Small Waste Incineration Plant SWIP Regulations

Small Waste Incineration Plant

Small Waste Incineration Plant historically burned wastes as means of disposal or recovery, however, the implementation of the SWIP Regulations and the Industrial Emissions Directive (IED) made it clear that very few categories of waste are permitted to be burned to that end.

To ensure that pollutant emissions are controlled and minimised, wastes have to be incinerated under specific combustion conditions to meet regulatory requirements. Simply burning waste does not give sufficient control and will usually lead to elevated concentrations of hazardous pollutants.

What Are SWIP Regulations?

The regulation of larger scale incinerators (processing>10T/day hazardous and/or 3T/hour non-hazardous waste) has long been covered by Section 5.1 (Part A) of the Environmental Permitting Regulations (EPR) and Chapter IV of IED (and previously the Waste Incineration Directive (WID)).

Due to changes in regulations/guidance and position statements of regulators/industry bodies, a number of smaller, existing plants have been born into the definition of waste incineration.
In 2013, Section 5.1 of EPR was amended to remove part A2 activities and reclassify Part B activities to specify exactly which waste products could be incinerated in plant with a capacity of combusting >50kg/hr (~0.25MW). A list of wastes that do not fall under the definitions in IED can be burned in Part B plants (up to a specific capacity (3MW)).
Wastes that may contain halogenated organic compounds and/or heavy metals do fall under IED definitions and therefore cannot be burned in Part B plants. To plug this gap, Schedule 13 of the 2016 update to EPR was tightened up to capture plants that were required to incinerate their waste but did not meet the capacity requirements of Chapter 5.1 Part A activities; Small Waste Incinerator Plants (SWIP).

As a basic rule of thumb, for combustion plant of the appropriate capacity (>50kg/hr – 3T/hr or 10T/day (hazardous)), those processing only virgin/uncontaminated waste can be classified as Part B and regulated under EPR Chapter 5.1 and those processing contaminated or hazardous waste need to be classified as a Small Waste Incineration Plant and regulated under Schedule 13 of EPR.

Due to the potential for elevated emissions of hazardous pollutants from combusting contaminated or hazardous waste, there is far stricter SWIP Regulations and greater monitoring obligations imposed on operators of such plants than there is for Part B plant operators burning uncontaminated wastes.

Operators of plant that now fall under the requirements of Schedule 13 of EPR are required to obtain an EPR Permit from their regulating authority to operate their process. This may mean a transfer of operation from an existing permit or indeed the application for a brand new one.

Once a permit is obtained, the on-going monitoring obligations will usually include the requirement for both frequent periodic and continuous monitoring of various pollutants including, heavy metals, dioxins and furans, chlorides and fluorides, combustion gases, particulates and volatile organic compounds.

Upfront costs for continuous monitoring equipment and on-going periodic monitoring exercises should be an important consideration for operators of such plants as their obligations on this front are almost identical to those operating large scale waste incineration plants.


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