Kentucky Resources Council, Inc.
Post Office Box 1070
Frankfort, Kentucky 40602
(502) 875-2428 phone (502) 875-2845 fax
September 19, 2003
Division of Waste Management
Solid Waste Branch
14 Reilly Road
Frankfort, KY 40601-1190
Re: Draft Permit for Recycling Solutions Technology, LLC
Application APE20030001 AI# 40472
Dear Mr. Gruzesky:
I am writing to convey the comments of the Kentucky Resources Council, Inc. concerning the draft waste permit for Recycling Solutions Technology, LLC. After a review of the draft permit and information supplied by Pro-Tek to KRC for review, KRC has these observations and concerns. To the extent that there is other information available to the Cabinet, either from the literature or supplied by the applicant, of which KRC is unaware, one or more of these concerns may have been addressed.
Initially, while the Cabinet has not promulgated regulations addressing thermal destruction of solid waste in a level of detail comparable to that of landfill construction, the Cabinet has both the authority and the obligation to assure that, in issuance of the waste permit for this proposed facility, the public health and environment are protected in the design and operation of the facility.
The sources of the Cabinets obligation are, among others, the requirement in 401 KAR 47:030 Section 10(2) that with respect to air emissions, the proposed solid waste site or facility will not "violate applicable air pollution requirements contained in KRS Chapter 224 or 401 KAR Chapters 50 through 63." Among those requirements in 401 KAR Chapter 63:020 is an obligation to avoid emission of potentially hazardous matter or toxic substances. Additionally, the Cabinet is obligated to assure that no public nuisance is created by the facility; 401 KAR 47:030 Section 12.
Finally, the Cabinet has omnibus authority under 401 KAR 47:120 Section 2 and a concomitant duty to impose such permit terms and conditions as the Cabinet deems necessary to protect human health and the environment.
Since the air quality permit issued to this facility was a "state origin" permit for which no public comment period was provided, these comments speak to the waste permit but request that the Cabinet review the air quality permit and impose, through the waste permit as obligated by 401 KAR 47:030 Section 10(2) and 47:120, such additional terms and conditions as are needed to assure that the public health and environment will be fully protected.
Against this backdrop, KRC requests that the Cabinet consider and impose appropriate conditions pursuant to 401 KAR 47:120 Section 2 to address these concerns:
* The permit does not appear to include any physical or chemical characterization of the proposed waste feed, or the range of variability of the chlorine, moisture and metals content of the waste. With a heterogeneous waste stream such as processed MSW being utilized as a fuel source, the possibility for variability in the chemical composition of the waste streams that could in turn affect thermal treatment combustion performance and the creation of products of complete and of incomplete thermal treatment combustion that are of air toxics and waste management concern, is increased. Moisture, chlorine, and metals content may vary widely among and within these waste streams. Given the significant variability of processed solid waste, in terms of moisture, Btu value, plastics, chlorine content, and other parameters, the nature of the intermediate and final products of thermal treatment and incomplete thermal treatment cannot be predicted, and the obligation to assure that the public health and environment is protected cannot be met.
The applicant should provide, prior to allowance of any thermal treatment of the waste stream, a complete characterization of the waste composition and range of variability of key chemical parameters.
* Equally important is a thorough assessment of the anticipated generation, fate and transport of the products of thermal treatment and of incomplete thermal treatment of the proposed mixed waste stream.
Solid waste incineration releases metals, acid gases, and products of incomplete combustion. At least 217 different organic compounds have been identified in MSW incinerator emissions. Emissions during upset conditions can release compounds of concern at levels orders of magnitude higher than steady state products of thermal treatment of the wastes. While the proposed facility will not utilize direct flame combustion, it appears to contemplate that, once the desired temperature in the primary chamber is attained that the temperature will be sustained by the waste and waste gases. More information is needed about the conditions and the chemical processes that occur under these starved air conditions, in order to determine whether the temperature conditions can be sustained, and the degree of variability of those conditions, particularly the impact of temperature and thermal treatment fluctuations and variability on generation of gaseous constituents of concern. The possibility of emissions of compounds of particular concern that may be present also in the waste, such as mercury, and which may be created through thermal treatment of chlorinated compounds, such as dioxins and furans, must be thoroughly assessed.
* Finally, KRC is concerned that the waste and air permits appear to allow extended periods of time in which the proposed facility can operate without first conducting performance tests to demonstrate the ability to operate within appropriate parameters and to meet emissions limitations. While the consultant for the company, William Eddins, explained during a telephone conversation today that the company intended to run the unit for only 3 days in order to generate data to establish conditions and to demonstrate the process, neither the air nor the waste permit appear to have codified that proposed limitation into the permit, so that, potentially, the unit could run up to 120 days at 34 tons per day without having first been demonstrated to meet applicable emissions and other criteria.
The permit should be conditioned to limit facility operation using waste feed to a three-day period under full instrumentation in order to generate the trial "burn" air emission and ash composition data, after which time the unit should be required to cease waste feed until the applicant submits, and the Cabinet receives, evaluates, and provides a public comment period on the test data and on whether an operational permit should be granted. The Division of Waste Management should impose trial "burn" conditions requiring collection of ash and samples of any quench water and TCLP and other appropriate testing for compliance with environmental performance standards.
Thank you in advance for your consideration of these comments.
cc: William Eddins, Pro-Tek, by fax only