Resource Conservation and Recovery Act
42 U.S.C. s/s 6901 et seq. (1976)
The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) gave the EPA the authority to control hazardous waste from the “cradle-to-grave.” This includes the generation, transportation, treatment, storage, and disposal of hazardous waste. RCRA also set forth a framework for the management of non-hazardous wastes.
The 1986 amendments to RCRA enabled EPA to address environmental problems that could result from underground tanks storing petroleum and other hazardous substances. RCRA focuses only on active and future facilities and does not address abandoned or historical sites.
The Federal Hazardous and Solid Waste Amendments (HSWA) are the 1984 amendments to RCRA that required phasing out land disposal of hazardous waste. Some of the other mandates of this strict law include increased enforcement authority for EPA, more stringent hazardous waste management standards, and a comprehensive underground storage tank program.
According to RCRA, a Hazardous waste is a solid, a semi-solid, a liquid, or a contained gas that, “because of its quantity, concentration, or physical, chemical, or infectious characteristics, it may cause, or significantly contribute to, an increase in mortality or an increase in serious irreversible, or incapacitating reversible, illness or pose a substantial present or potential hazard to human health and the environment when improperly treated, stored, transported, or disposed of, or otherwise managed. “