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Water: Organic Chemicals, Plastics, & Synthetic Fibers

Organic Chemicals, Plastics, and Synthetic Fibers (OCPSF)

ocpsf

This rule establishes effluent limitations guidelines (ELGs) for new and existing discharges from the organic chemicals, plastics, and synthetic fibers (OCPSF) manufacturing industry. The regulation is at 40 CFR 414. The OCPSF ELGs help reduce discharges of conventional pollutants, like biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) and total suspended solids (TSS). The regulation also helps reduce the discharge of toxic pollutants like ethylbenzene, anthracene, vinly chloride, total cyanide, and total zinc.


What is OCPSF?

The OCPSF category includes more than 1,000 chemical facilities producing over 25,000 end products, such as benzene, toluene, polypropylene, polyvinyl chloride, chlorinated solvents, rubber precursors, rayon, nylon, and polyester. The OCPSF industry is large and diverse, and many plants are highly complex. Some plants produce chemicals in large volumes through continues chemical processes, while others produce only small volumes of "specialty" chemicals through batch chemical processes.


Facilities Covered

The OCPSF regulation applies to process wastewater discharges resulting from the manufacture of the products or product groups listed in the rayon fibers, other fibers, thermoplastic resins, thermosetting resins, commodity organic chemicals, bulk organic chemicals, and specialty organic chemicals subcategories. The products are included within the following U.S.Department of Commerce Bureau of the Census Standard Industrial Classificationsystem (SIC) groups:

  • SIC 2821 – Plastic Materials, Synthetic Resins, and Nonvulcanizable Elastomers
  • SIC 2823 – Cellulosic Man-Made Fibers
  • SIC 2824 – Synthetic Organic Fibers, Except Cellulosic
  • SIC 2865 – Cyclic Crudes and Intermediates, Dyes, and Organic Pigments
  • SIC 2869 – Industrial Organic Chemicals, Not Elsewhere Classified

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Final Rule

The regulation is published in the Code of Federal Regulations at 40 CFR Part 414 - Organic Chemicals, Plastics, and Synthetic Fibers.

The OCPSF rule was promulgated in November 1987 and then amended. The major Federal Register notices are summarized here. Post-promulgation correction notices and amendments for the OCPSF rule are as follows:

  • Final rule: Pretreatment Standards and New Source Performance Standards (52 FR 42521; November 5, 1987)
  • Final rule: Technical amendments and revocation of selected portions of the rule (54 FR 27351; June 29, 1989)
  • Final rule: revokes selected portions of the rule to implement a court ruling in Chemical Manufacturers Association v. Environmental Protection Agency, 870 F.2d 177 (5th Cir.), modified 885 F.2d 253 (5th Cir. 1989) (55 FR 26691; June 29, 1990)
  • Proposed rule: to implement settlement agreements to allow control authorities to establish alternative limits for complex-cyanide and background levels of metals based on "best professional judgment;" to specify the process for establishing biochemical oxygen demand and total suspended solids limits for plants with production in more than one OCPSF subcategory; and to revise the applicability of several sections of the rule. (55 FR 42331; October 18, 1990)
  • Proposed rule: responds to the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals remand decisions on the OCPSF regulation, Chemical Manufacturers Association v. Environmental Protection Agency, 870 F.2d 177 (5th Cir.), modified 885 F.2d 253 (5th Cir. 1989). (56 FR 63897; December 6, 1991)
  • Final rule: to establish, based on best professional judgment, alternative cyanide limitations for unavoidable complexing of cyanide at the process source of cyanide-bearing waste streams; to allow control authorities to accommodate low background levels of metals in non-metal-bearing waste streams that result from the corrosion of construction materials, intake water, or other incidental metal sources; to specify the method of determining biochemical oxygen demand and total suspended solids limitations for plants that manufacture products in more than one subcategory; to correct listing errors in the appendices of the regulation; and to correct subcategory listing errors for six product or product groups. (57 FR 41836; September 11, 1992)
  • Notice of Availability and Request for Comments (57 FR 56883; December 1, 1992)
  • Final rule: Corrects criteria for designating "metal-" and "cyanide-bearing" waste streams and responds to the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals' remand decisions by adding Subpart J limitations based on Best Available Technology Economically Achievable and New Source Performance Standards for 19 additional pollutants as well as Pretreatment Standards for Existing and New Sources for 11 of these 19 pollutants. (58 FR 36872; July 9, 1993)

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Guidance and Background Documents

You will need Adobe Reader to view some of the files on this page. See EPA's PDF page to learn more.

In April 2005, EPA issued a guidance document to help permit writers and regulated facilities implement the OCPSF regulation. This document is possibly helpful for interpreting the extensive chemical nomenclature.

Fact Sheets
Fact Sheet
Pretreatment Streamlining Rule Fact Sheet 4.0: Equivalent Concentration-Based Limits for Flow-Based Standards (PDF) (4 pp, 78 K)
Guidance Document
Guidance Document: Product and Product Group Discharges Subject to Effluent Limitations and Standards (PDF) (110 pp, 760K)

EPA published technical and economic reports to support the final rule and its amendments. Some of the key regulation and support documents are posted here:

Development Documents
Development Document for 1987 Effluent Limitations Guidelines and Standards for OCPSF, Volume 1 (PDF) (544 pp, 22.8MB; EPA 440-1-87-009 (October 1987)
Development Document for 1987 Effluent Limitations Guidelines and Standards for OCPSF, Volume 2 (PDF) (718 pp, 25.1MB; EPA 440-1-87-009 (October 1987)
Supplement to the Development Document (PDF) for the Effluent Limitations Guidelines and New Source Performance Standards for the Organic Chemicals, Plastics, and Synthetic Fibers Point Source Category - Final (PDF) (173 pages, 3.1MB; EPA 821-R-93-007) (May 1993)
Economic Documents:
  • Re-Evaluation of the Economic Impact Analysis of Effluent Limitations Guidelines for the Organic Chemicals, Plastics, and Synthetic Fibers Industry, May 1993, (EPA-821-R-93-008)
  • Economic Impact Analysis of Effluent Limitations Guidelines for the Organic Chemicals, Plastics, and Synthetic Fibers Industry," September 1987, (EPA-440/2/87-007)

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Potential Updates

A new rulemaking is underway to address wastewater discharges from facilities that manufacture certain chlorinated hydrocarbons that are regulated under OCPSF. EPA refers to the new rulemaking as Chlorine and Chlorinated Hydrocarbon Manufacturing Effluent Guidelines.

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Additional Information/Contacts

For additional information regarding OCPSF effluent guidelines, please see OCPSF contacts.

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