Rule Would Allow Alternate Oil, Grease Discharge Limits at Iron and Steel Plants

A proposal issued Aug. 10 (70 FR 46459) by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) would amend existing effluent limitations guidelines and pretreatment standards for iron and steel manufacturing facilities.
The amendments would revise the existing regulations' so-called "water bubble" rule with respect to establishing alternative limitations for oil and grease effluent.
Clean water regulations for iron and steel production facilities before 2002 "authorized the establishment of limitations applicable to the total mass of a pollutant discharged from more than one outfall," EPA's proposal explained. "The effect of such a 'water bubble' was to allow a greater or lesser quantity of a particular pollutant to be discharged from any single outfall so long as the total quantity discharged from the combined outfalls did not exceed the allowed total mass limitation. In 2002, EPA revised the water bubble to prohibit establishment of alternative oil and grease effluent limitations."
The regulations apply to discharges from all facilities involved in "metallurgical cokemaking, sintering, ironmaking, steelmaking, direct reduced ironmaking, briquetting, and forging," the proposal stated.
The proposal would reinstate the authorization of alternative oil and grease limitations, except that sintering operations could not establish alternate limitations for combined outfalls unless the allocation for sintering process wastewater were at least as stringent as existing regulations for sintering operations.
This exception is included because sintering operations receive wastes from a variety of sources at each facility, some of which contain solvents that are likely sources of dioxin and furan formation, according to the rulemaking document.
Comments on the proposed amendments are due by Sept. 9. For details, see the proposal at


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