Conservation and Recovery Act or RCRA (pronounced "rick-rah")
gave EPA the authority to regulate hazardous waste from its generation
point to its final destination ("cradle-to-grave"). The
objective of this law is to ensure that hazardous waste is, at
all times, handled in a manner that protects human health and
the environment. These regulations:
- define which solid
wastes are hazardous, and
- establish rules
for three categories of hazardous waste handlers:
storage and disposal facilities (TSDFs)
Most states (including Arizona, California, New Mexico, and Texas)
have their own versions of the RCRA
hazardous waste regulations, which are based on the federal rules.
In some states, the requirements are the same as the federal standards.
states have developed more stringent requirements than the federal
program. If wastes enter the U.S.
in one state and are transported to a different state for disposal,
then, depending on your role, you may need to investigate the
rules for more than one state.
Waste State Resource Locator
who import, generate, transport, treat, store, or dispose of hazardous
waste are required under RCRA and the related state regulations
California, New Mexico, and Texas this is accomplished through
your state environmental agency.
waste manifest must accompany all hazardous waste that
is imported from the time it enters the U.S. until it reaches
its final destination. The manifest is a multipart form designed
to track hazardous waste from generation to disposal (cradle to
grave). The importer is responsible for preparing and signing
the manifest form before the waste is transported in the U.S.
The transporter and TSDF also sign the manifest form. Each waste
handler must retain copies of the forms for at least three years.
generated in another country,
such as Mexico, cannot be tracked by EPA or a state agency until
it enters the U.S. Therefore, for regulatory
purposes, EPA considers the importer of the waste to be the
This is important because the importer must meet
all the rules applicable to waste generators.
not strictly define who the importer is
. It can be any party, who helped
arrange for the importation (e.g. the
broker, transporter, disposal facility, parent company, etc.).
In cases where more than one party
could be defined as the importer, the EPA recommends that the
parties involved decide among themselves who will act as the importer.
- acquiring an EPA
- preparing a hazardous
waste manifest that stays with the waste from the time it
enters the U.S. until it is safely disposed of,
- assuring that
the waste got to its final destination, and
- reporting and
If you transport
hazardous waste beyond the customs yard, then you
if the transporter who carried the waste across the border did
not transport the waste beyond the customs yard, then that transporter
does not need to be identified on the manifest.
- have an EPA Identification
- sign the waste
- take appropriate
action and report any spills or accidents that occur in route,
- retain copies
of manifests for at least three years
wastes imported from Mexico are temporarily stored in U.S. warehouses
before being transported to a disposal site. EPA considers a warehouse
to be a "transfer facility." Hazardous wastes may be
stored in a transfer facility for a maximum
of 10 days. For a facility to store wastes
for longer than 10 days requires a RCRA treatment/storage/disposal
facility (TSDF) permit.
on this web page is only an overview
of the hazardous waste regulations. Depending on your role, there
are several sources of hazardous waste information on the Border
Center that you will want to access: