OCT 14 1990
Mr. G. A. Vogt, Manager
Environmental Compliance & Plant Services
Thompson Consumer Electronics, Inc.
P.O. Box 2001
Marion, Indiana 46953-4399
Dear Mr. Vogt:
This letter is in response to your July 10, 1990, letter regarding clarification
of the national capacity variance for
inorganic solids debris under EPA's Land Disposal Restriction Regulations for Third Third Wastes. In general, your letter questioned the scope of the definition of inorganic solids debris as well as its application. The delay in responding to your letter results from the myriad related questions that the Agency has received concerning these issues. The Agency can now offer the following clarifications for your situation:
For the purposes of determining the applicability of the capacity variance
extension, the waste in question must only be specified as a D004, D005,
D006, D007, D008, D009, D010, or DO11 waste and must meet all the
criteria listed in the definition of inorganic solids debris in 268.2(g).
(See 55 FR 22686 (June 1, 1990).) It must also exactly fit one of
the eight specific categories of inorganic solids debris listed in 268.2(g)(I)-(8).
While some wastes may appear to fall under one of these categories (e.g., 268.2(g)(6) and (7) include wastes identified as containers, drums, pipes, valves, appliances, or industrial equipment), they must first meet the criteria in the preceding portion of the definition that clearly indicates that these wastes must be inorganic or metal materials. In the June 1, 1990 rule, the Agency also gave specific examples of organic solids
debris (55 FR 22555) in order to help clarify the classification of a waste as organic versus inorganic. These examples of organic debris included: rags, paper, cardboard, clothes, gloves, paints, paint chips, wood, grubbing materials, blankets, hoses, bags, resins, plastic liners, and PVC piping. (Please see also
the discussion of inseparable mixtures of inorganic and organic debris later in this letter.)
In response to your question on metal-contaminated cloth filters,
they would be classified as organic solids debris because cloth is
typically comprised of organic materials. EPA has granted a national
capacity variance for soil and debris for which the underlying standard
(i.e., waste code-specific standard) is based on incineration, vitrification
(DO04 arsenic wastes), or mercury retorting (DO09 mercury wastes with greater
than 260 mg/kg total mercury). While the underlying standards for most D004--DO11 metal wastes were generally based on stabilization rather than incineration, the Agency did state, at 55 FR 22555 (June 1, 1990), "as a matter of treatment policy prohibited metal wastes that are generated as an organo-metallic or in an organic matrix can be incinerated ..., prior to subsequent treatment of the ash (if necessary), in order to
comply with a concentration-based standard or to comply with a technology-based metal treatment standard." and that "... much of the D004--DO11 organic debris may be treatable by washing or extraction rather than incineration." Thus, only organic solids debris that must be treated by incineration, vitrification, or mercury retorting in order to comply with the metal standards, received a variance. If the metal-contaminated cloth filters cannot be decontaminated to below the appropriate treatment levels by washing or extraction with acids (or other appropriate media) and would therefore have to be incinerated, they are subject to the national capacity variance.
During a follow-up telephone conversation with my staff, you also
indicated that one of the wastes on which you were seeking guidance
consists of broken color picture tubes made primarily of glass.
While EPA has specifically identified glass as one of the specific types
of inorganic debris according to 268.2 (g)(3), one
needs to evaluate the applicability of the rest of the definition of inorganic solids debris. One must first determine if the waste is friable (i.e., easily or readily crumbled). Although broken color picture tubes would be expected to be somewhat friable, one must also determine whether the subsequent pieces pass the 9.5 mm sieve size. Based on your remarks, we assume that at least some of the waste (either "as generated" or the
friable residues) will indeed pass through, but not all. Also, additional small pieces from other similar friable materials may be generated during transportation and handling (i.e., more pieces may be generated that would pass through a 9.5 mm sieve). Thus, the questions become "When does one apply the standard?" and "Is there a percentage of the waste that must not pass through the sieve in order to be classified as an inorganic
In responding to this question, one must examine the Agency's intent
in promulgating the variance. The key to the variance is that wastes
in the inorganic solid debris categories would have to be crushed or "otherwise
reduced in size" prior to stabilization (55 FR 22556). The Agency
had determined that there was inadequate capacity for "cutting, or crushing
and grinding in mechanical sizing equipment" for these wastes. Thus,
it is the link between the type of inorganic solids debris and the sizing equipment required as pretreatment (i.e., prior to the stabilization process) that was the key factor in determining the need for the capacity variance.
As a result, the Agency has determined that the point of generation
is where the waste is identified as inorganic solid debris for purposes
of the national capacity variance. If any of the waste material
does not completely pass through a 9.5 mm sieve, then the entire quantity
of waste material qualifies as inorganic solid debris. In addition,
if the waste material is friable (i.e., easily crumbled) but some of the
pieces will not pass through a 9.5 mm sieve, then the entire quantity of
waste material is considered to be inorganic solid debris. Therefore,
any debris that may fall through a 9.5 mm sieve because of transporting from the generator's site to the disposal site is also considered to be inorganic solid debris that is subject to the national capacity variance.
Wastes appearing to meet the definition of inorganic solids debris under
section 268.2(g)(6) (metal cans, containers, drums, or tanks) and (7) (metal
nuts, bolts, pipes, pumps, valves, appliances, or industrial equipment)
often contain organic parts that are difficult to separate. This
occurs particularly in cases such as: 1) industrial process equipment
being dismantled; 2) industrial valves comprised of composites of organic
inorganic materials; and 3) appliances containing multiple connected parts. Capacity for sizing and separation is also lacking for this type of inorganic solid debris (which was the basis of the variance is also applicable for this type of inorganic solids debris. Thus the variance for inorganic solids debris will apply to these inseparable mixtures except in situations where during the dismantling, the organic materials or a significant portion of the organic materials are manually separable or separable by simple mechanical means. The separated
organic materials must then be treated for their metals content and thus comply with the applicable treatment standards for D004 -- DO11 (except as noted above). Only the inorganic solids debris that are separated from the nonhazardous organics are subject to the national capacity variance.
I hope this letter addresses your major concerns. If you have any further questions, please call Richard Kinch, Chief of the Waste Treatment Branch at (202) 382-7927.
Original Document signed
Sylvia K. Lowrance
Office of Solid Wastes