EPA expands list of non-waste fuels under NHSM rule

By Erin Voegele | February 08, 2018

The U.S. EPA has published a final rule adding creosote-borate, copper naphthenate and copper naphthenate-borate treated railroad ties to its list of non-waste fuels under the Non-Hazardous Secondary Materials regulations.

The EPA’s Non-Hazardous Secondary Materials regulations establish standards and procedures for identifying whether non-hazardous secondary materials are solid wastes when used as fuels or ingredients in combustion units.

A notice published in the Federal Register explains that in February 2013, the EPA listed particular non-hazardous secondary materials as “categorical non-waste fuels,” provided certain conditions are met. The final rule published on Feb. 7 adds creosote-borate, copper naphthenate and copper naphthenate-borate treated railroad ties to the list.

The American Wood Council has spoken out to applaud the EPA’s action. “Including the most common rail ties as non-waste fuels not only provides another source of renewable energy for wood products manufacturers, it diverts materials from the solid waste stream and reduces the need for landfill space while providing carbon-neutral energy that offsets fossil-fuel use,” said Robert Glowinski, president and CEO of the AWC. “AWC is committed to the sustainable use of wood products and jointly developed an online directory, www.ReuseWood.org, to highlight other uses for wood products at end-of-life.

“AWC appreciates the additional clarity this listing provides for our industry’s air regulation compliance strategies and hopes rail ties will be used for energy at more of our mills,” Glowinski added.

A full copy of the final rule is available on the Federal Register website.