EPA Proposed Revisions to Standards for Open Burning and Open Detonation of Waste Explosives

On March 20, 2024, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published a notice in the Federal Register proposing revisions to regulations under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) related to the use of open burning/open detonation (OB/OD) to treat waste explosives.

An OB/OD unit is a unit used for the treatment of waste explosives. These units are regulated under RCRA and can include, but are not limited to, detonation pits, burn pits, trenches, piles, burn pans, tubes, and cages. OB/OD units are not enclosed units but are open such that the treatment byproducts are released directly into the environment.

The EPA is proposing changes to clarify how facilities would assess whether safe alternatives are available in lieu of OB/OD. In addition, for instances where OB/OD remains the only treatment method for waste explosives, the agency is proposing minimum technical standards for OB/OD units. The agency is also proposing a framework for permitting mobile treatment units, which could be used as an alternative to OB/OD.

The EPA has certified that the proposed rule will not have a significant impact on a substantial number of small entities. The small entities subject to the requirements of this action are small businesses from the following North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) code industries:

  • Other Basic Inorganic Chemical Manufacturing
  • All Other Basic Organic Chemical Manufacturing
  • Explosives Manufacturing
  • All Other Miscellaneous Chemical Product and Preparation Manufacturing
  • Ammunition (except Small Arms) Manufacturing
  • Search, Detection, Navigation, Guidance, Aeronautical, and Nautical System and Instrument Manufacturing
  • Marketing Research and Public Opinion Polling

Comments on the proposed rule are due May 20, 2024.