A publication of Work On Waste USA, Inc., 82 Judson, Canton, NY 13617 315-379-9200 August 30, 1990


Wheelabrator tries to sidestep violations of its air permit at its 200 tpd mass-burn incinerator in Claremont, NH, with EPA’s Proposed Malfunction Provision. Below are the references to the malfunction provision followed by details of Wheelabrator’s attempt to take advantage of it.

EPA’S New Source Performance Standards, (NSPS) proposed new guidelines, Federal Register, Vol. 54, No. 243, 12-20-89, pages 52235-52236. “...The MWC (municipal waste combustor) guidelines being proposed today apply at all times, except during periods of startup, shutdown, and malfunction. A special provision is being added to these proposed guidelines which places a limit of 3 hours per occurrence on the time that a plant can claim an exemption from the guidelines due to startup, shutdown or malfunction...Malfunction is defined as ‘any sudden and unavoidable failure of air pollution control equipment or process equipment or of a process to operate in a normal or usual manner. Failures that are caused entirely or in part by poor maintenance, careless operation, or any other preventable upset condition or preventable equipment breakdown shall not be considered malfunctions...” Ed. Note: The EPA expects that the proposed NSPS will become final on Dec. 31, 1990.

CLEAN AIR ACT AMENDMENTS, S.1630, April 3, 1990, page 419. Section 306, (E) “...(2) Standards applicable to solid waste incineration units promulgated under section 111 and this section shall reflect the greatest degree of emission reduction achievable through application of the best available control technologies and practices which the Administrator determines at the time of promulgation (or revision, in the case of a revision of a standard) - (A) has been achieved in practice by a solid waste incineration unit in the same category, excluding periods of malfunction or misoperation, or (B) is contained in a State or local regulation or any permit for solid waste incineration units in the category, and will be implemented at such units, whichever is more stringent, unless the Administrator determines that such degree of emissions limitation will not be achievable by units to which the standards apply or was adopted for reasons that are not nationally applicable or is otherwise not appropriate as a nationally applicable standard....” Ed. Note: The U.S. Senate passed S.1630 on 1-23-90, (published on 4-3-90), but it will not become law until the House approves S.1630. Clean Water Action urges individuals to request their Congressmen to have incinerator Sections 306 & 307 deleted from S.1630. The House is being heavily lobbied by the incinerator industry to retain these sections.

At its 200 tpd mass-burn Claremont, NH, incinerator

March 27, 1990: N.H. issues a final “permit to operate” to Wheelabrator’s Claremont incinerator. Wheelabrator changed the name of its ownership in Claremont’s incinerator March 30, 1990 from SES Claremont (Signal Environmental Systems) to Wheelabrator Claremont Company, L.P.

May 17, 1990: Less than two months after receiving its final permit to operate, an Administrative Order was issued by N.H.’s Air Resources Division to Wheelabrator’s Claremont incinerator for violations of its permit for carbon monoxide emissions and for violations of carbon monoxide exceedances under N.H.’s “Dioxin Control Policy Guideline for Incinerators and Resource Recovery Facilities”, a guideline “for the intended reduction of dioxin and furan emissions from new incinerators and RRFs.” (Carbon monoxide is used as a surrogate indicator of dioxins/furans.) Of the 129 separate occasions of three-hour exceedances of carbon monoxide reported for Boilers #1 & 2, 127 occasions were attributed to wet trash. Boiler #1 exceeded the Carbon Monoxide emission limit on seventy (70) separate occasions during the period January 1 through March 31, 1990. Wheelabrator also violated their permit conditions by not reporting at least one exceedance of the 8-hour CO standard for this same period for Boiler #1. Boiler #2 exceeded the Carbon Monoxide emission limit on fifty-nine (59) separate occasions during the period January 1 through March 31, 1990. Wheelabrator also violated their permit conditions to report at least one exceedance of the 8-hour CO standard for Boiler #2. Please note that N.H. issued Wheelabrator its final permit to operate on 3-27-90, and that the violations cited in this Administrative Order occurred from January 1 through March 30, 1990! See Waste Not #106 for a list of the persistent permit exceedances of carbon monoxide emissions at Wheelabrator’s Claremont 3-year old incinerator.

July 20, 1990: Letter from Wheelabrator’s Claremont incinerator plant manager Alan W. Haley to Andrew Bodnarik of the NH Air Resources Division (ARD) asking for a determination from from the ARD to Wheelabrator’s request to claim exemption under EPA’s proposed Malfunction Provision for: Boiler Start-Up/Shut-down Emissions Reporting Exclusions. This issue has proven to be more difficult to resolve. WCC (Wheelabrator Claremont Company) proposes that a 3-hour data exemption be granted after MSW introduction into the boiler(s). This exemption would also be applied to boiler shutdown. These exemptions are consistent with the guidelines proposed by the USEPA in the Federal Register/vol. 54, No. 243, Wednesday, December 29 [sic: should be Dec. 20], 1989, pp. 52235-52236.”

July 30, 1990: Wheelabrator’s submission of its quarterly emissions report for April through June 1990, did not list all carbon monoxide exceedances. Mr. Haley, Wheelabrator’s Claremont incinerator plant manager, wrote Mr. Dennis Lunderville, Director of NH’s Air Resources Division, “...CO emission reporting is consistent with guidelines specified in the proposed USEPA rules published in Volume 54, No. 243 of the Federal Register, and our letter to you of July 20, 1990.”

September 7, 1990: Jack Glenn of the NH Air Resources Division stated in an interview with Waste Not that his office asked Wheelabrator to re-submit the April-June 1990 quarterly report listing all emission exceedances, and though his office has taken Wheelabrator’s request for the Malfunction Provision under consideration it has not made any decision. Bob Martineau, a legal counsel for the USEPA on the NSPS guidelines, told Waste Not that the proposed guidelines that appeared in the 12-20-89 Federal Register are only “proposed guidelines, not effective, not applicable to anyone at this time.”

“ It is exactly during periods of malfunction, start-up, and shut-down that the maximum amount of toxins will be emitted,”- Craig Volland.

For more information: Contact Katie Lajoie, Working on Waste, RR1,Box 417, Charlestown, NH 03603, Tel: 603-826-4803.

WASTE NOT #114 A publication of Work on Waste USA, published 48 times a year, annual rates are: Individual & Non Profits $35; Student & Seniors $25; Consultants and For-Profits $100. Canadian Subscriptions $US40. Editors: Ellen & Paul Connett, 82 Judson Street, Canton, NY 13617. Tel: 315-379-9200.