Hammering Out a New RCRA

by Corinne S. Bernstein, Asst. News Ed.; Civil Engineering-ASCE, New York, NY 10017,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1985, Vol. 55, Issue 4, Pg. 57-59

Document Type: Feature article


Recent amendments to the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) add thousands of new waste generators and many new wastes to the list of those to be regulated. Some say RCRA is the toughest law passed since the inception of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). To date, RCRA is the only major environmental law passed during the Reagan administration. The law, which awaits EPA interpretation, has been the subject of much speculation since its November 1984 passage. Many question whether the EPA, the states, and industry can meet the law's rapidly advancing deadlines and strict standards. The law adds 72 new provisions to the original law and its amendments, and directs EPA to carry out 58 of them in the next two years. Among the legislation's hallmarks are restrictions on land disposal, small quantity generators, burning and blending of wastes, underground storage tanks, interim status facilities, inspections and citizen suits. The act eliminates land disposal for many wastes, keeps it to a minimum for all others and clearly outlines a legislative preference for alternatives, such as treatment and reduction of wastes.

Subject Headings: Environmental Protection Agency | Waste disposal | Waste treatment | Legislation | Waste storage | Underground storage | Storage tanks | Recycling

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