EPA Revises Rules for Carbamate Disposal, Allows Use of Best Available Technologies

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The Environmental Protection has revised its requirements for the disposal of hazardous wastes associated with the production of carbamates and related commercial chemical products, according to a direct final rule published June 13 in the Federal Register (76 Fed. Reg. 34,147).

The rule revised EPA land disposal restrictions that currently require carbamate waste products to meet certain concentration limits before they can be disposed. Instead, EPA's final rule provides an alternative standard that would allow the use of best demonstrated available technologies when treating carbamates, a chemical compound used in pesticides.

The final rule amends existing treatment standards to allow the treatment of wastewater containing carbamates using the following specific best demonstrated available technologies (BDAT): combustion, chemical oxidation, biodegradation, or carbon absorption.

For “non-wastewater” applications, the approved alternative treatment is combustion, according to the notice.

‘Legally Permissible Alternatives.'

According to the notice, such practices will be considered as “legally permissible alternatives” to what has been EPA's traditional regulatory approach, which required that any treatment of carbamates ensure that the toxicity of the waste be brought below specific numeric concentration limits before it is disposed on land.

EPA regulates such treatment under sections 3004(d) through (g) of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), which prohibits land disposal of hazardous waste unless the toxicity of the waste has been substantially diminished to reduce threats to human health and the environment.

The EPA revisions under the final rule are effective within 60 days of their publication unless the agency receives significant “adverse” comments in response to the action, the agency said. EPA revised the regulations in the form of a direct final rule because it views the changes “as noncontroversial” and the agency anticipates little opposition to the changes, according to the notice.

In the event that there are such adverse comments, the agency is slated to simultaneously publish a proposed rule, also in the June 13 Federal Register, that provides a 30-day comment period.

Comments on the direct final rule governing land disposal restrictions for treatment of carbamate wastes or the proposed rule should be submitted at www.regulations.gov under Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-RCRA-2008-0332 or e-mailed to rcra-docket@epa.gov and jackson.mary@epa.gov.

By Dean Scott

For more information on the direct final rule for carbamate land disposal restrictions contact Mary Jackson, EPA Office of Resource Conservation and Recovery, at (703) 308-8453 or at jackson.mary@epa.gov .