The Water Environment Federation (WEF) submitted comments on August 2 in response to EPA’s June 24 Federal Register proposed rulemaking on the Identification of Non-Hazardous Secondary Materials That Are Solid Wastes. A work group comprised of volunteers from WEF’s Residuals and Biosolids Committee and leadership of the Air Quality & Odor Control and Government Affairs Committees participated in the review. A summary of WEF’s comments and concerns with the proposed rulemaking are focused as follows:
· While the proposal states that the specific intent of regulation is to apply the designation of “solid waste” to wastewater solids (biosolids) processed in sewage sludge incinerators (SSI), WEF would like confirmation that this proposed ruling is not intended to impact any other forms of biosolids management.
· The legitimacy criteria are not suitable for biosolids incineration.
o Information used by EPA from the Materials Characterization Paper to test whether biosolids meets the contaminant criteria is outdated in terms of biosolids composition, as well as intended uses, which leads to biased conclusions.
o The meaningful heating value and energy recovery criteria are arbitrary, developed for other industries, and not consistent with renewable energy policy to encourage energy recovery and reduction of greenhouse gas emissions at POTWs.
o The proposed regulations requirements for adequate processing are limiting and could have negative ramifications on biosolids-to-energy projects either ongoing or planned.
· There may be unintended consequences for other forms of biosolids management as this approach will result in more landfilling of a valuable nutrient and energy rich material that could otherwise be used as a renewable resource.
· EPA may not have sufficient SSI operating data (for either multiple hearth or fluid bed incinerators) to establish science based maximum achievable control technology (MACT) standards required by the proposed regulation.