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Not a MyNAP member yet? Register for a free account to start saving and receiving special member only perks. In the s, state and federal governments began to enact legislation and promulgate regulations calling for increasingly stringent environmental control for municipal solid-waste incinerators.
Regulatory activity began with nuisance regulations related to visible plumes and to odors and then evolved to emission standards. Today, waste incinerators must comply with a combination of federal, state, and local regulations that vary from place to place and time to time. In most states, it is also necessary to get permits from state or local governments. For example, a municipal-waste incinerator sited in California must comply with federal laws, as well as get a permit from the California Air Resources Board and one from the local air-pollution control district.
People who live near operating waste-incineration facilities and citizens who are asked to accept such facilities into their local area want assurance that the facilities will be operated safely and in compliance with regulations intended to protect the public health, safety, and the environment.
Although the persons most directly affected by a proposed facility might be told much about the minimal hazards associated with new incineration facilities that are normally and efficiently operated, they are likely to be more anxious perhaps overanxious about the ability of the facility to be operated over an extended period in compliance with law. They may also be anxious about the risks that arise when equipment breaks down or operations go awry Davis and Colglazier The unintended and uncontrolled release of toxic substances into the environment from waste incineration can occur because of malfunctioning equipment, large changes in the waste feedstream, poor management of the incinera-.
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Off-normal operations e. As discussed in Chapter 5 , workers at incineration facilities are more at risk than nearby residents due to such occurrences. Mishaps that are actually experienced by operating facilities that incinerate municipal wastes, hazardous wastes, or medical wastes form a concrete basis for the concerns of nearby residents and other concerned citizens about the safety of waste incineration and the efficacy of regulatory oversight.
The fears and worries of residents and concerned citizens are not limited to worst-case scenarios, but extend to events that occur in the normal course of operations at what are otherwise considered properly run and maintained facilities Curlee For example, the stream of waste flowing to a hazardous-waste incinerator might be automatically shut off for the purpose of minimizing emissions when operating conditions are outside permitted limits.
Automatic waste-feed cutoffs might indicate that an incinerator is not being operated according to good combustion practices. The cutoffs might also affect emissions by leading to a quick shutdown and incomplete combustion.
However, if properly managed, the emissions should be minimized. More serious is the use of an emergency bypass or vent stack. Such a stack allows an operator to bypass the air-pollution control equipment following a waste-feed cutoff to prevent the buildup of excessive pressure in an incinerator or to protect the emission control equipment from exceedingly hot flue gases.
The frequency of occurrence of such emergency bypass venting by incineration facilities is unknown. As a result of the possible dangers associated with waste incineration, potentially affected persons expect comprehensive, effective, and responsive regulation that prevents or deters uncontrolled emissions, upsets, and worker injuries, that punishes regulatory infractions, and that promotes decontamination, rectification, and compensation for any harm done.
This chapter examines the structure of waste-incineration regulations with regard to public and occupational health; regulatory oversight; and the policy concerns that are likely to affect future regulatory changes. Particular attention is paid to the different bases on which regulatory standards are formulated and to the extent to which regulations vary with the age and size of a facility.
Direct federal regulation of facilities and federal oversight of state regulation are primarily the responsibility of the U. Environmental Protection Agen-.
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To some extent, regulation of facilities that incinerate municipal solid waste, medical waste, or hazardous waste has been effectively delegated to the states, with EPA performing an oversight role.
Federal law sets minimal standards for the combustors that the states must implement and enforce, although they are free to impose more-stringent requirements if allowed to do so by state law Organ EPA has exclusive jurisdiction, however, over incineration operations that handle polychlorinated biphenyls PCBs and hazardous wastes from Superfund cleanup sites. Incineration regulations generally address emission limitations, good combustion practices, operator training and certification, facility-siting criteria, permit compliance and inspections, and record keeping and reporting requirements.
There are wide variations across the country with regard to these subjects. Typically, incineration regulations vary with the type of waste being incinerated, the capacity of the facility, its age, and the overall regulatory environment. Emission guidelines require states to develop plans for controlling emissions from facilities within their jurisdictions. Regulations developed under the CAA are intended to limit atmospheric concentrations of the six criteria pollutants i.
The original list of HAPs included chemicals, but caprolactam was removed from the list in In response to the lack of progress, the amendments to the CAA shifted the regulatory tool from a risk-based emissions standard to a technology-based standard for the sources of air toxic emissions.
It is important to clarify that several of the requirements will not be in effect until several years later. In the meantime, for existing municipal solid-waste incinerators, there is a variety of permits of widely varied stringency governing emissions for example, ranging from uncontrolled for some pollutants to state-of-the-art controls for others.
EPA is charged with measuring the risks that remain after MACT standards are implemented and reporting its measurements to Congress along with data on the methods used to calculate such risks, their health implications, commercially available methods for reducing them, and recommendations as to legislation regarding them Steverson As discussed later in this chapter, EPA has developed NSPS and emission guidelines for large municipal-waste incinerators units with great than tons per day capacity of medical-waste incinerators as well as hazardous-waste incinerators, lightweight aggregate kilns, and cement kilns that burn hazardous waste.
Depending on location, it is possible that some incineration facilities may face additional, more-stringent controls as part of SIP requirements. RCRA gave EPA the authority to control hazardous waste with respect to generation, transportation, treatment, storage, and disposal.
RCRA requires EPA to establish performance, design, and operating standards for all hazardous-waste treatment, storage, and disposal facilities. The regulations developed in response apply to facilities that incinerate hazardous waste.
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The regulations restrict the emissions of organics, hydrogen chloride, and particulate matter, as well as fugitive emissions. Section of the CAA sets national emission standards for municipal solid-waste incinerators.
It requires promulgation of performance standards for categories of new and existing stationary sources that might contribute to air pollution reasonably anticipated to endanger public health or welfare Reitze and Davis On February 11, , EPA promulgated those subparts as regulations applicable to municipal-waste incinerators reflecting BDT as determined by the EPA administrator at the time the guidelines were issued.
The regulations included maximum levels that varied with the size of the unit for the following emissions: hydrochloric acid HCl , oxides of nitrogen NO x , opacity for particles, carbon monoxide CO , sulfur dioxide SO 2 , and dioxins and furans.
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They also include process parameters, such as load, and flue-gas temperature at the particulate-matter control-device inlet. The regulations also require provisional certification of the chief facility operator and shift supervisors by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers ASME or through a state certification program.
A site-specific training manual to be used for training other incinerator personnel was required. Reporting is not required for emissions during process upsets, including startup and shutdown.
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Also, such data are not used to evaluate compliance with standards. On November 15, , as EPA was preparing final versions of the standards for new and existing municipal solid-waste incinerators, Congress passed. The level of control was to be based on MACT. Section also effectively added mercury, cadmium, lead, and fly-ash or bottom-ash fugitive emissions to the list of regulated pollutants, expanded the applicability of the standards to some of the smaller plants, and required recalculation of previously promulgated limits for the other pollutants according to a new method.
With regard to new sources, MACT emission standards the so-called MACT floor may not be less stringent than the emission control achieved in practice by the best-controlled similar units. EPA has interpreted the former definition to mean the average performance level achieved at the uppermost 12th percentile of existing municipal solid-waste incinerators in the United States for which data were available, and the latter to mean the level corresponding to the average permit level for the uppermost 12th percentile of existing incinerators for each pollutant.
The data with which MACT floors were to be determined were the subject of some dispute. The MACT floor could have been based on permitted emission levels, levels achieved in practice by currently used technologies, or levels achievable with available technology. The difference between this interpretation and the permitted-emission-level interpretation is considerable, particularly in the case of existing incinerators, in that permit levels are usually considerably less stringent than the current state-of-the-art performance levels.
Section also requires the setting of numerical emission limits based on MACT. That has been done for all required pollutants except mercury, HCl, and SO 2 , for which a dual standard—the less stringent of a numerical limit and a percentage reduction —is proposed.
In practice, the percentage reduction usually applies. Besides the MACT emission limitations, the December standards and guidelines required that all municipal solid-waste incinerators handling waste at. The incinerator load level and the flue-gas temperature at the particulatematter control-device inlet must be measured and not exceed the levels demonstrated during the most-recent dioxin or furan performance test. EPA did not propose any specific flue-gas temperature requirement for either new or existing plants.
Each incinerator is to establish a sitespecific maximal flue-gas temperature based on the maximal 4-hr block average temperature measured during the most-recent dioxin and furan compliance test.
All chief facility operators, shift supervisors, and control-room operators are required to complete an EPA or municipal solid-waste incinerator operator-training course. However, uniform course curricula or criteria are not specified in the law.
The rule requires control of flue-gas temperature and load level at the inlet of the particulate-matter control device. Flue-gas temperature at the inlet to the particulate-matter control device, activated-carbon and alkaline-reagent sorbent injection rates, waste-feed rates, and other characteristics are considered surrogates for continuous monitoring of mercury, HCl, and dioxins or furans; and EPA mandates measurement and monitoring of these pollutants under the standards and guidelines.
The CAA amendments of are being implemented to require the updating of antiquated technologies with more-modern control devices that are not, in the view of EPA, too expensive for both new and large old incinerators. For control of dioxins and furans and mercury, which are the types of the municipal solid-waste incinerator emissions that are most toxic and difficult to remove, and control of acid gases, such as SO 2 , NO x , and HCl, the MACT floors in both the NSPS and the guidelines for large plants are based on use of activated-carbon injection, spray-dryer absorbers with alkaline-reagent injection, fabric-filter particle-control devices, and selective noncatalytic reduction for NO x control.
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Because of concerns about the bioaccumulation of mercury in the environment, EPA considers the incremental costs associated with adding activatedcarbon injection to control mercury emission reasonable for new and existing small plants, and it therefore requires the same mercury-emission standards for all municipal solid-waste incinerators—new and old, large and small.
EPA con-. A siting analysis is required for new plants, as is a material-separation plan. No other substantive requirements are stated. The requirements for the material-separation plans are largely procedural; EPA has not specified any particular minimum performance levels, separation-system design, or materials to be separated.
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To ensure proper siting of a landfill or incinerator, it is important to consider current and projected prevention, recycling, and composting levels and the effect of diversion on the character of the resulting waste stream that serves as the incinerator feedstock. On April 8, , the U. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit vacated the emission guidelines and new source performance standards as they apply to municipal solid-waste incinerator units with the capacity to combust less than or equal to tons per day of municipal solid waste, and all cement kilns combusting municipal solid waste.
As a result the requirements described above apply only to municipal-waste combustor units with the capacity to burn more than tons per day. That amendment document also added supplemental emission guideline limits for four pollutants: hydrogen chloride, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, and lead. The amendments did not add any additional emission limits to the standards for new facilities. A summary of the emission limits for large municipal solid-waste incinerators is presented in Table Proposed emission limits for new and existing small municipal solid waste incinerators are also shown in Table Emission limits for carbon monoxide are presented in Table Under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act RCRA , states must adopt regulations at least as strict as those required by the new municipal solidwaste incinerator performance standards and guidelines.
States where greater stringency is allowed Organ might have on the books provisions that are more stringent than those set forth in the new EPA regulations, or they might be writing more-stringent provisions into operating permits.
The committee is uncertain as to the extent to which differences exist. There have been a number of calls by environmentalists for moratoriums on new waste incinerators Ferris. Existing c.
Carbon Monoxide, ppmv f. Sources: Fed. Source: Fed.
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A few jurisdictions have enacted moratoriums on construction of new incinerators.