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Many serious issues surround the RCRA reauthorization.

This article provides a preliminary view of the issues surrounding the reauthorization of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). The act governs the management of solid and hazardous waste in the U.S. and could have significant impacts on foundries and other U.S. manufacturing industries.

Potential impacts on foundries include stringent and costly recycling process controls and increased disposal costs due amount of foundry materials considered hazardous. Highlights of the major issues and proposed legislation are provided as are environmental community and industry positions on RCRA. A proposed strategy for improving the act from a foundry industry perspective is also provided.


RCRA was initially passed by the U.S. Congress in 1976. Subtitle D of the act addressed the management of 'solid waste.' Subtitle C of RCRA established a "cradle to grave' hazardous waste management system and required the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to adopt regulations to implement the intent of the law. RCRA allowed states to develop their own solid and hazardous waste management programs, as long as they called for standards that were as stringent as those outlined under the federal regulatory program. Subsequent EPA regulations defined the terms "solid' and "hazardous' wastes and devised standards for the management of each.

RCRA was amended in 1980 and again in 1984. The 1984 Hazardous and Solid Waste Amendments HSWA) have had a significant impact on U.S. industries, including foundries. Major EPA rules issued under HSWA include land disposal restrictions that now require all hazardous waste to be treated to Best Demonstrated Available Technology' standards before being disposed of in a landfill.

The Toxicity Characteristic Leaching Procedure (TCLP) test replaced a former test method in September 1990. TCLP is used to determine if a solid waste is considered hazardous based on its ability to leach certain constituents under acid conditions. This test is generally more aggressive on metallic waste streams and has greatly increased the amount of materials considered to be hazardous waste, particularly impacting nonferrous foundries. EPA expected the TCLP rule to triple the amount of waste considered hazardous under RCRA.

In July 1990, EPA outlined the structure of the HSWA corrective action program in a proposed rule. This program would impose site investigation, study procedures and cleanup requirements for RCRA facility owner/operators. The complexity of the proposed rule is probably best measured by the time necessary for EPA to develop a final rule in response to public comments. The final rule is not expected until January 1993. MaJor issues

Reauthorization of RCRA is now being considered by Congress. Walt Kiplinger, AFS vice president government affairs, expects floor action on the bill in 1993 or 1994. Although the RCRA debate is in its preliminary stages, the following general topics appear to be the major issues being contemplated by Congress:

Recycling Management Standards-Placing control measures on industrial material recycling processes.

Definition of Solid Waste-New definition of solid waste, a key term with many policy implications under both the solid and hazardous waste management programs, would have costly effects.

Waste Minimization ProgramsWould require hazardous waste generators to prepare, certify and submit to EPA toxics used and source reduction plans and performance reports. Requirements would be legally enforceable.

State Issues-interstate transport and disposal of waste has been a hot topic in Washington. Alabama and several other states have placed shipment bans on waste transported from states that do not have adequate disposal capacity assurance plans. In addition, states have used their authority under RCRA to develop regulations that are more stringent than federal requirements for industrial orphan waste,' materials classified in the abyss between solid and hazardous waste. This has led to a gamut of regulatory approaches that have begun to impact fair competition and influence business siting decisions.

Proposed Legislation

Several bills have been introduced in the Senate to address RCRA reauthorization. The most prominent bill, S. 976, was introduced by Sen. Max Baucus DMID on April 25,1991 (102nd Congress, first session). The Baucus bill focuses on solid waste management issues, specifying recycled content standards for various recyclable commodities, packaging standards and national waste management policy goals.

The bill establishes a new class of materials under RCRA referred to as 'hazardous secondary material' and requires EPA to ...promulgate requirements for the recycling, recovery and reuse of hazardous waste and hazardous secondary material..." Unfortunately, if EPA fails to issue these regulations within 24 months of enactment, "hazardous secondary material" will be deemed hazardous waste and will become subject to all of the costly management requirements with which foundries are all too familiar.

It is likely that many foundry process residuals such as sands and slag would be classified as hazardous secondary material" under S. 976. In addition, the bill requires that the EPA regulations covering the recycling, recovery and reuse of hazardous secondary material must contain:
* management standards essentially
 equivalent to hazardous waste requirements;
 corrective action;
* management of 'slag" in accordance
 with hazardous waste requirements
 if the slag is characteristically hazardous
 or derived from a listed hazardous
* permitting, financial assurance and
 periodic inspection requirements.
 It is interesting to note that while the

Baucus bill establishes recycling as the second-highest priority waste management alternative in the bill's national policy statement, it also poses onerous and costly requirements on businesses that practice recycling. It also removes the incentive from firms that practice this beneficial resource recovery technique.

S. 982, a bill introduced by Sen. John Chafee (R-RI), expands on the recycling provisions contained in the Baucus bill. Chafee's bill is intended to 'clarify the Environmental Protection Agency's authority to regulate hazardous waste recycling..." The bill contains many troubling provisions, and could, for the first time, inflict RCRA requirements on industrial manufacturing processes.

The bill would essentially require recycling facilities to comply with the treatment, storage and disposal facility requirements set forth at 40 CFR 264 and 265 (as well as 40 CFR 266, 268) The Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) is a codification of general and permanent rules published in the Federal Register.

Chafee's bill would also require facility owner/operators using a "closed loop manufacturing process' or direct reuse manufacturing process' to provide certification to EPA that they are exempt from the costly recycling standards contained in S. 982. it is highly likely that foundries that reclaim sand prior to reuse would be subject to the costly provisions of Chafee's bill. Fortunately, passage of S. 982 appears unlikely.

Another bill was expected to be introduced in the Senate at press time and could not be reviewed before the publication deadline. This bill is to be sponsored by the Business Recycling Coalition (BRC), a group of several major industries, including AFS, and headed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The bill will most likely be introduced by Sen. John Warner (R-VA). The BRC-Warner bill will probably propose a separate subtitle for recycling activities.

This "Subtitle K" approach will be based on the BRC statement of principles, which recognize that materials recycling is not waste treatment or disposal. The BRC advocates a recycling policy that recognizes the benefits of this practice and petitions Congress to establish a regulatory regime that encourages materials recycling, recognizing that recycling ranks high as a preferred strategy for pollution prevention.

Under Subtitle K, secondary materials would not be regulated as solid or hazardous waste but would be subject to existing environmental protection requirements such as Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act emission and discharge limitations. In addition, recyclers would need to complete various record-keeping tasks to ensure compliance with Subtitle K. This approach balances the need for recycling controls with the tremendous environmental and economic benefits that this resource recovery practice provides.

An important bill is expected to be introduced this fall by U.S. Rep. Al Swift (D-WA), who heads the Subcommittee on Transportation and Hazardous Materials of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. The bill is expected to be a flagship of the RCRA reauthorization debate. Group Initintives

Two major environmental coalitions have announced positions on RCRA reauthorization.(1)

One group, consisting of 12 organizations including the Environmental Defense Fund, National Resource Defense Council and the Sierra Club, has prepared an RCRA position paper. The paper

includes two points of interest to the foundry industry:

* mandatory recycling provisions for

solid waste commodities;

* a mandatory reuse program for all

vendors of large appliances and motor

vehicles to enhance recovery and

reuse of metals.

The "War on Waste" is a coalition of more than 400 groups primarily coordinated by Clean Water Action and Greenpeace. The War on Waste platform calls for:

* a moratorium on the construction of

hazardous waste landfills, incinerators,

deep well injection and medical


* a 50% reduction in the use of toxic

chemicals by industry and a 75% recycling

rate of municipal solid waste

by the year 2000;

* an expansion of Subtitle C that would

increase the amount of material considered

to be hazardous waste.

Strategies for achieving these ambitious goals are not clearly identified in the War on Waste platform.

It appear's that the position of environmental groups on RCRA reauthorization is somewhat divided and will probably change as various legislative approaches are considered by Congress. industry Position

Though the RCRA debate is in the early stages, several major issues that could impact the foundry industry have been identified. Preliminary positions on these issues are outlined in this section and may be changed as various policy options are put forth.

Recycling-AF'S has aligned itself with the BRC. The BRC proposal should keep most industrial recycling processes and materials out of the complex and expensive RCRA management scheme. The Subtitle K program provides for control and management of recycling activities yet does not place the onerous treatment, storage and disposal facility requirements on businesses employing this environmentally beneficial practice.

This regulatory scheme is consistent with EPA's pollution prevention policy and the national waste management policy statements contained in other proposed RCRA legislation. The BRC proposal will encourage well-managed recycling processing at industrial facilities and will put the resource conservation and recovery theme back into RCRA.

Beneficial Reuse-AFS will press for recognition of foundry sand as a "recycled or reused material' and will encourage management of this material under a regulatory program, but not under Subtitle C of the act. Individual states must consider recycling before treatment or disposal options for foundry sand and other similar industrial materials. Such action would be consistent with EPA's pollution prevention strategy.

Subtitle C Expansion-Expansion of this subtitle poses grave consequences for foundries and other U.S. industries. The TCLP rule has greatly increased the amount of materials considered as hazardous wastes. Expansion of Subtitle C would pose serious capacity questions (e.g., Could the U.S. waste management industry handle the increased volume of materials at a time when expansion of waste management facilities is literally impossible due to permitting and siting constraints?). The current business climate, combined with higher operating costs stemming from expansion of Subtitle C, could be detrimental to the U.S. manufacturing sector in the competitive international marketplace. Subtitle C expansion would be extremely costly and would provide limited environmental benefits and, therefore, should not be included in any RCRA reauthorization package. Strategy

Members of the AFS 10-F Committee are working closely with the AFS Washington office to follow the RCRA reauthorization process and provide technical support to Kiplinger. A position paper will be developed by the AFS Committee.

Our objective, once armed with a position paper and industry waste data, is to establish in RCRA the authorization for a flexible program to encourage the reuse of foundry sand, possibly subject to "recycled or reuse material' regulations but not subject to the requirements of RCRA Subtitle C (hazardous waste). Such provisions would be consistent with the intent of EPA's proposed Pollution Prevention Policy Statement that calls for the full use of source reduction techniques and environmentally sound recycling and reuse.

A three-track political strategy to educate both the House Subcommittee on Transportation and Hazardous Materials and the Senate Subcommittee on Environmental Protection for this purpose is being developed.

* Track One would entail the development

of an educational/public relations

kit' to include information and

data on the industry, its customers, its

importance to the economy and its

waste disposal practices.

* Track Two would involve identification

of relationships between AFS

members as constituents of those subcommittee

members and others considering

RCRA reauthorization. The

10-F committee will inform state and

local AFS chapters of RCRA issues during

the reauthorization process through

modem casting and Control News publications,

Special Letter alerts, and AFS

environmental conferences.

* Track Three would involve a commitment

from these foundrymen constituents

to visit (in Washington and/

or district offices) those RCRA-involved

subcommittees and committee

members and their staffs to promote'

foundry sand as a recyclable,

beneficial and useful material.

We think the evidence will be on our side, but we will have to tell our story aggressively if we want legislative recognition.

Beneficial reuse has been going on successfully for many years, and some documentation of that success has been developed. It is, however a relatively new consideration for the states and a new concept to most of the public.

We feel sure that inclusion of foundry sand in a new federal RCRA law would overcome much of the hesitation by state authorities to approve sand for beneficial reuse. Summary

Like all U.S. industries, foundries have a lot at stake in the outcome of RCRA reauthorization. The following actions are suggested for foundry men who want to take a proactive role in the RCRA debate:

* stay informed of developments

through your local AFS chapter;

* obtain the industry position paper

when it is available;

evaluate the impact on your business;

establish or rekindle relationships

with elected representatives and keep

the AFS Washington office apprised

of your efforts;

* get out the message! inform your

members of Congress of the RCRA

issue, the industry position and its

impact on your business.

The AFS 10-F Committee will continue to monitor RCRA reauthorization developments and keep the industry informed through various channels. r


1. Environmental Policy Alert,'vol.Vlll, no.12

June 12, 1991) and no. 13 June 26, 1991)

Washington, DC.
COPYRIGHT 1991 American Foundry Society, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1991, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

Article Details
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Title Annotation:Resources Conservation and Recovery Act
Author:Aldred, J. Peter
Publication:Modern Casting
Date:Sep 1, 1991
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