- What is the Methods Innovation Rule (MIR)?
- Why is the MIR needed?
- Does the MIR add any new requirements to the RCRA regulations?
- What required SW-846 uses will be removed?
- What required SW-846 uses will not be removed?
- How can one determine when a non-required method is appropriate to use for compliance with RCRA?
- Can you still use SW-846 when it is appropriate to do so?
- Whom can I contact if I have method-related questions?
- What else does the MIR do?
- What might be the impact of the MIR?
- What is the status of the RCRA Waste Sampling Draft Technical Guidance?
The Methods Innovation Rule (MIR) is an important step toward a performance-based measurement system (PBMS), and part of the Agency's efforts toward "Innovating for Better Results." In general, the MIR allows more flexibility when conducting RCRA-related sampling and analysis by removing unnecessary required uses of methods found in "Test Methods for Evaluating Solid Waste, Physical/Chemical Methods," also known as "SW-846." Some required uses of SW-846 methods--known as method-defined parameters--remain regulated in situations where a particular procedure is the only one capable of properly measuring for sampling and analysis.
The EPA wants to allow more flexibility in RCRA-related sampling and analysis processes, and to concentrate on measurement objectives rather than on measurement technologies.
Some members of the regulated public told the EPA that they would like the opportunity to use methods other than SW-846 which are appropriate to use for compliance with RCRA.
The EPA believes that certain requirements in the regulations are not necessary, and therefore should be removed.
The EPA wants to encourage the timely use of new and innovative methods outside of SW-846, so that it will not be necessary to submit an equivalency petition in order to use a non-SW-846 method for most sampling and analysis scenarios except for method-defined parameters (MDP).
No, the MIR adds no new testing or information collection and reporting requirements to the regulations.
The MIR removes any required use of SW-846 methods where the methods are not being used for method-defined parameters and other methods may be capable of measuring the regulated property.
Any required use of SW-846 that involves a method-defined parameter (MDP) will be retained in the RCRA regulations. An MDP is a regulated parameter or property where by a particular method is the only one that is capable of measuring the property.
A commonly used method for measurement of an MDP is the Toxicity Characteristic Leaching Procedure (TCLP). Waste generators must test their waste using SW-846 Method 1311 (TCLP) [Adobe PDF File, 35 pages, 288 KB, about PDF] to determine whether the waste leaching potential is greater than the TC levels specified in 40 CFR 261.24. No other test is known to yield the same leachate concentrations as Method 1311, the TCLP, so we describe the results obtained from Method 1311 as a required method-defined parameter. Therefore, you must use MDP methods as written during compliance with a particular regulation. The list of MDP methods can be found in 40 CFR Part 260.11.
If the analysis that you wish to perform is not for one of the MDPs, then you must determine if a method (whether SW-846 or not) is appropriate for the analytical purpose. The Agency has written the following guidance in the MIR for determining method appropriateness.
- An appropriate method might be one published by:
- EPA in a different manual or regulation;
- Another government agency;
- A voluntary standards setting organization; or
- Other well-known source.
- Appropriate methods are reliable and accepted as such in the scientific community. These methods might include those published by the Agency or other government entities using techniques that have documented reliability (e.g., ASTM).
- Appropriate methods generate effective data, known and of appropriate quality for project-specific decisions.
- When selecting an appropriate method to use, you must be able to demonstrate and document that you are able to see the analyte of concern, in the matrix of concern, at the level of concern.
- In addition, before selecting an alternative method other than SW-846 for RCRA related testing and monitoring activities, we recommend that you discuss your plans with your regulating authority and project planning committee.
Yes, the Agency also refers to SW-846 methods in some of the regulations as guidance and as examples of methods that might be appropriate.
The Agency plans to continue to educate, train, and assist any of the states, EPA regions, and the regulated community who need assistance in implementing this rule, through such mechanisms as workshops, fact sheets, and Internet training modules. Over the past seven years, we have offered program-specific training (e.g., "Analytical Strategy for the RCRA Program: A Performance-Based Approach") for EPA Headquarters, regional, and state personnel involved in RCRA activities that include sampling and analysis. We also plan to offer other courses on the evaluation of data and permit writing from a Performance-Based Measurement System (PBMS) and an effective data standpoint. These communication and training efforts will help ensure consistent implementation of this rule by the states, regions, and regulated community and help limit any associated costs.
For additional information you may contact the Methods Information Communications Exchange (MICE) by phone or e-mail at: 703-818-3238 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Or you may contact the Agency for policy-related questions at 703-308-8855.
The MIR also:
- Removes the Reactive Sulfide and Reactive Cyanide Guidance from Chapter Seven of SW-846;
- Proposes revisions to the MDPs in Update IIIB of SW-846;
- Clarifies that Method 1110A (PDF)(6 pp, 78K, About PDF) is the SW-846 standardized version of the NACE InternationalThe Corrosion Society's (formerly the National Association of Corrosion Engineers) standard for corrosivity characteristic testing;
- Provides editorial corrections to the RCRA regulations by revising some of the regulatory sections to remove unnecessary references to SW-846; and
- Provides the status of the RCRA Waste Sampling Draft Technical Guidance.
- Makes the RCRA program more effective by focusing more on measurement objectives rather than measurement technologies;
- Provides flexibility to the regulated community by allowing the use of other methods than SW-846 for RCRA testing and monitoring activities when it is appropriate to do so;
- Offers the use of other appropriate methods as an option. The Agency expects individuals to choose other appropriate methods only when it is more beneficial to do so.
- Allows greater flexibility in method selection, which should stimulate the development and use of innovative and more cost-effective monitoring technologies in the RCRA program.
Presently, the Agency is still considering comments received on the sampling guidance and revising it accordingly.