The USDA Forest Service Environmental
Engineering program functions in compliance with the following
Safe Drinking Water Act
The Forest Service owns and manages over 5,000 drinking
water systems. These systems range in complexity from
hand pump wells to full water treatment plants at major
installations. The Forest Service manages all systems
as public systems in accordance with Environmental
Protection Agency (EPA) and respective State regulations.
In many cases, this approach is in excess of minimum
requirements for system operation. Primarily, these systems
provide drinking water at recreational sites and facilities.
The Safe Drinking Water Act Amendments, August 1996,
ushered in a wave of enhancements to existing provisions,
as well as creating new provisions that shifted the Act
more towards prevention. The EPA Office of Water Quality
Management has established work groups to develop guidance
addressing changes in the law. The Forest Service has
been participating in many of these work groups, including:
- small systems
- consumer confidence
- source water protection
- monitoring reform
- operator certification.
Resource Conservation and Recovery Act
RCRA was enacted in 1976, amending the Solid Waste Disposal
Act (SWDA), and is the primary Federal statute regulating
the generation, transportation, treatment, and disposal
of solid and hazardous waste. RCRA was amended in 1984
by the Hazardous and Solid Waste Act (HSWA), which established
national minimum design standards for municipal solid
waste landfills and for regulated underground storage
tanks containing hazardous substances and petroleum products.
RCRA was amended again in 1992 by the Federal Facilities
Compliance Act (FFCA), which waived any immunity applicable
to the United States with respect to civil violations
of hazardous and solid waste laws and regulations. The
FFCA made Federal facilites subject to civil and adminstrative
fines and penalties from Federal, State, and local agencies.
RCRA establishes a "Cradle to Grave" management system
for control of hazardous waste. The waste generator has
the responsiblity to:
- Identify whether or not the wastes are hazardous.
- Obtain a RCRA storage permit if hazardous waste is
stored on site for more than 90 days.
- Properly label and mark hazardous waste while it
is being accumulated and for shipment.
- Track transportation of the hazardous waste through
the Uniform Hazardous Waste Manifest system.
The generator maintains long-term liability for the
hazardous waste even after disposal.
Most Forest Service facilities generate zero or very
little hazardous waste. Hazardous wastes generated at
Forest Service facilities include paints, laboratory
chemicals, and pesticides. The Forest Service has an
active pollution prevention program and is working towards
reducing waste volumes and finding less hazardous alternative