EPA proposes new rules to improve waste management, protect waterways

The Environmental Protection Agency has proposed two new hazardous waste rules to strengthen environmental protection while reducing regulatory burden on businesses.

WASHINGTON, DC, Aug. 31, 2015 -- Today, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has proposed two new hazardous waste rules to strengthen environmental protection while reducing regulatory burdens on businesses.

One of the proposed rules will protect waterways, including drinking water and surface water, by preventing the flushing of hazardous waste pharmaceuticals and simplify the requirements for healthcare workers. The other rule will provide greater flexibility to industry while requiring new safeguards to protect the public from mismanagement of hazardous waste.

"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."

The proposed hazardous waste pharmaceuticals rule will make our drinking and surface water safer and healthier by reducing the amount of pharmaceuticals entering our waterways. EPA's proposal is projected to prevent the flushing of more than 6,400 tons of hazardous waste pharmaceuticals annually by banning healthcare facilities from flushing hazardous waste pharmaceuticals down the sink and toilet.

EPA's proposed generator rule will enhance the safety of facilities, employees and the general public by improving labeling of hazardous waste and emergency planning and preparedness. The proposal will also reduce burden by providing greater flexibility in how facilities and employees manage their hazardous waste and make the regulations easier to understand.

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