Murtha Means More

EPA’s New Policy Expected to Lower Disposal Costs for PCB-Contaminated Building Materials

December 7, 2012

In recent years, many projects involving demolition or renovation of buildings, often schools, have run in to costly delays due to the presence of materials that were manufactured to contain PCBs (e.g., paint and caulk). In particular, projects are often delayed because these PCB products leach into adjacent porous building materials, such as concrete or masonry. And, until now, EPA required that these PCB-contaminated building materials be managed and disposed of differently than the PCB product itself. As a result, cleanups were often inefficient, complicated and expensive.

EPA recently issued a reinterpretation of its policy to address difficulties the regulated community faced when disposing of this waste properly. In its October 24, 2012 memorandum entitled "PCB Bulk Product Waste Reinterpretation," EPA announced that it was finalizing a reinterpretation that allows building material that is "coated or serviced" by PCB bulk product waste (e.g., paint, caulk, mastic, sealant containing PCBs > 50 ppm), at the time of designation for disposal, to be managed as a PCB bulk product waste (as opposed to PCB remediation waste). The result is that the disposal options for the contaminated building materials, e.g., the masonry, are now the same as for the attached PCB bulk product waste.

As EPA states, this reinterpretation, which affects several EPA guidance documents, ensures that building materials contaminated with PCBs have disposal options that are more efficient, safe, and straightforward. For example, as PCB bulk product waste, these building materials can be disposed of in certain non-TSCA approved landfills (those that have been permitted, licensed, or registered by a State as a municipal or non-municipal non-hazardous waste landfill). The hope is that this more straightforward path for disposal will speed up the removal and disposal of PCB-contaminated materials and, therefore, reduce exposure risk in buildings, particularly schools.

A copy of the reinterpretation is available at:

If you would like more information about the reinterpretation, please contact Diane Bellantoni at 860.240.6126 /, Mark Sussman at 860.240.6034 /, or any of the other members of Murtha Cullina’s Environmental Practice Group.

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