An Analysis of Potential Changes to Operations and Waste Analysis Requirements for Commercial Facilities Regulated Under EPA Proposed Hazardous Waste Combustor Regulations

David Gossman

Gossman Consulting, Inc.

Jim Woodford

Gossman Consulting, Inc.


Presented at the AWMA International Specialty Conference on Waste Combustion in Boilers and Industrial Furnaces March, 1996


EPA has proposed new regulations under the Clean Air Act to further regulate Hazardous Waste Combustors (HWCs), including incinerators and cement kilns. These regulations will impose significant new operational and waste analysis requirements on many facilities, as well as new emission testing requirements. A brief review of these operational and waste analysis requirements is performed in an effort to evaluate their practicality and efficacy.


On March 20, 1996, EPA Administrator Carol Browner signed the Proposed Hazardous Waste Combustion Regulations(1). EPA is planning to allow 60 days for public comment from time of publication in the Federal Register. This draft regulation and its preamble constitute a 1.4 meg Word Perfect computer file as distributed by EPA. EPA seeks, requests, invites, solicits or is taking comments on over 200 separate issues in this preamble. Furthermore, there are seven additional volumes of technical support published by EPA in support of the proposed rulemaking. A great deal of the initial and ongoing review of this rule focuses on the MACT emission limits established as part of this proposal. Nevertheless, a large potential impact of this rulemaking will be on operational and waste analysis requirements. An overview of the highlights of these requirements is presented along with a discussion of their potential practicality and efficacy.


The proposed rule strongly promotes the use of CEMs in lieu of establishing operating conditions under "worst case conditions" testing. Nevertheless, feed input testing will still be needed for selected parameters and spiking to levels above CEM detection limits may require more spiking for some metals than may be required under the non-CEM approach (example - Be). These factors, along with operating costs and downtime associated with new CEM technology, will likely negate any advantages to the CEM approach.


The proposed rule stipulates specific methods from SW-846(2) as well as requiring the use of SW-846 methods for most testing. These requirements may be subject to significant changes based on a recently passed law, Public Law 104-113(3). The law states in part that Federal agencies must use, to the extent practical, standards developed or adopted by voluntary consensus standards bodies. This law appears to require EPA to participate in ASTM standards development and to adopt ASTM standards when they are available.

This law could significantly impact the development of SW-846 as well as standards for CEM operation and calibration imbedded in this proposed rule. Table 1 lists SW-846 methods referenced in the proposed regulation. It is notable that none of these current methods has yet been approved for addition to SW-846 and many of them have received extensive comments. This proposal may subject them to further comment.

It is notable that references to proposed Method 0023A for PCDD/PCDF emissions impose additional requirements beyond those found in proposed Method 0023A. Specifically, the preamble discusses a minimum sampling time of three hours if nondetects are to be counted as zero for TEQ calculations. The regulation, in an apparent contradiction, then imposes a six-hour minimum sampling time. Neither of those proposals focuses on potential variations in lab detection limits nor sampling rates. The real issues of method detection limits criteria and the treatment of EMPC values is ignored. This is one example of a number of apparent contradictions between the regulation and preamble.


Proposed CFR 63.1209(g) requires the use of SW-846 for determining feed stream concentrations of metals and chlorine. This is particularly notable since there are no existing approved methods for these analytes in many relevant matrices. The industry currently uses a variety of ASTM methods that have not been proposed for inclusion in SW-846. It is also notable that the only proposed method for sample dissolution prior to metal determinations likely to work for many matrices incorporates a hydrofluoric acid/microwave technique. This technique undoubtedly increases risk to human health and safety while also increasing detection limits. The technique works well, but at a price. Although a comprehensive review of all background documents has not yet been concluded, the cost and risks of this aspect of the proposal do not appear to have been accounted for.


CKD from cement plants subject to the Bevill Exemption and burning hazardous wastes currently requires testing per requirements of the BIF regulations. The proposal makes substantial changes to these requirements. The proposed rule requires organic and metal testing to be performed daily unless prior approval is granted from the Regional Administrator based on a statistical analysis of the data. The preamble suggests that testing for metals may be reduced to once per month and organics to once per six months. Yet, the proposed regulation does not differentiate between the two and sets the minimum frequency for both to once per month. Neither the preamble, the regulation nor, to our knowledge, any EPA guidance stipulates how a statistical analysis is to be performed on nondetects. An additional significant change is that EPA has added PCDDs and PCDFs to the Part 266 Appendix VIII PIC list, which must be analyzed for as part of CKD analyses. It is worth noting that F039 limits exist only for the tetra, penta and hexa congeners.


The proposed Revised Standards for Hazardous Waste Combustors adds numerous operational and analysis requirements to the already extensive requirements imposed by the BIF regulations. Many of these proposed changes do not appear to be technically or, potentially, legally sound. In addition, although these regulations move toward a "level playing field" by imposing numerous requirements on incinerators which previously only existed for BIFs, there are still extensive BIF regulations that have not been imposed on incinerators since the bulk of the BIF regulations has been left intact and unapplied to incinerators.

Table 1. SW-846 Methods Referenced in Proposed Hazardous Waste Combustor Regulations and Preamble.

Parameter SW-846 Method When Used
PCDD/PCDF Emissions 0023A* Stack Testing
Metal Emissions 0060* Stack Testing
HCl/Cl2 Emissions 0050, 0051, 9057* Stack Testing

* Not a current SW-846 Method - proposed for addition.(4)


Bevill Exemption

Cement Kiln

EPA Regulations

Hazardous Waste


Waste Analysis


1. United States Environmental Protection Agency, Revised Standards for Hazardous Waste Combustors, Proposed Rule, 40 CFR Parts 60, 63, 260, 261, 264, 265, 266, 270, and 271, U.S. Government Printing Office, 1996.

2. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Test Methods for Evaluating Solid Waste, Physical/Chemical Methods, SW-846 Manual, 3rd ed., Document No. 955-001-0000001, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, DC.

3. House Bill No. HR-2196, Technical Transfer Improvement Act of 1995, U.S. Government Printing Office, 1995.

4. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Proposed Methods 0023A, 0060, 0050, 0051, 9057, Test Methods for Evaluating Solid Waste, Physical/Chemical Methods, SW-846 Manual, 3rd ed., Document No. 955-001-0000001, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, DC, March 1995.