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Changes to Pollution Emission Standards for Hazardous Waste Combustors: Administrative Stay And Proposed New Standards

Fact Sheet

March 2006


EPA is issuing a three-month administrative stay for one of the National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP) requirements for hazardous waste combustors. The Agency is issuing the temporary administrative stay while reconsidering the particulate matter standard for new cement kilns that burn hazardous waste. The stay is effective when published in the Federal Register.

In a second action, EPA is issuing a proposed rule soliciting comment on a revised particulate matter standard for new sources based on data submitted in a petition from the cement manufacturing industry. These new particulate matter data were not available when the NESHAP was issued in October 2005.

The national emission standards for hazardous air pollutants require hazardous waste combustors to meet air pollutant emission standards reflecting the application of the maximum achievable control technology (MACT). Combustors affected by this rule detoxify or recover energy from hazardous waste, and include incinerators, cement kilns, lightweight aggregate kilns, boilers and process heaters, and hydrochloric acid production furnaces. EPA estimates that 145 facilities operate 265 devices that burn hazardous waste.

These technology-based standards reduce emission of hazardous air pollutants, including lead, mercury, arsenic, dioxin and furans, and hydrogen chloride and chlorine gas. In addition, emissions of particulate matter are also reduced. Better control of air pollutants is expected to result in fewer cases of chronic bronchitis, reduced hospitalizations for severe respiratory conditions and cardiovascular problems in adults and children, and fewer cancer cases. Populations residing near hazardous waste combustors may benefit the most from implementation of the MACT standards.

EPA also recently amended NESHAP to change the implementation date for new or revised bag leak detection system monitoring provisions to October 14, 2008.


EPA promulgated MACT standards on September 30, 1999. These emission standards created a technology-based national cap for hazardous air pollutant emissions from the combustion of hazardous waste.

A number of parties, representing both industrial and environmental communities, requested judicial review of this rule, and challenged its emission standards and several implementation provisions. The United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit Court vacated the emission standards and allowed EPA to issue interim standards.

EPA issued new standards on October 12, 2005.

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