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Cleaning up after incinerators.

Cleaning up after incinerators

The environmental Protection Agency last week proposed new controls to trap more of the toxic air pollution emitted by municipal waste incinerators. To date, the only air pollution controls required on these facilities have been those that limit dust emissions. The "best available" control technologies required under the new proposal would trap not only five times more of the dusty particulates but also 90 to 95 percent of the sulfur dioxide and hydrochloric acid, and 97 to 99 percent of airborne metals such as lead and mercury.

The proposal would also require "tail gas" cleaning of nitrogen oxides -- key contributors to both smog and acid rain -- on all incinerators processing more than 250 tons of trash daily. These controls are expected to cut incinerator nitrogen oxide emissions by 40 percent. New controls would be required to trap organic pollutants. To verify that incinerators have incorporated applicable technolgies, plant operators would have to monitor for dioxins and furans and ascertain that large incinerators have removed 99 percent of them. Other provisions would require that incinerating facilities employ only "trained and certified" supervisors and, by 1993, recycle 25 percent of the trash they process.

EPA officials say they expect to adopt these rules and apply them to all new plants within one year. Older plants would have several years to make necessary improvements.
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Publication:Science News
Date:Dec 9, 1989
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