Coalition for Responsible Waste Incineration
June 7, 1999
Re: Hazardous Waste Combustor MACT Rule
The Coalition for Responsible Waste Incineration (CRWI) represents nine companies with either captive or commercial hazardous waste incineration 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 incineration operations and to provide lawmakers and regulators helpful data and comments.
CRWI would like the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs to consider two points during its review of the NESHAPS: Final Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants for Hazardous Waste Combustors.
1. Requiring PM CEMs.
Based on the recently signed portland cement kiln MACT rule, it appears that particulate matter continuous emission monitors (PM CEMs) will be required in the hazardous waste combustor MACT rule although we also understand that a specific compliance deadline for installing the PM CEMs is deferred pending a future rulemaking. We disagree that such a requirement should be included in the final rule.
CRWI has worked closely with EPA on demonstration projects that have evaluated the performance of several PM CEMs. In fact, CRWI was one of the sponsors (with Eli Lilly and Company and the Chemical Manufacturers Association) of an industry funded demonstration project. Enclosed are copies of the studies, as well as the briefing materials presented to EPA on this project. The results of the studies that have been finished indicate that while it is possible to develop calibration relationships for PM CEMs, an examination of the daily operations of these instruments show significant problems (See the briefing materials, slides 20-23, presented to the Office of Solid Waste on May 20, 1999, for a list of issues still to be addressed). As an example of one of the problems encountered, the instruments, when compared over time, did not give the same PM concentration in the stack. In other words, properly calibrated and properly functioning instruments did not give the same PM concentration when sampling similar stack gases (see slides 17-19 of the May 20, 1999 presentation). This discrepancy has enormous implications if these instruments are to be used as a compliance tool, since one instrument could indicate non-compliance while another could indicate compliance. In addition, the instruments are only now being tested on cement kilns. Results from this test will not be available until late in 1999. Thus, CRWI has serious concerns on whether PM CEMs are ready for use as a compliance tool. We particularly take issue with the Agency's characterization that the use of PM CEMs in Europe is the basis for proceeding with a PM CEMs requirement since the compliance and enforcement schemes in Europe are much different than in the United States.
The Office of Solid Waste is aware of these issues and we thought had initially indicated that the requirement for PM CEMs would be postponed until data from the cement kiln test were completed and additional data could be obtained on the long-term operations of these instruments. If the results from ongoing tests were positive, EPA would initiate a separate rulemaking to require PM CEMs for hazardous waste combustors and to develop appropriate performance specifications. CRWI agreed with this approach since it would allow all parties to examine the ability of these instruments for function properly on a cement kiln and gather additional data on long-term operations. In addition, it would not make a decision on requiring PM CEMs until both the calibration issues and the compliance issues for these instruments could be addressed.
Now it appears that EPA has made the decision to require PM CEMs without properly addressing the many technical problems with using the instruments in a compliance mode and the applicability of the instruments to cement kilns. In addition, the rule does not appear to have any performance specifications or a timetable for installing the instruments. CRWI believes that PM CEMs should not be required in any rulemaking until the technical questions are adequately addressed. Placing a requirement in the HWC MACT rule with no installation date or performance specification does nothing except force industry to litigate the rule upon promulgation. Should EPA want to send a message that it plans to require PM CEMs when they can be proven as compliance tools, this can easily be done in preamble language without including the requirement in the rule. CRWI suggests that this is a better approach than requiring installation and deferring the date. It achieves the same goal at less post-promulgation cost to all parties. However, if the requirement remains in the rule, CRWI would recommend that the language in the rule be modified to make it clear that there is no requirement to "install, calibrate, maintain, and operate a PM CEMs" until further rulemaking is undertaken.
2. Timing of Trial Burns (Comprehensive Performance Tests).
It is CRWI's understanding that EPA will require that a trial burn plan be submitted to the appropriate regulatory entity one year prior to when the facility plans to conduct their trial burn. The agency then has nine months in which to approve the plan. The facility then has six months to conduct the trial burn and an additional three months to report the results to the agency. In a perfect world, CRWI members believe that this schedule can be met. However, our concerns with this timetable rest with the ability of the regulating entity to approve a trial burn plan within nine months and the ability to obtain laboratory results in three months, particularly since 150 plus facilities will be requesting such approval in about the same time period. These concerns are not only based on logistics but on the historical evidence of the agency's ability to approve trial burn plans. The following table will give some indication of past experiences with obtaining approval of trial burn plans.
While these data are incomplete and do not include requests for additional information and the amount of negotiations between the company and the regulatory entity, it does show that the regulatory agencies have traditionally not approved trial burns in nine months. This will be further complicated, as noted above, in that most facilities will be submitting trial burn plans at about the same time. While this may not be a big concern for states and EPA Regions with only a few hazardous waste combustors, states with multiple combustors will be hard pressed to properly review these plans. Since each trial burn plan will be used to set site-specific operating parameters, each plan has to be reviewed on its own merits. This will put tremendous pressure on the regulatory entity.
As CRWI understands the current version of the rule, failure by the regulatory entity to approve a trial burn plan in the time frame allotted does not relieve the facility of the burden to conduct the trial burn by a certain date. Being forced to conduct a trial burn without an approved trial burn plan is not a situation in which either the facility or the regulatory agency wants to be placed. One potential solution is to leave the timetable as is but add a provision that if the regulatory entity does not complete its review of the trial burn plan in the allotted nine months, the facility still has six months to conduct the trial burn after receiving an approved trial burn plan.
Another place where timetables could easily be compromised is in the analysis of test results, especially for dioxins. All hazardous waste combustors will be required to test for dioxins during their trial burns. It is CRWI's understanding that there are a limited number of laboratories that are certified to analyze stack gas samples for dioxin. With 150 plus facilities testing for dioxin in a six month period and expecting results in three month, these laboratories may be hard pressed to deliver the results on time. One potential solution to this timing problem is to allow facilities to submit results one month after receiving laboratory results.
Hopefully, industry will stagger submission of their trial burn plans in a manner that will allow existing regulatory entities and laboratories to perform their work on a timely basis. However, should this not occur, CRWI believes that the ability to alter the timetable based on actions not controlled by facilities should be allowed and will make for a more orderly compliance with the new standards.
Should you need additional information on these two issues or would like to meet with CRWI for additional details, please contact me at 202-775-9869.