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With the passage of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) by Congress in 1976, a comprehensive scheme was established whereby hazardous wastes are regulated from cradle to grave. The states have followed with similar—and sometimes more stringent—laws. The generator of the hazardous waste is the "cradle" (i.e., where the waste is created), and the hazardous waste treatment, storage, and disposal facility (TSDF) is the "grave" (i.e., where the hazardous waste ends up).
"Disposal" is defined by RCRA as "the discharge, deposit, injection, dumping, spilling, leaking, or placing of solid or hazardous waste into any land or water so that such solid or hazardous waste or any constituent thereof may enter the environment or be emitted into the air or any waters, including groundwaters" (42 USC 6903(3)).