EPA announces next steps on two hazardous waste rules

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is announcing the next steps on two hazardous waste rules to respond to concerns raised by stakeholders: the Definition of Solid Waste (DSW) rule and the Emission Comparable Fuels (ECF) rule.

EPA is planning to hold a public meeting to discuss possible revisions to the DSW rule in response to an administrative petition asking the agency to reconsider and repeal the rule. The rule became effective December 29, 2008. The meeting is planned for the end of June.

The DSW rule modified the regulations for recycling hazardous secondary materials to encourage recycling of certain materials to help conserve resources. It includes conditions designed to ensure that recycling of the materials is protective of human health and the environment. The rule also takes into account a series of opinions in the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit on the meaning of the term “discard,” which forms the basis of the definition of solid waste.

EPA is also planning to propose a rule to withdraw the ECF rule, which became effective January 20, 2009. The proposal will present the agency's concerns and request comments from the public after publication in the Federal Register, planned for November 2009. After evaluating the public comments, the EPA will make a decision on whether to repeal the exclusion.

The ECF rule removed regulatory costs by reclassifying certain manufacturing byproducts as non-wastes. ECF is fuel produced from a hazardous waste, but which generates emissions when burned in an industrial boiler that are comparable to emissions from burning fuel oil. The materials must also be stored under an elaborate set of requirements.

More information on the DSW rule can be found by accessing www.epa.gov/epawaste/hazard/dsw/rulemaking.htm.

More information on the ECF rule is available by accessing www.epa.gov/epawaste/hazard/tsd/td/combust/compfuels/exclusion.htm.

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