BOISE — Idaho businesses that produce hazardous waste can now use an electronic tracking system rather than paper forms following the federal government’s approval Tuesday of Idaho’s request to revise some of its rules.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency gave final authorization for the state to make changes involving the regulation of toxic, poisonous, corrosive, ignitable and other wastes.
Another change involves solvent-contaminated rags that can now be washed and reused rather than sent to disposal sites. Auto repair shops and industrial manufacturers could benefit from the change, state officials said.
The authorization goes into effect Aug. 8.
Idaho took over management of hazardous waste from the federal government in 1990, and the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality every three years updates its rules through the Legislature to match changes in federal regulations so it can continue regulating state hazardous waste.
“We just feel that it’s a more responsive way to implement the program rather than have the federal government do it,” said Natalie Creed, hazardous waste bureau chief for the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality. “That way, the program is being implemented here in Idaho by Idaho state agencies.”
Only Alaska and Iowa don’t have their own hazardous waste programs, Creed said. Besides the headquarters in Boise, Idaho DEQ has six field offices around the state.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency does not allow states to have hazardous waste rules less stringent than federal requirements. Idaho officials said they try to make sure its rules are no more stringent than the federal government requires.