The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently withdrew its plan to propose a rule exempting electroplating sludge (F006) from Resource Conservation Recovery Act (RCRA) hazardous waste regulations when it is recycled. EPA’s decision to withdraw the rule prior to proposal came as a surprise after years of EPA promises to promote F006 recycling through regulatory reform. EPA had submitted the draft rule to the Office of Management and Budget for a review, but the Agency abruptly withdrew the draft rule during the review process. EPA has said that they plan to address F006 under the forthcoming definition of solid waste (DSW) rule.
The EPA’s draft F006 rule was expected to increase the recycling of electroplating sludge by providing an exemption from regulation as a RCRA listed hazardous waste. In order to provide regulatory relief to F006 generating facilities, EPA had drafted an exemption from RCRA hazardous waste provisions for sludge that is recycled, provided that it meets minimum concentrations of 18 percent for copper or 12 percent for nickel.
IPC and its members were extremely disappointed by EPA’s decision to withdraw the draft rule. For many years, IPC and its members have pressured EPA to consider a rule addressing F006. It is not clear whether the EPA will issue a broader DSW rule that adequately addresses F006 recycling. EPA has promised to either release a final DSW rule or re-propose by the end this year.
IPC wrote a letter to EPA Assistant Administrator expressing its disappointment with agency’s decision to withdraw F006 rule. Please click here to see the full text of the letter.