Environmental compliance and remediation at active, closed, and transferred federal facilities continues to be one of the most complex and controversial issues in State-federal relationships. The Association of State and Territorial Solid Waste Management Officials (ASTSWMO) has consistently supported individual State efforts to regulate and enforce both State and federal waste management mandates upon federal agencies maintaining facilities located within their State. With the ongoing national debate concerning States’ environmental rights and responsibilities relating to federal facilities, ASTSWMO believes that it is necessary to define our Association’s positions relative to the environmental management and waste management efforts currently ongoing at all federal facilities.
The Association of State and Territorial Solid Waste Management Officials (ASTSWMO) strongly supports the development of the e-Manifest system that is currently underway. We and our member States, Territories and the District of Columbia (States) have supported this system since 2004 because it has the potential to provide the States, the federal government, and regulated industry with significant savings of time and resources as well as better and more efficient delivery of information. The system also can also provide real-time tracking of hazardous waste on our nation’s roads and multi-State data will be available to all users.
Regulations promulgated approximately twenty years ago by individual States under the authority of Subtitle D of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) include provisions regarding the post-closure care of municipal solid waste (MSW) landfills. The Subtitle D regulations establish a 30-year post-closure care period as the default requirement (See 40 CFR § 258.61).
RCRA and the State regulations include provisions allowing the 30-year period to be extended or shortened. The 30-year period may be extended if the Director of an approved State program “determines that the lengthened period is necessary to protect human health and the environment.” The 30-year period may be shortened by the State Director if the “owner or operator demonstrates that the reduced period is sufficient to protect human health and the environment.”
Many studies have demonstrated that pharmaceutical compounds are making their way into the environment. Although little can be done to prevent some pharmaceuticals from reaching environmental receptors, the destiny of waste pharmaceuticals can be controlled. The Association of State and Territorial Solid Waste Management Officials (ASTSWMO) understands that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Office of Resource Conservation and Recovery is developing new regulations for management of pharmaceutical wastes to replace the December 2008 proposal that would have allowed those pharmaceutical wastes already regulated as hazardous waste under Subtitle C of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) to be managed as universal wastes. ASTSWMO also understands that while EPA’s forthcoming proposal will be designed to offer flexibility to health care facilities that manage pharmaceutical wastes; it too will only apply to those pharmaceuticals currently regulated as a hazardous waste under RCRA. This Position Paper outlines a more holistic management approach that could apply to all post-manufacturing pharmaceutical wastes, not only those regulated as a hazardous waste. In developing this Paper, several articles and publications were reviewed. A complete bibliography of those reviewed is included.
The Association of State and Territorial Solid Waste Management Officials (ASTSWMO) respectfully requests a 120 day extension of the comment period for EPA’s proposed rulemaking for the Hazardous and Solid Waste Management System; Identification and Listing of Special Wastes: Disposal of Coal Combustion Residuals from Electric Utilities.