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EPA Seeks Input for Hazardous Waste Worker Protections, Incinerator Emissions

EPA Seeks Input for Hazardous Waste Worker Protections, Incinerator Emissions

The EPA has extended its comment periods for hazardous waste worker protections and incinerator emissions guidelines.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) submitted two information collection requests (ICR) just published in the Federal Register—one for EPA’s Worker Protection Standards for Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response, as well as Emission Guidelines for Existing Commercial and Industrial Solid Waste Incineration Units. Both ICRs have been submitted to the Office of Management and Budget for review and approval, with public comment periods ending September 30.  

EPA’s Worker Protection Standards for Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response is a proposed extension of the ICR currently approved through August 31. Public comments were previously requested via the Federal Register on November 27, 2018, during a 60-day comment period. The latest notice allows for an additional 31 days of public comments.

The Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act of 1986 (SARA) requires EPA to set worker protection standards for state and local employees engaged in hazardous waste operations and emergency response in the 27 states that do not have Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) approved state plans. The EPA coverage, required to be identical to the OSHA standards, extends to three categories of employees:

  1. Those engaged in cleanups at uncontrolled hazardous waste sites, including corrective actions at treatment, storage and disposal (TSD) facilities regulated under the agency’s Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA).
  2. Employees working on routine hazardous waste operations at RCRA TSD facilities.
  3. Employees involved in emergency response operations without regard to location.

The ICR renews existing mandatory recordkeeping collection of ongoing activities including monitoring any potential employee exposure at uncontrolled hazardous waste sites, maintaining records of employee training, refresher training, medical exams and reviewing emergency response plans.

EPA’s Emission Guidelines for Existing Commercial and Industrial Solid Waste Incineration Units is a proposed extension of the ICR currently approved through November 30. Public comments were previously requested via the Federal Register on May 6 during a 60-day comment period. This notice also allows for an additional 31 days for public comments.

The Emission Guidelines for Existing Commercial and Industrial Solid Waste Incineration Units fulfill the requirements of sections 111 and 129 of the Clean Air Act and affect the administrator of an air quality program in a state or United States region with one or more existing commercial and industrial solid waste incineration (CISWI) units. These regulations apply to sources beginning construction on or before June 4, 2010, or to sources starting modification or reconstruction between June 1, 2001, and August 7, 2013.

The guidelines do not apply directly to CISWI unit owners and operators, since they are applied through state implementation plans (SIP). If a state does not develop, adopt and submit an approved state plan, or if a state’s plan is not approved, the EPA must disseminate a federal plan to implement the emission guidelines in a state without its own SIP.

In general, all emission guidelines standards require initial notification reports, performance tests and periodic reports by the owners/operators of the affected facilities. They are also required to maintain records of the occurrence and duration of any startup, shutdown or malfunction in the operation of an affected facility or any period during which the monitoring system is inoperative.

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