenance, utilities, and rents on land, buildings, or equipment). The formulas differentiate costs for each of the four types of manifests noted above, and the agency’s best estimate of initial manifest user fees is as follows:

Manifest submission type

Year 1 estimated fee1

Mailed paper manifest

$20

Image upload of paper manifest

$13

Data file upload of paper manifest

$7

Fully electronic

$4

1 EPA does not have final budget for the program in FY18, nor does it have all of the contracts in place for setting up and hosting the system and for running the paper processing center. Therefore, these fee estimates should be interpreted as rough approximations of the final fees. EPA will publish a final two-year schedule of user fees on the e-manifest website when more information about the e-manifest budget and contract awards becomes available.

Source: 83 FR 449.

If e-manifest use does not reach 75% of total manifest use after four years of operation, a “highly differentiated” cost formula will be used to calculate subsequent fees. This approach will add the nonlabor operating costs of the paper processing center, along with the human labor costs, to the cost burden to be borne by paper-submission types.

Miscellaneous issues

The January 2018 rule also revised the existing manifest regulations to:

Effective date and state implementation

The effective date of the final rule is June 30, 2018, coinciding with the launch date of the e-manifest system. On that date, EPA will begin collecting fees to recover the costs of developing and operating the system. Most of the regulatory changes promulgated in the final rule are issued under the authority of the e-Manifest Act. These provisions will be implemented and enforced by EPA in all states beginning on the June 30, 2018 effective date. States must adopt the e-Manifest Act-based provisions of this final rule in order to enforce them under state law and to maintain manifest program consistency. However, EPA will implement and enforce these provisions until states modify their authorized programs to adopt these provisions.

There are two groups of provisions in the final rule that can be administered and enforced only by EPA and not by authorized states: 1) the revised printing specifications for the paper manifest, and 2) the fee methodology and related fee implementation provisions contained in new Parts 264/265, Subpart FF. Although states cannot receive authorization to administer or enforce EPA’s e-manifest program user fees, authorized state programs must still include the content of, or references to, the Subpart FF requirements.

One provision included in the rule is based on the 1976 “base RCRA” statutory authority and not on the e-Manifest Act. This is the revision to §263.21(b), addressing en route changes to transporters. Because this provision is promulgated under base RCRA program authority, this change will not become effective in an authorized state until it is adopted by that state. States must adopt this regulatory change to maintain manifest program consistency. In Alaska and Iowa, this regulation will become effective on June 30, 2018.

 


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This document addresses issues of a general nature related to the federal RCRA regulations. Persons evaluating specific circumstances dealing with the RCRA regulations should review state and local laws and regulations, which may be more stringent than federal requirements. In addition, the assistance of a qualified professional should be enlisted to address any site-specific circumstances.