Environmental Protection:

Interim Actions to Better Control Cement Kiln Dust

RCED-95-192: Published: Aug 14, 1995. Publicly Released: Aug 30, 1995.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) decisionmaking process with respect to regulating cement kiln dust, focusing on: (1) EPA priorities in making its kiln dust determination; (2) whether EPA is authorized to modify hazardous waste management requirements in regulating cement kiln dust; (3) whether EPA believes that cement kilns burning hazardous waste should be regulated the same as those not burning hazardous waste; and (4) whether interim actions can be taken to control cement kiln dust.

GAO found that EPA: (1) does not give as high a priority to making a cement kiln dust determination as developing standards for other wastes considered to be of higher risk; (2) has the statutory authority to modify its hazardous waste regulations to control cement kiln dust as long as the regulations adequately protect human health and the environment; (3) believes that cement kiln dust from both types of kilns could adversely affect human health and the environment, if improperly managed; (4) has not yet determined whether it will subject the dust from the two types of kilns to the same regulations; and (5) is considering interim actions to control cement kiln dust, such as making greater use of existing regulatory authority to enforce controls over the dust and entering into an agreement with the cement kiln industry to impose additional controls over the dust.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: EPA's Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response (OSWER) developed a plan for announcing the availability of the risk-screening database. On November 9, 1995, OSWER sent letters regarding the plan to officials in EPA's regional offices and state agencies, notifying them of the database and how to obtain copies of industry-wide risk-screening information.

    Recommendation: The Administrator, EPA, should provide to EPA regional officials and state enforcement officials the risk-screening and site-specific risk-modeling information developed during its study of cement kiln dust so they can use this information to determine whether interim actions are needed to protect human health and the environment.

    Agency Affected: Environmental Protection Agency


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