Third Quarter 2000

EPA Proposes Revised CAMU Rule Under RCRA To Implement Settlement Agreement

Holland & Knight Newsletter
Amy L. Edwards

The Environmental Protection Agency recently issued a proposed rule to implement a settlement agreement addressing Corrective Action Management Units (CAMUs) under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA).

The original CAMU rule was published in 1993 (58 Fed. Reg. 8658), but this rule was challenged by environmental groups. The CAMU litigation was stayed while discussions proceeded on the hazardous waste identification (HWIR) media rule. The final HWIR-media rule was published in November of 1998, and EPA chose to leave the 1993 CAMU rule in place at that time. Settlement discussions followed, and a settlement agreement was reached in February of 2000. Pursuant to this agreement, a proposed rule was issued on August 23 (65 Fed. Reg. 51,059), and a final CAMU rule must be published by October 8, 2001.

The proposed rule would allow the continued use of CAMUs at RCRA corrective action sites under specific conditions. These conditions include the following:

  • Caps and liners that would need to meet specific performance standards would need to be used if waste is placed permanently in a new, replacement or laterally expanded CAMU (Section 264.552(e)(3) and (e)(6)(iv)).
  • Specific treatment standards would need to be met if waste is placed permanently in a CAMU. The treatment standards would apply to “principal hazardous constituents” (PHCs) in cleanup wastes. The proposed rule suggests that, in general, carcinogens posing a potential direct risk from inhalation or ingestion at or above 10-3, or noncarcinogens posing a potential direct risk from inhalation or ingestion at an order of magnitude or greater over their reference dose, would constitute PHCs. The agency would also examine the waste-to-ground water pathway on a site-specific basis, rather than specifying a standard risk level or method in advance. (Section 264.552(e)(4)). If a CAMU contains PHCs, it would need to meet specific treatment standards. (Section 264.552(e)(4)(iii)).
  • Only specific types of waste could be managed in a CAMU. The proposed rule using the terminology “CAMU-eligible waste” to avoid confusion with the term “remediation waste” as used in the current rule. The proposed rule would better distinguish between “as generated” and cleanup wastes; would prevent certain wastes in containers and other nonland-based units from being managed in CAMUs; and would allow certain nonhazardous “as generated” waste to be placed in a CAMU where it would facilitate treatment or performance of the CAMU (Section 264.552(a))
  • Temporary CAMUs would need to meet the staging pile performance criteria rather than the CAMU designation criteria (Section 264.554(d)(1) and (2), (e), (f), (j) and (k)).
  • Existing CAMUs, and CAMUs for which substantially complete applications have been submitted on or before 90 days following promulgation of the proposed rule, would be grandfathered (they would be implemented under the current rules) (Sections 264.550 and 264.551).

Comments on the proposed rule should be submitted to the RCRA Docket Information Center (Docket No. F-2000-ACAP-FFFFF) by October 23, 2000.

Other RCRA Developments

At the National Resource Conservation and Recovery Act Program Meeting that was held on August 18th, the various EPA regions and the states discussed what they are doing to expedite cleanup of the 6000 RCRA sites nationwide. Over 1700 of these sites have been targeted as high priority sites that form the RCRA Cleanup Baseline. EPA’s goal is to control migration of contaminated ground water at 70% of these sites, and human exposures at 95% of these sites, by 2005.

Region IV has established a standardized schedule form. The form identifies the types of wastes that caused the site to be listed as a high priority site, and deadlines by which actions need to be taken by the owner/operator.

Region V is circulating for comment a guide to performance-based RCRA corrective action. The guide intends to introduce greater flexibility and less formal oversight into the RCRA corrective action process. The performance-based approach would be iterative in nature and would allow risk criteria decisions to be made early in the decision-making process. Risk management decision making would be the driver for all data collection. Owners/operators in Region V would have a choice whether to use the performance-based approach outlined by the guide, or to continue under a more “traditional” RCRA corrective action path.

All of the states in Region VI are authorized to implement RCRA, so the Region concentrates upon providing technical and financial assistance. The state of Texas is in the process of finalizing a Risk Management Strategy to achieve risk-based cleanup goals.

Region IX uses a federal-state team approach, and plans to issue its first report card regarding progress toward achieving the goals of the RCRA Cleanup Baseline by the spring of 2001.

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