April 28, 1995


Air and Radiation Docket and Information Center
ATTN: Docket No. A-91-61
United States Environmental Protection Agency
401 M Street, SW
Washington, DC 20460

Dear Sir/Madam:

Thank you for the opportunity to provide comments on the proposed New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) and emission guidelines for medical waste incinerators, which were published in the Federal Register (FR) on February 27, 1995 (60 FR 10654). We support the efforts of the United States Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) to reduce the emissions from medical waste incinerators.

During the development of the proposed NSPS and emission guidelines, we participated on a committee with other representatives from the State and Territorial Air Pollution Program Administrators and the Association of Local Air Pollution Control Officials (STAPPA/ALAPCO). This committee provided input to the U.S. EPA staff on the preliminary draft proposals. On behalf of the participating members, STAPPA/ALAPCO will be submitting comments to you on the proposed NSPS and emission guidelines. We support the STAPPA/ALAPCO comments. We have two supplemental comments on the operator training and qualification requirements and the delegation process for medical waste incinerator rules.

Operator Training and Qualification

In July 1990, the Air Resources Board (ARB) adopted an airborne toxic control measure to reduce dioxins from medical waste incinerators. In the development of this control measure, we determined that the proper operation and maintenance of medical waste incinerators were critical factors in the emissions that result from incineration. Therefore, our regulation contains a provision which requires each individual who operates or maintains an incinerator to obtain either a certificate of training in medical waste incineration issued by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) or equivalent training.

In light of this, we support the operator training and qualification requirements in the proposed NSPS and emission guidelines. We believe that a good approach to fulfill the operator training and certification requirements is through programs offered by national professional organizations such as ASME. We also believe that the operator training and certification requirements can be met through an equivalent programs such as ones that can be developed by local community colleges or state agencies, provided these programs meet the criteria contained in the NSPS and emission guidelines. Therefore, we encourage you to provide flexibility to the states to implement the operator training and qualification requirements.

Delegation

We are unsure how the NSPS and emission guidelines for medical waste incinerators will be delegated to state and local agencies. As outlined in the Preamble, the proposed NSPS and emission guidelines were developed under Section 129 of the federal Clean Air Act and the Section 111 NSPS process. It is not clear from reviewing the proposed standards whether NSPS delegation and approval of state standards for existing facilities will follow a process under Section 111 or Section 112. We recommend that the U.S. EPA provide clear guidance on the mechanisms available to delegate this rule to states and local agencies.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at (916) 322-6023.

Sincerely,

/s/
Robert D. Fletcher, Chief
Emissions Assessment Branch