Rulings & Regulations: EPA Issues Final Emission Standards

Oct. 16, 2005
for Hazardous Waste Combustors

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has issued its final emission standards for hazardous waste combustors, part of Section 112(d) of the Clean Air Act. It outlines the requirements for hazardous waste combustors to meet Hazardous Air Pollution emission standards reflecting the application of the maximum achievable control technology (MACT). This new rule becomes effective 60 days after publication in the Federal Register.

NESHAPs (National Emissions Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants) aim to reduce emissions from incinerators, lightweight aggregate kilns, boilers and process heaters, and hydrochloric-acid production furnaces — known collectively as hazardous waste combustors (HWC).

EPA estimates that 145 facilities operating 265 existing HWCs will be affected by this rule, which requires them to use the MACT standard. These include those processing primary aluminum, scrap metal, and waste materials, and treated mineral manufacturing. The pollutants include lead, mercury, arsenic, dioxin and furans, and hydrogen chloride and chlorine gas. Emissions of particulate matter are also expected to be reduced.

The sources are defined in two categories. Phase I sources include incinerators, cement kilns, and lightweight aggregate kilns, while Phase II sources include boilers, process heaters, and HCl production furnaces that burn hazardous waste.

Phase I combustor sources are regulated under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), which establishes a "cradle-to-grave" regulatory structure, overseeing the safe treatment, storage, and disposal of hazardous waste. Phase II combustors are regulated under the RCRA, too, pursuant to Subpart EEE, which generally states that an affected source pursuant is one that combusts, or previously has combusted, hazard has waste in an incinerator, cement kiln, lightweight aggregate kiln, boiler, or hydrochloric acid production furnace.

A company can continue to be an affected source until it ceases burning hazardous waste and initiates closure requirements pursuant to RCRA. Even if it temporarily ceases burning, it remains an affected source. The EPA also promulgated separate MACT standards for sources that do not burn hazardous waste into the following categories: commercial and industrial solid waste incinerators; Portland cement manufacturing facilities; industrial/commercial/institutional boilers and process heaters; and hydrochloric acid production facilities.

The compliance date will be 36 months after the date of the publication in the Federal Register. Those HWCs who fall under these standards must submit a series of testing and compliance requirements, notifications, and recordkeeping.

For more information and a PDF version of the final emission standards, visit EPA online visit EPA online.

Union Foundry Agrees to Settlement with EPA

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Union Foundry Co. has agreed to plead guilty to a two-count "information" that follows an investigation at the Anniston, AL, foundry.

Union Foundry is a division of of McWane Inc. The investigation focused on worker safety and environmental violations that occurred between December 1997 and August 2000.

The plea agreement must be approved by a federal district court. In the first count, Union admitted to willful violation of an Occupational Safety and Health Administration safety regulation, and that this willful violation resulted in the death of an employee. EPA detailed that from March 17 until August 22, 2000, the foundry allowed employees to work on a conveyor belt that did not have an OSHA-mandated safety guard. A maintenance worker was killed on the job on August 22, 2000, when he became caught in a pulley of the conveyor belt.

In the second charge, Union Foundry admitted it knowingly violated the Resource, Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) by allowing employees to illegally treat hazardous waste without a permit. Employees were treating baghouse dust — generated in a water-cooled cupola and containing lead and cadmium — without a permit and allowing the hazardous properties to escape into the air.

The agreement includes a criminal fine for Union Foundry totaling

$3.5 million and a three-year probation period.

"The safety of every single employee should be first in a corporation’s mind, and McWane’s willful violation of OSHA safety regulations resulting in a death must be punished," said U.S. Attorney Alice H. Martin. She added that the agreement "holds McWane accountable for the safety of its workers and environmental harm done in Anniston."

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