Coalition for Responsible Waste Incineration
September 20, 1999
RCRA Docket Information Center
Re: Docket Number F-1999-IBRA-FFFFF
The Coalition for Responsible Waste Incineration (CRWI) is pleased to submit comments on the "Office of Solid Waste Burden Reduction Project: Notice of Data Availability and Request for Comment" as announced in the June 18, 1999, Federal Register. CRWI represents fourteen companies with either captive or commercial hazardous waste interests. These companies account for a significant portion of the U.S. capacity for hazardous waste incineration. In addition, CRWI is advised by a number of academic members with research interests in hazardous waste incineration. Since its inception, CRWI has encouraged its members to reduce the generation of hazardous waste. However, for certain hazardous waste streams, CRWI believes that incineration is a safe and effective method of treatment, reducing both the volume and toxicity of the waste treated. CRWI seeks to help its member companies both to improve their operations and to provide lawmakers and regulators helpful data and comments.
In general, CRWI supports efforts to reduce the burden of record keeping and reporting. As mentioned in the NODA, CRWI agrees there are many cases where the same information is reported or required under several state and federal regulations. One example is the federal Biennial Reporting System (BRS) and the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) reporting system. In addition, several states also require TRI submissions. These states may not use the data for a purpose apparent to the reporting facility and may not have the capability of electronic submission of the TRI database. An additional duplication of effort is the TRI requirement to estimate the 313 chemicals sent off-site for treatment or disposal and similar requirement for the BRS. A second example is the training and certification requirements for OSHA and EPA. The document "RCRA-OSHA Training Requirements Overlap" clearly delineates that OSHA's requirements will meet or exceed the RCRA requirements. Thus, requiring both does not appear to be justified.
EPA requested comments on specific questions. CRWI's suggestions are below.
A. Should we allow facilities to submit all information and keep all records of information electronically?
Monitoring to show compliance with a large number of parameters is currently done electronically. Most control rooms use sophisticated computer systems to control the processes and to ensure that operations do not exceed permit parameters. Since most of the compliance data is already collected and stored in an electronic format, it appears to be an inefficient use of time and resources (trees) to reduce that information to a paper format prior to sending the data to the regulating agency(s). While there may be some initial problems with compatibility between systems, these technical problems can be solved. However, if there are circumstances where electronic methods are more cumbersome or expensive than traditional methods, the flexibility should remain to submit paper copies.
The electronic TRI submission is a good example of the Agency's welcomed efforts toward electronic submission. The free program provided by EPA allows a facility to ensure that no required data is missing. The program's prompts, checks, and messages ensure a complete submission. The data is then transferred to a disk in the format preferred by EPA. This is easier and less costly to mail than a paper copy. EPA can easily transfer the data and the chance for data input error is greatly reduced. If there are input errors, it would more likely be the reporting facility's instead of an error by EPA.
CRWI also supports storing electronic image files, such as manifests. CRWI believes this reduces the amount of paper copies needed, saving resources and reducing storage volume. The storage of documents is essential to most industries. Since documents must be stored in multiple locations to protect from destruction (e.g., fire, flood, etc.), the use of electronic copies greatly reduces the resources and space needed while satisfying the basic need to retain data.
Due to the time savings, cost savings, resource savings, and error reduction, CRWI supports the use of electronic reporting and record keeping where appropriate.
B. Should EPA reduce reporting requirements for generators and treatment, storage and disposal facilities (TSDF)?
The Agency document "RCRA Hazardous Waste Reporting Requirements" cited in the NODA includes over 325 possible requirements for large quantity generators and/or TSDFs. Of these requirements over 80 Notifications may be required, over 75 reports, over 40 Certifications, over 60 variances/exemptions/demonstrations/extensions, over 45 permits, and over 20 plans are listed. The document has a 19 page table listing requirements. Many of these requirements are repeating certification and notifications. A reduction of the massive amount of reporting is clearly supportable. Not only does the facility use vast resources and time to comply with all these requirements, EPA has to maintain these reports and certifications. CRWI urges EPA to examine what effect on human health and the environment these requirements actually impact and adjust their requirements as appropriate.
CRWI also supports the concept of only requiring that justifiable electronic records be maintained at the facility. While records may be kept at other locations to guarantee safe retention of data, the public and the regulators would be able to inspect the records at the facility to ensuring that facility is meeting their permit requirements.
C. Should we lengthen the period between facility self-inspections?
CRWI believes that there are certain inspection schedules that should continue on a periodic basis but there are others that can flexible based on the results of the inspections. When RCRA was enacted, an inspection schedule was developed based upon limited information. Many facilities have been in existence for over 20 years and that experience in protecting human health and the environment should be used to develop more flexible inspection schedules. CRWI supports the concept that where a series of inspections fail to show any concerns, the inspection period should be lengthened. Should problems occur, the schedule can be written in a manner that appropriate adjustments to the frequency of inspections can be made.
In addition, technological advances in monitoring equipment have made some daily inspections unnecessary. For example, inspecting RCRA waste tanks daily for spills or leaks can be eliminated by installing continuous LEL monitors which would indicate any spill or leak of a volatile material. At this time, the incentive to install monitors is minimal because of the daily inspection requirement. If a simple procedure, such as noting the justification in the operating record, were available, many facilities would consider using continuous monitors instead of daily inspections.
D. Should we change RCRA personnel training requirements?
CRWI supports Alternate 1 where a one-time certification that all personnel have been trained. CRWI also agrees with EPA that there are certain areas where OSHA and RCRA training requirements overlap. CRWI sees this as an inefficient use of time and resources. CRWI suggests that EPA defer to OSHA for the training requirements. As listed in the document "RCRA-OSHA Training Requirements Overlap", the OSHA program meets or exceeds the RCRA requirements. This would exceed the RCRA requirements and ensure the proper training. This would also eliminate any duplication and would relieve the facility from possible dual enforcement actions.
E. Should we streamline the LDR paperwork requirements?
Change 1: Eliminate 268.7(a)(1) Generator waste determinations
CRWI supports streamlining the LDR paperwork requirements. As reported in the NODA, the waste determinations under Part 262 and 264 would meet the obligations under Part 268. This is a duplicative requirement that should be removed.
The notifications and certification under the LDR program are extensive and numerous. CRWI supports eliminating the additional certifications required. These certifications have no impact on human health and the environment. The certification required to accompany the manifested shipment should be adequate and can be review by inspectors to ensure compliance and protection of the environment.
F.Should we reduce the amount of data collected by the biennial report?
CRWI supports the two suggestions that EPA has made in the NODA. In addition, CRWI would like to encourage the agency to also eliminate all parts of the biennial report that are already covered under TRI requirements. It makes no sense to duplicate efforts and report the same information under two different mechanisms. If there are slightly different requirements for the two reports, CRWI suggests that the systems be modified to require only one report.
Thank you for considering these comments. If there are any questions, please contact me (202-775-9869 or firstname.lastname@example.org).
Melvin E. Keener, Ph.D.