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Hazardous Waste

Legislative and Regulatory Timeline for Mining Waste

This timeline walks through the history of mining waste regulation since 1976 and includes information such as regulations, proposals, amendments and reports conducted.

Date(s) Action or Event Notes on Significance to Mining Waste


Enactment of Resource and Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) (117 pp, 662 K, About PDF) EPA must perform a “detailed and comprehensive study of the adverse effects of solid wastes from active and abandoned surface and underground mines on the environment…”
12/18/1978 EPA proposes first set of hazardous waste management standards (PDF) (volume 43 of the Federal Register (FR) starting on page 58945) (248 pp, 63 MB, About PDF) Wastes from mining are proposed to be designated as three of the six “special wastes”, which are exempt from RCRA Subtitle C regulations
10/12/1980 Solid Waste Disposal Act Amendments enacted (26 pp, 4.58 MB, About PDF) Bevill amendment added: temporarily exempts three special wastes from hazardous waste regulation until further study is completed
11/19/1980 EPA promulgates interim final amendments to the hazardous waste regulations (PDF) (45 FR 76618)(200 pp, 491 MB, About PDF) Includes an exclusion for mining waste from the definition of hazardous waste
10/31/1983 EPA misses the statutory deadline for submitting mining waste report to Congress  
08/1984 EPA is sued for failing to submit the report to Congress EPA responds to the lawsuit by explaining its plan to propose a narrower interpretation of the scope of the Mining Waste Exclusion so that it would encompass fewer wastes
10/2/1985 EPA proposes in the Federal Register to reinterpret the scope of the mining waste exclusion  
12/31/1985 EPA submits a report to Congress Report on Wastes from the Extraction and Beneficiation of Metallic Ores, Phosphate Rock, Asbestos, Overburden from Uranium Mining, and Oil Shale
07/3/1986 EPA publishes final Regulatory Determination for Extraction and Beneficiation Waste  
07/1988 EPA is sued for withdrawing proposal to reinterpret the mining waste exclusion  
9/1/1989 and

EPA publishes in Federal Register the final boundaries of the Mining Waste Exclusion for mineral processing wastes:

9/1/1989 Federal Register notice (PDF)(see page 36592) (452 pp, 122 MB, About PDF)

1/23/1990 Federal Register notice (PDF)(see page 2322)(156 pp, 41.8 MB, About PDF)

07/31/1990 EPA submits report to Congress on Special Wastes from Mineral Processing  
06/13/1991 EPA publishes Special Wastes from Mineral Processing Final Regulatory Determination and Final Rule  
05/26/1998 EPA publishes Land Disposal Restrictions Phase IV  
04/4/2006 EPA publishes Criteria for the Safe and Environmentally Protective Use of Granular Mine Tailings Known as “Chat”  
07/18/2007 EPA formalizes criteria in publication of “Criteria for the Safe and Environmentally Protective Use of Granular Mine Tailings Known as ‘Chat’”