An incinerator is generally defined as any furnace used in the process of burning solid waste for the purpose of reducing the volume of the waste by removing combustible matter. Emissions of concern include particulates and potentially harmful pollutants depending on what is being burned.
Summary of Federal Requirements
In general there are solid waste incinerators, beryllium incinerators, air curtain incinerators, sewage sludge incinerators, commercial, industrial and solid waste incinerators (CISWI), and hospital/medical/infectious waste incinerators. The various regulations for each incinerator stipulate the detailed monitoring, reporting, performance test, and planning requirements for each type of incinerator.
Solid Waste Incinerators
Incinerators with over 45 metric tons/day (50 tons/day) charging rate that started construction or modification after 17 August 1971 are required to meet a particulate emissions standard of 0.18 g/dscm (0.08 g/ dscf) corrected to 12% CO2 and keep a record of daily charging rates and hours of operation;
Incinerators that started construction or modification after 11 June 1973 which combust waste containing more than 10 percent sewage sludge (dry basis) produced by municipal sewage treatment plants, or those that started construction or modification after 11 June 1973 which charge more than 1000 kg (2205 lb) per day municipal sewage sludge (dry basis) are required to have opacity emissions of less than 20%. Monitoring devices required for these incinerators depend on whether the incinerator is multiple hearth, fluidized bed, or an electric sludge incinerator.
Other Solid Waste Incineration Unit (OSWI)
These include either a very small municipal waste combustion unit or an institutional waste incineration unit. An OSWI unit includes, but is not limited to, the municipal or institutional solid waste feed system, grate system, flue gas system, waste heat recovery equipment, if any, and bottom ash system. The OSWI unit does not include air pollution control equipment or the stack.
OSWI are required to have a waste management plan identifying the feasibility and the methods used to reduce or separate certain components of solid waste from the waste stream in order to reduce or eliminate toxic emissions from incinerated waste. This plan must also include consideration of the reduction or separation of waste-stream elements such as paper, cardboard, plastics, glass, batteries, or metals; or the use of recyclable materials. Additionally the plan will identifies any additional waste management measures and implements those measures the source considers practical and feasible, considering the effectiveness of waste management measures already in place, the costs of additional measures, the emissions reductions expected to be achieved, and any other environmental or energy impacts they might have.
OSWI operators must continuously monitor for carbon monoxide and oxygen emissions. The oxygen concentration must be monitored at every location where the carbon monoxide is monitored.
The emissions of OSWI that are regulated include: cadmium, carbon monoxide, dioxins/furans (total basis), hydrogen chloride, lead, mercury, opacity, oxides of nitrogen, particulate matter, and sulfur dioxide.
OSWI operators must keep the following documentation onsite:
- summary of the applicable standards
- procedures for receiving, handling, and charging waste
- incinerator startup, shutdown, and malfunction procedures
- procedures for maintaining proper combustion air supply levels
- procedures for operating the incinerator and associated air pollution control systems
- monitoring procedures for demonstrating compliance with the operating limits
- reporting and recordkeeping procedures
- the waste management plan required under 60.2899 through 60.2901 (see checklist item AE.25.8.US)
- procedures for handling ash.
Note that this documentation list does nto include every report or other type document that must be kept.
The following are not considered to be OSWI:
- Cement kilns if they are regulated under 40 CFR 63, Subpart LLL (National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants from the Portland Cement Manufacturing Industry).
- Co-fired combustors, the unit, that would otherwise be considered a very small municipal waste combustion unit, are excluded if they meet the following requirements
- The unit has a Federally enforceable permit limiting the combustion of municipal solid waste to 30 percent of the total fuel input by weight.
- the Administrator is notified that the unit qualifies for the exclusion.
- the Administrator is provided with a copy of the Federally enforceable permit.
- the weights are recorded, each calendar quarter, of municipal solid waste and of all other fuels combusted.
- Each report is kept for 5 yr. These records must be kept on site for at least 2 years. The records may be kept off site for the remaining 3 yr.
- Cogeneration facilities if they meet the following three requirements:
- The unit qualifies as a cogeneration facility under section 3(18)(B) of the Federal Power Act (16 U.S.C. 796(18)(B)).
- The unit burns homogeneous waste (not including refuse-derived fuel) to produce electricity and steam or other forms of energy used for industrial, commercial, heating, or cooling purposes.
- The Administrator is notified that the unit meets all of these criteria.
- Commercial and industrial solid waste incineration units if the unit is regulated under 40 CFR subparts CCCC or DDDD and is required to meet the emission limitations established in those subparts.
- Hazardous waste combustion units are if they meet either of the following two criteria:
- A permit for the unit is obtained under section 3005 of the Solid Waste Disposal Act.
- The unit is regulated under 40 CFR part 63, subpart EEE (National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants from Hazardous Waste Combustors).
- Hospital/medical/infectious waste incinerators if the unit is regulated under 40 CFR, subparts Ce or Ec (New Source Performance Standards and Emission Guidelines for Hospital/Medical/Infectious Waste Incinerators).
- Incinerators and air curtain incinerators in isolated areas of Alaska if the incineratorr used at a solid waste disposal site in Alaska that are classified as a Class II or Class III municipal solid waste landfill, as defined in 40 CFR 60.2977.
- Rural institutional waste incinerators if it is an institutional waste incineration unit, as defined in 40 CFR 60.2977, and the application for exclusion has been approved by the Administrator as follows:
- Institutional boilers and process heaters if they are regulated under 40 CFR 63, Subpart DDDDD (National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants for Industrial, Commercial, and Institutional Boilers and
- Laboratory Analysis Units if they burn samples of materials only for the purpose of chemical or physical analysis.
- Materials recovery units if they combusts waste for the primary purpose of recovering metals. Examples include primary and secondary smelters.
- Pathological waste incineration units such as the facilitys institutional waste incineration unit or very small municipal waste combustion unit if they burn 90 percent or more by weight (on a calendar quarter basis and excluding the weight of auxiliary fuel and combustion air) of pathological waste, low-level radioactive waste, and/or chemotherapeutic waste as defined in 40 CFR 60.2977 and you the Administrator is notified that the unit meets these criteria.
- Small or large municipal waste combustion units if they are regulated under 40 CFR 60, Subparts AAAA, BBBB, Ea, Eb, or Cb, and are required to meet the emission limitations established in those subparts.
- Small power production facilities if they meet the following three requirements:
- The unit qualifies as a small power-production facility under section 3(17)(C) of the Federal Power Act (16 U.S.C. 796(17)(C)).
- The unit burns homogeneous waste (not including refuse-derived fuel) to produce electricity.
- The Administrator is notified that the unit meets all of these criteria.
- Temporary-use incinerators and air curtain incinerators used in disaster recovery if it is used on a temporary basis to combust debris from a disaster or emergency such as a tornado, hurricane, flood, ice storm, high winds, or act of bioterrorism and the facility complies with the requirements in 40 CFR 60.2969.
- Units that combust contraband or prohibited goods if the unit is owned or operated by a government agency such as police, customs, agricultural inspection, or a similar agency to destroy only illegal or prohibited goods such as illegal drugs, or agricultural food products that can not be transported into the country or across State lines to prevent biocontamination. The exclusion does not apply to items either confiscated or incinerated by private, industrial, or commercial entities.
- Incinerators used for national security if they meet either of the following requirements:
- The incineration unit is used solely during military training field exercises to destroy national security materials integral to the field exercises.
- The incineration unit is used solely to incinerate national security materials, its use is necessary to safeguard national security.
Incinerators that process beryllium-containing waste, beryllium, beryllium oxide, or beryllium alloys emissions to the atmosphere cannot exceed 10 g of beryllium over a 24-h period unless approval has been received for alternate emissions limits. At these types of incinerators, emissions testing must be done within 90 days of the startup of a new source and monitoring sites operated continuously. Records of the emissions testing results must be kept and made available for 2 yr.
Air Curtain Incinerators
Air curtain incinerators that burn 100 percent yard waste must operate at an
- opacity limit of 10 percent (6-min average) for air curtain incinerators that can combust at least 35 tons per day of municipal solid waste and no more than 250 tons per day of municipal solid waste
- opacity limit of 35 percent (6-min average) during the startup period that is within the first 30 min of operation.
Air curtain incinerators that burn 100 percent wood wastes, clean lumber, yard waste and/or 100 percent mixture of only wood waste, clean lumber, and/or yard waste operate at the opacity limitation of 10 percent (6-min average) except that the opacity limitation can be 35 percent (6-min average) during the startup period that is within the first 30 min of operation. These incinerators are required to conduct annual opacity tests and submit the results to the Administrator.
Commercial, industrial and solid waste incinerators (CISWI) which started construction on or before 30 November 1999 must meet the following emissions limitations:
- 0.004 milligrams/dscm cadmium
- 157 ppmdv Carbon monoxide
- 0.41 nanograms/dscm dioxins/furans
- 62 ppmdv hydrogen chloride
- 0.04 milligrams/dscm lead
- 0.47 milligrams/dscm mercury
- 10 percent opacity
- 388 ppmdv oxides of nitrogen
- 70 milligrams/dscm particulate matter
- 20 ppmdv sulfur dioxide.
Medical Waste Incinerators
Methodology for disposal of some medical wastes. See Medical Waste -> Incinerators for regulatory and P2 information pertaining to medical waste incinerators.
Sewage Sludge Incinerators
Emissions to the atmosphere must not exceed 10 g of beryllium over a 24-h period unless approval has been received for alternate emissions limits. Of equal importance are the restrictions on what can be in the sewage sludge. There are regulations about the concentrations of daily concentration of lead, arsenic, cadmium, chromium, and nickel in sewage sludge fed to a sewage sludge incinerator based on formulas in the text of the regulation.
Summary of State Requirements
The states primarily regulate this type of a source through their construction and operating permit programs.
While not actually an incinerator, states and counties do regulate the use of open burning.
State-by-state guidance concerning air emissions can be found at ENVCAP's Air Pollution State Resource Locator.
Laws and Statutes
The Clean Air Act