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Water: Waste Combustors

Effluent Guidelines - Commercial Hazardous Waste Combustor Subcategory of the Waste Combustors Point Source Category Final Rule

Final Rule Fact Sheet

EPA-821-F-99-017; December 1999


EPA is publishing the final Effluent Limitations Guidelines, Pretreatment Standards, and New Source Performance Standards for the Commercial Hazardous Waste Combustor Subcategory. This final regulation establishes technology-based effluent limitations for wastewater discharges to navigable waters from the operation of new and existing Commercial Hazardous Waste Combustors (CHWCs).

Regulation Name Change

EPA proposed wastewater regulations for this industry using the name "Industrial Waste Combustors." The new regulation name of "Commercial Hazardous Waste Combustors" better describes the regulated facilities.

Effluent Limitations Guidelines

Effluent limitations guidelines are national regulations that establish restrictions on the discharge of pollutants to surface waters or to publicly owned treatment works by specific categories of industries. The requirements are developed by EPA based on the application of specific process or treatment technologies to control pollutant discharges. Although the guidelines are developed based upon particular technologies, EPA does not require that dischargers use these technologies. Individual facilities may meet the requirements using whatever types of treatment technologies and process changes they choose. Since 1974, EPA has promulgated effluent limitations guidelines and standards for 51 industrial categories.

Scope of Final Regulation

This final rule covers wastewater discharges from hazardous waste combustor facilities, except cement kilns, regulated as "incinerators" or "boilers and industrial furnaces" under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). The rule applies solely to commercial facilities (i.e., facilities that accept wastes from off-site for fee or remuneration). It does not apply to commercial facilities that only accept off-site wastes that are of a similar nature to the wastes being generated and burned on-site. An example of similar wastes are wastes that are generated in operations that are subject to the same CWA limitations and standards in 40 CFR Subchapter N. The rule does not apply to a hazardous waste combustor facility that accepts wastes from off-site without a fee or other remuneration. For example, it does not apply to a hazardous waste combustor facility that accepts off-site wastes only as a public service or pursuant to product stewardship agreements, as long as that facility accepts no fee or other remuneration for accepting those wastes. Sources of CHWC wastewater that are covered by this rule include only water used in air pollution control systems, and water used to quench flue gas or slag generated as a result of thermal operations.

EPA established effluent limitations guidelines and pretreatment standards for the CHWC Industry based on two-stages of chemical precipitation with (or without) sand filtration.

This final rule is not applicable to hazardous waste combustors that only burn waste generated on site or off site from facilities under their same corporate structure. EPA has decided not to include these facilities within the scope of this regulation for the following reasons: (1) wastewater generated by hazardous waste combustion operations at most of these facilities are already subject to categorical effluent limitations or pretreatment standards, (2) wastewater from combustion operations is often commingled for treatment with industrial process wastewater and represents a very small portion of the total wastewater flow, and (3) wastewater generated by these facilities is qualitatively different from wastewater generated by CHWCs.

Environmental Benefits

This final rule would provide increased protection to human health and aquatic life by reducing discharges of pollutants by over 170 thousand pounds per year.

Additional Information

For additional information concerning this rule, contact the CHWC program manager.

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