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Water: Chlorine & Chlorinated Hydrocarbons

Potential Chlorine and Chlorinated Hydrocarbon Manufacturing Effluent Guidelines

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EPA began a new rulemaking in 2005 to address wastewater discharges from facilities that manufacture chlorine and certain chlorinated hydrocarbons (CCH). The Agency considered chlorinated hydrocarbon manufacturers in this rulemaking based in part on the type of manufacturing process involved. We collected additional information on CCH manufacturing operations in order to:
  • develop a profile of this industrial sector 
  • verify and evaluate pollutant discharges that were identified in the 2004 Effluent Guidelines Program Plan  
  • explore opportunities for additional pollutant reductions.

The information collected in this rulemaking is summarized in the Data Collection and Analysis Summary.  Based on the information collected, EPA is proposing to delist the CCH manufacturing industry from the Preliminary 2012 Effluent Guidelines Program Plan and discontinue this rulemaking.

What are chlorinated hydrocarbons?

Chlorinated hydrocarbons are chemical compounds of chlorine, hydrogen, and carbon atoms only. Many of them form the building blocks of other chemical products such as pharmaceuticals, plastics, and solvents.

Background

Section 304(m) of the Clean Water Act requires EPA to publish a schedule every two years for annually reviewing and possibly revising effluent guidelines that have been promulgated as required by Section 304(b).

During the 2003 annual review (PDF) (45 pp, 347K), EPA selected the Organic Chemicals, Plastics and Synthetic Fibers (OCPSF) category (40 CFR Part 414) for a more detailed review. This category ranked highest in reported pollutant discharges among all industrial point source categories. Dioxins were among the primary pollutants responsible for the high pollutant discharge levels. Additional information on dioxins.

EPA identified the manufacture of the following chlorinated hydrocarbons: ethylene dichloride (EDC), vinyl chloride monomer (VCM), and polyvinyl chloride (PVC), as possible sources of dioxins and conducted a detailed study of these manufacturing processes as part of the Technical Support Document for the 2004 Effluent Guidelines Program Plan (PDF) (559 pp, 2.7MB). EPA also selected the Chlor-Alkali Subcategory of the Inorganic Chemicals category (40 CFR Part 415, Subpart F) for possible revision. EPA added this category because many chlor-alkali operations are co-located with EDC, VCM, and PVC manufacturing.

Which effluent guidelines cover chlorinated hydrocarbon manufacturing discharges?

  1. Organic Chemicals, Plastics, and Synthetic Fibers Category (40 CFR Part 414)
  2. Pesticide Chemicals Category (40 CFR Part 455)
  3. Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Category (40 CFR Part 439)

Which effluent guidelines cover chlorine manufacturing discharges?

  1. Inorganic Chemicals Manufacturing Category (40 CFR Part 415) covers the manufacture of chlorine via the chlor-alkali manufacturing process.  
  2. Chlorine production as a by-product of other manufacturing processes, such as magnesium production, were also considered in the CCH rulemaking, although they are not included in Part 415.

What are the next steps in the CCH effluent guidelines rulemaking process?

After considering the collected data on this industry, EPA is proposing to delist the CCH manufacturing industry from the Preliminary 2012 Effluent Guidelines Program Plan and discontinue this rulemaking.

Additional Information

For more information, please contact Samantha Lewis (lewis.samantha@epa.gov), Project Manager, 202-566-1058.

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