Weekly News Bulletin: Oct. 12-18, 2010


EPA Likely to Offer Concessions on Final Air Toxics Rule for Boilers

The US EPA is considering concessions to its final air toxics rule for boilers in response to industry and lawmaker's assertion that it is unachievable, prohibitively costly and would cost thousands of jobs. A key concession would involve "subcategorizing" boilers to a set of varying air toxics standards depending on the type of boiler. EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson sent a Sept. 28 letter to Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) addressing a number of concerns that Landrieu and a bipartisan group of 41 senators raised about the boiler proposal. Jackson writes that "the final standards will most assuredly differ from the proposed ones. The Clean Air Act does not place our need to increase employment in conflict with our need to protect public health. EPA's final standards will not either." Industry and lawmakers had criticized EPA's original proposal for setting MACT standards that few boilers could actually achieve since it was based on scant real data. Jackson adds that EPA "is paying particular attention to the subject of biomass-fired boilers and process heaters," amid fears expressed by industry, lawmakers and labor unions that the proposed MACT standards would force many boilers burning biomass to switch to non-renewable fuels. Critics of the MACT contend that the rule as proposed would therefore undermine a key Obama Administration objective of increasing the use of renewable fuels...Read More »



Construction Underway at Ontario Plant that Will Turn Tires into Oil

Environmental Waste International Inc. (Ajax Ontario) has begun constructing an advanced tire-to-oil recycling facility in Sault Ste. Marie, ON that is expected to be operational early next year. The plant will showcase the company's technology that employs a patented microwave system to break down tires to the molecular level into their simplest forms: oil, carbon black, steel and hydrocarbon gases. The plant will recycle some 300,000 tires per year to produce about 240,000 U.S. gallons of oil, 2 million pounds of carbon black, and 600,000 pounds of steel annually. Residual hydrocarbon gases will be used to co-generate electricity making the system more energy self-sufficient. "Our technology squeezes every bit of recyclable product out of a tire, and does so without sending any hazardous emissions up a smokestack or residual waste to landfill," said Stephen Simms, president and chief executive officer of EWS, who added the facility will be the first large-scale pilot plant of the tire application. The company is already at work securing raw material and is confident that with 12 million tires generated annually in Ontario, 300 million in North America, and an estimated 600 million tires in other parts of the world, there will be no shortage of feedstock. Simms proclaimed that the company's goal is to capture about 30% of the global market during the next decade...Read More »



Wastewater Utilities Critical of EPA Strict Regulation of Incinerators

Wastewater utilities are critical of a new EPA proposed rule to limit emissions from sewage sludge incinerators (SSIs), saying it is unnecessarily strict and based on data that overestimates the average unit's toxic emissions. Earlier this month, EPA proposed a new source performance standard (NSPS) for incinerators under section 129 of the Clean Air Act. The proposal follows years of debate between the agency and wastewater utilities over which section of the air law EPA should use to regulate the facilities. Industry would rather that incinerators be regulated under the less stringent section 112(k) maximum achievable control technology (MACT) standard. However, EPA argues that a strict NSPS for the units is warranted given the threat of mercury released from incinerated sewage.

EPA's approach is likely in response to a 2007 federal appeals court ruling in "Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) v. EPA" that rejected the Bush EPA's attempts to regulate some incinerators with MACTs. The National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA) believes EPA is trying to reclassify sewage as solid waste subject to an NSPS rather than classifying it as fuel subject to a MACT in direct response to the court's ruling in NRDC. Furthermore, NACWA believes EPA is basing its proposal on faulty emissions data, having conducted incinerator stack testing on only a handful of the 218 incinerators affected by the rule. EPA in its proposal notes that it will not be cost-effective for all incinerators to install pollution controls, and utilities may have to switch to landfilling waste or shipping it away for use as fertilizer as more cost-effective options...Read More »



$9 Million Hawaiian Recycling Plant Sits Idle, Victim of Expanded Landfill

As no good deed goes unpunished, Hawaii County's new $9.1 million 20,000 square foot recycling facility sits idle despite being ready since July. According to reports in the Tribune-Herald newspaper, the facility's original purpose was to compliment a planned waste-to-energy facility in replacing the county's aging Hilo landfill, which had been slated for closure in 2006. Beginning in 2003, the county began studying a waste-to-energy plant but blanched when faced with a potential $125 million price tag. The recycling facility took on added importance when the county cancelled plans for the waste-to-energy project in 2008 after having spent $1 million studying the idea. Instead, the county expanded the Hilo landfill by steepening its sides to extend volume and lifespan. Now the county must decide how to utilize the station and whether to turn it over to a private contractor...Read More »



WM's Greenopolis Lanches New Facebook Game called Oceanopolis

Recycling company Greenopolis, a subsidiary of Waste Management (Houston, TX) and known for its recycling kiosks, has launched a beta version of a Facebook game to encourage environmental awareness and capture the social gaming crowd. The new game - Oceanopolis - is designed as a companion to the points system already in place with Greenopolis. Players can earn interchangeable points within the island building and upkeep game to increase their standing as a Greenopolis member. In the game, players collect trash from the island, save washed up sea creatures and build a clean island paradise using the found trash treasure. Points earned in the game can be applied to discounts at stores equipped with kiosks on site. "We have a goal to triple the amount of items we recycle by 2020," said Carl Rush, Vice President of Organic Growth at Waste Management...Read More »



EPA Renews Environmental Protection Pact With China

The US EPA and China's Ministry of Environmental Protection have signed a new pact governing how the two countries will collaborate on environmental issues, during EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson's first official visit to China. The agreement formalizes how the two countries intend to coordinate efforts on "the prevention and management of air pollution, water pollution, pollution from persistent organic pollutants and other toxic substances, hazardous and solid waste, and the development, implementation and enforcement of environmental law." The memorandum of understanding is a renewal of an agreement that expired in 2008. The latest pact, however, establishes room for the two entities to develop agreements on science and technology cooperation...Read More »



Tetra Tech Wins $19.7 Million 5-Year EPA LMOP Contract

Tetra Tech, Inc. (Pasadena, CA) said it won a $19.7 million five-year contract with the US EPA's landfill methane outreach program (LMOP). Working with the EPA's Office of Air and Radiation, Climate Change Division, Tetra Tech will provide technical support for a wide variety of landfill program activities in the United States and internationally. Tetra Tech will help EPA conduct feasibility assessments; review policies and analyze markets; support tracking and reporting programs; develop emissions inventory protocols; conduct training and outreach; and support technology transfer and demonstration projects, among other activities...Read More »



Republic Services to Report Third Quarter Earnings on Nov. 4

Republic Services (Phoenix, AZ) plans to announce third quarter financial results during an investor conference call on Thursday, Nov. 4 at 5 pm (ET)...Read More »



Alter NRG Signs Collaboration Agreement with Energy Giant Technip

Alter NRG (Calgary, AB) signed a collaboration agreement with French energy giant Technip S.A.'s Technip USA subsidiary to market Alter NRG's Westinghouse Plasma Technology. Technip will provide industry standard design, engineering, and procurement services and performance guarantees in support of project financing for plasma facilities. Technip is an energy company that generates 6.5 billion Euros annually and employs 23,000 people in 48 countries. Technip boasts extensive experience in the field of syngas production from conventional and alternate technologies, production of steam and power, syngas conditioning and clean-up, and emission abatement technologies...Read More »


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