Operating Conditions

The goal of setting operating conditions for hazardous waste incinerators is to ensure compliance with the performance standards discussed in the previous section (i.e., for organics, HCl, and PM). An incinerator permit specifies operating conditions that have been shown in a trial burn to result in the incinerator meeting these performance standards. A very important aspect of the regulations is that compliance with the operating conditions specified in the permit is deemed to be compliance with the performance standards for organics, HCl, and PM.

A RCRA permit for a hazardous waste incinerator sets operating conditions that specify allowable ranges for, and requires continuous monitoring of, certain critical parameters. Operation within these parameters ensures that combustion is performed in the most protective manner and the performance standards are achieved. These parameters, or operating conditions, include16

1. Maximum allowable carbon monoxide levels in stack emissions

2. Allowable ranges for temperature

3. Maximum waste feed rates

4. Combustion gas velocity

5. Limits on variations of system design and operating procedures.

In addition, during the startup and shutdown of an incinerator, hazardous waste must not be fed into the unit unless it is operating within the conditions specified in the permit. An incinerator must cease operations when changes in waste feed, incinerator design, or operating conditions exceed the limits designated in its permit.

Operating conditions are also set to control fugitive emissions. Fugitive emissions are gases that escape from the combustion chamber (e.g., gases may escape through the opening where wastes are fed into the combustion chamber) and do not pass through pollution control devices. The two examples of fugitive emission control methods are4

1. Maintaining negative pressure in the combustion zone so that air will be pulled into the APCD rather than escaping into the ambient air.

2. Totally sealing the combustion chamber so that no emissions can escape to the environment.

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