4
Regulatory and Public Involvement Issues

This chapter explores regulatory approval and permitting (RAP) issues associated with the treatment and disposal of EDS liquid waste streams, as well as some of the concerns expressed by public interest groups about such treatment and disposal. As happened with the RRS and MMD, unresolved RAP issues and the concerns of some public interest groups can dramatically increase the cost and time associated with disposal of nonstockpile CWM with mobile treatment systems such as the EDS. It took 3 1/2 years for the RRS prototype, located at Deseret Chemical Depot, Utah, to obtain a RCRA permit. The MMD RCRA Research, Development and Demonstration (RD&D) permit at Dugway Proving Ground, Utah, required over 5 years. The considerable length of time required for the RD&D permit for the MMD contributed to the suspension of the program.1

REGULATORY APPROVAL AND PERMITTING

Use of a mobile treatment system such as the EDS has two stages. The first stage involves the following:

  • obtaining the regulatory approvals necessary to operate the mobile treatment system

  • transporting the system to the site

  • actual neutralization of the nonstockpile chemical materials

The second stage involves the subsequent treatment and disposal of the EDS waste streams, whether at the site where they are generated or at an off-site facility.

Although the RAP mechanism used for operation of the EDS device itself will affect the choice of a RAP mechanism for treatment of the EDS liquid waste streams, the two are nevertheless distinct. In many cases, different RAP mechanisms may be used for primary and secondary waste treatment, especially when secondary wastes are treated at facilities/sites other than those at which they are generated. This discussion focuses on RAP issues associated with the second stage and deals primarily with liquid EDS wastes; RAP issues associated with the EDS system as a whole, and other NSCM treatment systems, will be discussed in a subsequent report.

There are a number of RAP mechanisms that could be used for management of liquid EDS waste streams, including the following:

  • obtaining a new hazardous waste permit for a treatment, storage, or disposal facility (TSDF) already at the site

  • conducting the treatment activity under an existing TSDF permit (applicable if a TSDF already exists at the site and the permit is sufficiently broad to allow treatment without needing to modify the existing permit)

  • modifying an existing hazardous waste TSDF permit available at the facility to allow treatment of the liquid wastes

  • using emergency exemptions (to permitting) available under most state hazardous waste regulations

  • using a Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) order, including a compliance order (RCRA § 3008(a)), an imminent and substantial endangerment order (RCRA § 7003), a corrective action order (RCRA § 3008(h)), or state-specific counterparts to these orders

  • obtaining an emergency permit under federal or state hazardous waste regulations, as applicable

  • using a RCRA Research Development & Demonstration (RD&D) permit or a RCRA treatability study

  • using Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) removal authority

  • conducting the treatment activity pursuant to an existing waste management plan established under CERCLA authority

1  

D.Lyle, U.S. Army PMCD, personal communication to the committee, March 15, 2000.



The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement



Below are the first 10 and last 10 pages of uncorrected machine-read text (when available) of this chapter, followed by the top 30 algorithmically extracted key phrases from the chapter as a whole.
Intended to provide our own search engines and external engines with highly rich, chapter-representative searchable text on the opening pages of each chapter. Because it is UNCORRECTED material, please consider the following text as a useful but insufficient proxy for the authoritative book pages.

Do not use for reproduction, copying, pasting, or reading; exclusively for search engines.

OCR for page 32
Evaluation of Alternative Technologies for Disposal of Liquid Wastes from the Explosive Destruction System 4 Regulatory and Public Involvement Issues This chapter explores regulatory approval and permitting (RAP) issues associated with the treatment and disposal of EDS liquid waste streams, as well as some of the concerns expressed by public interest groups about such treatment and disposal. As happened with the RRS and MMD, unresolved RAP issues and the concerns of some public interest groups can dramatically increase the cost and time associated with disposal of nonstockpile CWM with mobile treatment systems such as the EDS. It took 3 1/2 years for the RRS prototype, located at Deseret Chemical Depot, Utah, to obtain a RCRA permit. The MMD RCRA Research, Development and Demonstration (RD&D) permit at Dugway Proving Ground, Utah, required over 5 years. The considerable length of time required for the RD&D permit for the MMD contributed to the suspension of the program.1 REGULATORY APPROVAL AND PERMITTING Use of a mobile treatment system such as the EDS has two stages. The first stage involves the following: obtaining the regulatory approvals necessary to operate the mobile treatment system transporting the system to the site actual neutralization of the nonstockpile chemical materials The second stage involves the subsequent treatment and disposal of the EDS waste streams, whether at the site where they are generated or at an off-site facility. Although the RAP mechanism used for operation of the EDS device itself will affect the choice of a RAP mechanism for treatment of the EDS liquid waste streams, the two are nevertheless distinct. In many cases, different RAP mechanisms may be used for primary and secondary waste treatment, especially when secondary wastes are treated at facilities/sites other than those at which they are generated. This discussion focuses on RAP issues associated with the second stage and deals primarily with liquid EDS wastes; RAP issues associated with the EDS system as a whole, and other NSCM treatment systems, will be discussed in a subsequent report. There are a number of RAP mechanisms that could be used for management of liquid EDS waste streams, including the following: obtaining a new hazardous waste permit for a treatment, storage, or disposal facility (TSDF) already at the site conducting the treatment activity under an existing TSDF permit (applicable if a TSDF already exists at the site and the permit is sufficiently broad to allow treatment without needing to modify the existing permit) modifying an existing hazardous waste TSDF permit available at the facility to allow treatment of the liquid wastes using emergency exemptions (to permitting) available under most state hazardous waste regulations using a Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) order, including a compliance order (RCRA § 3008(a)), an imminent and substantial endangerment order (RCRA § 7003), a corrective action order (RCRA § 3008(h)), or state-specific counterparts to these orders obtaining an emergency permit under federal or state hazardous waste regulations, as applicable using a RCRA Research Development & Demonstration (RD&D) permit or a RCRA treatability study using Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) removal authority conducting the treatment activity pursuant to an existing waste management plan established under CERCLA authority 1   D.Lyle, U.S. Army PMCD, personal communication to the committee, March 15, 2000.

OCR for page 32
Evaluation of Alternative Technologies for Disposal of Liquid Wastes from the Explosive Destruction System As discussed earlier, the EDS was used to destroy six sarin bomblets at RMA. Although the mustard agents are listed hazardous wastes in Colorado, sarin was not listed at the time.2 The first stage of the EDS operation was carried out through a state-issued emergency compliance order, which is the counterpart to the federal Imminent and Substantial Endangerment Order (RCRA §7003), with one order modification. RMA is federally listed on the CERCLA National Priorities List (NPL) and has an ongoing remediation program. The Army used the existing structure under RMA’s CERCLA remediation program to destroy the sarin bomblets. In essence, the Army implemented the Colorado emergency compliance order as a CERCLA emergency removal action. This enabled it to use existing funding and waste management procedures established under the ongoing CERCLA remediation program to implement the effort, and allowed both the Army and the state to avoid the long RAP delays experienced in Utah with RCRA permitting of the RRS and MMD. The Army hopes that the approach used at RMA can be a model for the RAP process at future sites where the EDS might be employed.3 While the state of Colorado was also pleased with the outcome of the RMA situation, it initially had many concerns as the Army was evaluating means of destroying the bomblets. These concerns pertained to the Army’s initial proposal to use open detonation to destroy the GB bomblets. This initial proposal, which was later dropped in favor of the EDS, was the primary impetus behind the state’s issuance of the emergency compliance order. The EDS device was not the Army’s first choice for destroying the bomblets. The RAP mechanism deployed at RMA pertained only to use of the EDS itself (the first stage, as discussed above). Management of secondary neutralent and rinsate waste, which is the focus of this report, was deferred to the RMA waste management plan (U.S. Army, 2001c). If the EDS waste is to be treated in an off-site facility and is determined to be a hazardous waste, the Army must either find a permitted hazardous waste TSDF to accept the waste, or a new facility must be permitted. Considering the RRS and MMD experience, and the low volume of the EDS wastes that would be generated in most cases, the Army is likely to seek an existing TSDF that is willing to accept the waste.4 The TSDF would need to determine whether it can treat the EDS neutralent pursuant to its existing permit or whether a permit modification is necessary. In the short term, off-site treatment means incinerating the neutralent, since the nonincineration treatment technologies discussed in this report have not yet been proven for the application. However, several available commercial facilities use chemical oxidation to treat wastes similar to neutralents. These facilities would probably require a permit modification before they could accept the neutralents. For incineration, there are a number of well-defined environmental requirements in the existing federal and state regulations. For example, hazardous waste incinerators must demonstrate the ability to destroy or remove a minimum of 99.99 percent of the hazardous waste constituents entering the incinerator (40 CFR 264.343).5 In addition, there are procedures that allow the derivation of waste-specific or site-specific requirements, if necessary. Operating and closure requirements are similarly well established. In contrast, no such well-established specific environmental requirements exist for nonincineration technologies relating to the treatment of nonstockpile hazardous wastes, although generic requirements may apply (e.g., 40 CFR 264 Subpart X). In its earlier report (NRC, 2001a), the committee recommended that the Army develop a RAP and public involvement implementation plan, and it reiterates that general recommendation in this report. Part of this plan would involve the establishment of treatment goals or standards for alternative technologies. Operating and closure standards must also be developed. However, because the establishment of treatment goals is an objective that applies to all technologies for treating the entire spectrum of nonstockpile CWM and waste streams, not just EDS liquid wastes, a more detailed discussion of this issue is beyond the scope of the current report and will be addressed in a subsequent NRC report dealing with all of the treatment technologies available to destroy nonstockpile materiel. The regulatory issues involved in the nonstockpile program are complex and require detailed knowledge of the state and federal hazardous waste regulations (e.g., RCRA, CERCLA), other environmental laws such as the Clean Water Act, and the Chemical Weapons Convention. Given the number of regulatory options available to it and the variability from state to state and sometimes from site to site, it is recommended that the Army develop guidance for field personnel who may be involved in managing nonstockpile chemical warfare materials. The guidance should detail how to determine whether these materials are hazardous wastes; at present, such guidance varies from state to state (see below), as do the legal mechanisms that are appropriate for 2   The state of Colorado has since proposed and finalized a rule that does list sarin as a hazardous waste, as well as additional agent-related waste streams (Colorado, 2001). 3   William Brankowitz, Office of the Product Manager, Non-Stockpile Chemical Materiel, “U.S. Army Non-Stockpile Chemical Materiel Product (NSCMP) Project Overview/Status,” presentation to the committee, May 23, 2001. 4   In the case of EDS neutralent generated at RMA, the Army contracted with a TSDF out-of-state to incinerate the waste. 5   The RCRA requirement for most hazardous constituents is that a minimum of 99.99 percent of the hazardous constituent must be destroyed. EPA has established a more stringent standard of 99.9999 percent destruction, however, for certain types of constituents, such as dioxins and furans. The more stringent standard of 99.9999 percent has been applied for incineration of chemical agents in the stockpile program.

OCR for page 32
Evaluation of Alternative Technologies for Disposal of Liquid Wastes from the Explosive Destruction System various site conditions. In addition, the guidance should be coordinated with applicable state regulatory programs.6 Regulatory Status of EDS Neutralents and Rinsates As described in Chapter 2 and Appendix C, the operation of the EDS produces essentially two distinct types of liquid waste streams: (1) organic-rich liquids, for example, the neutralent and a reagent-based rinse, and (2) aqueous streams (rinsates, cleaning solutions, and wastes) containing nondetectable or very low concentrations of organic and inorganic constituents. These two waste streams have different physical and chemical properties and different toxicities, and Army protocols require that they be stored in separate waste drums. This suggests that it may be appropriate for neutralents and rinsates to be treated by different methods. The regulatory status of these waste streams strongly affects the treatment and disposal options, and this status may vary from state to state. Although RCRA is a federal statute, the responsibility for implementing the statute and issuing permits under RCRA lies primarily with the states. While authorized states must implement the basic federal legislation, they have the option of being more stringent or broader in scope than the federal program. For example, chemical warfare agents are not listed in the federal regulations, but six individual states—Colorado, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Oregon, and Utah— have listed them as hazardous wastes. In each state, the listed chemical agents are different, and the manner of listing differs as well. If a waste is a listed hazardous waste, waste streams derived from treatment of that waste may also be deemed hazardous under RCRA’s “derived from” rule. This is important because if CW agents treated in the EDS are listed hazardous wastes in a given state, then both neutralents and rinsates, which are “derived from” the treatment of the agents, may also be deemed hazardous wastes. In some states, regulations or permit language may, however, be structured so as to classify some derived-from waste as nonlisted.7 In all states, the EDS neutralents could be considered characteristic hazardous wastes under RCRA.8 With some exceptions, a hazardous waste may only be treated, stored, or disposed of in a RCRA-permitted TSDF. In addition, any treatment technology must meet RCRA requirements, such as the Land Disposal Restrictions (LDRs) (40 CFR 268). In accordance with the LDRs, wastes must meet certain treatment standards prior to land disposal. These restrictions provide for additional protection of human health and the environment, but they add considerably to the cost and time required to treat and dispose of the waste stream. Other standards must also be met, such as those associated with treatment facility operation and closure. The EDS treatment process also generates cleaning solutions and washes that are distinct from the rinses. The rinses are done with hot water and are an integral part of the operating procedure for destroying each munition. The cleaning solutions are a mixture of aqueous detergent solutions resulting from cleaning the EDS after each campaign. They also include a wash with dilute acetic acid to clean the plumbing of the EDS. The acid has a tendency to leach metals from the walls of the EDS. The detergent washes out the solvent-based sealant used on the EDS seals. As with the neutralents, EDS rinsates and spent cleaning solutions may be classified as listed hazardous wastes in some states. In states where the EDS rinsates are not listed as hazardous waste, given their dilute nature it is unlikely that they would meet any of the RCRA characteristics and would therefore not be designated as hazardous waste. Except for the anomalous high measurements of chloroform in the spent cleaning solutions, these solutions are also primarily water, with much lower concentrations of hazardous constituents than the initial neutralent. As a result, if chloroform were not generated in the EDS cleaning process, even the aqueous rinses and cleaning solutions would probably not have any of the RCRA characteristics and would therefore not be designated as hazardous waste. In states where these wastes are listed hazardous waste, however, they would of course be considered listed hazardous waste. The Army has suggested that the chloroform found in the cleaning solutions is leaching from a sealant utilized in the EDS. There may be other equivalent sealants that do not contain chloroform that could be substituted for these sealants. To ensure that these neutralents, rinsates, or spent cleaning solutions are classified properly for regulatory purposes, the Army should work with the regulators and the public. If 6   The committee considered whether defining RAP mechanisms might be better incorporated into regulations rather than guidance. The RCRA regulations define requirements for all RAP mechanisms. In general, however, the regulations do not specify which RAP mechanisms must be used in particular situations. This is because the regulator and the regulated need the flexibility to decide which RAP mechanism is best under a given set of circumstances. This is especially the case for NSCWM, which may be found in varying configurations, in varying amounts, in varying states of deterioration, and at varying locations. Hence, it is inappropriate to define these types of requirements as part of the regulations. Guidance is not only sufficient in this case; it is preferred. 7   The Army could also pursue certain exemptions available under RCRA, such as a RCRA delisting petition (40 CFR 260.22). In accordance with this exemption, the waste would no longer be considered hazardous waste and may be disposed of in a nonhazardous waste landfill. 8   Under RCRA, a waste is classified as hazardous if it is specifically listed and/or because it exhibits certain hazardous characteristics (ignitability, corrosivity, reactivity, and toxicity). The EDS neutralents may exhibit the corrosivity characteristic due to high pH (pH>12). They may also exhibit the toxicity characteristic if they contain specific compounds (e.g., lead, arsenic, benzene) above leachable concentration levels.

OCR for page 32
Evaluation of Alternative Technologies for Disposal of Liquid Wastes from the Explosive Destruction System a liquid waste stream is classified as nonhazardous under RCRA, the options for disposal expand considerably, and the time and cost of disposal are greatly reduced. Assuming rinsates meet the pretreatment standards specified by the Clean Water Act, the waste stream may be discharged to a publicly owned treatment works (POTW) or an equivalent federally owned treatment works (FOTW). In the state of Colorado, for instance, the EDS rinsates from the destruction of the sarin bomblets at RMA were eligible for disposal in a POTW or FOTW.9 The Army’s Plan for Disposal of EDS Neutralents and Rinsates Given the current lack of permitted commercial treatment facilities utilizing nonincineration treatment technologies applicable to EDS waste streams, the Army is planning to utilize commercial incineration facilities to treat the EDS neutralent and is likely to continue to do so for any EDS neutralent generated in the near term. For example, at this writing the neutralents generated in the recent destruction of the six sarin bomblets at RMA, after having been temporarily stored on-site, were sent out of state to a permitted hazardous waste incinerator. Based on the Army’s reported quantities of residual chemical agents in EDS neutralents, transportation of neutralent wastes from the EDS should not be subject to any restrictions beyond the applicable federal RCRA, DOT, and state regulatory requirements.10 Nevertheless, the incineration of CWM has been a controversial issue, and the Army is concerned that—at least at some sites—the opposition of some states and public interest groups to incineration of stockpile chemical agents could one day be extended to incineration of nonstockpile neutralents from mobile treatment systems. This concern is one of the primary reasons for the interest in the alternative treatment technologies that are the subject of this study. While the Army has not specified a preferred method for disposing of EDS rinsates, where feasible it may seek to process them through a wastewater treatment plant. For example, EDS rinsates that were in temporary storage at RMA were sent to an on-site wastewater treatment facility. To avoid having to obtain RCRA approvals to treat hazardous waste using an experimental nonincineration treatment technology, in its testing program for alternative technologies (see Chapter 3) the Army has often used simulated neutralents—laboratory chemicals mixed together in proportion to the results of actual neutralent analysis. The use of actual neutralents in tests would provide valuable additional information about the performance of the technologies. This might, of course, require regulatory approval, since the actual neutralents may be defined as hazardous waste. Approvals for treatment of hazardous waste with new technologies can be expedited through the mechanism of RCRA RD&D permits or treatability studies. However, it is important to note that these RAP mechanisms are intended for experimental or pilot-scale tests of a new technology and not as a routine mechanism for destroying neutralent. Transportation Issues Significant concerns have been raised about the transport of CWM. Indeed, concern about the movement of chemical agents has been a driving force behind the development of transportable treatment systems. As far back as 1969 (P.L. 91–121), Congress placed severe, almost insurmountable, restrictions on the transport of CWM, including a requirement for advance notification and coordination of shipments with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and Congress (except in cases of emergency). In 1995, Congress placed restrictions on moving nonstockpile CWM out of any state except to the closest permitted CWM storage facility, and then only under very strict conditions. Public concerns about transporting CWM have effectively fore-closed even this option except in extraordinary situations. The neutralents generated by the EDS will primarily include hazardous waste and hazardous materials, which make them subject to RCRA and DOT requirements. If these are the only constituents, the neutralent could be transported as a routine hazardous waste or hazardous material under existing laws and regulations as long as it is packaged, marked, manifested, and shipped as required by those regulations. However, the neutralent from the EDS may contain trace amounts of residual chemical agents, for example, GB (<1 ppm) or sulfur mustard (<50 ppm). At these levels, toxicity studies (see Appendix D) indicate that the concentration of residual agent would be too low to affect the overall toxicity of the waste streams. It is not known how much, if any, chemical agent would be present at concentrations lower than the treatment goal. Thus, based on the information provided by the Army, transporting neutralent wastes from the EDS should not be subject to any restrictions beyond the applicable federal RCRA, DOT, and state regulatory requirements. However, the public perception of “residual chemical agents” in the EDS waste streams may arouse concerns. Although these residues will be present in extremely small amounts, the public could consider the overall neutralent waste mixture as “tainted” with chemical agent and, therefore, of special concern. The Army should address this potential problem proactively. This could be done in several 9   Chloroform—a constituent that may cause wastes to be defined as hazardous, depending on concentration—was observed in EDS cleaning solutions from the RMA tests (Table C-1). The source appears to be the lubricant/sealant used to seal joints. The chloroform is therefore not a necessary constituent of the waste stream and could be eliminated by using a sealant/ lubricant with a different formulation. 10   This is the same conclusion reached by the committee in reference to transportation of neutralents generated by the RRS and MMD systems in NRC (2001a, p. 19).

OCR for page 32
Evaluation of Alternative Technologies for Disposal of Liquid Wastes from the Explosive Destruction System ways. In a previous report, for example, the committee recommended that a comparative risk assessment be performed of the disposal of CWM in CAIS in an incinerator and the disposal of typical hazardous waste (NRC, 1999a). The Army could assess the comparative risk of transporting and disposing of neutralent and transporting and disposing of typical hazardous waste. Providing the public with this type of information would increase the transparency and credibility of the process. Finding: EDS neutralent may be treated off-site or on-site. If the EDS liquid waste is treated off-site, the Army must obtain a permit for a new facility or find a permitted hazardous waste treatment facility or a FOTW or POTW that can treat the EDS liquid wastes. If a facility with an existing permit is used for treatment, that existing permit may require modification. Finding: Based on available data and the experience of the members of the committee, the chemical constituents most likely to be of concern in the RAP process for EDS liquid wastes are chlorinated organics, possible degradation products of agent and energetic compounds, metals, suspended solids,11 and MEA. These constituents were chosen based on their abundance in the neutralent, their inherent toxicity, their resistance to treatment, or overall regulator and public concern. Recommendation: The Army’s RAP strategy should ensure that sufficient information is obtained about the chemical constituents of greatest concern in the RAP process for the EDS liquid wastes: chlorinated organics, degradation products of agent and energetic compounds, metals, suspended solids, and MEA. Finding: RAP options associated with treatment of EDS neutralents, rinsates, and cleaning solutions depend on whether the waste is regulated as hazardous within the state where it is generated and, if it is, whether it is a “listed” hazardous waste, a “characteristic” hazardous waste, or both. If EDS liquid wastes are determined to be hazardous under the federal RCRA program (via the RCRA characteristics), RCRA’s land disposal restrictions (LDRs) apply, and the wastes must be treated to meet specific requirements. Note that the remainder of these findings and recommendations in this section are based on the premise that neutralent will be defined as hazardous waste. This may not always be the case, although the Army’s practice to date has been to treat the neutralent as hazardous waste. Finding: In the near term, the Army is likely to continue to use permitted hazardous waste incinerators to dispose of EDS liquid wastes (especially neutralents), because of their proven effectiveness. Many commercial hazardous waste facilities use nonincineration technologies to treat wastes similar to EDS liquids and might also be available. Finding: Dilute aqueous rinsates from the EDS and wastes resulting from treatment of neutralent may be classified as listed hazardous wastes either as a result of the “derived from” rule or because the state explicitly lists the rinsate. However, these solutions are primarily water with much lower concentrations of hazardous constituents than the initial neutralent. As a result, they pose relatively little risk and could probably be safely managed as nonhazardous wastes, thereby lowering disposal costs without causing any meaningful change in the degree of protection. Finding: The EDS treatment process also generates spent cleaning solutions that are distinct from the rinses. The cleaning solutions are a mixture of aqueous detergent solutions and a dilute acetic acid wash. The detergent apparently has a tendency to leach chloroform out of the solvent-based sealant used on the EDS seals. While the acetic acid may also leach metals from the walls of the EDS, the levels of these metals appear not to be high enough to warrant considering the resulting waste as hazardous. The chloroform may be of concern, however. Except for the higher amounts of chloroform, these solutions are also primarily water, generally with much lower concentrations of hazardous chemicals than the initial neutralent. As a result, if the chloroform were not generated in the EDS cleaning process, even the aqueous cleaning solutions could probably be safely managed as nonhazardous waste. Finding: The Army has suggested that the chloroform found in the rinsate is leaching from a sealant utilized in the EDS. There may be other equivalent sealants that do not contain chloroform and that could be substituted for these sealants. Recommendation: The Army should expeditiously take action to substitute a sealant that does not contain chloroform in the existing EDS systems and all future EDS units. Recommendation: In states where rinsates, cleaning solutions, or wastes resulting from treatment of neutralent are listed as hazardous wastes or are considered hazardous waste because they are derived from treatment of a listed hazardous waste, the Army should work with the state regulators toward the designation of these wastes as nonlisted hazardous waste. For spent cleaning solutions, this recommendation assumes that the source of chloroform in the rinses can be eliminated. The Army should collect all data on EDS rinsates and cleaning solutions for presentation to the state regulators in support of a hazardous waste listing determina 11   Suspended solids are a concern only if they are determined to contain residual chemical agent in microscopic cracks and crevices. See discussion in Chapter 2.

OCR for page 32
Evaluation of Alternative Technologies for Disposal of Liquid Wastes from the Explosive Destruction System tion. If it is found that these wastes do not meet the hazardous waste listing criteria, they should be designated nonlisted hazardous waste by modifying the state regulations or the permit or equivalent documentation. While the state regulators could require the Army to submit RCRA delisting petitions, the committee believes that a modification in the state regulations or in the permit or equivalent documentation would be the more cost-effective option. Recommendation: The Product Manager for Non-Stockpile Chemical Materiel (PMNSCM) should work with regulators and the concerned public to resolve RAP issues surrounding the EDS waste streams well in advance of EDS deployment to a particular site. Finding: Regulatory issues related to the posttreatment of liquid wastes (neutralents, rinsates, and cleaning solutions) produced by the EDS are distinct and different from the regulatory issues related to use of the EDS itself. There are a number of RAP mechanisms that could be used for management of EDS liquid wastes. With the proper approvals or permits, treatment of EDS liquid wastes may be conducted on-site or at off-site facilities. In some cases, treatment may be conducted under a facility’s existing treatment, storage, and disposal facility (TSDF) permit, if that permit is written sufficiently broadly to allow acceptance of EDS liquid wastes. Other options include obtaining a hazardous waste permit for treatment, modifying an existing hazardous waste treatment permit, using emergency exemptions available under most state hazardous waste regulations, obtaining an emergency permit under the state hazardous waste regulations, using a RCRA compliance order (RCRA §§ 3008(a), 3008(h) or 7003), or using the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) removal authority. In some cases, the wastes could be managed under a waste management plan established under a CERCLA record of decision. RCRA research, development, and demonstration (RD&D) permits and treatability studies may also be appropriate in certain cases. Recommendation: The Army should develop RAP guidance for field personnel (e.g., base commanders) on the disposition of EDS neutralent and rinsate waste streams, taking into consideration the nature of the NSCWM and the specific regulatory environment at locations where the EDS might be sited. This guidance should cover all aspects of RAP for the EDS and treatment (as necessary) of neutralents and rinsates, including setup, operation, and closure. Development of this guidance should be coordinated with the states, and a jointly issued guidance document should be considered. PUBLIC INVOLVEMENT As discussed in the earlier report on neutralent wastes (NRC, 2001a), the necessity, as well as the desirability, of proactively seeking public involvement in policy decisions that once were considered purely scientific has been well documented. Through previous research and case studies, and through the Army’s recent experience with the ACWA Dialogue, productive ways of resolving contentious issues surrounding technology selection and disposal have been identified, the value of public involvement in general has been documented, and the issues of concern to the public in the selection of disposal technologies for chemical materiel have been clarified (NRC, 2001a).12 The public is not monolithic; rather it is composed of different “publics” whose interests, levels of awareness and information, and desired levels of involvement vary. As discussed in an earlier report on alternative technologies for disposing of secondary liquid wastes from the RRS and the MMD (NRC, 2001a), the committee focused on the views of citizen groups opposed to incineration that may be expected to continue as active participants in the decision to develop and deploy nonincineration technologies. In developing its report, the committee solicited the views of these citizen groups to gain a sense of what they considered would determine public acceptability of proposed technologies. These views apply to the treatment of EDS neutralent wastes, just as they apply to the treatment of other types of neutralent wastes. The committee members sought information from various sources. They reviewed previous NRC studies (see especially NRC 1996 and 1996a); monitored the Non-Stockpile Chemical Weapons Coalition (NSCWC) and Chemical Weapons Working Group Web sites and publications that highlight public views of the non-stockpile program; and reviewed documents provided to them by the NSCWCC at the committee’s request. The committee also solicited public opinion in both formal and informal discussions. These included a presentation to the committee in open session by two members of the NSCWCC and a citizen member of the ACWA/CATT group (the four-member Citizens’ Advisory Technical Team that was established to work directly with the Army’s technical team and report back to the citizens’ 12   The so-called ACWA Dialogue refers to the process established under the Assembled Chemical Weapons Assessment Program by which a broad range of participants was included in the selection and testing of alternative nonincineration technologies for destruction of assembled chemical weapons. Participants included representatives of all of the recognized parties of interest—e.g., Citizens Advisory Council members, public interest groups, and officials from state and federal regulatory agencies. The Dialogue is facilitated by the Keystone Center, a nonprofit association that specializes in resolving environmental and policy disputes.

OCR for page 32
Evaluation of Alternative Technologies for Disposal of Liquid Wastes from the Explosive Destruction System interest groups as well as to members of the entire Dialogue); two committee members’ observation of, and discussion with, participants in Core Group meetings (a national-level group sponsored by the NSCMP to exchange information among representatives of the public, regulators, and NSCMP personnel); and discussion with a member of the Core Group who accompanied the committee on a site visit to evaluate a treatment technology being considered. In their discussions with the committee, citizen representatives affirmed their opposition to incineration and their preference for long-term storage rather than incineration of neutralent if an alternative does not become available in the near term. According to them, the primary criteria against which they evaluated the disposal technologies were the following: containment of by-products and effluents for analysis and further processing, if necessary identification of all by-products and effluents low-temperature, low-pressure operation no emission of dioxins or furans pollution prevention (i.e., generation of as little secondary waste as possible) The citizen representatives emphasized the need to consider not only technical criteria but also the broader social context of technology development and deployment and the value of early, direct public involvement. These additional factors affecting acceptability include the need for a fair and open decision-making process, including consultation with affected communities on their specific concerns; a desire for environmental justice; building a climate of trust with the Army and technology providers; and ensuring accountability and institutional safeguards. Currently, NSCMP’s public involvement program is focused on information distribution and outreach activities with diverse groups, including minority populations and tribal governments. However, citizens group representatives cited the need for early, direct public involvement that goes beyond information and outreach activities to provide a formal mechanism for the public to be involved in the decision making (within the parameters set by an agency’s legal mandate to make decisions). They praised the ACWA Dialogue process as a model for giving members of the public an opportunity to be engaged in establishing criteria for selecting and demonstrating technologies and in weighing the trade-offs. Although the Core Group provides a valuable mechanism for information exchange and an opportunity to develop improved communication and effective working relationships between members of the public and Army personnel and contractors, unlike the ACWA Dialogue, it does not provide a formal mechanism, established by senior program management, for public involvement in the NSCMP’s decision-making process. Finding: The committee’s earlier conclusions (NRC, 2001a) concerning public acceptability for RRS and MMD neutralent treatment processes also apply to treatment of EDS neutralents and rinsates. The committee’s discussion with citizen groups indicated a need for—and the value of— public involvement in the Army’s decisions on the selection and deployment of technologies for disposing of neutralents and, indeed, all nonstockpile chemical materiel. Recommendation: The Army should continue to expand its program for public involvement in the disposal of nonstockpile chemical materiel. Enough time should be scheduled and enough resources allocated to ensure that the decision-making process is open and that members of the public are involved in making the trade-offs among to the selection, siting, deployment, and employment of disposal technologies.