Oral Presentation of Kevin Bromberg
August 18, 1998
Preliminary Comments on Environmental Protection
Agency's Proposed Effluent Guidelines for the Transportation Equipment
A. SBREFA Panel
The SBA Office of Advocacy applauds EPA's execution of the SBREFA panel process, which preceded this proposal, and the agency's subsequent adoption of the panel recommendations. We also thank the small entity representatives who advised us for their critical input into the process.
B. Drum Reconditioning
The Office of Advocacy supports the agency's proposed exemption of drums and intermediate bulk containers from the guidelines, on the basis of insufficient pollutant loadings to warrant national regulation.
C. Truck/Chemical Subcategory
The truck/chemical subcategory contains the largest number of affected facilities (288) and represents the vast majority of the costs in this rule. Therefore, it is particularly important to determine whether the plants in this subcategory discharge sufficient pollutantion to warrant national regulation. EPA determined that several other subcategories (e.g. food and hopper) did not warrant national regulation. Specifically, the toxic reductions in this subcategory are dominated by several very low volume pesticides with very high toxic weights, which may not be accurate or representative of the subcategory. Over 90% (147,000) of the toxic-weighted pound-equivalents were attributable to these pesticides, three of which have been banned for years.
These pesticide pollutant reductions were counted in the toxic reductions, even though each were detected in very small quantities at close to the detection limits, and sometimes at only one of the sampled facilities. The pesticides that made up over 90% of the pound-equivalents are: EPN, disulfuton 4,4, DDT, dieldrin, azinphos ethyl and coumaphos. In each case, they were detected in concentrations between 0.04 and 31 ppb (see attachment). Pollutant reductions of well under one pound/year/plant account for over 90% of the toxic reductions attributable to this rule, according to our calculations.
Although these pesticides were detected in the raw wastewater at several of the facilities, none were detected in the treated wastewater at any level, although the detection levels did decrease in the treated samples. Finally, the agency attempted to determine the origin of these pesticides, but was unable to find any tank cars that carried these pesticides or any related chemicals.
In addition, EPA modified its own conventional selection rules in order to include these highly toxic pesticides in the pollutant reductions attributable to this rule. For the non-pesticide pollutants, the agency required a given pollutant to appear in more than one sampled plant, in excess of five times the detection limit, and with a removal rate in excess of 50%, in order to assure that it is employing valid and representative data. In this case, the agency chose to include these pesticides because of the relatively high toxicity of these pollutants, as long as it appeared in a single plant, without regard to its level of detectability or removal rate (other than zero).
Under EPA's figures, 171,000 toxic-weighted pound-equivalents are eliminated (Option 2) by this rule. If one uses the EPA criteria used for non-pesticide pollutants, only 40,000 pound-equivalents are eliminated by the rule. If one eliminates the remaining three questionable pesticides (two of which are banned), only 13,000 pound-equivalents are eliminated. Either revision would make this rule the most cost-ineffective rule of all effluent guidelines by more than a factor of four (see attachment).
The SBREFA report raised concerns about whether there were sufficient pollutant loadings to justify regulation of the truck/chemical subcategory, or whether only trucks carrying pesticide cargoes should be regulated. Without the pesticide loadings, this subcategory averages about 48 pound-equivalents/ plant, which is very close to the quantity of discharges in other subcategories that EPA proposes not to regulate.
Furthermore, even if these pesticides were truly present at the sampled plants, there is some question about whether these wastewaters are representative of the subcategory generally.
Based on the above discussion, and the potentially significant economic impacts on small facilities, EPA needs to seriously consider less costly options. First, the agency could exclude this subcategory from national regulation, as it has proposed for other subcategories with low pollutant loadings. In that event those, those facilities not covered by an effluent guideline will still be subject to the case-by-case requirements established by the local POTWs. Second, since these discharges are relatively small for all plants, these discharges are very small for the smaller plants. EPA could exclude all facilities in truck/chemical below a certain size, say 10,000 gallons/day, because the size of the contaminated discharge is so small for the smaller facilities as to not warrant national regulation. Third, the agency could promulgate a final regulation with higher limits, allowing the use of a less expensive technologies, such as flow reduction and oil/water separation (see p. 34712 of the FR notice). Fourth, the agency could limit the regulation to tank cars with pesticide loadings (see Panel report discussion).
I would be pleased to respond to any questions. I can be reached at 202-205-6936, or by fax at 202-205-6928.