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Akzo Nobel Chemicals

Akzo: Letter from David Gardiner to Pamela Cook

October 18, 1996

Ms. Pamela J. Cook
Senior Environmental Engineer
Akzo Nobel Chemicals, Inc.
2153 Lockport-Olcott Road
Burt, NY 14028

Dear Ms. Cook:

Thank you for Akzo Nobel's proposal to EPA's Project XL. Although your proposal was quite thorough, I am sorry to inform you of my decision not to pursue it as an XL project.

Please note that these proposals are reviewed carefully by a team from across all EPA regions and headquarters offices, and by representatives of state and tribal environmental agencies. In this and other cases, proposals are reviewed based on a set of eight criteria outlined in the 23 May 1995 Federal Register notice launching Project XL.

The first of these criteria is environmental results. This is the eXcellence part of XL. Your proposal presented a compelling case for a cheaper and smarter approach to provide appropriate treatment. However, based upon our review of the information that you submitted, your proposal would not deliver the demonstrable, superior environmental results which the XL program was designed to foster.

Another of these criteria is transferability. XL projects are intended to test new principles that could be incorporated more broadly. XL projects are meant to be the building blocks of a new performance-based system of environmental protection. This is the Leadership part of XL. Although a small number of other POTWs may present circumstances such as those in your proposal, the Clean Water Act already specifies a mechanism for taking into account treatment by a POTW in determining a facility's compliance with pretreatment regulations. As such, I do not believe that implementation of your XL proposal would have broad implications for how we do business at EPA.

I want to stress that EPA's decision on whether to accept or decline XL proposals are, by definition, judgment calls. Project XL has produced tremendous interest and so competition for participation in the program is significant.

In addition, EPA is reviewing its pretreatment regulations to determine whether and to what extent a revision is necessary. Current regulations limit the availability of removal credits only to certain pollutants. The Agency is now investigating whether to allow removal credits for other pollutants that are not considered harmful. It is possible that, when finalized, this rulemaking could allow a POTW to apply for a removal credit under this program. Of course, any grant of removal credits in any particular case would require a facility-specific assessment based on the criteria in the current rule. This rulemaking will require some effort, and we look forward to your input during the notice-and-comment process.

Finally, to address immediately the concerns with the dimethyl phthalate present in your wastewater, you will receive a call shortly from Mark Dannenberg of EPA's Region 2 office in New York to discuss the next steps for developing a mutually agreeable and enforceable resolution to the matter. In the meantime, feel free to contact Lisa Hunter of my staff at (202) 260-4744 if you have any questions. Once again, thank you for your interest in Project XL and your continued support of environmental protection.


David Gardiner
Assistant Administrator

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