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EPA/OLEM RIN: 2050-AH24 Publication ID: Fall 2023 
Title: Revisions to Standards for the Open Burning/Open Detonation of Waste Explosives  

This rulemaking will consider revisions to the regulations that allow for the open burning and detonation (OB/OD) of waste explosives. The allowance or "variance” to the prohibition on the open burning of hazardous waste was established at a time when there were no alternatives to the safe treatment of waste explosives. However, recent findings from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine and the EPA have  identified  safe alternatives that are  potentially available to many energetic/explosive waste streams. Because there are potential safe alternatives in use today that capture and treat emissions prior to release, the EPA is considering revising regulations to promote the broader use of these alternatives, where applicable. As part of the rule development process, EPA has held two rounds of engagement with states, territories, tribes, environmental and community groups, and owners/operators of OB/OD units.

Agency: Environmental Protection Agency(EPA)  Priority: Other Significant 
RIN Status: Previously published in the Unified Agenda Agenda Stage of Rulemaking: Proposed Rule Stage 
Major: Undetermined  Unfunded Mandates: Undetermined 
CFR Citation: 40 CFR 264 and 265   
Legal Authority: 40 CFR 131    42 U.S.C. 6924   
Legal Deadline:  None

Statement of Need:

Technological advances have been made since the 1980 Interim Status regulations were issued that banned the open burning of hazardous wastes but created an exception to allow open burning/open detonation (OB/OD) of waste explosives due to a lack of other safe modes of treatment. In 2019, EPA and the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine published reports documenting safe and available alternative treatment technologies that could potentially be used in lieu of OB/OD.

Summary of the Legal Basis:

The proposed rule would be established under the authority of the Solid Waste Disposal Act of 1970, as amended by the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act of 1976 (RCRA), as amended by the Hazardous and Solid Waste Amendments of 1984 (HWSA).


Based on recent information regarding availability of safe alternatives, we are revising the existing regulation to explicitly state how a demonstration of eligibility must be made.

Anticipated Costs and Benefits:

The Agency will evaluate anticipated costs and benefits as part of the rule development process


The Agency will evaluate risk reductions and impacts as part of the rule development process. It is currently early in the process to make such determinations.

Action Date FR Cite
NPRM  11/00/2023 
Final Rule  09/00/2024 
Additional Information: .
Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: No  Government Levels Affected: Federal, Local, State 
Federalism: Undetermined 
Included in the Regulatory Plan: Yes 
Sectors Affected: 325920 Explosives Manufacturing; 56221 Waste Treatment and Disposal; 562211 Hazardous Waste Treatment and Disposal; 56291 Remediation Services; 562910 Remediation Services; 926150 Regulation, Licensing, and Inspection of Miscellaneous Commercial Sectors 
RIN Data Printed in the FR: No 
Agency Contact:
Paul Diss
Environmental Protection Agency
Office of Land and Emergency Management
1200 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Mail Code 5303T,
Washington, DC 20460
Phone:202 566-0321

Sasha Gerhard
Environmental Protection Agency
Office of Land and Emergency Management
1200 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Mail Code 5304T,
Washington, DC 20460
Phone:202 566-0346
Fax:703 308-8686