EPA Sewage Sludge Incinerator Regulation Update
A March, 2014 update from the EPA Office of Air Quality Planning & Standards includes information on the ongoing litigation and how the Agency is addressing gasification and use of biosolids as a fuel source as the sewage sludge incineration regulations are implemented....
In March, the CA Association of Sanitation Agency Biosolids Program met with U. S. EPA and received the following updates from Amy Hambrick of the EPA Office of Air Quality Planning & Standards. The update includes information on the ongoing litigation and how the Agency is addressing gasification and use of biosolids as a fuel source.
Litigation. On August 20, 2013, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit remanded portions of the 2011 SSI rules (New Source Performance Standards and Emissions Guidelines) for further explanation. The court did not vacate the rule, and the requirements of the rule therefore remain in place. EPA is evaluating the court’s decision and must address the court’s remand; however, the court has not provided EPA with a schedule for remand response. States are moving forward to implement the rule.
Gasification. In the SSI rule record (March 21, 2011), EPA responds in the “Response to Public Comments” document that SSI applicability to gasification units would be done on a case by case basis. The MaxWest Applicability Determination was a determination given for their specific situation. The applicability determination was not intended to be an industry-wide determination. When other sewage sludge gasifiers pop up, they would likely also have to go through the Formal Applicability Determination process for their specific situations.
Biosolids as a fuel source (e.g. in cement kilns). Biosolids combusted in other types of units located at other types of facilities such as cement/waste burning kilns (besides an incinerator located at a wastewater treatment facility designed to treat domestic sewage sludge) would most likely have to comply with other incineration standards under Clean Air Act (CAA) section 129 – unless the facility met a statutory exemption under CAA section 129 or met the legitimacy criteria for fuel under RCRA’s non-hazardous secondary materials rule.
The EPA 2011 SSI regulations are summarized in this brochure.