Frequent Questions

If the risks are so low, why then is EPA still recommending a site-specific risk assessment before a RCRA permit is issued to control releases other than stack emissions in the Hazardous Waste Combustion Emission Standards Rule ?

EPA's analysis indicates that risks to the public will be low with the MACT standards in place. EPA's overall goal is to eliminate the need for site-specific risk assessments in most situations with this set of national emission standards. However, EPA's policy is to continue to recommend to Regions and States that site specific risk assessments be considered at combustion facilities as part of the permitting process. However, the decision to conduct a site-specific risk assessment is ultimately one in the discretion of the EPA region or the state. They have the flexibility to consider a host of site-specific factors in making their decision. We expect that, in most cases, these risk assessments will continue to be performed during this interim period until sources achieve compliance with the MACT standards, certainly at the commercial and large on-site facilities. For additional information on the Agency's site-specific risk assessment policy, please refer to Part, Two, Section III. 

EPA will continue to collect emissions data to better characterize combustion risks -- including those from combustion byproducts. We will also attempt to narrow the areas of uncertainty and variability, for example with respect to mercury fate and transport.

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

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