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3.4.4. Reporting Requirements

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Savings from Economic Incentives


In response to SARA Title III requirements, firms reported on-site land disposal of 535 million pounds of hazardous waste in 1988 but just 289 million pounds in 1994, a reduction of nearly 50%. The compound annual rate of decrease is 9% per year. Reported underground injection of hazardous waste also fell from 1,334 million pounds in 1988 to 349 million pounds in 1994, a cumulative reduction of 74% or 20% per year.

The magnitude of cost savings depends largely on the magnitude of present and future disposal costs. Land disposal of hazardous waste presently costs from about $50 to $200 per cubic yard, or about $0.10-0.25 per pound. Underground injection is believed to be less expensive, perhaps one-half as much. Control costs must be higher for the substances that are released to land and undergound; otherwise control measures would have been implemented. That the controls were made voluntarily suggests that actual control costs at the time they were selected probably cost an amount comparable to disposal costs. It seems reasonable to assume that a command and control approach that accomplished the same result would have cost at least twice as much. Thus, we estimate that in 1994 reporting requirements saved industry about $50 million in land disposal costs and $100 million in injection costs. Given the approximate doubling in the number of substances subject to reporting in the mid 1990s, those amounts that could rise, respectivley, to the neighborhood of $100 million and $150 annually by the year 2000.

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