Solid Waste Disposal. The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act of 1976
(RCRA) replaced the Solid Waste Disposal Act. RCRA significantly expanded the scope of
the regulatory authority of EPA in the area of hazardous wastes and solid waste disposal
practices. The stated objectives of RCRA are to promote the protection of health and
the environment, and to conserve valuable material and energy resources. These
objectives are to be accomplished by certain steps including the following.
Dumping. Prohibiting future open dumping on the land and requiring the
conversion of existing open dumps to facilities which do not pose a danger to the
environment or to health.
Treatment, Storage, and Disposal. Regulating the treatment, storage,
transportation, and disposal of hazardous wastes which have adverse effects on health
and the environment.
Guidelines. Providing for the promulgation of guidelines for solid waste
collection, transport, separation, recovery, and disposal practices and systems.
The primary effort to implement RCRA is the task of the individual states.
Under RCRA, all solid wastes are divided into two categories; hazardous and
nonhazardous. Some wastes are designated specifically as being hazardous while others,
including fly ash, bottom ash, and scrubber sludge, are classified as nonhazardous.
This exception for coal combustion wastes has been interpreted by EPA to cover other
power plant wastes which are treated or disposed of in conjunction with the ash or
scrubber sludge wastes. Consequently, the regulatory requirements for disposal of
wastes which otherwise could be classified as hazardous can currently be simplified by
mixing them with coal combustion wastes.
18.104.22.168 Hazardous Waste. Under RCRA the EPA was required to develop and issue
criteria for identifying the characteristics of hazardous waste, and for listing the
hazardous wastes which would be regulated. All wastes at a power plant not included
within the coal combustion waste exemption must be tested or compared to each of the
following generic characteristics of hazardous wastes. If the waste exhibits any of
these characteristics, it must be handled as a hazardous waste, unless otherwise
Extraction Process Toxicity.