Waste Transportation of

HAZMAT team hazardous materials response group

The transportation of waste is the movement of waste over a specific area by trains, tankers, trucks, barges, or other vehicles. The types of wastes that may be transported range from municipal garbage to radioactive or hazardous wastes.

Hazardous wastes may be transported to be treated, stored, or disposed of. Facilities that generate hazardous waste are required to prepare a shipping document, or "manifest," to accompany the waste as it is transported from the site of generation. This manifest must accompany the waste until its final destination and is used to track the wastes from cradle-to-grave.

The potential for pollution releases during the transportation of waste varies; the more hazardous the waste and the larger the volume that is transported, the more devastating the environmental/human health impact if an accident occurs. Traffic accidents or train wrecks can result in waste spills and releases of pollutants that may contaminate the air, water, and soil. Wastes may also be released while being loaded or unloaded during transportation.

Approximately four billion tons of regulated hazardous materials are shipped within the United States each year with more 250,000 shipments entering the U.S. transportation system daily. The Emergency Response Notification System (ERNS) database of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) shows that from 1988 to 1992 an average of nineteen transportation accidents involving toxic chemicals occurred each day.

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