Frequent Questions

What does the Hazardous Waste Combustion Emission Standards Rule do to encourage waste minimization?

The aggressive emission limits on certain pollutants will certainly have an effect on generators and burners alike to make sure that, where possible, these pollutants are kept out of the waste streams going to combustion. The metals for which specific standards are being set in this proposal are good examples of this. 

Promulgation of the combustion "Fast Track Rule" in June 19, 1998 provided facilities with several incentives to use waste minimization/pollution prevention measures to achieve compliance. First, early promulgation of the rule provided facilities more than a year of lead time before final standards were published to explore waste minimization/pollution prevention measures that could reduce or prevent certain chemicals from entering waste streams that are combusted. Second, the "Fast Track Rule" provides a one year compliance extension (for a total of four years from the date final MACT standards are promulgated) for those facilities submitting evidence that installing source reduction and/or recycling measures to bring the facility into compliance requires an extra year. Many companies have shown that waste minimization/pollution prevention approaches can save money compared to end-of-pipe treatment technologies.
EPA will use Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) data to track reductions in the generation of the most persistent, bioaccumulative, and toxic (PBT) constituents contained in hazardous wastes. Many of the facilities covered by today's rule, i.e., those that generate and combust PBT chemicals on site, will be included in EPA's effort to reduce the presence of PBT chemicals in hazardous waste by 50% by the year 2005. EPA's Waste Minimization National Plan (WMNP, published 1994) set a goal of 50% reductions in quantities of the most persistent, bioaccumulative, and toxic constituents contained in hazardous wastes by the year 2005. EPA will measure progress towards these goals on a national level.

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