JULY 2010

EPA proposes mercury limits for boilers and incinerators

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued proposals that would cut mercury emissions by more than half and would significantly cut other pollutants from boilers, process heaters and solid waste incinerators.

The proposed rules would define some “non-hazardous secondary materials” as solid waste, which would require units that burned those materials to be defined under section 129 of the Clean Air Act (CAA) as solid waste incineration units, rather than as fuel under less stringent standards for boilers under section 112 of the CAA.

EPA is also proposing to identify which non-hazardous secondary materials would be considered solid waste and which would be considered fuel. This distinction would determine whether a material can be burned in a boiler or whether it must be burned in a solid waste incinerator. The agency is also soliciting comment on several other broader approaches that would identify additional non-hazardous secondary materials as solid waste when burned in combustion units.

The limits would take effect after a 45 day public comment period.