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Eighties environmental legislation impacts metalcasting industry.

Eighties Environmental Legislation Impacts Metalcasting Industry

With the passage of the Hazardous and Solid Waste Amendments of 1984 (HSWA) reauthorizing RCRA (Resource Conservation and Recovery Act) and the passage of the Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act of 1986 (SARA), Congress has called for environmental rule making in the area of hazardous wastes unequaled in history. In fact, Congress was so anxious to get the rules into effect, they wrote them right into the statutes in many areas.


The Hazardous and Solid Waste Amendments greatly expanded the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) authority over hazardous waste facilities under RCRA. A hazardous waste facility handles waste that is ignitable, corrosive, reactive or EP toxic. While there are a number of provisions that could apply to the foundry industry, some of the most significant include the "land ban," corrective action and the underground storage tank program.

Land Ban--Congress has mandated that land disposal of most untreated hazardous waste to be discontinued by 1990. Many foundries generate wastes that are classified as hazardous by virtue of EP toxicity, i.e., lead, cadmium and chromium leaching. Some foundries generate wastes that are classified as corrosive, ignitable or reactive. Foundries that have machining or painting operations sometimes generate listed hazardous wastes, i.e., 1-1-1, trichloroethane.

As the EPA implements regulations to prohibit the land disposal of untreated hazardous wastes, foundries will be forced to manage their production operations and hazardous wastes in different ways. Most hazardous waste generators and treatment, storage and disposal (TSD) facility owners and operators also will be affected by the land disposal restrictions.

Under these rules, "land disposal" includes placement of the wastes in any of the following: a landfill surface impoundment, waste pile, land treatment facility, concrete vault or bunker and other facilities intended for disposal purposes.

Restricted wastes, subject to these land disposal rules as of Nov 8, 1986, include, among others: spent solvent wastes numbered F001, F002, F003, F004, F005; and dioxin-containing wastes numbered F020, F021, F022, F023, F026, F027 and F028.

Treatment standards for restricted wastes are based on the best demonstrated available technology (BDAT) for each individual hazardous constituent in each listed waste. These BDAT standards are expressed as concentration limits in an extract (leaching test) of the waste or in an extract of its waste treatment residue. Any technology may be used provided it will achieve the concentration levels specified in the rule.

In addition, this rule making specifies a proposed new analytical method, the Toxicity Characteristic Leaching Procedure (TCLP), that would be used for analysis of restricted wastes and their treatment residues. This method would be used only with respect to land disposal restriction rules and would not, at this time, replace other waste analysis methods specified in RCRA Subtitle C (hazardous waste) regulations. The proposed TCLP test has not been promulgated in rules as of publication of this article.

Dilution of restricted wastes, either before or after treatment, in order to reach the specified concentration levels is prohibited. Prior to treatment, mixing of restricted wastes having different treatment standards for a constituent of concern is allowed only when treatment of the mixture is capable of achieving the lowest concentration level for that constituent of concern. Such mixing is not allowed as a substitute for the proper treatment. These restrictions and prohibitions apply to all generators, treaters, disposers and handlers of restricted wastes.

Corrective Action

Foundries that are now operating, or have in the past operated, RCRA treatment, storage or disposal facilities may be required to implement remedial actions if releases of hazardous waste and/or hazardous constituents have occurred at the facility. These corrective action measures can be required for facilities that are either seeking or already have a RCRA permit.

The Hazardous and Solid Waste Amendments greatly expanded EPA's authority under RCRA for requiring corrective action for releases of hazardous wastes and constituents that may pose a threat to human health or the environment.

Section 3004(u) of HSWA requires "corrective action" for releases of hazardous wastes or constituents from any solid waste management unit (SWMU) at a storage, treatment or disposal facility that is seeking or is otherwise subject to a RCRA permit. Section 3004(u) also requires that these permits contain assurances of financial responsibility for complying with corrective action.

Moreover, Section 3004(v) authorizes EPA to require corrective action beyond the facility boundary.

Section 3008(h) of HSWA authorizes EPA to require corrective action or other necessary response measures whenever it is determined "on the basis of any information" that there is or has been a release of hazardous wastes or constituents from a facility authorized to operate under Section 3005(e) of RCRA.

The scope of the 3004(u) authority is largely defined by its key terms. It requires that permits impose corrective action for releases of hazardous wastes or constituents which pose a threat to human health and to the environment from any SWMU at a storage, treatment or disposal facility seeking a RCRA permit. The definitions are complicated and are being challenged by both industry and environmental groups.

The term "release" is defined to include any spilling, leaking, pouring, emitting, emptying, discharging, injecting, escaping, leaching, dumping or disposing into the environment. It can include releases that are authorized or otherwise permitted under other environmental statutes.

The term "solid waste management unit" includes any discernible waste management unit from which hazardous constituents may migrate, regardless of whether the unit was intended for the management of solid or hazardous wastes. Types of units which therefore are included in the definition of SWMUs include landfills, surface impoundments, waste piles, land treatment units, incinerators, injection wells, tanks, container storage areas and transfer stations.

In addition, certain areas associated with production processes at facilities which have become contaminated also are considered to be SWMUs. A product may become a waste if it is abandoned or discarded.

Other types of contamination at facilities, such as spills, leakage from product storage and releases from production processes or product storage that are not routine, systematic and deliberate, are not considered to be SWMUs. One-time spills are considered subject to 3004(u) corrective action only if the spill occurred from a SWMU.

The term "facility" has been defined by EPA to include all contiguous property under the control of an owner or operator at which the units subject to permitting are located. This definition has been challenged by several groups.

Underground Tanks

The reauthorization of RCRA contains a new provision, signed on Sep 3, 1988, for leaking underground petroleum and hazardous substances other than hazardous wastes regulated under Subtitle C of RCRA. These requirements establish guidelines to prevent, detect and clean up releases from new and existing underground storage tank (UST) systems.

The rule mandates that, by 1988, all tanks must be corrosion protected, incorporate spill and overflow equipment and have a monthly leak detection inspection. New UST systems must be designed and constructed to retain structural integrity in accordance with national consensus codes of practice and must be installed using nationally recognized industry standards.

When filling tanks, owners and operators of new and existing systems must follow proper filling practices and must install protective devices to prevent releases from spills or overfills. In repairing existing tanks, nationally recognized industry codes must be followed.

Tank closure can be achieved through removal or in-place abandonment, provided that owners and operators furnish an assessment during closure to document that a release has not occurred on-site.

New and existing UST systems must have release detection and existing systems require annual hydrostatic testing until they are upgraded. After upgrading, testing is required every five years.

If a petroleum release of over 25 gallons occurs, owners must report this within 24 hours, unless it can be immediately contained or cleaned up. Corrective action of leaking UST systems must follow federal measures. In addition, state and county rules may be more stringent than these federal rules.

Wastewater Guidelines

EPA's 40 CFR 464, Effluent Guidelines for the Metal Molding and Casting Industry, have a significant effect on the handling of process wastewater discharges. The regulation, a part of the Clean Water Act, applies to the aluminum, copper, ferrous and zinc casting industries and sets effluent guidelines for direct and indirect discharges that vary from industry to industry.

Existing direct discharges will be required to meet limitations based on EPA's best practicable control technology (BPT) and best available technology (BAT). Compliance with BPT and BAT is required as soon as the limitations become incorporated into the discharge permits. New direct discharges will be required to comply with new source performance standards (NSPS) when they begin operations.

Facilities discharging to publicly owned treatment works, or existing indirect discharges, were required to comply with pretreatment standards for existing sources (PSES) by Oct 31, 1988. Pretreatment standards for new sources (PSNS) must be met by new indirect discharges from the beginning of their operations.

These new wastewater rules apply to any facility with a process discharge.


The Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act of 1986 (SARA) amends CERCLA (Superfund) and establishes requirements pertaining to emergency planning and community right-to-know.

SARA Title III, Sec. 313, imposes certain reporting requirements on foundry owners and operators. These reporting requirements vary depending on whether the toxic chemical is defined in terms of manufacturing or otherwise used.

A toxic chemical is "manufactured" if it is produced or prepared, or if it is produced as a by-product during the manufacture, processing, use or disposal of another chemical. The reporting threshold quantities in lb/yr for a manufactured toxic chemical were 75,000 in 1987, 50,000 in 1988 and are 25,000 for 1989.

Chemicals that are classified as "otherwise used" are those that do not intentionally become a part of product distributed in commerce. Examples include catalysts, lubricants, solvents, fuels and cleaners. The threshold reporting quantity for "otherwise used" chemicals since 1987 has been 10,000 lb per year. This level will stand in 1989.

Summarizing, chemicals that go into a casting, i.e., alloying agents, fall under the "manufactured" definition. All other chemicals a foundry may use, i.e., blinders, would fall under the "otherwise used" definition.

Many foundries either currently or at some time in the past have disposed of their foundry process solid wastes in a landfill owned by another party. Some of these landfills may have accepted hazardous waste from a number of contributors during the operation of the facility.

If a problem has developed at the landfill, such as groundwater or surface water contamination that poses a significant risk to human health or to the environment, EPA may have the authority under SARA to require remedial action at these sites. Foundries which become involved with Superfund sites under the new amendments will find some significant differences in the focus of site cleanups.

SARA provides $8.5 billion over the next five years for Superfund response activities and $500 million for UST program activities.

Congress gave several clear new mandates in SARA. To the maximum extent practicable, hazardous waste site cleanups should utilize permanent solutions, alternative treatment technologies or resource recovery technologies where possible. The movement is toward high-technology, in-place solutions, rather than digging up a site and carrying the material to a land disposal facility. These on-site solutions must be in compliance with all applicable federal and state laws and environmental quality standards.

This requirement will limit discretion on the level of cleanups and will result in more restrictive levels for these cleanups. Where an off-site action is suitable, the transfer of hazardous substances or pollutants must be to a facility that meets all RCRA and state requirements. As an additional requirement, the remedy must be cost-effective. Clearly, these are challenging mandates.

SARA also provides for greater state involvement in the intiation, development and selection of remedial actions. In addition, there are provisions for citizens' suits against anyone who violates any standard, regulation, condition, requirement or order under the Act. Funds are available to citizen groups to obtain technical expertise to review remedies.

Because most Superfund sites involve groundwater contamination, it makes sense that, as Potentially Responsible Parties (PRPs) gather their resources to respond to the regulatory Agency, strong technical support for the PRPs is a must. Even though the initial activities of PRP "steering committees" often deal with structures for cost recovery, early technical input such as examining waste-in lists, is required in developing rationale for PRP contributions and in developing the RI/FS (remedial investigation/feasibility study) workplan.

Apportionment of the costs of closure and post-closure of hazardous waste sites is a major problem for federal and state agencies and PRPs. Currently the EPA is considering a number of models to assist in settlement of Superfund closures. A model that can equitably apportion total cost of closure will be of immense value in prompt settlement of Superfund cases. However, as of yet a technically sound method of apportioning costs among PRPs has not been established.

Regardless of the method to apportion costs, companies involved in Superfund projects will find themselves in better positions if they have practiced sound waste management strategies. Proper waste characterization and waste management not only helps cut waste disposal costs, but can be of benefit if a company is ever called on as a PRP. Having good records that show characteristics, volume and disposal methods of your wastes can prevent inaccurate assumptions or assessments against your company by regulatory agencies during Superfund remedial actions.

In Superfund cases involving multiple generators, whenever practicable and in the public interest, EPA must reach separate settlements as promptly as possible with minor (de minimis) contributors of waste to a site. Buyouts by the government of de minimis contributors can only take place if the volume and nature of waste sent to the site by a company can accurately be determined.

Records created through proper waste management policies and accurate waste characterization can provide vital protection for small quantity generators.

Early participation by experts can help PRPs negotiate reasonable allocation of costs. In the "context" of fear of litigation, PRPs need to have some idea of their total cost, if only for budgeting purposes. Early technical guidance can aid in providing budgetary estimates for financial planning.

RI/FS Process

The following explanation of the RI/FS process for CERCLA Superfund sites, as modified by SARA, has been excerpted from an EPA guidance document dated Dec 23, 1986 and authorized by J. Winston Porter, Assistant Administrator of U.S. EPA.

Under SARA, the remedial process retains its major analytical components: a remedial investigation (RI) in which data about site and waste characteristics, their hazards and routes of exposure are collected and analyzed and in which data about treatability of wastes and performance of treatment process is assembled as necessary; and a feasibility study (FS) in which a number of potential remedial alternatives are developed and screened. The most promising subset of alternatives is evaluated against a range of factors and compared against one another. This process culminates in the selection of a remedy.

The RI may need to be conducted in at least two phases, while the FS will retain the three phases described in the current National Contingency Plan (NCP).

The RI/FS has been evolving into a more interactive process: as the FS progresses, more sophisticated data are required to assess the feasibility of an alternative. In addition to a literature survey, more site data and/or bench or pilot-scale testing of a treatment technology may be needed.

Likewise, the RI has become a phased process wherein the data quality objectives (DQOs) are tailored to the need for additional site, waste and treatment performance information.

While the basic framework remains intact, SARA adds some new features and emphasis. The most significant emphasis is on risk reduction through destruction or detoxification of hazardous waste by employing treatment technologies which reduce toxicity, mobility or volume rather than on protection achieved through prevention of exposure.

SARA calls for the Agency to prefer remedies that use treatment to permanently and significantly reduce the toxicity, mobility or volume of wastes over remedies that do not use such treatment. In addition, SARA requires that the Agency select a remedy that utilizes permanent solutions and alternative treatment technologies, or resource recovery technologies, to the maximum extent practicable.

It should be noted that volume reduction should be considered distinctly from reducing toxicity and/or mobility; some treatment processes will increase the volume of contaminated material while effectively reducing toxicity or mobility, whereas other processes may reduce volume and consequently increase the concentration of constituents which increases the toxicity and/or mobility of the contaminants.

Another significant change is the codification of the CERCLA Compliance Policy. This policy required that Superfund remedial actions attain the applicable or relevant and appropriate requirements (ARARs) of other Federal environmental statutes. Furthermore, Section 300.68 of the NCP specifically refers to ARARs in regard to the development of alternatives. SARA incorporates this requirement into statutory law, while adding the provision that remedial actions also attain State requirements more stringent than Federal requirements if they also are applicable or relevant and appropriate.

Also integral to the remedy selection process is SARA's incorporation, with some modifications, of the Superfund program's existing State involvement and community relations processes. The new statute basically formalizes practices the Agency has pursued and highlights the importance of early, constant and responsive relations with both the States and communities affected by Superfund sites.
COPYRIGHT 1989 American Foundry Society, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1989, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:includes related article on AFS Environmental Division's aims and goals
Publication:Modern Casting
Date:Jun 1, 1989
Previous Article:Survey on ductile iron practice in U.S.
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