EPA updates emissions standard schedule

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said it will update proposed air toxics standards for boilers and certain solid waste incinerators by the end of October 2011 and issue final standards by the end of April 2012.

The proposed standards are expected to reduce emissions of mercury, lead, nitrogen dioxide and other pollutants from 13,800 boilers at major sources such as power plants as well as 88 solid waste incinerators, some of which burn waste for energy.

The standards were first proposed in April 2010 and the agency received more than 4,800 comments from businesses and communities, including information that industry had not provided prior to the proposals. EPA made revisions based on the information but allowed additional public review because of the differences.

However, several industry groups petitioned the agency to delay the effective start date for the standards. In May 2011, EPA said it would hold off on the standards to extend public commentary through July 15, 2011.

EPA is also finalizing which non-hazardous secondary materials would be considered solid waste and which would be considered fuel, which would determine whether a material can be burned in a boiler or whether it must be burned in an incinerator.

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