Month: January 2015

EPA Tightens Restrictions on Recycling

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Under the final rule defining solid waste, published on January 13, 2015, EPA eliminated provisions in the 2008 Bush administration rule that provided flexibility allowing the return of hazardous secondary materials to the economic mainstream.  In settling a lawsuit with the Sierra Club, EPA agreed to review the 2008 changes.  As a consequence of this review, EPA found human health risk increased disproportionately for minority and low income communities.

Key changes include the following:

To verify that a recycling operation is legitimate and not a sham, the recycler must:

  • Prove that the hazardous secondary material makes a useful contribution;
  • Demonstrate that the recycling process produces a valuable final or intermediate product;
  • Manage the hazardous secondary materials as a valuable commodity; and
  • Confirm that the product is comparable to analogous products of virgin materials.

In the 2008 DSW Rule, the first two factors were mandatory, while the third and fourth were to be considered.

  1. The 2008 generator-control conditional exclusion now requires:
  • Documentation of legitimate recycling;
  • Proper containment;
  • Record keeping for generator-controlled recycling options; and
  • Emergency preparedness and response provisions.
  1. Transfer-based exclusions have been eliminated. These exclusions required that materials be managed by RCRA permitted facilities or “verified recyclers” who obtain a State-issued variance from RCRA.  Under the new rules, a facility applying for  a variance as a verified recycler must:
  • Demonstrate that legitimate recycling is being conducted;
  • Maintain necessary equipment and personnel;
  • Implement an emergency preparedness and response plan;
  • Provide financial assurances;
  • Assess risk to the local community from potential releases and cumulative risk from area-wide facilities; and
  • Provide public notice and opportunity to comment.
  1. Variances and non-waste determinations must be renewed each ten years and biennial re-notifications must be submitted.
  1. An exclusion was added for high-value solvent remanufacturing that requires notification, a remanufacturing plan, tracking, containment, and no speculative accumulation.

The effective date for the rule is 180 days after publication in the Federal Register (January 13, 2015).  For States with delegated RCRA authority, the rule will not be effective unless and until adopted by the State.  The more stringent portions of the rule (e.g., the new legitimacy criteria) will have to be adopted within one to three years, but the less stringent portions of the rule (such as the new remanufacturing exclusion) are optional.

As of the effective date, facilities operating under the 2008 generator-controlled exclusion must comply with the revised standards, and facilities operating under the 2008 transfer-based exclusion must meet the terms of the verified recycler exclusion.

According to comments on the docket from the regulated community, restrictions will materially curtail recycling. Associations representing affected industries have expressed their concern:

The rule “provides insufficient incentives to promote recycling of secondary materials and maintains many onerous and unnecessary requirements; verified recycler requirements could prove too onerous to encourage additional facilities to recycle secondary materials.”  (

The rule will “impose additional burdens when there is no evidence that the existing recycling regulations are creating environmental problems” and “will discourage recycling, increase the land filling and incineration of otherwise useful secondary materials, and increase the use of natural resources and energy.” (

The Sierra Club had a different view:

“The EPA conducted and included findings from a thorough environmental justice analysis that found loopholes in the DSW rule significantly and disproportionately affected low-income communities and communities of color.  While the rule closes some loopholes to control hazardous waste recycling, other sizable gaps remain, including the lack of any enforceable standard for the containment of hazardous waste and the lack of standards for facilities that treat and dispose of similar waste — the source of much of the contamination that has previously been traced to DSW rule loopholes.”

Potential further legal or Congressional action is unclear at this time.

Additional information on the Definition of Solid Waste EPA final rule is provided here

If you have any questions about the proposed Definition of Solid Waste rule and whether your facility may be impacted by these regulations, please contact Beth Schwartz at, or Donna Oswald at or call them at 888-963-6026.

Proposed NESHAP Rules for Brick & Structural Clay Products Manufacturing and Clay Ceramics Manufacturing

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On December 18, 2014, EPA proposed regulations concerning manufacturing of clay products.  These regulations will apply to brick and structural clay products (BSCP) manufacturing and clay ceramics manufacturing facilities that are located at, or are part of, a major source of Hazardous Air Pollutant (HAP) emissions. A major source of HAP emissions is defined as any stationary source or group of stationary sources located within a contiguous area and under common control that emits or has the potential to emit, considering controls, 10 tpy or more of any HAP or 25 tpy or more of any combination of HAP.  Since these are proposed regulations, public comments are being received until March 19, 2015; however, barring major challenges and/or changes, these proposed rules will be promulgated as 40 CFR 63 Subpart JJJJJ for BSCP manufacturing and 40 CFR KKKKK for clay ceramics manufacturing.  As a point of interest, versions of these rules were originally promulgated in 2003 but they were challenged and vacated by the courts in 2007.  The 2014 proposed rules reflect the results of additional data collection and assessment.

The BSCP manufacturing source category includes facilities that manufacture face brick, structural brick, brick pavers, other brick, clay pipe, roof tile, extruded floor and wall tile, and/or other extruded, dimensional clay products.  The clay ceramics manufacturing source category includes those facilities that manufacture pressed floor tile, pressed wall tile, other pressed tile, or sanitaryware (toilets and sinks).

Brick & Structural Clay Products Manufacturing:

This proposed rule will affect all tunnel kilns (any type of continuous kiln) and each periodic kiln at a BSCP manufacturing facility.  It will NOT affect kilns that are used for setting glazes on previously fired products nor will it affect dryers.  Emission limits for tunnel kilns are proposed for mercury (Hg), non-Hg HAP metals (or a PM surrogate), and acid gases.  Work practice standards are proposed for periodic kilns, dioxin and furan emissions from tunnel kilns, and startup and shut down periods for tunnel kilns.  To demonstrate compliance with the emission limits, initial and 5-year interval performance testing is proposed for the regulated pollutants with continuous parameter monitoring (CPM) limits established and daily visible emissions (VE) checks to demonstrate continuous compliance.  BSCP tunnel kilns that are equipped with a fabric filter (FF) (e.g., dry lime injection fabric filter (DIFF), dry lime scrubber/fabric filter (DLS/FF)) will have the option of demonstrating compliance using a bag leak detection (BLD) system instead of daily VE checks.

Clay Ceramic Manufacturing:

This proposed rule will affect tile roller kilns, tile press and spray dryers, and glaze lines at affected clay ceramics manufacturing facilities.  It will NOT affect kilns that are used exclusively for refiring or setting glazes on previously fired products, glaze spray operations that use wet glazes containing less than 0.1 (weight) percent metal HAP (dry basis), wall tile press dryers, and sanitaryware dryers.  Emission limits for Hg, PM (surrogate for non-Hg HAP metals), dioxins/furans, and acid gases are being proposed for sanitaryware tunnel kilns and ceramic tile roller kilns. Also proposed are emission limits for dioxins/furans for ceramic tile spray dryers and floor tile press dryers, emission limits for Hg and PM (surrogate for non-Hg HAP metals) for ceramic tile glaze lines and emission limits for PM for sanitaryware glaze spray booths.  Work practice standards are proposed for shuttle kilns and for periods of startup and shutdown. To demonstrate compliance with emission limits, initial and 5-year interval performance testing is proposed for the regulated pollutants, with CPM limits established and daily VE checks to demonstrate continuous compliance.

Notifications, Recordkeeping, & Reporting

The proposed rules will require the following records to be maintained:

  • All reports and notifications submitted to comply with these proposed BSCP and clay ceramic rules.
  • Records of performance tests.
  • Records relating to air pollution control device (APCD) maintenance and documentation of approved routine control device maintenance exemption.
  • Continuous monitoring data as required by each rule.
  • Records of BLD system alarms and corrective actions taken.
  • Records of each instance in which the owner or operator did not meet each emission limit (i.e., deviations from operating limits).
  • Records of production rates.
  • Records of approved alternative monitoring or testing procedures.
  • Records of maintenance and inspections performed on the APCD.
  • Current copies of the Operation Maintenance & Monitoring (OM&M) Plan and records documenting conformance.
  • Logs of the information required to document compliance with the periodic kiln work practice standard (BSCP) or shuttle kiln work practice standard (clay ceramics).
  • Records of burner tune-ups used to comply with the dioxin/furan work practice standard for tunnel kilns (BSCP).
  • Logs of the information required to document compliance with the startup and shutdown work practice standards.
  • Records of each malfunction and the corrective action taken.

The proposed rules will require the following reports and notifications:

  • Notifications required by the General Provisions.
  • Initial Notification – no later than 120 calendar days after the affected source becomes subject to the rule.
  • Notification of Intent to conduct performance tests and/or other compliance demonstration – at least 60 calendar days before the performance test and/or other compliance demonstration is scheduled.
  • Notification of Compliance Status – 60 calendar days following completion of a compliance demonstration that includes a performance test.
  • Notification of Compliance Status – 30 calendar days following completion of a compliance demonstration that does not include a performance test (i.e., compliance demonstrations for the work practice standards).
  • Compliance reports – semi-annually, including a report of the most recent burner tune-up conducted to comply with the dioxin/furan work practice standard and a report of each malfunction resulting in an exceedance and the corrective action taken (BSCP).
  • Report of alternative fuel use – within 10 working days after terminating use of the alternative fuel (clay ceramics).
  • Results of each performance test – within 60 days of completing the test, submitted to the EPA by direct computer-to-computer electronic transfer via EPA-provided software for data collected using supported test methods.

On December 31, 2014, EPA extended the deadline for comments on these rules to March 19, 2015.  If a public hearing is requested, it will be held on January 27, 2015.  If you have any questions about the proposed BSCP and Clay Ceramics Manufacturing rules and whether your facility may be subject to these regulations, please contact James Tomiczek, P.E. at or 865-977-9919. More information about these proposed rules may be found here [hyperlink].