EPA Proposes to Remove CERCLA and RCRA Exemptions from Site Remediation NESHAP

May 18, 2016
Michael Dillon
MGKF Special Alert

On Friday, May 13, 2016, EPA published a proposal to amend the National Emission Standard for Hazard Air Pollutants (“NESHAP”) governing Site Remediation activities (the “Proposed Rule”).  The Proposed Rule would eliminate the exemption currently afforded under the existing Site Remediation NESHAP for site remediations conducted under the authority of the Comprehensive Environmental Response and Compensation Liability Act (“CERCLA”) or the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (“RCRA”).  EPA has also proposed to eliminate the Rule’s co-location applicability provision, which requires a site remediation to be co-located with an additional stationary source that is regulated by a separate NESHAP before the Site Remediation NESHAP applies.  Therefore, if finalized, the Proposed Rule would subject site remediation activities to the Site Remediation NESHAP if the site remediation activity is projected to result in the potential to emit hazardous air pollutants (“HAP”) in excess of the major source threshold; the existing Site Remediation NESHAP would apply to site remediation activity only if it is co-located with a separately regulated major HAP source. 

If EPA’s proposal is finalized, site remediation activity conducted under the authority of CERCLA or RCRA may be rendered subject to all applicable requirements of the Site Remediation NESHAP.  These requirements include both emission limitations and work practice standards for three potential sources of HAP emissions at site remediation sites: (1) process vents; (2) remediation material management units (tanks, containers, surface impoundments, oil/water separators, organic/water separators, drain systems); and (3) equipment leaks. The Site Remediation NESHAP also contains monitoring, recordkeeping, and reporting requirements.  Based on information compiled under the CERCLA and RCRA programs, EPA anticipates that approximately sixty nine site remediation operations would become subject to the Site Remediation NESHAP as a result of the elimination of the CERCLA and RCRA exemptions.

EPA is not currently proposing to amend any of the substantive requirements of the Site Remediation NESHAP.  

EPA is seeking public comment on its proposal to eliminate the exemption from this NESHAP regulation for CERCLA and RCRA sites, as well as the removal of the co-location requirement.  Any comments must be submitted to EPA no later than June 27, 2016.  A copy of the proposed Rule can be found here.      

For questions concerning the proposed Rule, or assistance in submitting written comments, please contact attorney Michael Dillon (484-386-6161).