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Publications archive - Hazardous waste

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Key departmental publications, e.g. annual reports, budget papers and program guidelines are available in our online archive.

Much of the material listed on these archived web pages has been superseded, or served a particular purpose at a particular time. It may contain references to activities or policies that have no current application. Many archived documents may link to web pages that have moved or no longer exist, or may refer to other documents that are no longer available.

Hazardous Waste Technical Group — 73rd meeting

Friday 15 April 2005
8.30 am - 4.30 pm
Uluru Room, Fourth Floor, John Gorton Building
King Edward Terrace, PARKES ACT 2600

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Minutes

Present:

Chair

Professor Paul Greenfield

Members

Dr Peter Di Marco
Mr John Hogan
Ms Diane Kovacs
Dr Peter Scaife
Dr Neill Stacey
Dr Jenny Stauber

Secretariat

Mr Robert Angel
Dr Greg Rippon
Ms Marnie Rowe
Dr Geoff Thompson

Apologies

Dr Robyn Eckersley
Mr Stephen Moore
Dr Peter Nadebaum
Dr Bro Sheffield-Brotherton
Dr Geoff Syme

Item 1. Minutes

(a) Draft Minutes of the 72nd meeting

1. The meeting amended and then adopted the draft Minutes.

Item 2. Matters arising

(a) Current list of members

2. The list remained unchanged.

Item 3. Progress report on operation of the Hazardous Waste Act

(a) Permit report for previous twelve months

3. Responding to a question, the Secretariat advised that the permit granted to Exide Technologies to export ULABS's to New Zealand had been varied because the company had introduced a new process to immobilise the slag. The new process used calcium dihydrogen phosphate to immobilise metals and is much more effective than the concrete that was previously used.

Item 4 Technical issues arising from applications and inquiries

(a) Update of Tomago Aluminium spent potlining processes

4. There was no update provided at this meeting but a shipment had departed Australia on 20 March 2005, the last day possible under the permit.

(b) Process to determine whether used electronic equipment, proposed for export, is defined as waste

5. The meeting noted the fact sheet on the e-waste criteria and commented that it was well presented.

(c) Evidentiary certificate on zinc ash

(d) Evidentiary certificate on zinc scrap

6. The previous evidentiary certificates about zinc ash and zinc scrap contained a legal error. The members were asked to restate their advice and they did so.

(e) Evidentiary certificate on warranties

7. The meeting approved the evidentiary certificate on warranties for electronic waste.

(f) Waste/non-waste status of a copper cake

8. The meeting reviewed the information about the copper cake and decided that the material was produced intentionally in response to market demand. Production was subject to quality control, as described in detail in the agenda paper, to provide consistent levels of copper and reduce impurity levels. It was produced with a specification in excess of the typical copper cakes processed at Onsan and, in particular, levels of iron, cadmium, arsenic and antimony were, comparatively, very low. Financial penalties applied if concentrations of arsenic and antimony exceed prescribed levels. It was concluded that the copper cake was not a waste.

(g) Polyethylene wax export

9. The meeting noted that the process that produced the wax involved isopropyl alcohol. If the isopropyl alcohol was entrained in the wax, then the wax would be hazardous. If, however, as indicated by the description in the MSDS, isopropyl alcohol is not present in the wax, then it would not be classified as hazardous under the Act.

10. The meeting decided that shredding the blocks into wax flakes for ease of handling and packaging for transit was not a sufficient process to produce a non-waste from a waste. It was possible that a case could be made that the wax met a specification set by the market but this seemed unlikely in the absence of a proven market.

11. The meeting concluded that the wax was a waste but not a hazardous waste, and the proposed export was not regulated under the Act.

(h) Submission on National options for Hazardous Waste disposal assisted by the Oil Stewardship program

12. The meeting heard a presentation from the Cement Industry Federation, Cement Australia and Teris (Aust) Pty Ltd about the impact of the Oil Stewardship Program on the availability for waste oil for use as fuel in the cement industry. Teris uses various waste streams for use as fuel in the cement making process. Wastes such as off specification paints, tallow and other solvents are carefully blended to produce a solvent-based fuel (SBF). As part of the blending process waste oil is also added to make SBF but with the introduction of the Oil Stewardship program there is not as much waste oil available for this use. Teris Australia have submitted a proposal to amend the Oil Stewardship program to include a rebate for using waste oil as a fuel.

13. The Technical Group was asked to provide advice on this proposal on how these types of wastes can be dealt within Australia and if the Teris process was not available what might happen to these types of wastes. The Group agreed that it would not consider persistent organic pollutants wastes in its advice because there are other mechanisms for the management for POP's.

14. To take this matter forward, the meeting asked the Secretariat to prepare a one-page scoping paper that would include an overview of ESM in cement kilns and what would happen if Teris didn't exist. The meeting also requested detailed information about the total quantity of each waste stream processed by Teris over the past twelve months, or longer if there are substantial variations from year to year, and the alternative disposal options, i.e. what would happen without Teris. To identify each waste stream it might be best to use the entries in Annex VIII of the Basel Convention or Appendix 4 of the OECD Decision, as described in Information Paper No.4.

15. The meeting also noted that Holcim's global target was more than 50% substitution with Alternative Fuels and Raw materials (AFR) and asked whether Holcim could provide documents relevant to this issue.

(i) Waste/non-waste status of ALOX

16. The meeting considered that the high grade ALOX produced by grinding and sieving the aluminium dross from the Point Henry smelter was a waste. However, it was not defined as hazardous waste under the Basel Convention, and therefore is not controlled under the Act. No export permits are required for this material.

17. The meeting considered that the lower grade ALOX, produced by leaching salt from the salt slag produced at Sims Aluminium plant at Moolap, was a Basel waste as defined under Y18 of Annex I of the Convention "Residues arising from industrial waste disposal operations." Consequently, any exports of this material will require an appropriate permit.

18. If the low grade ALOX was further processed to an extent which makes it a more desirable raw material for subsequent production purposes, then it is possible that the Group may consider that the processed material is no longer a waste, and therefore would not be controlled under the Act. However, in order to establish this, Sims Aluminium would need to present details of the proposed processing operations to the Group. Such a submission should also include any copies of any proposed contracts between Sims Aluminium and potential purchasers detailing required specifications for the new product.

Item 5 International meetings

(a) Open-ended Working Group of the Basel Convention, Geneva, 4-8 July 2005

19. The meeting noted the date of the next OEWG meeting.

Item 6. Criteria for separating hazardous from non-hazardous wastes

(a) Revised concentration cut-offs for metals in wastes

(b) Draft third edition of Information Paper No 5, Guidance on whether wastes containing metals or metal compounds are regulated under the Hazardous Waste Act

20. The meeting discussed the concentration cut-offs and decided to control metals on the basis of either the drinking water guidelines with a dilution and attenuation factor of 100, or the fresh and marine water quality guidelines with a dilution and attenuation factor of 1,000, whichever was the lower value. This was a pragmatic outcome that delivered no change for antimony, arsenic, cadmium, lead, mercury and selenium, but new ecotoxicity-based limits for aluminium, beryllium, hexavalent chromium compounds, copper compounds, thallium and zinc compounds.

21. Applying a dilution and attenuation factor of 100 to the drinking water guidelines is a well-accepted procedure based on modelling of how wastes may leach out of landfills into groundwater. For the marine and freshwater trigger values, it seems more appropriate to use a model based on spillage of the waste direct into a water body, but this is problematic because water bodies may vary from small static habitats to fast-flowing rivers and ocean waters. In the absence of any generally accepted model for dilution and attenuation in the event of spillage, a factor of 1,000 that is applied to the marine and freshwater trigger values can be regarded as providing reasonable numbers for regulatory purposes.

22. The Secretariat was asked to revise Information Paper No 5 to reflect this approach.

Item 7. Criteria for separating wastes from non-wastes

(a) Draft fifth edition of Information Paper No.2, Distinguishing wastes from non-wastes under Australia's Hazardous Waste Act

23. The meeting agreed to delete Examples 11(a) and 11(b), dealing with the export of used computers, and to replace them with a link to the electronic scrap criteria on the department's web site. This would ensure that the paper would always reference the most recent version of the criteria. The paper should also reference the evidentiary certificate on warranties and explain how evidentiary certificates worked.

24. The meeting also agreed to delete Example 13, dealing with dewatered and demineralised oils, and to replace it with a new example that explains that used oils, including dewatered and demineralised oils, belong to category Y8 in Annex I of the Convention, waste mineral oils unfit for their originally intended use. They are also assigned to Basel Annex VIII entry A3020, waste mineral oils unfit for their originally intended use. Such oils are generally destined for Table B operation R1, use as a fuel (other than in direct incineration) or other means to generate energy, or R9, used oil re-refining or other reuses of previously used oil, and are therefore defined as wastes. They are not wastes if they have been re-refined, as defined by the Product Stewardship (Oil) Regulations 2000, as amended on 14 February 2005.

25. The meeting reviewed the additional examples annexed to the agenda paper and agreed that they were now more examples than were needed. The Secretariat was asked to list all of the examples, both old and new, in a spreadsheet. The level of detail in Figure 1 of the agenda paper would be appropriate. The spreadsheet should be sent to members so that they could consider which examples they thought were most appropriate to each issue.

26. The Secretariat would provide a revised draft of Information Paper No. 2 to the next meeting.

Item 8. Defining environmentally sound management

(a) Draft second edition of Information Paper No.6, Assessment of environmentally sound management of hazardous waste destined for recovery operations on non-OECD countries

27. The meeting agreed to focus its attention on revising Information Papers 2 and 5 before starting work on Information Paper No.6.

Item 9. Regional Centres

28. The meeting agreed to delete this item from its agenda in future.

Item 10. Avoidance, minimisation and treatment of hazardous wastes

29. There was no discussion of this item, although the meeting noted that the discussion on the cement industry, under item 4(h), was also relevant here.

Item 11. Other business

30. There was no other business.

Item 12. Dates of next meetings

(a) Friday 3 June 2005

(b) Friday 15 July 2005

(c) Friday 19 August 2005