Frequent Questions

Will the Hazardous Waste Combustion Emission Standards Rule shut down a lot of cement kilns or incinerators that are burning hazardous waste?

No. The standards are achievable by all facilities assuming they have or modify their operations to use the air pollution controls that the better-performing facilities already have. Our analysis shows that cement kilns and lightweight aggregate kilns should be able to pass through most of their costs of compliance in the form of higher prices to the customers who want them to burn hazardous waste. At most, we expect that 1 or 2 cement kiln facilities may decide, in response to the rule, that it is in their economic long-term interests to stop burning hazardous waste. That does not mean that they will go out of business.
 
We do not believe that the rule will cause any commercial incinerators to go out of business. However, we estimate that 13 to 16 of the 111 on-site incinerators may determine that it is uneconomical to continue burning hazardous waste. We found most of these facilities to be currently burning small quantities of hazardous waste and generally not meeting breakeven levels.
 
The economic model indicates that, in response to the rule, between 14,000 to 42,000 tons of currently burned hazardous waste could be reallocated to other facilities or waste management alternatives. This estimate represents between 0.4 and 1.3 percent of the total quantity of combusted hazardous wastes. In addition, we estimate that hazardous waste combustors will stop burning an additional 100,000 tons of hazardous waste even if the rule were not promulgated (i.e., baseline market exits). Currently, there is more than adequate capacity within the remaining sources of the combustion market to accommodate this reallocated waste, even at the high-end estimate.

For more information, see http://www.epa.gov/wastes/hazard/tsd/td/combustion.htm.

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