4 The record articles

U.S. EPA Proposes the Long Awaited Amended HMIWI Federal Plan and Makes a Few Tweaks to the HMIWI NSPS

Posted: April 16th, 2012

Author: All4 Staff 

Federal Plan Amendments Proposed by U.S. EPA

UPDATED (04/26/12):  EPA has published the proposal in the Federal Register.  April 23, 2012 starts the public comment period.  Comments will be accepted until June 7, 2012 and if a public hearing is requested by May 3, 2012, EPA will hold a public hearing on May 8, 2012.

(04/16/12): A bit behind the Clean Air Act (CAA) established schedule, U.S. EPA proposed amendments on March 28, 2012 to the Federal Plan (40 CFR Part 62 Subpart HHH).  Per the CAA, amendments to the Federal Plan were to be promulgated by October 6, 2011.  The Federal Plan implements emission guidelines for existing hospital, medical and infectious waste incinerators (HMIWI).  The amended Federal Plan will implement the revised emission guidelines (EG, 40 CFR Part 60 Subpart Ce) issued on October 6, 2009.

So, who does this apply to? 

  • HMIWI where construction began on or before December 1, 2008, or where modifications began on or before April 6, 2010, AND
  • HMIWI located in states that have not submitted an acceptable revised/new state plan to U.S. EPA and had it approved.  The amended federal plan would apply until individual states have approved revised/new plans of their own in effect.

The number of HMIWIs operating in the U.S. has greatly diminished since the original 1997 rulemaking but for those HMIWIs that operate today, where do the states stand?  Below is a table of U.S. EPA’s Understanding of what the states are up to:

With the majority of states/local jurisdictions somewhere in the process of either developing a state plan or submitting a negative declaration to U.S. EPA, it’s important for environmental professionals responsible for HMIWI air quality compliance to know where each jurisdiction stands.  It’s quite possible that there will be a period of time where an HMIWI may need to operate pursuant to both a state plan and the Federal Plan.  Two examples come to mind.  (1) The state plan may be state approved but not yet approved by U.S. EPA and (2) there may be cases where a state had previously developed a state plan for the original 1997 HMIWI rule but has elected to “punt” this time around making HMIWI sources potentially subject to a historic state plan as well as the Federal Plan.

When do HMIWI have to be in compliance? 

The Federal Plan establishes a final compliance date of October 6, 2014 for HMIWI and established a handful of increments of progress to demonstrate that progress is being made toward final compliance.  The first increment of progress, Submit Final Control Plan, has been proposed to be due this October. 

What are the major changes in the proposed Federal Plan amendments?

  • Additional delegation of authority provisions
  • Additional testing, monitoring, recordkeeping and reporting requirements
  • Annual inspections of emissions control devices
  • One-time visible emissions test of ash handling operations
  • Procedures for test data submittal
  • Revised applicability provisions
  • Revised Title V permit provisions
  • Revised waste management plan provisions
  • Revised/new definitions
  • Schedule for compliance with amended federal plan
  • Tighter emissions limits for all regulated pollutants
  • Visible emissions limit for ash handling operations

NSPS/EG Proposed Amendments

U.S. EPA is also proposing amendments to the New Source Performance Standards (NSPS), 40 CFR Part 60 Subpart Ec. The proposed amendments would eliminate a remaining startup, shutdown, and malfunction (SSM) exemption to emission limits and standards (U.S. EPA overlooked this in their 2009 final rule) to ensure the standards are consistent with the DC Circuit Court’s SSM vacatur.

Public Participation/Promulgation Timeline

The proposal has not yet been published in the Federal Register.  Upon publication in the Federal Register (likely sometime in April 2012), written comments will be accepted for 45 days.  Additionally there is an option to request a public meeting.   As discussed earlier, U.S. EPA is already behind schedule, so they do not expect to extend the public participation timeline. 

When will U.S. EPA get the Federal Plan promulgated?  It’s anyone’s guess but hopefully before any affected HMIWI sources need to meet the first increment of progress.  (Hint:  we don’t anticipate this date changing drastically, if at all, so if you haven’t started to plan for compliance with the new requirements, namely the more stringent emission limits, now would be a fine time to get started!)


    Sign up to receive 4 THE RECORD articles here. You'll get timely articles on current environmental, health, and safety regulatory topics as well as updates on webinars and training events.
    First Name: *
    Last Name: *
    Location: *
    Email: *

    Skip to content