EPA opens public comment period on rule to amend NHSM regulation

By Erin Voegele | April 14, 2014

On April 14, the U.S. EPA published a recently announced proposed rule to amend its Non-Hazardous Secondary Materials regulation under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act in the Federal Register, officially opening a 60-day comment period. The proposal classifies wood fuel from construction and demolition debris.

The EPA first announced the proposed amendments on March 27. The NHSM rule was finalized in February 2013. It established standards and procedures for identifying whether non-hazardous secondary materials are solid wastes when used as fuels or ingredients in combustion units. According to the EPA, materials classified as solid waste under the RCRA must be burned in combustion units that meet Clean Air Act section 129 emissions standards for solid waste incineration units. Materials not considered a solid waste can be burned in combustion units that meet the CAA section 112 emission standards for commercial, industrial and institutional boilers.

The NHSM rule finalized in 2013 established particular non-hazardous secondary materials as categorical non-waste fuels, provided certain conditions are met. The newly proposed amendment proposes to add three new materials to this list, including construction and demolition wood processed from construction and demolition debris according to best management practices. Additional materials covered by the proposed rule include certain paper recycling residuals and creosote-treated railroad ties that are processed and combusted in units designed to burn both biomass and fuel oil.

Public comments on the proposal will be accepted through June 13. Comments can be submitted online at Regulations.gov under Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-RCRA-2013-0110. Additional information on submitting comments via email or mail is available within the proposed rule published in the Federal Register