MassDEP Releases Interim Guidance on Management of Evaporator Systems Reply

The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) recently published interim guidance for operators of evaporator units that employ a tank or tank system that is used to reduce the volume of (i.e. ,treat ) hazardous industrial wastewater by heating it until it evaporates.

“Evaporator systems,” as used in the interim guidance, are systems that include a wastewater treatment unit (WWTU), an evaporator unit, and all piping ancillary to operation of that system. These systems treat the influent hazardous wastewater to render it non-hazardous, and then evaporate the non-hazardous wastewater in an evaporator unit.

The interim guidance does not apply to:

  • Systems that evaporate only non-hazardous wastewater (generated off-site or on-site)
  • Units that separate non-hazardous wastewater from oil at the site of generation (310 CMR 20.252(4)
  • Units that evaporate non-hazardous wastewater transferred from an elementary neutralization unit at the site of generation (310 CMR 30.1103)
  • Closed –loop vacuum evaporators  that have no air emissions (these are exempt from 310 CMR 30.000)
  • Evaporator systems treating hazardous wastes received from off-site. These require a MassDEP HW facility license (310 CMR 30.801)
  • Sludge dryers associated with WWT systems approved by MassDEP (314 CMR 12.00)
  • Containers or treatment units (other than evaporator systems) subject to MGL 21C and 310 CMR 30.000

Evaporator systems may be exempt from licensing requirements for hazardous waste treatment provided they meet the definition of “treatment which is an integral part of the manufacturing process”. The interim guidelines provide clarification of what is required to maintain the exemption and are intended to give industry an opportunity to evaluate their systems and make necessary adjustments prior to promulgation of the new regulations (anticipated in 2012).

To qualify for the exemption, evaporator systems must:

  • Include a WWTU that is directly connected via permanent piping to the evaporator unit
  • Receive and treat wastewater in the WWTU containing only hazardous constituents in dissolved form (i.e., no multi-phase liquid hazardous waste)
  • Receive and treat wastewaters directly from their dedicated WWTU only
  • Treat the hazardous industrial wastewater in the WWTU so that it is rendered non-hazardous BEFORE it is evaporated
  • Prevent air emissions of hazardous constituents from both the untreated hazardous wastewater and the treated non-hazardous wastewater to the maximum extent practical

In certain cases, operators of evaporator systems that do not meet these requirements may need to obtain a waiver from MassDEP. Here’s the link to the Interim Guidance on Management of Evaporator Systems fact sheet: http://www.mass.gov/dep/recycle/laws/evapguid.pdf

If you have any questions, please contact Lucy Servidio at 508.970.0033 ext. 114 or lservidio@capaccio.com.

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