Mercury Emissions From The Disposal of Fluorescent Lamps


Courtesy of US EPA - Environmental Protection Agency

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is making available to the public a study containing information relating to its Proposed Rule addressing the management of mercury-containing lamps under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act Subtitle C hazardous waste management system published in the Federal Register on July 27, 1994, 59 FR 39288. The study consists of an electronic model and report that provides an assessment of mercury emissions from the management of mercury-containing lamps under different approaches, including two that were discussed in the Proposed Rule: A conditional exclusion from hazardous waste regulations and adding lamps to Universal Waste regulations (May 11, 1995, 60 FR 25542).

Report, Modeling Software, and Users Guide

The disposal of mercury-containing fluorescent lamps and the status of these lamps under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) is controversial. Most fluorescent lamps contain quantities of mercury sufficient to fail the Toxicity Characteristic (TC) and are, therefore, hazardous wastes under RCRA. However, many generators do not recognize that lamps can be hazardous waste, and do not manage lamps as hazardous waste. In addition, not all lamps are subject to hazardous waste regulations (i.e., household lamps and lamps generated by conditionally exempt small quantity generators).

In the 1994 proposal, the Agency identified uncertainties regarding the amount of mercury released from spent fluorescent lamps in the waste management system. The Agency requested information on, among other things, the amount of mercury released from broken mercury-containing lamps and the air transport of mercury from lamps. The Agency has also requested comment on best management practices and controls that might best prevent releases of mercury to the environment under both options. Since the proposal, EPA has continued to compile and analyze information provided by industry and other interested parties on mercury emissions from spent fluorescent lamps. Three items are contained in this document:

The electronic Mercury Emissions Model (LampHg)
A User's Guide To The Mercury Emissions Model
Mercury Emissions From The Disposal of Fluorescent Lamps
The Mercury Emissions Model is an electronic analytical tool designed to estimate mercury emissions from the disposal of fluorescent lamps, under alternative disposal scenarios. This electronic model requires no special software but the user must have a PC compatible machine (486 or better) with at least 25 megabytes of free hard drive space, and a color monitor.

The document, A User's Guide To The Mercury Emissions Model, presents instructions on how to use the basic features of the model. It is intended for those who wish to use the model an are unfamiliar with relational databases. The Guide covers installing (from the CD-ROM) and running the model, running data diagnostics, selecting scenarios, report menu, graph menu, edit data menu, and calculating emissions from selected scenarios.

The document, Mercury Emissions From The Disposal of Fluorescent Lamps, presents the methodology, data, and assumptions applied in the development of the Mercury Emissions Model. The objective of the Report is to ensure users understand Model functions and outputs. The Report describes inputs into the model for estimating mercury emissions during waste management and disposal activities. It also discusses inputs for estimating the energy savings from using high-efficiency T8 lamps, and effects on mercury emissions from electric utilities. The Report presents estimates for lamp mercury emissions under the baseline and options, including annual and cumulative mercury lamp disposal emissions, and net emissions. In addition, the Report discusses sensitivity runs conducted to evaluate the extent to which selected input assumptions affect disposal emissions. The Report also discusses key model limitations.

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