Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA)
Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA)
Federal Law - RCRA
The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (42 USC 82) (RCRA) states that the national policy of the United States be that “wherever feasible, the generation of hazardous waste is to be reduced or eliminated as expeditiously as possible. Waste that is nevertheless generated should be treated, stored, or disposed of so as to minimize the present and future threat to human health and the environment.” RCRA requires the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate hazardous waste from its point of generation to the point of disposal. The EPA provides technical assistance to state and local governments to accomplish these goals through regulations 40 CFR 260 - 282.
Federal Law - CERCLA
The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (42 USC 103) (CERCLA), commonly known as Superfund, provides broad federal authority to respond directly to releases or threatened releases of hazardous substances that may endanger public health or the environment. The law authorizes short term removals of hazardous waste, where there is an imminent threat of a release, and long term remediation of hazardous wastes that are not immediately life threatening.
Vermont’s Implementation of RCRA and CERCLA
The Vermont Waste Management Division (VWMD) Hazardous Waste Program regulates the generation, transportation, storage, treatment, recycling, and disposal of hazardous waste and used oil. The program is authorized by 10 VSA 159. EPA has delegated the state to administer the RCRA and CERCLA programs in lieu of the federal program, and the VWMD does so through the Vermont Hazardous Waste Management Regulations.
When It Is Required
Generators, transporters, and those who treat hazardous waste must obtain permits from the state for these activities. Hazardous waste releases must be reported and remediated. The Vermont Hazardous Waste Management Regulations detail the concentration thresholds for toxicity of contaminants, permit procedures, and processes for reporting and remediation of hazardous waste spills.
Permit or Approval Process
Compliance with these laws as they relate to transportation projects typically occurs as part of the NEPA clearance process or as part of an emergency response to a hazardous material discovered during construction. During the early planning stages of a project, known hazardous substances are identified and mapped. (ANR’s Environmental Interest Locator can provide tentative location information for hazardous substances in Vermont.) If hazardous materials sites are identified in the project area, VTrans should be contacted to determine the proper procedures. VTrans’ Operations Division has a Hazardous Materials and Waste Management Program to address hazardous materials issues that arise with transportation projects. For questions regarding hazardous material compliance issues, contact the program’s coordinator, who can be reached at the number below.
EPA Hazardous Waste – provides information about types of hazardous waste under RCRA, regulations for generating, transporting, corrective action
EPA Superfund – information about CERCLA superfund site locations, enforcement, cleanup