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EPA Proposes Two Hazardous Waste Management Rules to Better Protect Waterways
Says that Rules Will Reduce Regulatory Burden on Businesses

Reducing hazardous waste pharmaceuticals in the water supply, and improving labeling of hazardous waste but providing greater flexibility in how facilities and employees manage their hazardous waste are the goals of the new proposals.

New rules proposed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will allegedly provide safer drinking and surface water, by preventing the flushing of hazardous waste pharmaceuticals, and give greater flexibility to industry while requiring new safeguards to protect the public from mismanagement of hazardous waste.

The first proposed rule is projected by the organization to prevent the flushing of more than 6,400 tons of hazardous waste pharmaceuticals annually by banning healthcare facilities from flushing them down the sink and toilet.

The EPA claims that the new regulation will reduce the burden on healthcare workers and pharmacists working in healthcare facilities by creating a specific set of regulations for these facilities, including hospitals, clinics, and retail stores with pharmacies and reverse distributors that generate hazardous waste.

The other proposed change is intended to: enhance the safety of facilities, employees, and the general public by improving labeling of hazardous waste; reduce burden by providing greater flexibility in how facilities and employees manage their hazardous waste; and make the regulations easier to understand.

"These rules provide businesses with certainty and the flexibility they need to successfully operate in today's marketplace," said Mathy Stanislaus, assistant administrator of EPA's Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response. "The proposals will improve the safety and health of our communities by providing clear, flexible, and protective hazardous waste management standards."

EPA solicited public comment on improving hazardous waste management from states, healthcare facilities, retailers, facilities generating hazardous waste, and other key stakeholders, and say that the two proposals directly address the challenges raised by these stakeholders.

The Agency will accept public comments on the proposal for 60 days following publication in the Federal Register.

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August 23, 2019, 1:45 pm PDT

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