Contact Us

Newsroom

1994 News Releases

 

PR EPA ANNOUNCES PROPOSED RULE TO AMEND PCB REGULATIONS

Release Date: 11/22/94
Contact Information:

PR EPA ANNOUNCES PROPOSED RULE TO AMEND PCB REGULATIONS

FOR RELEASE: MONDAY, NOVEMBER 21, 1994

EPA ANNOUNCES PROPOSED RULE TO AMEND PCB REGULATIONS

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today announced a propo= sed rule to=20
amend federal PCB regulations to make them less costly and burdensome= , while=20
still protecting public health and the environment. The changes to t= he PCB=20
regulations are the first since 1978 and would reduce costs to indust= ry by $2=20
billion to $6 billion a year.

PCBs are a mixture of chemicals that are clear to yellow oily li= quids or=20
solids. They are used as insulating material in electrical transform= ers and=20
capacitors, in hydraulic and heat transfer fluids, as plasticizers, a= nd in many=20
heat and fire sensitive applications. PCBs may pose a potential publ= ic health=20
risk.

EPA Administrator Carol M. Browner said, "These proposed changes= --the first=20
in 16 years--are a common-sense approach for dealing with PCB wastes.= Our goal=20
is to continue strong public health and environmental protection, whi= le reducing=20
duplication and paperwork at the federal and state levels and saving = the=20
regulated community billions of dollars."

The proposed rule would amend PCB regulations to: 1) provide fl= exibility=20
in selecting disposal technologies for PCB wastes and to expand the l= ist of=20
prescribed, self-implementing decontamination procedures; 2) provide = less=20
burdensome mechanisms for obtaining EPA approval for a variety of act= ivities; 3)=20
clarify and/or modify the regulations where ambiguity may exist; 4) m= odify the=20
requirements in light of concerns associated with the use/maintenance= ,=20
distribution in commerce and disposal of PCB equipment, and 5) addres= s=20
outstanding issues associated with the notification and manifesting o= f PCB=20
wastes and changes in the operation of commercial storage facilities.

The proposed rule addresses over 50 issues. Some changes are of= a=20
clarifying nature, while others represent a significant departure fro= m current=20
practices (see fact sheet). The rule provides for improved coordinat= ion of PCB=20
waste management activities under the Toxic Substances Control Act (T= SCA) with=20
those under other federal and state authorities. The regulation also= proposes=20
to delete a number of outdated requirements, modify the regulations t=

    address=20
    problems in their applicability or implementation, make certain polic= ies and=20
    regulations consistent with the requirements of other federal statute= s, and=20
    otherwise make it easier for the regulated community to comply with t= he PCB=20
    regulations. EPA is also proposing certain authorizations and exempt= ions that=20
    would allow the scientific community to conduct research on PCBs and = on PCB-
    contaminated media for the development of innovative disposal technol= ogies=20
    without the need to obtain disposal authority from the Agency.
TSCA specifically directs EPA to regulate the marketing, disposa= l,=20
manufacturing, processing, distribution in commerce and use of PCBs. = Since=20
1978, EPA has promulgated numerous rules addressing all aspects of th= e life=20
cycle of PCBs. =20

R-287# # #

=0C=00

FACT SHEET

PROPOSED RULE: AMENDMENTS TO THE TSCA PCB DISPOSAL REGULATIONS IN= CLUDING=20
AMENDMENTS TO THE PCB NOTIFICATION AND MANIFESTING RULE

Section 6(e) of the Toxic Substance Control Act (TSCA), 15 USC 2= 605,=20
specifically directs EPA to regulate the marking, disposal, manufactu= ring,=20
processing, distribution in commerce, and use of PCBs. Since 1978, E= PA has=20
promulgated numerous rules addressing all aspects of the life cycle o= f PCBs.

On June 10, 1991 EPA published an Advanced Notice of Proposed Ru= lemaking=20
(ANPRM) to solicit comments on possible changes to the TSCA PCB dispo= sal=20
regulations. More than ninety commenters responded with comments and= supporting=20
data on the issues outlined in the ANPRM, a number of other topics pe= rtaining to=20
the PCB regulations and the interaction between those regulations and= other=20
Federal and State programs affecting PCBs. EPA has chosen to conside= r all of=20
the comments and will propose changes in a number of areas of the PCB= =20
regulations in addition to those addressed in the ANPRM.

This proposed rule would amend the PCB regulations at 40 CFR Par= t 761 to: =20
(1) provide flexibility in selecting disposal technologies for certai= n PCB=20
wastes and to expand the list of prescribed, self-implemented deconta= mination=20
procedures; (2) provide less burdensome mechanisms for obtaining EPA = approval=20
for a variety of activities; (3) clarify and/or modify the regulation= s where=20
ambiguity may exist; (4) modify the requirements in light of concerns= associated=20
with the use/maintenance, distribution in commerce and disposal of PC= B=20
equipment, and (5) address outstanding issues associated with the not= ification=20
and manifesting of PCB wastes and changes in the operation of commerc= ial storage=20
facilities.

Roughly 50 issues are being addressed by this rulemaking. Some = changes are=20
of a clarifying nature, while other changes represent a significant d= eparture=20
=66rom current practices. The major changes are identified below in = 4 categories:

=B7Disposal of "Large Volume" Wastes. For purposes of disposal = "Large=20
volume" PCB wastes (e.g. remediation wastes, fluff, etc.) will be sep= arated from=20
traditional PCB wastes such as transformers, dielectric fluids and ca= pacitors. =20
The disposal of remediation waste (only) will be managed on the basis= of risk=20
rather than its original PCB concentration. The rule will provided f= lexibility=20
in approving disposal options by allowing deferral to other guidance = or =20
regulations (e.g., CERCLA or RCRA).

=B7Research and Development (R&D/Treatability Studies. Most R&D= /treatability=20
studies, including laboratory studies of health and environmental eff= ects, will=20
be exempted from permitting. Small quantities of PCBs will be allowe= d to be=20
manufactured (or imported) by facilities for use in their own researc= h=20
activities. Specific limits on volume and concentration are mandated= , and=20
notification and recordkeeping are required.

=B7Coordinated Approval. Certain other Federal and State PCB wa= ste handling=20
activities will be recognized as equivalent in protection to a TSCA P= CB storage=20
or disposal approval. Examples include Federal or State issued hazar= dous waste=20
treatment, storage, disposal or corrective action permits, or permits= issued=20
=0C=00
under State TSCA-look-alike laws; and on-site actions taken in accord= ance with=20
CERCLA record of decision.

=B7Notification and Manifesting (N&M) Rule. A total of twelve s= eparate=20
clarifications or amendments are being made to the PCB Notification a= nd=20
Manifesting Rule. These actions are in response to problems identifi= ed during=20
the Agency's implementation of the rule since its promulgation in Dec= ember 1989,=20
or in response to comments to the ANPRM. Two of these amendments are= to settle=20
outstanding legal challenges from the regulated community.

This proposed rule is deregulatory in nature in that it will pro= vide the=20
flexibility to address the disposal of PCBs where specific conditions= would=20
allow for alternative waste management activities to replace those cu= rrently=20
available under the regulations while still providing protection from= =20
unreasonable risk. The proposed rule also allows for enhanced coordi= nation of=20
PCB waste management activities under TSCA with those under other pro= poses to=20
delete a number of out-dated requirements, modify the regulations to = address=20
problems in their applicability or implementation, make certain polic= ies or=20
regulations consistent with the requirements of other Federal statues= , and=20
otherwise make it easier for the regulated community to comply with t= he PCB=20
regulations. Finally, EPA is proposing certain authorizations and ex= emptions=20
that would allow the scientific community to conduct research on PCBs= and on=20
PCB-contaminated media for the development of innovative disposal tec= hnologies=20
without needing to obtain a disposal approval from the Agency.