Traditionally, industrial facilities have used fossil fuels such as coal, oil, and natural gas as their main source of energy. Over the years, however, facilities have sought to replace some or all of their fossil fuel with less expensive and more efficient alternative fuels from secondary materials. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has regulated the combustion of such wastes under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). Under RCRA, some of these secondary materials are classified as ''hazardous wastes,'' while others are referred to as ''non-hazardous secondary materials.'' Facilities that combust ''solid waste'' as defined by EPA under RCRA must be regulated by emission standards issued by EPA under section 129 of the Clean Air Act (CAA).
Regulatory Exclusions under CAA
Effective April 8, 2013, EPA has revised its CAA rules for combustion of hazardous secondary materials. These rules define which materials will be deemed ''solid waste'' when combusted for purposes of triggering incinerator standards under CAA. Under the heading “Solid Wastes Used as Fuels or Ingredients in Combustion Units,” EPA defines most non-hazardous secondary materials that are used as fuels or otherwise combusted to be solid wastes, but excludes some specific materials and provides for petitions to EPA to secure additional exclusions. 40 C.F.R. part 241, effective May 20, 2011 (see 76 Fed. Reg. 15456 (March 21, 2011)), as revised effective April 8, 2013 (see 78 Fed. Reg. 9112 (02/07/13)). Specific regulatory exclusions, codified at 40 C.F.R. secs 241.3(b) and 241.4, apply to the following:
Non-hazardous secondary materials used as a fuel in a combustion unit that remain within the control of the generator and that meet the legitimacy criteria specified in 40 C.F.R. section 241.3(d)(1)
Non-hazardous secondary materials used as an ingredient in a combustion unit that meet legitimacy criteria specified in section 241.3(d)(2)
Fuel or ingredient products that are used in a combustion unit, are produced from the processing of discarded non-hazardous secondary materials, and meet legitimacy criteria specified in section 241.3(d)(1)-(2)
The following non-hazardous secondary materials when used as fuel in a combustion unit: scrap tires removed from vehicles under the oversight of established tire collection programs (including those removed from vehicles); resinated wood; coal refuse recovered from legacy piles and appropriately processed; and qualifying dewatered pulp and paper sludges.
EPA applies these definitions to determine whether combustion is covered by specific standards for Commercial and Industrial Solid Waste Incineration Units (76 Fed. Reg. 15704) (03/21/11)) and Sewage Sludge Incineration Units (76 Fed. Reg. 15372) (03/21/11)), adopted under CAA authority.
STP has recently issued an update to the Complete Guide to Hazardous Materials Enforcement and Liability: California and also publishes the following guides:
- US Federal Mandatory Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reporting Audit Protocol