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Faxback 11955



June 10, 1996

Scott M. Churbock
Director, Environmental Affairs
Envirotrol, Inc.
432 Green Street, P.O. Box 61
Sewickley, PA 15143-0061

Dear Mr. Churbock:

Thank you for your letter of February 9, 1996 in which you
raised several issues regarding the issuance of a draft permit for
your Pennsylvania-based carbon reactivation facilities. We
address each of your concerns below.

The key issue you raised is whether the proposed use of
Envirotrol's unit to treat filtration media comparable to
activated carbon (e.g., activated alumina) would be permitted as a
thermal treatment unit or as an incinerator. In its 1991 rules
for boilers and industrial furnaces, EPA amended the definition of
"carbon regeneration unit" to indicate that these units are not
incinerators, but are to be regulated as thermal treatment units
(56 FR at 7200, February 21, 1991). The definition of a carbon
regeneration unit is "any enclosed thermal treatment device used
to regenerate spent activated carbon." Therefore, your question
is whether a device that regenerates spent activated carbon, but
also is used to regenerate other spent materials, can remain a
"carbon regeneration unit" as defined.

EPA does not interpret the definition to require a
regeneration device to be used exclusively to regenerate spent
activated carbon. The literal language of the definition contains
no such exclusivity requirement. The purpose of the revised
definition was to clarify that carbon regeneration units were
classified as other thermal treatment units rather than as
incinerators, a purpose which would not be well served by
interpreting the definition to require exclusive regeneration of
spent carbon, since this would result in more regeneration devices
being classified as incinerators. Therefore, we believe that a
device which regenerates hazardous wastes other than a spent
activated carbon can be a carbon regeneration unit.

However, the Agency further interprets the provision to
require that a carbon reactivation unit be used primarily to
regenerate spent activated carbon, and that its other hazardous
waste regeneration activities be similar. Regeneration means
restoring the hazardous waste material to its original use (for
example, restoring spent activated carbon to a usable activated
carbon). This interpretation is based on the language of the
definition: the device, after all, must be a carbon regeneration

We will recommend to the permitting authority that it review
your proposed activity to determine if it may be classified as a
carbon regeneration unit under the above interpretation and
thereby permitted under part 264, Subpart X authority. The
permitting authority should review each of the proposed filtration
media, including spent activated carbon, to determine whether the
media is treated by regeneration. It will also be important to
determine whether the current permit conditions and treatment
standards adequately address these additional materials, or
whether additional testing or permit modifications would be
needed. The permitting authority would make a final determination
based on the particular facts presented in the permit application.

You also expressed concern about the potential delay of your
permit due to uncertainty about the regulatory status of the unit.
We do not believe there has been an undue delay in the preparation
and notice of the EPA thermal treatment permit for this facility.
It is our understanding that EPA Region III prepared and issued
for comment a draft permit to Envirotrol on March 19, 1996. This
draft permit (prepared in only 19 days) contains permit conditions
designed to protect the community in which Envirotrol operates.

Please note that in the April 2, 1996, letter from W. Michael
McCabe to Senator Rick Santorum, EPA Region III deferred to EPA
Headquarters the final interpretation of the regulations given the
need for national consistency and the precedent-setting nature of
the interpretation. As such, this letter is intended to clarify
EPA's position on the matter. We plan to make this letter widely
available to states, industry, and environmental interests so that
they too may be informed of our opinion on this topic.

I hope we have addressed all of your concerns with respect to
these issues. If you need any further assistance, please contact
Val de la Fuente, Permits and State Programs Division, at (703)

Sincerely yours,

Michael H. Shapiro, Director
Office of Solid Waste

cc: Senior RCRA Policy Managers