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UNITED STATES ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY
February 24, 1995
SUBJECT: Debris and Soil Contaminated with Explosive Residues
FROM: James F. Michael, Chief
Disposal Technology Section (5303W)
Office of Solid Waste
TO: Lawrence A. Wapensky, Chief
Utah/North Dakota Section
This responds to your January 20, 1995 memorandum requesting
assistance in answering questions raised by the State of Utah
concerning regulatory issues pertaining to wastes contaminated
with explosive residues.
The first question raises concern with the reference at 40
CFR 261.23(a)(8) to certain Department of Transportation (DOT)
regulations concerning explosive classifications, that are cited
as criteria for determining the characteristic of reactivity. The
DOT regulations cited at 261.23(a)(8) have recently been changed
and expanded to conform with Department of Defense hazard classes,
therefore, presenting difficulties in implementing the Federal
regulatory definition of reactivity under RCRA. Until such time
that 261.23(a)(8) is updated, those referenced DOT regulations
can not be used for determining reactivity. Reactivity
determinations should be made using the remaining criteria at
261.23(a)(1) - (7).
The second question asks whether and when liquid, solid, or
debris mixed with explosives would be considered reactive.
Wastes, whether themselves explosives, or media contaminated with
explosives could be considered reactive by meeting the definition
of reactivity as described in 261.23(a)(1)-(7). Wastes that do
not meet the criteria in 261.23(a)(1)-(7) would not be considered
The third question regards other Federal criteria for
explosivity. If agencies such as the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco,
and Firearms (BATF) have regulations, or protocols, for
determining whether or not a substance is explosive, those
regulations or protocols would not be enforceable under EPA
regulations, unless they became incorporated into our rules.
Specific methods used by agencies such as BATF to determine if a
substance is an explosive could however, be applied to determine
whether a waste is reactive according to 261.23(a)(6) or (7).
Thank you for the opportunity to address questions related
to the reactivity characteristic as it relates to explosives. If
you have any questions, please call Jeff Gaines at (703) 308-8655.
cc: Frank McAlister, AB, PSPD, OSW
Jeff Gaines, AB, PSPD, OSW