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Gossman Consulting, Inc.

GCI TECH NOTES©


Volume 3, Number 03                  A Gossman Consulting, Inc. Publication                    March, 1997
This month's GCI Tech Notes is the final in an intermittent series of comments on selected aspects of the proposed EPA Hazardous Waste Combustor Rule. Contributions were made by the entire GCI Staff.

Hazardous Waste Combustor Review - Chapter 4 Feedstream Analysis

EPA raises the issue of a Feedstream Analysis Plan in Part Five, Section II.F.2 on FR17442. This new requirement would be redundant to the waste analysis plan (WAP). BIF already requires that feedstreams (inputs) into the cement kiln be analyzed and monitored to insure that certification of compliance test limits are not exceeded. Consequently, GCI strongly objects to this duplicate/double indemnity requirement. GCI also interprets "record it in the operating record" as meaning that the required information can be contained in the facility permit, either final or interim status. Most WAPs contain the listed analytically related information from §63.1210(c)(2) and how the analysis is used to document compliance with applicable feedrates is contained in a computer program that is readily accessible at most facilities.

EPA is unnecessarily piling regulatory requirement upon regulatory requirement. First, EPA requires that hazardous waste fuel burning operation limits be set during a compliance test. Then EPA requires that the facility monitor various parameters to insure that the facility remain in compliance any time that hazardous waste fuel is being burned. Many enforcement action fines have resulted from differences between what EPA thinks means compliance versus what the facility believes means compliance. But, with the proposed HWC regulation, EPA also wants to tell a source exactly what to write down "to ensure that the owner or operator will obtain adequate analysis." This would not only allow EPA to fine a facility for "noncompliance" with operational limits but would also allow EPA to fine a facility for an "inadequate" feedstream analysis plan. Either a facility can prove they are in compliance or they can't. Sometimes this is a debatable issue, but if push comes to shove the courts can decide the issue. Now, EPA piles regulatory requirement (feedstream analysis plan) on top of regulatory requirement (must comply with operational limits). This is entirely unnecessary and only serves to give EPA enforcement officials one more reason to initiate an enforcement action. Feedstream analysis plans are redundant to waste analysis plans and consequently are absolutely unnecessary. EPA even references WAP guidance documents as feedstream analysis plan guidance (FR 17443, top of first column). It should be noted that many substantive comments provided by the waste combustor community on these WAP guidance documents were ignored and these documents are technically flawed. (Ref. "Comments on the New EPA Waste Analysis Plan Guidance", HWF Notes, July, 1994) Every one of the requirements in this proposal are redundant to existing compliance activities at every waste fuel burning cement kiln. The only reason to codify existing activities necessary for compliance would be another reason to levy fines at EPA discretion for paperwork issues that have no impact on human health or the environment.

"Feedstream Analysis Plan, including: the parameters for which each feedstream will be analyzed to ensure compliance; whether the owner or operator will obtain the analyses by performing sampling and analysis or by other methods; how the analysis will be used to document compliance; the test methods used; the sampling method used; and the frequency of testing." See discussion in Part Five, Section II.F.2.

Comment: This information is all required to comply with existing BIF requirements and will be required as part of a final RCRA Part B permit. Ordinarily, the bulk of the information would be contained within the Waste Analysis Plan (WAP). This new language for a "Feedstream Analysis Plan" is redundant to existing WAP requirements. There is no need to create a different sounding plan which essentially overlaps existing requirements. It is also worth noting that if a source should choose to comply by using CEMS, then there is no need to also have the feedstream analysis plan requirements. Based upon industry experience, there is likely a potential for EPA inspectors to expect both a Waste Analysis Plan and a Feedstream Analysis Plan. This would, by and large, be redundant and doesn't make sense. GCI hopes logic will prevail concerning the issue of feedstream monitoring versus continuous emissions monitoring. Feedstream monitoring has the potential to head problems off before they occur, while continuous emission monitoring can only identify a problem that has already happened. Feedstream monitoring is a more proactive means of protecting human health and the environment than the proposed metals CEMS. Feedstream analysis precludes the need for a metals CEMS.

As if piling regulatory requirement upon regulatory requirement is not onerous enough, EPA chooses to muddy and confuse the feedstream analysis compliance issue by requiring HWCs "to develop and keep in the operating record a feedstream management plan that enables the source to maintain compliance with CEM-monitored emissions standards." Now let's get this straight. Even if the fantasy world of all emissions monitored by a CEM was possible, a source would still have to maintain a feedstream management plan "to enable the source to maintain compliance with CEM-monitored emissions standards." Why not just perform feedstream analysis and eliminate the CEMS altogether?

Finally, given the lack of technical knowledge and real world understanding relative to hazardous waste combustors, we find the agencies offer of technical assistance found at the end of the section in the preamble on this issue (FR17450) to be sadly amusing.

Laboratory Methods for Feedstreams

The BIF regulation has no special requirements for feedstream analysis relative to methodologies. This issue has been largely relegated to the general Waste Analysis Plan (WAP) guidance provided in a number of guidance documents by EPA. The proposed HWC rule (FR 17520, proposed 40CFR 63.1209(g)) requires the use of SW-846 methods for determining feedstream concentrations of metals, halogens and other constituents. This presents a number of potential complications and may be a violation of a new federal law requiring the use of voluntary consensus standards under most circumstances. There are fewfunctional SW846 methods for sample matrices encountered at cement plants. In addition, equipment changes could represent significant unnecessary costs.

BIF Requirement HWC Requirement
Not restricted to EPA SW-846 methods. Only EPA SW-846 methods or those approved in advance by the Director can be used for feedstream analysis.

SW-846 methods frequently contain QA/QC requirements in excess of TSD data quality objective (DQO) needs.

There are no currently approved SW-846 methods available for selected analytes and matrices needed for feedstream analysis.

May preclude use of some existing on-site lab facilities.

Monitoring data may not be consistent with data gathered to set limits.

Requirement appears to be violation of U.S. law requiring government agencies to utilize consensus standards when available and practical.

Test Methods

Requirement to use SW-846 Methods

The HWC regulation as proposed is, in effect, a violation of Federal Law, passed by the U.S. Congress, and signed by President Clinton. The HWC proposal to effectively require the use of SW-846 methods (rather the consensus based standards such as ASTM's) for process samples can be found throughout the proposed HWC rule. EPA effectively requires use of SW-846 methods by requiring "written approval" from the Regional Administrator "to use an equivalent method" (FR17466, second column), approval of which is never forthcoming. This contravention of Public Law 104-113, (House Bill No. HR-2196, Technical Transfer Improvement Act of 1995, U.S. Government Printing Office, 1995), has not gone unnoticed. GCI suggests that the USEPA consider withdrawing the proposed standard until corrections can be made such that it is no longer in violation of Federal Law.

GCI suggests that the proposed standard should call for and reference ASTM Test Methods where such methods exist and are equal to or better than SW-846 methods. It should also allow site specific methods or modified methods so long as site specific data quality objectives are met through an appropriate QA/QC program. It is of interest to note here that for feedstream analysis there are no SW-846 methods for metals and chlorine testing in many of the relevant matrices. Some ASTM methods of note include E926 Method A, for sample dissolution prior to total metals determinations; D5530, for total moisture in waste fuels; D5839, for trace elements of hazardous waste by X-Ray; D5468, for BTU and % Ash; D2161-2983, for viscosity and D5513 for metals dissolution. In almost all cases, ASTM test methods used by the industry cover all the matrices and exceed the detection limits of SW-846 methods that do exist.

GCI has developed Waste Analysis Plans for the industry that incorporates these and other modified EPA methods to meed the unique needs of these facilities. We supplied a generic plan as part of our comments on WAP guidance approximately two years ago. GCI does not believe that EPA regional offices have personnel with the technical and operational experience needed to judge the "equivalence" of such methods even if that were theoretically possible. EPA should drop all language in the proposal referring to specific methodology and rely on current regulations for Waste Analysis Plans at TSDFs already found in the RCRA regulations.

Specific Metals Issues

EPA's proposal to drop requirement for silver and barium testing is strongly supported by GCI. Testing for those metals in process feeds is a pointless exercise that wastes time and resources. We believe that a similar case can be made for beryllium (Be). Beryllium is found at trace levels in coal, <2ppm, and is only very rarely found at these levels in waste fuels.

The use of waste fuels actually decreases beryllium input to the kiln system. Furthermore, because beryllium is a non-volatile metal, the kiln system SREs are very high and emissions extremely low. Eliminating beryllium from the suite of metals allows alternative process analytical methods and stack CEMS, such as X-Ray Fluorescence, to be developed.

Stack Testing Methods

GCI supports the requirement to use specific SW-846 methods for stack testing and CEM certifications required in the HWC rule. Such methods are critical for obtaining comparable data and, generally, EPA has methods that work. We do have some specific concerns with some methods that need to be addressed prior to final promulgation of the rule.

  1. PCDD/PCDF emissions. The establishment of a minimum sampling time (three hours or six hours - depending on where in the proposal you look) to treat nondetects as zero in TEQ calculation is technically inappropriate. Minimum detection limits built into the sampling and testing methods are more appropriate for dealing with the issue of concern. Changes in the way that TEQs are calculated have already corrupted EPA's own database. (Are nondetects zero, half the detection limits, or detection limits? Are EMPCs zero or not?) TEQ calculation should be standardized for all industries, matrices, etc. so that valid comparisons and inventories can be prepared.Finally, we would point out that the most recently proposed sampling method for PCDDs/PCDFs requires two separate analyses to be performed with no discernable benefit. The result is a doubling of analytical costs which can be considerable.
  2. Method 5 particulates. It is our understanding that the current method for particulates has never been validated for precision and accuracy at the low emission rates likely to result from the proposed rule. This could effectively prevent the certification of particulate CEMS or show a facility out of compliance when it is not. This issue must be addressed prior to final promulgation of the regulations.
  3. HCl/Cl2 methodology. EPA is apparently confused regarding the concerns raised by industry on the potential for metal chlorides to be found in the impinger using this method. Industry experience is that the filters in the sampling train occasionally fail. Testing for metals such as potassium, sodium and calcium in the impinger is a QC check that can qualify or eliminate bad data when this occurs. Industry concerns regarding high bias are from ammonia chloride. We would note the following historical developments:

- During the development of these methods, EPA acknowledged they would not work for cement kilns in correspondence with a U.S. cement manufacture.

- When Method 26 for the municipal waste combustor rule was promulgated, the response to comments clearly acknowledged that the method could not be reliably used on cement kilns.

- When BIF was promulgated, EPA chose to ignore industry comments and their own methods development staff to require use of these methods.

It is clear that when ammonia is present, that ammonia chloride is part of a cement plant's emissions. Recent data from HCl CEM tests at cement plants further suggests that HCl may be created in the sampling train. (HCl may come from the thermal decomposition of NH4Cl after NH4Cl is formed via interaction of NH3 and H2O with the heated particulate filter which catches NaCl and KCl). Given this historical context, GCI does not believe that test data generated with this methodology can be validly used by EPA to determine which facilities should fall under MACT controls, set MACT limits or verify compliance. Given that HCl has never been an environmental or health and safety concern for any cement plant, We fail to see the productive value of EPA's continued pursuit of the issue. Testing and standards should be dropped and both EPA and industry resources directed elsewhere.