Pollution Prevention Act
Pollution prevention was established as a national objective in November 1990 with the passage of the Pollution Prevention Act (PPA). The PPA recognized that "pollution should be prevented or reduced at the source whenever feasible; pollution that cannot be prevented should be recycled in an environmentally sound manner, whenever feasible; pollution that cannot be prevented or recycled should be treated in an environmentally sound manner whenever feasible; and disposal or other release into the environment should be employed only as a last resort and should be conducted in an environmentally safe manner." Congress found that there are significant opportunities for industry to reduce pollution at its source, but these opportunities are often not realized because environmental laws and regulations tend to focus on treatment and disposal and not on preventing pollution. To help industry realize source reduction opportunities, technical assistance and information on source reduction technologies and practices are needed. Congress tasked EPA with the job of providing this assistance by setting up a source reduction program to collect and disseminate information and provide financial assistance to States.
Definition of Source Reduction
Section 13102 of the PPA defines source reduction as any practice which:
reduces the amount of any hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant entering any waste stream or otherwise released into the environment (including fugitive emissions) prior to recycling, treatment, or disposal; and reduces the hazards to public health and the environment associated with the release of such substances, pollutants, or contaminants. The term includes equipment or technology modifications, process or procedure modifications, reformulation or redesign of products, substitution of raw materials, and improvements in housekeeping, maintenance, training, or inventory control. The term "source reduction" does not include any practice which alters the physical, chemical, or biological characteristics or the volume of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant through a process or activity which itself is not integral to and necessary for the production of a product or the providing of a service.
Source Reduction and Recycling Data Collection
Pursuant to section 13106 of the PPA, an owner or operator required to file a toxic chemical release report under section 313 of the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) must also include a source reduction and recycling report for the preceding calendar year. This report must be done on a facility-by-facility basis for each reported chemical and should include information such as the following: (1) quantity of the chemical entering any waste stream prior to recycling, treatment or disposal; (2) amount recycled, burned for energy recovery, and treated on-site and off-site; (3) source reduction methods used; and (4) methods used to identify opportunities for source reduction.
Executive Order 12586
Executive Order (E.O.) 12856, Federal Compliance with Right-to-Know Laws and Pollution Prevention Requirements (published August 6, 1993, 58 FR 41981), directs federal agencies and their facilities to comply with the provisions of EPCRA and the PPA. Thus, all DOE facilities, including national laboratories, research facilities, power administrations, and petroleum reserves are potential reporters under EPCRA. Also, if they meet any reporting thresholds, they would be required to comply with section 13106 of the PPA. Please click here to view a copy of E.O. 12856.