June 16, 2020

Alternatives to Generator Signatures on Manifests

In light of COVID-19, generators and transporters of hazardous waste are concerned with the interaction needed to obtain the generator’s signature on the Uniform Hazardous Waste Manifest. A May 18, 2020 memorandum from EPA provides flexibility regarding signatures on paper hazardous waste manifests. DOT released a similar notice on April 10, 2020, regarding hazardous materials shipping papers and social distancing.

The May 18 EPA memo is a supplement to EPA’s March 26, 2020 COVID-19 temporary enforcement policy, which we discussed in a previous article. The agency is providing two alternatives for applying a generator’s signature on a manifest when an “ink on paper” signature is not possible. The first alternative is to use the e-manifest system. If using e-manifest is not possible, the second alternative consists of 3 steps:

  1. The generator sends a signature substitute authorization to the transporter and designated facility via text message, email, or mailed letter. An example of the language that can be used by generators to communicate this authorization is given in the May 18 memo. The generator needs to send only one authorization per transporter/designated facility to cover all manifest activities throughout the duration of this temporary policy.
  2. Armed with this authorization, the transporter writes the name of the generator in Block 15 of the manifest and, under “Signature,” the words “Generator using signature substitute due to COVID-19.”
  3. The transporter or designated facility writes “documentation for generator signature substitute available upon request” in Block 14 of the manifest.


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This document addresses issues of a general nature related to the federal environmental regulations. Persons evaluating specific circumstances dealing with the environmental 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.