Magazine article Occupational Hazards

Land Disposal Ban Stayed

Magazine article Occupational Hazards

Land Disposal Ban Stayed

Article excerpt



In response to officials from the hazardous waste treatment industry and environmentalists, EPA has granted a three-month extension on its national program prohibiting the disposal of more than 350 untreated hazardous wastes in landfills and surface impoundments.

The regulation is known as the "third-third" rule because it is the third of three rules setting standards for a total of approximately 450 wastes listed under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. It sets levels for wastes to be treated before they may be placed in landfills. The rule was originally scheduled to take effect May 8, but that date has been extended to give those industries covered by the rule time to gear up for compliance.

The final rule is a revised version of EPA's original proposal of November 1989. The new rule requires tougher treatment methods, such as incineration, for some characteristic wastes. Other wastes require measures of treatment only stringent enough to remove hazardous characteristics.

Even before it was signed off on by EPA Administrator William Reilly and Deputy Administrator F. Henry Habicht, the Hazardous Waste Treatment Council (HWTC) was railing against the new rule. HWTC contends that the rule contains these shortcomings: * Fails to set technology-based treatment standards for toxic metals. * Allows explosive and other reactive wastes to be merely detonated and burned, rather than deactivated through controlled techniques that would prevent lead and other heavy metal emissions.

o Eliminates the treatment requirements for more than 90 percent of wastes subject to the rule by exempting underground injection facilities and wastewater treatment facilities from the statutory prohibition on dilution. * Allows hazardous wastewaters and treatment residues to continue to be placed in unlined and leaking lagoons and landfills. …

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