Sixteen States to Manage Hazardous Waste Programs

[EPA press release - March 4, 1981]

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced today that 16 States have been authorized to manage a Federally-approved hazardous waste program in their jurisdiction.

The States are Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Georgia, Iowa, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Montana, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, and Vermont.

"We are delighted that these States have developed resources and programs to immediately address one of the most pressing environmental problems facing us today," said EPA Acting Administrator Walter Barber. "Congress intended that the States manage their own hazardous waste programs, and these 16 States have accepted this responsibility."

EPA now regulates the management of hazardous waste by requiring producers to keep records of what waste they produce and where they store or dispose of it. The Agency's waste "tracking" system records the person who transported the waste and where the waste was delivered for storage or disposal.

Waste can be stored or disposed of at any site whose operators have filed with EPA and have qualified for "interim status" to operate. This means that they have officially notified EPA that they operate such a facility, that they were in existence as of November 19, 1980, and that they are expected to comply with general facility standards issued by EPA last May.

To qualify to manage its own hazardous waste program, a State must develop a program "substantially equivalent" to Federal requirements. State programs must be as stringent as the Federal requirements, and, if necessary, can be more stringent. EPA must approve the program.

EPA's program for consistent nationwide management of hazardous waste under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act of 1976 is being implemented in two phases. Phase I activities, described in regulations issued on May 19, 1980, include:

  • identification and listing of hazardous waste;

  • standards for generators of hazardous waste;

  • standards for transporters of hazardous waste; and

  • interim status standards for owners and operators of facilities that treat, store, or dispose of hazardous waste.

The 16 State programs authorized for Phase I will, in lieu of the Federal program, regulate those aspects of hazardous waste management.

Phase II of the Federal regulations will establish permanent standards for facilities that treat, store, or dispose of hazardous waste. As these regulations are issued, within the next year, States may apply for authorization to issue State permits, in lieu of Federal permits, for these facilities.

EPA will operate the Federal hazardous waste control program in States that do not apply for authorization or are not authorized to operate their own programs.

States whose complete Phase I applications are currently under review by EPA are: Arizona, California, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Tennessee.

The State application review process is conducted through the EPA Headquarters and Regional offices. It includes a 30-day public comment period and public hearing in at least one city in the State applying for authorization.