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Where EPA regulations are taking the foundry industry.

Where EPA Regulations Are Taking the Foundry Industry

Congress and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have made land disposal of hazardous wastes more difficult, certainly more expensive and, perhaps, even impossible. Their strictures will make it more difficult for industries to find a home for manufacturing hazardous wastes.

Treatment, disposal and storage (TSD) facilities already are refusing wastes they can no longer handle under the new waste control guidelines. When these regulations are fully implemented, EPA estimates that the cost to industry will be nearly $1 billion a year. That's just the bill for 450 hazardous wastes now regulated or being evaluated for exclusion from landfills without prior treatment.

Efforts must be made to reduce pollution rather than to control releases. EPA contends that in the first year of toxic chemical release reports, due under the Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act (SARA) of 1986, over 22 billion pounds of toxic chemicals were released. These went either directly into the environment or to offsite storage and treatment plants.

Now, public awareness and the notoriety of toxic chemical releases has spurred efforts to reduce pollution rather than move it from place to place.

Know Waste Process

Before reviewing the so-called land ban provisions, these are four items the foundryman should keep in mind. First, know the wastes the operations generate. Are they hazardous or not? Similarly, know the processes that generate them and the chemical composition of each waste being generated. Keep wastes separated because waste mixtures are subject to the most stringent disposal requirements of the most toxic constituent.

Second, know and understand the EPA regulations and their preambles, especially those pertaining to land disposal, and determine how they impact specific foundry wastes. Then determine how best to achieve compliance based on currently accepted treatment or destruction codes and standards, i.e., do California standards apply, have treatment standards been delayed or not yet determined by the EPA, do exemptions, variations or extensions apply?

EPA Regulations

As EPA regulations develop, changes often occur involving individual wastes that influence disposal decisions, hence, the importance of reviewing regulation preambles that can contain important background.

Especially important to the foundry industry are the proposals for the final third listed wastes. The third-third waste regulations will contain treatment levels for wastes that certainly will apply to foundries, specifically to foundry sands and bag house lines.

After these regulations take effect on May 8, 1990, land disposal will be prohibited or severely curtailed. Therefore, variance petitions should be considered and comments made on the proposed regulations. If there is no alternative or available treatment capacity for certain categories of wastes, EPA may allow by variance up to 24 months additional time to develop treatment capabilities.

Third, the foundry should know the available state-of-the-art treatment methods that constitute the "best determined available technology" (BDAT) and alternatives, including chemical treatment, reuse, incineration, recycling, metal recovery, stabilization and chemical fixation. Various treatment methods may already be available for a given waste by the EPA regulations.

Fourth, be creative. Think of new ways that wastes might be handled, reused or recycled to either eliminate or significantly reduce them and removing the need for land disposal. Within current regulations, there may be many new areas for hazardous waste generators, transporters and TSDs to ease the problems presented by the land ban.

The Production Environment

In essence, a foundry can be compared to the center of a sphere that encompasses not only the land it occupies, but the surrounding air above and the earth below. Just as raw materials coming in for processing must meet standards, so must effluents, wastes and emissions leaving the manufacturing process.

It's up to individual foundries to make certain that any waste recycling, reuse or handling methods used are in compliance with applicable regulations and the foundry meets any applicable permit requirements. A foundry must guard against becoming a treater, storer and disposer of waste materials through a permit or regulatory oversight.

A current manufacturing reference source on the subject of manufacturing waste disposal is the Federal Register. It contains the preambles and regulations referring to the prepared and final land ban regulations of hazardous wastes, and can assist in determining the specifics of how to classify dispose and treat toxic materials.

Genesis of Disposal Regs

EPA's efforts to regulate land disposal of hazardous wastes began with the Hazardous and Solid Waste Amendments of 1984. These amendments are part of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA).

In the Amendments, the Congress prohibited and directed the EPA to prohibit the land disposal of untreated hazardous wastes unless it is determined that the waste poses no danger to human health and the environment for as long as the waste remains hazardous. For this latter finding to apply, one must demonstrate to a reasonable degree of certainty that there will be no migration of hazardous waste constituents for as long as the waste remains hazardous.

Congress further mandated the EPA to review and rank all hazardous waste within two years after passing the Amendments. Based on intrinsic waste hazard and volume, the disposal decisions for those having high hazard and high volume were made first. Using these reviews, EPA must also develop levels and methods of waste treatment. If waste is treated to a level/method specified, the land disposal prohibitions will not apply.

The Thirds

In fulfilling its Congressional mandate, the EPA, was required to promulgate regulations for specific wastes by certain dates. The wastes were divided into three tiers known as the first-third, the second-third and the third-third. Also regulated by statute are solvents, dioxins and the so-called "California" listed wastes.

This Congressionally-mandated EPA schedule is the basis for the land disposal regulations, and it cannot be changed or modified legislatively without great effort.

In responding to its mandate, EPA first acted by issuing framework regulations in late 1986. These regulations set the three divisions of waste, set treatment standards for solvents and dioxins, reviewed EDAT criteria and defined variance procedures. These regulations can be found in 51 FR 40572.

In mid-1987, the EPA issued the "California" waste regulations listed in 52 FR 25760. This was followed by the first-third waste regulations effective in mid-1988 (53 FR 31138) and the second-third in June 1989 (54 FR 26594).

The EPA is in the process of issuing the third-third set of regulations, with an enforcement date of May 8, 1990. Prepared regulations for the third-third were issued on November 22, 1989 as 54 FR 48372. These regulations also will cover those hazardous wastes that were regulated in earlier categories, but for which no treatment standards were set.

The land disposal restriction regulations themselves are listed without preambles in 40 CFR Part 268.

In the first-third regulations, there were approximately 160 wastes listed, but only 39 received treatment standards, the rest being deferred and some treatment standards later adopted under the second-third regulations. If no treatment standard is adopted by May 8, 1990, the waste is prohibited from land disposal, subject only to the "no migration" petition or demonstration.

A waste analysis and complete disposal records are required for all shipped wastes. Each waste generator is responsible for testing its waste, or an extract of it, to determine if it is restricted from land disposal. All wastes tested must use the test method of the Toxicity Characteristic Leaching Procedure (TCLP) as stated in Appendix One to the regulations. A long procedure, it takes about 96 hours to complete.

Waste disposal sites will probably rely on the generator's certification, and at least spot check wastes for disposal. Each shipment of waste must be accompanied by a written notification to the disposal site of the shipment's appropriate treatment methods and any applicable prohibitions. All EPA certifications are signed under penalty of perjury, and are meant to eliminate pleas of ignorance of the law.

It is important that each certification form contain the exact status of the disposed waste it covers. Several combinations that might be covered include:

* a waste not currently restricted and can be land disposed;

* a restricted waste that meets treatment standards and prohibition levels for land disposal without further treatment;

* a restricted waste treated to meet disposal treatment standards;

* a restricted waste that has been treated to meet California standards;

* a restricted waste that may be subject to a variance or extension;

* a restricted waste subject to the "soft hammer" provisions which must include accepted EPA demonstration and approval;

* a restricted waste needing further treatment.

Information that must be included with each waste shipment must include the EPA waste number, treatment standards and applicable prohibitions, manifest number and applicable waste analysis data. If the generator determines that the waste is restricted, based solely on its knowledge of the material, supporting data must be submitted and retained on-site in the generator's files for at least five years from the date the waste is subject to documentation and shipped to an off-site disposal facility.

Similarly, treatment facilities must also test wastes as specified in their disposal analysis plan, and submit certifications for each shipment received that each was treated in compliance with on-site disposal standards. The TSD also must retain a set of records certifying its compliance with treatment standards or the California list levels.

Land Disposal

Land disposal prohibitions are listed in Subpart C of Part 268, including prohibitions for solvents, dioxins and the California listed wastes. Subpart D sets forth the treatment standards in tables known as "constituent concentrations waste extract" (CCWE), or "constituent concentrations of waste" (CCW). Concentrations are specifically listed and may not be exceeded. The waste must meet the treatment standards for each waste constituent to be land disposed. Different constituent concentration levels apply for wastewater and nonwastewater wastes, and are defined in 53 FR 31145.

Wastes without EPA treatment standards are called soft hammer wastes. Generators of this class must make a good-faith effort to find and contact facilities that are practically available to provide the greatest environmental benefits in order to use land disposal or surface impoundment sites.

Further, a demonstration must be submitted to the EPa and the TSD with complete documentation, including names and places, that corroborates unsuccessful tests and searches made to discover satisfactory disposal, destruction or recovery treatments. This documentation is required in order to continue land disposal of soft hammer wastes.

The California-listed wastes are primarily directed at prohibiting the dumping of some 16 billion gallons of hazardous liquid wastes including halogenated organic compounds (HOCs) of chlorine, bromine and fluorine; polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs); metals including arsenic, cadmium, chromium, lead, mercury, selenium and thallium; cyanides and corrosives. PCBs are banned from land disposal of concentrations greater than 50 ppm; greater concentrations require incineration. Corrosive wastes up to PH2 are banned.

Land Disposal Exceptions

There are several exceptions to the prohibition against land disposal of hazardous wastes, i.e., where there has been an extension of an effective treatment date or land disposal ban; where there has been an exemption or variance granted; for a small quantity generator of less than 100 kilograms of a nonacute hazardous waste, or less than one kilogram of an acute hazardous waste per month; prior to May 8, 1990, in a landfill or surface inpoundment with minimum technology and for wastes which are not subject to treatment standards nor the California waste restrictions.

The regulations define land disposal quite broadly; just about any method by which waste can be placed in or onto land is covered, including landfill, surface impoundment, waste pile, injection well, land treatment facility and salt dome formations. Dilution is not accepted as a substitute for treatment, either for waste or waste residuals.

Again, it is possible to obtain an extension of the land ban date by an individual plant, but the process is difficult. The findings that are required are specific and encompassing, and they presuppose a diligent and good-faith effort, under penalty of perjury, to:

* locate a treatment recovery or disposal site to manage individual waste materials;

* show that the generator has entered into a binding contract to provide alternative treatment recovery or disposal capacity sufficient to meet treatment standards;

* assure in the absence of disposal standards that the treatment, recovery or disposal is protective of human life and the environment;

* show that, due to circumstances beyond the control of the generator, alternative capacity cannot be made available reasonably by the effective date;

* show that any capacity being constructed will manage effectively the waste produced;

* maintain a schedule of permits already applied for;

* arrange for adequate capacity to manage waste during the life of the extension;

* document in the application all sites where wastes will be managed.

An extension of disposal regulations for specific wastes can be granted by the EPA for up to one year and renewed for a second year, but it is up to the generator to notify the EPA of any changes in disposal circumstances for which an extension application is granted.

Extensions may also be granted to a generator of restricted hazardous waste from disposal at a particular disposal unit, again, subject to a successful EPA petition. The generator must establish that there will be no migration of hazardous constituents during the life of the extension.

Provisions for variances from a treatment standard are also provided by the regulations. They are approriate where waste cannot be treated to a specified level, or where treatment technology is not appropriate for the waste. For a variance, the petitioner must demonstrate that the physical or chemical properties of the waste differ significantly from the waste analyzed in developing the treatment standard, and, thus, cannot be treated to regulation levels. While the petition is pending before the EPA, the petitioner for a variance must comply with published and effective restrictions on land disposal.

The new regulations for land disposal of hazardous wastes will require deligence and knowledge by foundries concerning waste generation, treatment and disposal.
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Title Annotation:Environmental Protection Agency
Author:Paltenghi, Bruce
Publication:Modern Casting
Date:Feb 1, 1990
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