Publications archive - Hazardous waste
Key departmental publications, e.g. annual reports, budget papers and program guidelines are available in our online archive.
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Friday 11 May 2001
9.00 am - 4.30 pm
Waste Service NSW, Lidcombe Liquid Waste Plant,
Cnr Hill Road and Pondage Link, HOMEBUSH BAY NSW 2127
and Kensington Room, Stamford Hotel
Cnr Robey and O'Riordan Streets, MASCOT NSW 2020
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Dr Peter Scaife
Mr John Hogan
Mr Stephen Moore
Dr Peter Nadebaum
Dr Jenny Stauber
Dr Peter Di Marco
Mr James Johnson
Dr Peter Brotherton
Mr Patrick Choi
Mr Andrew Inglis
Dr Geoff Thompson
Mr Cliff Lloyd
Dr Paul Brown
Professor Paul Greenfield
Dr Robyn Eckersley
Ms Diane Kovacs
Mr Ray Evans
Dr Neill Stacey
1. Amendments were made to paragraphs 10, 15, 21 and 29. As amended, the draft Minutes were accepted.
2. There were no matters arising.
(a) Permit report for previous twelve months
3. Beaver Metals Pty Ltd had been refused a permit to export brass dross and this decision reflected advice received from the Group at the 45th meeting.
(a) Proposed export of diethylaluminum chloride/heptane mixture
4. There was nothing to report on this item. This application will remain on the agenda until either a decision is made or the application is withdrawn.
(b) Waste/non-waste status of fuel oil component
5. There was nothing to report on this item. The company had not yet provided the information requested, including that relating to sampling for PCB contamination by the waste oil collector.
(c) Proposed export of spent potlinings: issues paper
(i). Principles governing the export of spent potlinings (SPL).
6. The Group considered a revised text of the advice on spent potlinings. This document included the context of the request from the Department of the Environment and Heritage for advice, and clarified the role of the Group in this matter. The Group decided that option A was the better text, but replaced the word "undesirable" with the word "adverse".
7. The Group requested that Secretariat convey this advice to the next meeting of the Policy Reference Group. The Policy Reference Group should also be advised that in the Technical Group's view, there was no process currently available for the disposal of SPL in Australia.
8. The Group identified a number of outstanding issues, including the following.
(a) In general, storage was not a favoured option unless there was a realistic prospect of a facility becoming available locally. Nevertheless, the 34,000 tonnes had always been presented as a one-off export and it could be argued that it should remain so. This argument would present the threat of continued storage as a driver for the development of local options.
(b) further analysis was required on why the Italian process of using SPL as a carbon feed in steel furnaces can't be used in Australia. If fluoride was in the feed then it would be in the exhaust gas, possibly at levels over Australian emission limits. A fairly large gas flow was needed and the material would be better handled in the Basic Oxygen Steelmaking process at Port Kembla. The Department of the Environment and Heritage should consider acting at a high level to encourage cooperation between the steel and aluminium industries in disposal of this waste.
(c) The Department of the Environment and Heritage should continue to seek more information about the processing and fate of the SELCA material, perhaps through the International Iron and Steel Institute.
(d) The Department of the Environment and Heritage should approach the competent authority of Canada for more information of their export of SPL to Italy.
(ii). Request for information on the waste / non-waste status of SELCA's product.
9. Previous applications to export SPL had stated that the waste was destined for recovery operation R4 - Recycling / reclamation of metals and metal compounds but this was not correct. The SPL is sent to a facility, SELCA, that crushes, screens, grinds and blends it with other sources of carbon to meet the specifications of about 40 electric arc furnace steel mills in the Lombardia region of Italy. The steel mills use the blended material primarily as a carbon source and also as a flux in the electric steelmaking process. This is not recovery operation R4. The SELCA process should be classified as R13, accumulation of material intended for any other recovery operation and the steelworks process should be classified as R1, use as a fuel (other than in direct incineration) or other means to generate energy. Any new application needed to state this, and to identify all the steelworks where the R1 operation would be carried out.
10. An alternative could be to establish that the process of crushing, screening, grinding and blending the SPL with other sources of carbon to meet the specifications of individual steel mills was sufficient to make it a non-waste. This would need to be done using the guidance in Information Paper No.2, Fourth edition, "Distinguishing Wastes from Non-wastes under Australia's Hazardous Waste Act". The relevant issues are described in the section "Criteria for determining when a waste recovery process has produced a non-waste" on p29, including examples 17-20.
11. For example, detailed evidence that the SELCA product did not contain leachable fluoride and cyanide above relevant concentration cut-offs could be one factor among others that could demonstrate that material was a non-waste because the threat posed to the environment by the original waste was sufficiently diminished and the material was of sufficient beneficial use, as in examples 17 and 18. In that event, the SELCA process would be classified as R5, recycling/reclamation of other inorganic materials. It would need to be established that the SELCA facility was authorised to recover the SPL waste, but what happened to the SELCA product would not be an issue because it would not be a waste.
12. However, if the SELCA product contained contaminants that prevented the recovered material from being used in exactly the same way as a material which had not been defined as a waste, as in examples 19 and 20, the material would continue to be controlled as a waste until it had been processed by the steelworks.
(iii). Information on steelworks and fluoride in NSW.
13. As requested at the 45th meeting, the Department of the Environment and Heritage had contacted EPA NSW regarding air emission standards for fluorine from electric arc furnaces and related matters. EPA NSW had advised that that there were two relevant emission standards. New premises were restricted to 50mg/m3 and older premises, defined as those in operation prior to 1st January 1972, had a limit of 100mg/m3.
14. OneSteel at Rooty Hill did not use fluorspar on a routine basis and emissions were not monitored for fluorine. A bigger problem concerned dioxins resulting from PVCs associated with some of the scrap materials used as feedstock.
15. EPA NSW had previously refused an application for the disposal of SPL in a cement kiln on the basis that more needed to be known about the waste. The Technical Group asked who was the applicant, and noted that use in steelmaking would have a higher value than disposal in a cement kiln.
16. EPA NSW did not consider that there were any local disposal options for SPL. Essentially the composition of the waste triggered a chemical control order which did not permit disposal by landfill. For direct or indirect incineration, EPA NSW considered there was still a need to demonstrate that a range of waste types had been sufficiently tested to cover the range of variations in concentration of substances, such as fluoride and cyanide, in air emissions. One company had been looking at treating the waste to wash out fluoride and cyanide prior to use as a fuel.
(d) Proposed export of aluminium alkyls
17. This application for a permit was on a statutory timeline but the Netherlands had not yet acknowledged receipt of the notification. If and when the Netherlands consented to the movement, it would be possible to extend the decision period for up to 60 days. The Group would consider the draft issues paper again at the 47th meeting and would need to finalise its advice as soon as import consent was received.
18. The Group made a number of amendments to the issues paper and requested some additional information. Members commented that the comparison with persistent organic pollutants (POPs) was confusing because the nature of the hazard was different. Incineration of POPs could generate materials such as dioxins, invoking hazardous characteristic H13. High temperature incineration of aluminium alkyls would not have significant impacts and the problem was the immediate occupational health and safety hazard in handling the material.
(e) Proposed export of brass dross
19. As indicated in paragraph 3, this application had been refused, primarily because no evidence had been presented to demonstrate that domestic disposal would not be efficient.
(a) Basel Convention Technical Working Group, 18th session, 18-20 June 2001 , Geneva
(i). Draft Technical Guidelines for the Recycling/Reclamation of Metals and Metal Compounds (R4): revised May 2001
20. The comments agreed at TG45 had been inserted into the document. The Group deleted one sentence and agreed that the draft guidelines were now ready to be discussed at TWG18.
(ii). Questionnaire concerning Hazard Characteristic H10
21. The Group noted that it was possible to carry out screening tests for liberation of toxic gases. For example, metallic phosphite could generate phosphine. There were no other comments on the completed questionnaire.
(b) Basel Convention Legal Working Group, 3rd session, 21-22 June 2001 , Geneva
(iii). Draft Guidance Elements For Detection, Prevention And Control Of Illegal Traffic In Hazardous Wastes
22. The Group suggested that some amendments could be made to paragraphs 107 and 108, to refer to the need for legal training and to relevant Australian standards such as those relating to risk management and sampling and analysis. The paper should also reference the role of NGOs and the International Network for Environmental Compliance and Enforcement.
(c) Workshop on environmentally sound management in the Basel Convention ("Dakar II"), Dakar
23. There was nothing to report on this item.
(a) History of the Technical Group
(b) Future work program
24. There was nothing to report on these items.
(b) Interim guidance on concentration cut-offs for metal-bearing wastes
25. The paper had been edited as agreed at TG45 and then further simplified. The Group noted the amendments and agreed that a summary of the changed concentration cut-off levels for specific metals should be placed at the beginning of the paper.
(c) Information Paper No.5, Second edition, first draft
26. In relation to the ANZECC/ARMCANZ guidelines for fresh and marine water quality, the Group noted that the draft information paper referenced the 95% protection levels. However, the guidelines themselves sometimes recommended that the 99% protection level should be used. The Secretariat agreed to amend the information paper to reflect the recommendations in the guidelines, and would forward the amendments to Jenny Stauber for clearance.
(a) Information Paper No.2, Fourth edition, third draft
27. The paper had been edited as agreed at TG45 and would now go to the next meeting of the Policy Reference Group.
(a) Implementing and Assuring a Practical Approach for the Environmentally Sound Management of Hazardous Metal Recyclables
28. The agenda paper was noted.
29. There was nothing to report on this item.
30. There was nothing to report on this item.
31. Stephen Moore advised that he would be visiting the Netherlands and was interested in visiting the AVR CHEMIE B.V. site where it was proposed to dispose of the aluminium alkyl wastes. Geoff Thompson recommended that he should make his own arrangements for such a visit, but the Department of the Environment and Heritage would be happy to help if needed.
32. The Group noted that, depending on progress with the export applications, there might be an opportunity for a broad strategic discussion at the meeting scheduled for Friday 13 July 2001. Members agreed that they would not require the Secretariat to prepare papers for such a discussion.
(a) Tuesday 12 June 2001, Adelaide
(b) Friday 13 July 2001, Brisbane
(c) Friday 17 August 2001.
Advice on the export of spent potlinings (SPL)