Hazardous Waste Management

  • What is it?

    The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) is the primary regulatory driver for hazardous waste (HW) management. Passed in 1976 and amended twice in the early 1980's, Congress established the following goals for RCRA:

    • To protect human health and the environment from the potential dangers of waste disposal;
    • To conserve energy and natural resources through waste recycling and recovery;
    • To reduce the amount of waste generated; and
    • To ensure that wastes are managed in an environmentally sound manner.

    Other laws exist to protect the public and the health of employees in the workplace from the hazards associated with the management and transportation of HW. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) mandates include the regulatory requirements for Hazard Communication Standards and the Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response (HAZWOPER) Worker Protection Standard. The Department of Transportation (DOT) regulates the transportation of HW.

  • What has the Army done?

    USAEC's role in promoting environmental compliance for the Army in the area of HW management includes:

    • Reviewing all RCRA rulemakings;
    • Identifying newly promulgated regulations, and providing and coordinating the Army and DoD's comments;
    • Preparing Army impact analyses and comments on potential rulemakings;
    • Preparing guidance documents, including pollution prevention options;
    • Developing tools to assist installations in complying with RCRA requirements including a model hazardous waste management plan to assist installations in meeting environmental compliance requirements;
    • Working with the Army Environmental Division of the Assistant Chief of Staff for Installation Management Installation Services Directorate (ISE) and the Environmental Division of the Installation Management Command (IMCOM) G4-Logistics and Public Works, to develop compliance strategies;
    • Tracking the Army's progress on meeting DoD and Army environmental goals;
    • Supporting installations when requested; and
    • Representing the Army on DoD committees, along with Assistant Chief of Staff for Installation Management representatives.

  • What does the Army have planned?

    In addition to continued regulatory compliance guidance for hazardous waste, USAEC assists installations participating in the Net Zero sustainability initiative. The goal is for installations to reduce, reuse, and recover waste streams so there is minimal conventional disposal. The Net Zero program also addresses sustainable management of energy and water. There will be five pilot Net Zero installations in each category and one in all three by 2020, and the goal is to have 25 Net Zero installations by 2030.

  • Why is this important?

    In order to protect public health and the environment in the area of HW, the Army incorporates a variety of measures into its program. Army installations provide proper training for key individuals addressing local standard operating procedures (SOPs) and pertinent federal, state and local regulations regarding HW. Management of HW requires significant Army resources. Each Army installation carefully plans how HW is managed, to include maintaining an annual inventory of HW that is generated, treated, stored, disposed, or transported off site.

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