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Playing roulette with hazardous waste.

You're you playing roulette with Your hazardous waste? If you are betting that you won't be caught or that the fines will only be a few thousand dollars, you could find out that the stakes are much higher. You could be wagering the entire foundry.

Many foundries, which did not intend to do so, have become hazardous waste treatment, storage or disposal (TSD) facilities subject to the full Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) regulations. As such, they have been required to either apply for an RCRA permit or "close" the regulated activity that gave rise to the designation in accordance with the RCRA closure regulations. in either case, they may have been required to undertake RCRA Corrective Action.

Foundries can accidentally become RCRA TSDS subject to the Corrective Action program by:

* storing hazardous waste for more than

90 days;

* treating hazardous waste to render it

nonhazardous - * spilling hazardous waste and not

cleaning up the spill and disposing of

the residue and contaminated soil

within 90 days;

* failing to ship off-site within 90 days

any residue, contaminated soil, water

or other debris resulting from the

spill of any commercial product listed

in 40 CFR S261.33.

As the first step in the Corrective Action program, the U.S. EPA will conduct an RCRA Facility Assessment (RFA). During the RFA, you will be required to identify all present and historical solid waste management units (SWMU). An SWMU is any area that was used to manage, store or dispose of solid waste, regardless of whether that waste would be considered hazardous. This includes any area where sand or slag was disposed of or where waste oil was stored or spread for dust control. The U.S. EPA, in some instances, has considered releases from raw material storage areas (such as resin tanks and scrap metal piles) and process wastewater sewer lines as SWMUS. in other words, the entire area of a typical foundry could be considered an SWMU.

At the completion of the RFA, the U.S. EPA may negotiate a consent order or permit conditions requiring the owner/operator to complete the Corrective Action program. During the RCRA Facility Investigation (RFI), the foundry must determine whether there have been any releases of hazardous constituents from any of the SWMUS.

The Hazardous Constituents List, 40 CFR Part 261, Appendix VIII, and the Groundwater Monitoring List, 40 CFR Part 264, Appendix IX, contain many chemicals typically found in foundry waste. These include antimony, beryllium, cobalt, copper, nickel, thallium, tin, vanadium, zinc and the familiar Rcra-regulated metals of arsenic, barium, cadmium, chromium, lead, mercury, selenium and silver.

The two lists also include many of the organic compounds typically found in waste oil, organic binders, sea coal and coke, such as acetone, benzene, 2,4-dimethylphenol, ethylbenzene, 1,1,1-trichloroethane, naphthalene, 2methylnapthalene, phenol, dimethyl phthalate, phenanthrene, tetrachloroethylene, toluene, cresols, and xylenes.

Corrective Measures

If any of these chemicals are detected in the soil or groundwater above the level that is considered a threat to human health or the environment, the foundry will be required to conduct a Corrective Measures Study (CMS) and to undertake Corrective Measures Implementation (CMI). The RCRA Corrective Action program is similar to the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) or "Superfund" Remedial Action program but differs in several significant ways.

The RCRA process has been streamlined to facilitate timely and cost-effective corrective action.

Some of the primary differences are:

Because there is usually only one owner/operator, negotiating the consent or permit and work plan should be much simpler and quicker.

* The owner/operator is encouraged

to implement interim measures to

prevent further releases and/or mitigate

release without lengthy studies,

reviews and approvals.

* In selecting a corrective measure, the

owner/operator need not conduct exhaustive

studies of the alternatives.

* Public participation is only required

prior to approval of the final corrective

measure; however, an owner/operator

is well advised to keep his neigh - boys fully appraised of the situation.

Despite the attempt to streamline the process, the RCRA Corrective Action program is still a very expensive undertaking. Sampling and analysis of all the SWMUS to document whether there have been any releases can cost more than $500,000.

Because of the cost, time, aggravation and uncertainty involved in conducting an RFI/CMS, a foundry should do everything reasonably necessary to avoid accidentally becoming an RCRA TSD facility. Some of the steps that a foundry can take to minimize the risk of becoming a TSD are:

* Obtain approval from two or more

treatment or disposal facilities for

each hazardous waste type, or enter

a standby agreement with a permitted

storage facility to take your hazardous

waste in the event your primary

hazardous waste treatment or

disposal facility cannot accept your

waste. It is not a valid excuse (for

exceeding the 90-day storage limit)

that the facility to which you usually

ship reached capacity, has an equip - ment failure, can no longer accept

waste from your state or is otherwise

shut down.

Anticipate new hazardous waste streams. It typically takes an average of six months to obtain approval for a new waste at a hazardous waste treatment or disposal facility. Plan ahead for shutdowns; equipment, process and raw material changes; and maintenance and cleaning operations that might generate a new waste or alter the chemical and/or physical characteristics of an existing waste.

If you alter the chemical or physical characteristics of a waste, be sure the process used is exempt from regulation. Candidly discuss in detail the proposed process with both the U.S. EPA and the authorized state agency. Be realistic in your estimates of material to be recycled, invite the agencies to view your foundry and see the process in use elsewhere. Don't let the agencies be surprised when they inspect your foundry after you have installed the equipment or started the process.

Develop and implement realistic spill prevention, control and countermeasure plans for all hazardous material and waste handling and storage facilities, including loading and unloading activities. Minimize the risk of contaminating soil or water with hazardous waste or raw materials listed in 40 CFR S261.33.

If you don't take steps today to minimize your risk of becoming an RCRA TSD facility, you are playing roulette in a very high-stakes game.
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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Author:Euvrard, LeRoy E., Jr.
Publication:Modern Casting
Date:Oct 1, 1991
Previous Article:Clean steel technology.
Next Article:A perspective on foundry profitability.

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