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ENVIRONMENT: EPA UNVEILS STRICT NEW RULES ON EMISSIONS FROM CHEMICAL AND HAZARDOUS-WASTE PLANTS

New or remodeled chemical plants will have to meet tighter standards to cut the release of smog-producing compounds under new Environmental Protection Agency rules.

The agency also announced new requirements Wednesday for 1,400 hazardous waste treatment, storage and disposal facilities that should cut emissions by 76 percent.The synthetic organic chemical industry will need to spend $38.5 million initially to comply with the new anti-smog rules, designed to cut emissions by 30 percent, and will bear an additional $21.6 million in annual costs, the agency said in a statement.

The rules require use of "best demonstrated technology" for air oxidation, distillation and reactor processes involving production of more than 200 chemicals.

The EPA estimates the rules will reduce the emissions of smog-forming volatile organic compounds by 58,000 tons per year on equipment built or substantially modified since 1983.

About 70 percent of the 3,300 plants likely to be affected by the new rules are in Texas, Louisiana and New Jersey.

The hazardous waste rules are supposed to cut emissions by about 28,000 tons per year from all affected installations, no matter when built. Complying with the rules will cost the industry $128 million to $151 million initially and then $33 million to $46 million per year, the EPA said.

In many cities, waste treatment plants are major sources of air pollution because chemicals stripped out of the sewage stream are released into the atmosphere.