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New York State Department of Environmental Conservation

Notice of Intent to Sponsor XL Project

Division of Solid & Hazardous Materials

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation

Albany, New York l2233-7250

Notice of Intent to Sponsor an XL Project

Notice of a Public Participation Process and

Notice of Availability of Documents

The Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) hereby gives notice that it intends to sponsor and administer a pilot project under the United States Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) National XL Program. DEC has applied and been accepted as a participant in EPA's Project XL, part of President Clinton's National Performance Review Regulatory Reinvention Initiative. Project XL provides flexibility for regulated entities when demonstrating excellence and leadership through the development of alternative regulatory strategies. These strategies will replace or modify specific environmental regulatory requirements on the condition that the strategies produce superior environmental performance.


DEC is proposing flexible implementation of specific regulations promulgated pursuant to the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, as amended (RCRA), and pursuant to Title 9, of Article 27, of the New York State Environmental Conservation Law. This project will address the management of certain hazardous wastes generated by public utilities at various unstaffed locations in New York State. For the purposes of this project, the term "public utility" includes companies that provide electric power or telephone service, and are regulated by New York State's Public Service Commission, as well as companies that operate oil and gas pipelines.

Summary of Project and Projected Environmental Benefits

Public utilities maintain right-of-way networks, such as oil and gas pipelines, telephone lines, and electric power distribution systems. Frequently, hazardous waste will be generated at locations, such as manholes, along these rights-of-way, where there are no permanently staffed, utility-owned facilities. It is, therefore, very difficult to secure such wastes at these locations against releases through accidents or vandalism. In order to protect public health and the environment, it is important to transport the wastes to a secure location as soon as the generation event has ended. Utilities may also face pressures for prompt removal from municipalities, anxious to reopen traffic lanes, and other property owners. The disruption of normal traffic patterns can create an endangerment to public safety, particularly in congested urban areas. These generation events are sometimes planned in advance, but often are not, particularly in cases where there has been a sudden unexpected loss or interruption of service.

The present hazardous waste regulations cause these wastes to be handled in a less safe and more costly manner than is necessary. They also result in unnecessary paperwork and expenditure of time and staff resources by both utilities and environmental regulatory agencies. These concerns can be successfully addressed by allowing public utilities to utilize a modified definition of the term "on site" when collecting and transporting wastes from unstaffed locations and to apply this modified definition to site identification. Specifically, these unstaffed locations would be considered "on site" with respect to a utility-owned central collection facility to which they are connected by the utility's right-of-way network. This means that the unstaffed location would be treated as if it were an actual part of the central collection facility's site. However, transportation of RCRA hazardous waste to a central collection facility would still be required to meet the same transportation and manifesting requirements that presently would apply, since transportation would take place along public roads.

If the proposed solution is implemented, utilities will no longer be required to obtain temporary EPA identification numbers for these unstaffed locations. Each location would use the same number as the receiving central collection facility. The present requirement for obtaining EPA identification numbers may often delay emergency response to a system failure, especially in large systems where such incidents occur frequently. Also, hazardous wastes transferred quickly and safely from an unstaffed location to a central collection facility would be managed there under the applicable rules for on-site hazardous waste generators instead of off-site treatment, storage and disposal facilities, requiring hazardous waste facility permits. Finally, public utilities would no longer need to prepare and submit annual Hazardous Waste Reports for sites that may represent nothing more than manholes. Instead, the hazardous waste generated at each unstaffed location would be fully accounted for in the annual Hazardous Waste Report for the utility-owned central collection facility to which the waste was brought.

The proposed solution, if implemented, will provide greater protection of public health and the environment by drastically reducing the possibility for releases of these materials at unsecured, unstaffed locations. Public safety will also be enhanced by the restoration of normal traffic patterns as quickly as possible, particularly in congested urban areas.

The reduced reporting and paperwork requirements that this project would lead to would also free up industry and environmental regulatory agency resources that could be redirected to other high priority environmental needs and activities. Regulatory agencies would no longer need to issue large numbers of EPA identification numbers for these unstaffed locations or process large numbers of Hazardous Waste Reports and create and maintain data files for locations that may represent nothing more than manholes.

Project Implementation

DEC is the sponsor of this project and will have lead responsibility for its implementation and administration, but EPA will also be an active participant in all stages of the project. To implement the project, it will be necessary for a Final Project Agreement (FPA) to be developed. Although only DEC and EPA will be signatories to the FPA, other stakeholders will participate in the development of the FPA. EPA must not only grant final project approval, but must also ensure a complete and open FPA development process with broad public participation and outreach. EPA must also monitor implementation of the FPA to ensure that its conditions and requirements are met and that the anticipated public health and safety and environmental benefits are attained.

Once the FPA has been signed and public notice has been given in the Federal Register, the project implementation period will begin.

Notice of 30-Day Public Comment Period

Notice is hereby given of a 30-day public comment period beginning on the date of publication of this notice. During the comment period, interested parties may request and receive available documents, comment on the project or on the FPA development process, or express an interest in either being informed of the continuing progress of the FPA process or in actively participating in the FPA negotiations. All interested parties will be placed on the project mailing list and will receive copies of draft FPAs under discussion and copies of any future public notices relating to the development of the FPA.

Any party or organization wishing to participate in negotiating the FPA as a stakeholder must identify itself, the nature of its interest in the project, and the constituency or constituencies, if any, which the party alleges to represent. All parties requesting participating stakeholder status will receive a written response to their request.

Identification of Stakeholders to Participate in Negotiating the FPA ("Participating Stakeholders")

At the conclusion of the 30-day public notice period, DEC will review all requests for participating stakeholder status, make determinations with regard to those requests, and notify the requestors accordingly. Each interested party on the project mailing list will receive a list of the participating stakeholders.

FPA Negotiation Process

The participating stakeholders will meet, as necessary, to develop a proposed final draft FPA. Such meetings will most likely alternate between Albany and New York City.

Two open public meetings will then be held, in Albany and New York City, to discuss and receive comments on the proposed final draft FPA. A summary of the meeting will be provided to all parties on the project mailing list.

Thereafter, the participating stakeholders will meet, as necessary, to address comments received and appropriately revise the proposed final draft FPA. DEC will determine if such revisions are sufficiently extensive to warrant additional public meetings to discuss and receive comments on the revised draft FPA, with participating stakeholder review and resolution repeated again, as necessary.

Notice of Availability of Documents

Notice is hereby given of the availability of documents pertaining to this project, which may be requested by any interested party. These documents are:

  1. The original May 8, l996 project proposal by DEC to EPA.
  2. EPA's original project acceptance letter, dated July 29, l996.
  3. EPA's letter of September 4, l996, clarifying the conditions of project acceptance.
  4. DEC's Public Participation and Outreach Plan.

These documents will also be available on EPA's web site at htpp://www.epa.gov/Project XL.

DEC and EPA Contacts

All comments, questions and requests should be directed to one or both of the following designated contact persons. Requests for participating stakeholder status should be directed to the DEC contact alone.

Mr. Phil Flax

RCRA Compliance Branch

Mr.Lawrence J. Nadler, P.E.

Division of Solid & Hazardous Materials

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation

50 Wolf Road

Albany, New York l2233-725l

Telephone: (5l8) 485-8988 Fax: (5l8) 485-8769

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region II

290 Broadway

New York, New York l0007-l866

Telephone: (2l2) 637-4l43 Fax: (2l2) 637-4949

This notice was prepared and submitted by: Norman H. Nosenchuck, P.E. DateDirectorDivision of Solid & Hazardous Materials (5l8) 457-6934 Telephone

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