United States
              Environmental Protection
           Office of
           Solid Waste and
           Emergency Response

TITLE: ."Clarification" of "Points Raised at' an' EPA ~ Symposium
              APPROVAL DATE: 07/10/85

              EFFECTIVE DATE: 07/10/85

              ORIGINATING OFFICE:  osw

              0 FINAL

              D DRAFT
REFERENCE (otherdocuments):
                                     -^or^ circulating

                                                DOC:  9560.12(85)
 Key Words:     HSWA,  Incineracion,


Clarification of Points Raised at an EPA Symposium on RCRA and HSWA

Larry Penberthy, Penberthy Electromelt International, Inc.,
631 South 96th Street, Seattle, Washington  90101
 Originator:    John  H.  Skinner,  Director,  Office  of  solid  Waste

 Source  Doc:    #9560.12(85)

      The  letter  clarifies  the  following  question raised  at a recent EPA Symposium
on  RCRA and HSWA:

      - RCRA does not  regulate  production process changes.   It regulates treatment
       of waste  streams."   therefore,  the use  of  an  electric glass furnace to
       detoxity  hazardous  waste  on  a  manufacturer's site is subject to RCRA and
       will require an  incinerator  permit.

                '                                                 9560.12  (35)
 <*0 ST.,,.
o"   ~  -
     .                     WASHINGTON, D.C. 20460       *

                                                           office OP
                                                  SOLID WASTE AND EMERGENCY RESPONSE
    Mr. Larry Penberthy
    Penberthy Electromelt International, Inc.
    63.1 South 96th Street
    Seattle, Washington  98101

    Dear Mr. Penberthy:

         Thank you for your letter of May 6, 1985, which requests
    clarification on several points I made at the recent EPA Symposium
    regarding the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) and
    the Hazardous and Solid Waste Amendments of 1984 (HSWA).

         First,  the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will not
    exercise jurisdiction over in-plant production process modifica-
    tions .that result in less waste or less toxic waste.  Modifica-
    tions to the product manufacturing process are not within the
    purview of RCRA.  A device that treats a waste stream in order
    to detoxify  it or reduce its volume, however, is clearly within
    the authority of RCRA.   In other words, production process changes
    are not regulated under RCRA; treatment of a waste stream is
    regulated under RCRA.

         Secondly,, let me address your device specifically.  I
    understand that, you have had numerous discussions with David
    Sussman of my staff and individuals in our Office of Research
    and Development.   It is also my understanding that they have
    explained to you that we consider your device to be an incinerator,
    If it burns  hazardous waste, it is subject to the RCRA incinerator
    standards.  The use of -your electric glass furnace to detoxify
    hazardous waste on a manufacturer's site is subject to RCRA and
    will  require a permit as an incinerator.  The permitting process
    is rigorous  but protection of the public's health from improper
    hazardous waste management warrants this care.

         Let  me  also address the other points in your letter.
    The Hazardous and Solid Waste Amendments establish as national
    policy  the minimization of hazardous waste.   The legislation
    requires  waste minimization considerations to be addressed in
    RCRA  transport manifests,  generator reports, and permits.  In
    addition,  the Amendments require that a "Report to Congress" be
    submitted  by EPA by October 1,  1986, assessing the feasibility
    and desirability of establishing waste minimization regulations.

     Senate Report No.  284, 98th Congress, 1st Cession 66 (1983),
 articulates Congress1  intent with regard to the waste minimiza- '
 tion requirements in the HSWA.  As this legislative history states,-
 both minimization requirements for the manifest and biennial report
 refer  to a certification by the generator that a program is in
 place  to reduce the volume or quantity and toxicity of hazardous
 waste  to the degree determined by the generator to be economically
 practicable.  While the requirement to..make- this certification is
 mandatory, the determination of what waste minimization practices
 are economically practicable are to be made by the generator.  The
 legislative history makes clear that Congress1 objective in enacting
 the requirement of waste minimization certification is to encourage
 generators of hazardous waste to voluntarily reduce the quantity
 and toxicity of waste  generated.  Thus, from an enforcement per-
 spective, the Agency will focus efforts on ensuring that generators
 have implemented waste minimization programs and are.complying
 with the certification  requirements.

     With the passage  of the HSWA, EPA will shortly be implementing
 a program to prohibit  certain hazardous wastes from being land
 disposed.  These restrictions from land disposal are designed       f
 to protect human health and the environment and should provide
 incentives for the development of alternative waste treatment
 technologies, both on-site and off-site.  In addition, EPA  is
 currently conducting a  series of technical studies that will
 evaluate the availability of alternative treatment capacity and
 what additional incentives or disincentives could be implemented
 to insure that adequate treatment capacity will be available for
 generated wastes.  I encourage you to suggest approaches that
 might  be beneficial to  insure that treatment capacity will  continue
 to be  available to industry.  Please contact Penelope Hansen,
 Chief  of the Waste Treatment Branch at (202) 382-7917, with any
 ideas  you might have.

     As you mentioned,  the HSWA also requires that all interim
 status landfills and surface impoundments submit a Part B permit
 application to the -EPA and certify compliance with the groundwater
monitoring and financial responsibility provisions (subsections of
 Part 265) by November  8, 1985.  Unfortunately, the Agency cannot
 totally predict the effect these provisions will have on the regu-
 lated  community.  Although these measures may result in the closure
of a significant number of landfills and surface impoundments, the
Agency and the regulatory community will continue to work within
 the statutory constraints in order to protect human health  and
 the environment.  In the case of extensive landfill and surface
 impoundment closures,  there will be a substantial decrease  in
 capacity which will be  considered in the effective dates imposed
 by hazardous waste land disposal restrictions.

     Thank you for your interest in the RCRA hazardous waste
program.  If you should have any further questions,  please feel
free to contact the appropriate members of my staff.

                                John H.  Skinner
                                Office of Solid Waste (WH-562)