December 19, 1994


SUBJECT:  Universal Treatment Standards Authorization

FROM:     Michael Shapiro, Director
          Office of Solid Waste (name changed to Office of Resource Conservation and Recovery on January 18, 2009) (5301)

TO:       Waste Management Division Directions
          Regions I - X

     The purpose of this memorandum is to clarify State
implementation of the Universal Treatment Standards (UTS)
promulgated as part of the Phase II Land Disposal Restrictions
(LDR) rule (September 19, 1994, 59 FR 47980).

     As described in the Phase II LDR final rule, UTS will
simplify the LDR program by establishing one set of concentration
based treatment standards for each hazardous constituent,
regardless of the restricted waste the constituent is a component
of.  This is in contrast to the previous system where treatment
levels for a particular constituent could vary between different
restricted wastes.  EPA believes that the simplification provided
by the UTS will greatly assist compliance with and enforcement of
the LDR program.

     The UTS are promulgated pursuant to HSWA authority, and
traditionally more stringent HSWA standards are immediately
effective in authorized States.  In most cases, the UTS limits
are the same as the previous treatment standards, while about
forty percent of the standards either went up or down.  In
reviewing the treatment standards, we concluded that a numerical
comparison exaggerates the degree of change.  In particular the
differences in numerical values for many of the organic
constituents actually reflect adjustments in the limits of
analytical detection.  Thus, actual treatment will likely
continue to destroy or remove organic to nondetectable levels.
Even in those cases where the numerical limits have actually
changed, the technology basis has not.  Therefore, the changes to
the treatment standards should not be viewed as more or less

     As a result, EPA has decided not to implement the UTS
separately for those wastes for which the state has received LDR
authorization.  Under this approach, the States authorized for
some or all of the LDRs will continue to implement those portions
of the program for which they are authorized, whether or not they
have adopted the new standards, and, in EPA's view, the regulated
industry will be subject to the state standards, regardless of
whether they differ from the new UTS.  EPA strongly urges states
to implement the new UTS standards as quickly as possible, both
for simplicity of implementation and national consistency.  But,
state law (as interpreted by the state) would determine which
standards applied.  This approach would avoid the dual regulatory
problem which would occur during the time before new HSWA
requirements are adopted and authorized in the State.

     EPA proposed a similar approach to state adoption of HSWA
rules in the Subpart S rule (55 FR 30860), and did not receive
any negative comments.  EPA believes that Congress did not intend
for the authorized State program's authority to return, in part,
to EPA every time EPA promulgated modifications to HSWA program
requirements.  At the same time, however, this memo is not
relinquishing EPA's statutory responsibility to implement
significant new HSWA rules in States as soon as the rules become
effective.  Thus, this new approach will be reserved only for
areas of the hazardous waste program already authorized and
regulated by the state, not new areas of HSWA regulations.  For
example, the September 19, 1994 Phase II rule established
treatment standards for several newly listed wastes; these new
requirements are immediately effective in all the States and will
be enforced by EPA.

     The authorization approach discussed in this memo will be
available only when changes to the treatment standard occur to
existing HSWA programs in States authorized for those programs.
As we develop rules in the future, we will address issues of
applicability of the new approach in the preamble.

     EPA has a strong interest in uniformity and consistency of
regulations and believes that the improvements in the UTS meet
these objectives.  Thus, please encourage the States in your
Region to adopt and apply for authorization of the Phase II rule.
States that are currently authorized for portions of the LDRs may
submit an abbreviated authorization revision application to the
Region for the UTS.  This application should consist of a letter
from the State to the appropriate Regional office, certifying
that it has adopted treatment standards equivalent to the UTS for
those restricted wastes which are a part of the State's
authorized LDR program.  The State should also submit a copy of
its final rule or other authorizing authority.  A revised Program
Description, Memorandum of Agreement and Attorney General's
statement is not necessary because the only change the State
would be making is to the treatment standards it is already
authorized for.  We expect the Regions will be able to act
quickly on this authorization submittal because the changes are
minor, thus simplifying the review.

     If you have any questions or wish to discuss this memorandum
in further detail please contact Virginia Phillips at (703) 308-