The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will soon rule on a question of keen interest to cement manufacturers: What to do about cement kiln dust (CKD)? Although considered relatively harmless, this by-product of portland cement manufacturing may soon face similar resitrictions as other more dangerous materials.
Since 1980, CKD has been exempt from regulation as a hazardous waste pending an EPA report to Congress and subsequent regulatory action. The EPA, however, did not complete its report by the 1983 deadline. Delays kept the report out of Congress' hands until December 1993.
Now EPA officials have until June 30 to decide if and how to regulate CKD. In it's report to Congress, EPA offered five possible options:
1. Retain the CKD exemption.
2. Retain the exemption, but discuss recycling, reducing and monitoring of waste.
3. Remove the exemption but delay implementation to allow the industry time to employ prevention options.
4. Remove the CKD exemption and rely on existing hazardous waste rules to control CKD.
5. Promulgate regulatory standards for managing CKD waste.
Because everyone, including the EPA, admits that CKD exhibits low toxicity and poses minimal risks, the first option may be viable. Under these conditions, any regulations would be up to the states. In its report to Congress, the EPA concluded that "risks associated with CDK management are generally low; however, there is a potential under certain circumstances for CKD to psoe a danger to human health and environment, and it may do so in the future."