Laws & Regulations

Summary of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act

42 U.S.C. §6901 et seq. (1976)

The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) gives 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 solid wastes. The 1986 amendments to RCRA enabled EPA to address environmental problems that could result from underground tanks storing petroleum and other hazardous substances.

HSWA - the Federal Hazardous and Solid Waste Amendments - are the 1984 amendments to RCRA that focused on waste minimization and phasing out land disposal of hazardous waste as well as corrective action for releases. Some of the other mandates of this law include increased enforcement authority for EPA, more stringent hazardous waste management standards, and a comprehensive underground storage tank program.

Compliance and Enforcement

History of this Act

More Information

The Office of Resource Conservation and Recovery (ORCR) implements RCRA.  ORCR’s mission is to protect human health and the environment by ensuring responsible national management of hazardous and nonhazardous waste.

The Office of Water (OW) ensures drinking water is safe, and restores and maintains oceans, watersheds, and their aquatic ecosystems to protect human health, support economic and recreational activities, and provide healthy habitat for fish, plants, and wildlife.  OW is responsible for implenting portions of RCRA.