EPA Publishes Effluent Guidelines for Iron, Steel

EPA has published final revisions to the Effluent Limitations Guidelines, Pretreatment Standards, and New Source Performance Standards for the Iron and Steel Point Source Category, Part 420.

EPA has published final revisions to the Effluent Limitations Guidelines, Pretreatment Standards, and New Source Performance Standards for the Iron and Steel Point Source Category, Part 420. The regulation will revise or establish technology-based effluent limitations for wastewater discharged to navigable waters from the operation of certain new and existing iron and steel facilities.

Effluent limitations guidelines are national regulations that control the discharge of pollutants from specific categories of industries to surface waters or to publicly owned treatment works. EPA develops the limitations based on the application of specific process or treatment technologies to control pollutant discharges. Although EPA established guidelines based upon specific technologies, it does not require that dischargers use that technology to achieve the effluent limitations. Since 1974, EPA has promulgated effluent limitations guidelines and standards for 51 industrial categories.

The final regulation applies to discharges from facilities engaged in iron or steel manufacturing operations. The manufacturing processes include cokemaking, sintering, ironmaking, steelmaking, vacuum degassing, casting, hot forming, salt bath descaling, acid pickling, cold forming, alkaline cleaning, hot coating, forging, direct reduced ironmaking and briquetting.

EPA has decided to revise effluent limitations guidelines and standards only for current Subpart A (cokemaking), Subpart B (sintering), and Subpart D (steelmaking), and to promulgate new effluent limitations guidelines and standards for new Subpart M (other operations). The Agency is not changing the remainder of Part 420.

EPA created a new segment under Subpart A, for non-recovery cokemaking. EPA set non-recovery cokemaking at zero discharge of process wastewater pollutants which is the current industry practice. Under the sintering subcategory, Subpart B, EPA is regulating an additional parameter, (Tetrachloro paradibenzo furan (TCDF). Under Subpart D for steelmaking, EPA added an allowance for the semi-wet basic oxygen furnaces segment for safety purposes. The newly formed Subpart M for other operations includes forging, direct reduced ironmaking and briquetting.

EPA also removed a number of obsolete operations from Part 420 that are no longer used in the United States: beehive coke ovens, ferromanganese blast furnaces, and open hearth furnace steelmaking.

EPA expects compliance with this regulation to reduce the discharge of conventional pollutants by at least 351,000 pounds per year and toxic and non-conventional pollutants by at least 1,018,000 pounds per year. In particular, these limitations greatly reduce the amount of ammonia, cyanide, and toxic organic constituents from iron and steel facilities. EPA estimates that the annual benefits of the rule will range from $1.4 million to $7.3 million ($2001).

EPA estimates the annual cost of the rule will be $12.0 million (pre-tax $2001).

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