EPA R5 BWON ADI Request – Uncontrolled Organic Wastes < 10% H20

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EPA Region 5 received a request on July 18, 2014, from AMG Vanadium Inc. requesting an applicability determination of the following two interpretations:1. Refinery spent catalysts purchased as raw materials for its commercial processes at AMG’s Cambridge, OH facility are not considered “wastes” under the BWON rule.2. The spent catalyst as a raw material received by AMG’s with less than 10 percent water and less than 10 ppmw benzene on a flow weighted annual average is not regulated under the “6BQ Compliance Option.”In the ADI submittal, AMG describes its commercial process as one that processes spent refinery hydrotreating and hydrofining catalyst to produce various commodities.  In addition, AMG describes their transport process for the spent catalyst which includes railcar shipment and loading into their process via enclosed conveyor.  Although refineries commonly determine that spent catalyst shipments exceed >10 ppm benzene, AMG indicates the refinery spent catalyst it processes would never equal or exceed 10 ppmw benzene on a flow weighted annual average basis.

This ADI is intriguing for two reasons:

1.      AMG asserts its process is similar to the BWON applicability waiver received by Merichem for spent caustic which is commonly transported in ways similar to other commercial products used in industry.

2.      AMG asks a question – is a generated waste with less than 10 percent water and less than 10 ppm benzene regulated under the “6BQ Compliance Option” of BWON rule – that has wide-ranging implications for all industries – petroleum refineries, chemical plants, coke byproduct plants, and treatment storage and disposal facilities.

At the 4C Conference, we heard that EPA may respond favorably to AMG’s second question that < 10% water < 10 ppmw benzene was not intended to be regulated by the 6BQ Compliance Option (these waste streams are explicitly exempt from the 2 MG Compliance Option).  However, all we can do now is wait for EPA Region 5 to render its response and keep our fingers crossed that this long-awaited guidance will be arrive sooner than later.

A copy of the ADI referenced above can be obtained through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request from EPA Region 5 – here is the website: http://www.epa.gov/region5/foia/index.html