RACHEL: Incinerator Ash 
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 RACHEL: Incinerator Ash

=======================Electronic Edition========================

              RACHEL'S ENVIRONMENT & HEALTH WEEKLY
            (formerly RACHEL's HAZARDOUS WASTE NEWS)
                      ---August 18, 1994---
                           HEADLINES:
               EDF PROPOSES INCINERATOR ASH DUMPS
                           ==========
                Environmental Research Foundation
               P.O. Box 5036, Annapolis, MD  21403

                           ==========
          Back issues available via anonymous ftp from
      ftp.std.com/periodicals/rachel and via gopher server
   at gopher.std.com and at envirolink.org and at igc.apc.org.
=================================================================

EDF PROPOSES INCINERATOR ASH DUMPS

The waste industry and the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) have
held a series of private meetings since June to develop a
proposal to change federal law, to remove the term "hazardous"
from all ash produced by municipal solid waste (msw)
incinerators.  The proposal would require that all msw ash be
placed in special dumps (called "monofills") designated for that
purpose.  The 13-page EDF-industry proposal was released publicly
without fanfare August 12.

The two largest corporations in the msw business are Ogden
Martin, and Wheelabrator, a subsidiary of WMX Technologies
(formerly Waste Management, Inc.).  EDF is an environmental
organization that in recent years has adopted a strategy of
making alliances with corporate polluters in hopes of modifying
their behavior.

The few grass-roots activists who have heard of the EDF-industry
ash proposal expressed outrage at both the substance of the
proposal, and the secretive process by which it was drawn up.
Paul Connett, co-editor of WASTE NOT and co-director of Work on
Waste USA said, "We see this is as a complete sabotage of all the
grass-roots efforts that have gone into defeating 280
incinerators since 1985.  [EDF has] come in and rescued this
technology."  Judi Enck of the New York Public Interest Research
Group (NYPIRG) said, "If I was an incinerator company, I would
just jump at the opportunity to get this legislation because it
makes the picture much rosier for them."  We were unable to
locate any grass-roots activists who favored the EDF-industry
approach. EDF's executive director, Fred Krupp, said he was
"bewildered" by the "assertion that EDF's position has been
formulated without any discussion with other groups that work on
this issue," citing phone discussions with NYPIRG, U.S. Public
Interest Research Group (US PIRG), Sierra Club, and others.  Both
NYPIRG and US PIRG oppose the EDF-industry proposal.  Sierra Club
has not yet taken a position on the proposal.

The 160 msw incinerators operating in the U.S. produce about 8
million tons of ash each year containing, by rough estimate, some
18,000 tons of lead, plus lesser quantities of other potent
toxins such as cadmium, arsenic and dioxin.[1]

The joint EDF-industry proposal, titled "The Ash Management and
Utilization Act of 1994," covers ash from municipal solid waste
incinerators, not hazardous waste incinerators.  The incinerator
industry hopes Congress will pass the law this term, which would
require extraordinarily rapid action on capitol hill.  The
proposal would amend RCRA (the Resource Conservation and Recovery
Act), the nation's basic waste-management law.  The EDF-industry
proposal has the following features:

** Msw ash would not have to be tested for its toxicity;

** No msw ash would ever be designated a "hazardous waste" but
would all be called "special waste;"

** All ash would have to be put into a double-lined dump designed
specifically for ash (termed a "monofill" because only one
substance --ash --could go into it); industry would have to
monitor such dumps for 30 years, after which the taxpaying public
would assume responsibility for monitoring, maintenance, and
eventually cleanup.

** EPA [U.S. Environmental Protection Agency] would be required
to issue a finding in 36 months that ash is, or isn't, suitable
as a base for road building.  Other commercial uses of ash would
be regulated by EPA.

** Within 7 1/2 years, the msw industry would be required to
place all its ash in monofill dumps.  Until monofilling began,
the industry would be exempt from liability for any problems its
ash might cause.

The joint EDF-industry proposal follows on the heels of an EDF
victory in the U.S. Supreme Court in early May.  The Court ruled
May 2 that msw ash is not exempt from RCRA, the nation's
hazardous waste law, which requires that wastes be tested for
toxicity; wastes that flunk the test must be placed in
officially-designated hazardous waste dumps.  The incineration
industry fears that some of its ash will have to be designated a
hazardous waste --a severe psychological deterrent to expanding
the industry, as well as a considerable expense.  Hazardous waste
can cost up to $300 per ton for burial at a legally-designated
hazardous waste dump.  Judi Enck of the New York Public Interest
Research Group estimates that ash can be placed in an "ash
monofill" for only $70 or $80 per ton.

For its part, EDF fears that most ash will NOT have to be
designated hazardous waste and will be released directly into the
environment.

May 24th, EPA held a briefing for the incinerator industry,
describing how EPA will react to the Supreme Court decision.  EPA
said that within a few months they plan to issue rules that:

** Allow incinerator operators to mix fly ash and bottom ash.
Bottom ash makes up 90% of the ash generated by an incinerator;
fly ash is 10%.  The bottom ash usually contains about 2000 parts
per million (ppm) of lead; the lead concentration in fly ash is
usually at least twice that.  EPA's plan would allow dilution of
the more toxic fly ash with less toxic bottom ash, to diminish
the overall concentration of toxins in the combined ash.  This
runs contrary to most other EPA rules, which do not allow
dilution as a solution to pollution.

Ash containing 2000 ppm lead is contaminated at a level more than
5 times as high as the "level of concern" EPA recently set for
lead in soil.

** EPA will required msw ash to be tested only 4 times each year.
The average incinerator produces 137 tons of ash per day.
Sampling all this ash only 4 times per year is guaranteed,
mathematically, not to give a very reliable (consistent) estimate
of the actual concentration of pollutants in the ash.  Findings
that are not reliable cannot, mathematically, be valid
(accurate).  So EPA's proposal is guaranteed not to give a true
picture of the contaminants in ash.

** EPA will test ash by the Toxicity Characteristic Leaching
Procedure (TCLP).  This test does not identify the actual
pollutants contained in the ash; it only identifies those
pollutants that leach out under certain specific conditions.
Since, sooner or later, all of the ash will be released into the
environment (even ash that is monofilled), it is the total
pollutant content that will affect communities, not merely what
leaches out under TCLP conditions.  Therefore the TCLP test gives
a misleading estimate of the ash hazard.

** EPA will allow --and may even encourage --ash producers to
"treat" their ash before subjecting it to the TCLP test, to
reduce its chances of flunking the test.  For example, by
treating ash with phosphoric acid, the toxic lead can be
converted to lead phosphate, which will not leach out in a TCLP
test.  This would allow the ash to pass the TCLP test without
diminishing the long-term hazard of the toxic metals in the ash.

A memo from EDF to several grass-roots leaders dated August 11
refers to ash monofills as "state of the art" technology for
protecting the environment against ash.  But in a phone call
August 11, EDF senior scientist Richard Denison said that
communities would only be "a little better protected" by ash
monofills than by the present system.  He stressed that the big
benefit would be control of "ash utilization" --schemes to mix
ash into concrete, or put it beneath road surfaces. Ash
utilization is presently unregulated.

Grass-roots activists say the EDF-industry proposal removes a
major point of public debate about msw incineration.  Paul
Connett said, "When the ash issue is examined it underlines the
total absurdity of spending billions of dollars destroying
resources that we should be sharing with the future.  This is
where the craziness of this whole [incinerator business] breaks
down.  You give them a convenient toilet and there's no [longer
any] question of absurdity.  We're just going to have ash
monofills all over the place."

EDF's Karen Florini, an attorney and lobbyist on capitol hill,
expressed surprise that grass-roots incinerator fighters might be
concerned about the proposed legislation.  "We didn't
intentionally not check with [grass-roots activists] about this
stuff, it's that we didn't realize that issues relating to
federal legislation on this would be of profound concern to you,"
she said.

The waste industry has demonstrated profound concern for these
issues. According to the Center for Responsive Politics in
Washington, D.C., during the period 1991 to 1994, Ogden, Foster
Wheeler, and various subsidiaries of WMX Technologies contributed
$825,695 to election campaigns of certain members of Congress.
Particularly favored by waste industry contributions were Sen.
Frank Lautenburg (D-N.J.) and Rep. Al Swift (D.-Wash.) who head
the two committees that will review the EDF-industry ash bill.

Fred Krupp said EDF had 3 goals in proposing the legislation:

(1) Immediately limit ash utilization until and unless federal
regulations are developed;

(2) Immediately replace the flawed TCLP-test-based system with
one that imposes baseline requirements on all ash;

(3) Phase in, as quickly as possible, state-of-the-art disposal
requirements for ALL ash.

EDF's Richard Denison said, "The intent is to try to deal with ...

read more »



Mon, 03 Feb 1997 22:44:19 GMT
 RACHEL: Incinerator Ash
One notes that the "grass roots activists" find it sufficient reason
to oppose the new law, because it will help the corporations.  They
have got themselves into a position where they regard the corporations
as enemies and consider anything good for them as harmful.  EDF at
least has its eye on the ball.  It waants ash disposed of in a manner
it regards as not harmful and is willing to come to an agreement with
the ash companies to achieve this result.

RACHEL neglects the old adage: Your job is not fighting alligators; it
is draining the swamp.
--
John McCarthy, Computer Science Department, Stanford, CA 94305
*
He who refuses to do arithmetic is doomed to talk nonsense.



Thu, 06 Feb 1997 15:26:39 GMT
 RACHEL: Incinerator Ash


Quote:


>18 Aug 1994 10:44:19 -0400

>One notes that the "grass roots activists" find it sufficient reason
>to oppose the new law, because it will help the corporations.  They
>have got themselves into a position where they regard the corporations
>as enemies and consider anything good for them as harmful.  EDF at
>least has its eye on the ball.  It waants ash disposed of in a manner
>it regards as not harmful and is willing to come to an agreement with
>the ash companies to achieve this result.

>RACHEL neglects the old adage: Your job is not fighting alligators; it
>is draining the swamp.
>--
>John McCarthy, Computer Science Department, Stanford, CA 94305
>*
>He who refuses to do arithmetic is doomed to talk nonsense.

I'd like to see the reasons given to refuse the proposed
legislation discussed, not only a generic "they don't want
what corporations want, so they must be wrong".

Thanks, Pompeo

--
    Pompeo Santoro       Alcatel Bell Antwerp Belgium  

    Tel:   + 32 3 2407855          !I'm hardly responsible for my
    Fax:   + 32 3 2409969          !opinions.. just imagine my company!



Fri, 07 Feb 1997 17:26:05 GMT
 RACHEL: Incinerator Ash

Quote:

>=======================Electronic Edition========================
>              RACHEL'S ENVIRONMENT & HEALTH WEEKLY
>            (formerly RACHEL's HAZARDOUS WASTE NEWS)
>                      ---August 18, 1994---
>                           HEADLINES:
>               EDF PROPOSES INCINERATOR ASH DUMPS
>                           ==========
>                Environmental Research Foundation
>               P.O. Box 5036, Annapolis, MD  21403

>                           ==========
>          Back issues available via anonymous ftp from
>      ftp.std.com/periodicals/rachel and via gopher server
>   at gopher.std.com and at envirolink.org and at igc.apc.org.
>=================================================================
>EDF PROPOSES INCINERATOR ASH DUMPS

>The waste industry and the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) have
>held a series of private meetings since June to develop a
>proposal to change federal law, to remove the term "hazardous"
>from all ash produced by municipal solid waste (msw)
>incinerators.  The proposal would require that all msw ash be
>placed in special dumps (called "monofills") designated for that
>purpose.  The 13-page EDF-industry proposal was released publicly
>without fanfare August 12.
>victory in the U.S. Supreme Court in early May.  The Court ruled
>May 2 that msw ash is not exempt from RCRA, the nation's
>hazardous waste law, which requires that wastes be tested for
>toxicity; wastes that flunk the test must be placed in
>officially-designated hazardous waste dumps.  The incineration

once designated as a rcra haz.'s & solid waste, the regulatory
road for such waste becomes *extremely* torturous. considerations
such as 'beneficial reuse' are then allowed to be considered, amongst
others. *this is already the case *under existing law*.

btw, epa's definition of solid waste (i.e. rcra hazardous
waste) task force is looking at simplifying the scheme (growing
out of epa's _the nation's haz waste mangmt. system at a cross-
roads_ report which is a fairly honest and detailed
critique of rcra's haz waste subtitle C), ...looking at simplifying
this scheme largely because of several dozen examples similar to
the msw ash one. the crux is, how to prevent sham recycling (using
a recycling exemption to dispose of a waste in an unsound manner)
while encouraging more (real) recycling and reuse of wastes.

Quote:
>May 24th, EPA held a briefing for the incinerator industry,
>describing how EPA will react to the Supreme Court decision.  EPA
>said that within a few months they plan to issue rules that:

>** Allow incinerator operators to mix fly ash and bottom ash.
>usually at least twice that.  EPA's plan would allow dilution of
>the more toxic fly ash with less toxic bottom ash, to diminish
>the overall concentration of toxins in the combined ash.  This
>runs contrary to most other EPA rules, which do not allow
>dilution as a solution to pollution.

usually. the 2 rules ('mixture' and 'derived from') are also under court
and epa review. imo, they've done good service in preventing disposal.
they're still largely in place.

- Show quoted text -

Quote:
>** EPA will required msw ash to be tested only 4 times each year.
>The average incinerator produces 137 tons of ash per day.
>Sampling all this ash only 4 times per year is guaranteed,
>mathematically, not to give a very reliable (consistent) estimate
>of the actual concentration of pollutants in the ash.  Findings
>that are not reliable cannot, mathematically, be valid
>(accurate).  So EPA's proposal is guaranteed not to give a true
>picture of the contaminants in ash.
>** EPA will test ash by the Toxicity Characteristic Leaching
>Procedure (TCLP).  This test does not identify the actual
>pollutants contained in the ash; it only identifies those
>pollutants that leach out under certain specific conditions.
>Since, sooner or later, all of the ash will be released into the
>environment (even ash that is monofilled), it is the total
>pollutant content that will affect communities, not merely what
>leaches out under TCLP conditions.  Therefore the TCLP test gives
>a misleading estimate of the ash hazard.

this starts to get at the heart of the issue. the whole concept
of landfilling msw or haz waste or their ashes has no rationality;
it's scary, like dealing with a deranged person. epa acknowledges
freely all landfills will leak. yet its official policy is to
entomb wastes (low moisture & oxygen) as if that were a solution.
incineration, or the few landfills designed to promote degradation,
with collection and 'treatment' of leachate, don't solve the pollu-
tion problem either. reduction? epa is working up to it, but on an
insufficiant scale. a few years ago it shot down a proposal to
require the removal of lead-acid batteries from incinerator bound
msw. some states recycle 5% (MT, others) of their msw, others
65% (<--MN; '92 epa figures). the variety of state laws on deposits,
tax incentives product bans, and recycled content material varies just
as widely. so there's a lot that can be done if we decide to seriously
discourage incineration of unsorted msw.

Quote:
>** EPA will allow --and may even encourage --ash producers to
>"treat" their ash before subjecting it to the TCLP test, to
>reduce its chances of flunking the test.  For example, by
>treating ash with phosphoric acid, the toxic lead can be
>converted to lead phosphate, which will not leach out in a TCLP
>test.  This would allow the ash to pass the TCLP test without
>diminishing the long-term hazard of the toxic metals in the ash.

==>some heavy metal complexes are stable under an extremely
wide range of pH & Eh; others not so. anyone know? still, this
has the ring of epa's well worn stategy of allowing a pass in
one aspect of a regulation w/out regard for wider consequences.
how are the other tclp metals affected? other haz's organics?
does tclp represent real world conditions (low pH, but the
species matrix under different Eh is what's relevant. also, i'm
not sure if the fine ash fraction is tested under the tclp...)

- Show quoted text -

Quote:
>A memo from EDF to several grass-roots leaders dated August 11
>refers to ash monofills as "state of the art" technology for
>protecting the environment against ash.  But in a phone call
>August 11, EDF senior scientist Richard Denison said that
>communities would only be "a little better protected" by ash
>monofills than by the present system.  He stressed that the big
>benefit would be control of "ash utilization" --schemes to mix
>ash into concrete, or put it beneath road surfaces. Ash
>utilization is presently unregulated.
>EDF's Karen Florini, an attorney and lobbyist on capitol hill,
>expressed surprise that grass-roots incinerator fighters might be
>concerned about the proposed legislation.  "We didn't
>intentionally not check with [grass-roots activists] about this
>stuff, it's that we didn't realize that issues relating to
>federal legislation on this would be of profound concern to you,"
>she said.

a certain smell emanates from this last statement...if "several grass
roots leaders" didn't include some of the people with the most
expertise in fighting incineration, eg dr. conaught, it stinks.

Quote:
>Fred Krupp said EDF had 3 goals in proposing the legislation:

>(1) Immediately limit ash utilization until and unless federal
>regulations are developed;

>(2) Immediately replace the flawed TCLP-test-based system with
>one that imposes baseline requirements on all ash;

like what?? edf seems to be proposing *no* testing.

- Show quoted text -

Quote:
>(3) Phase in, as quickly as possible, state-of-the-art disposal
>requirements for ALL ash.



Sun, 09 Feb 1997 00:03:15 GMT
 
 [ 4 post ] 

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