Introduction & Background

Over the past few months, certain companies have requested exemptions from the TURA planning process because they believe they do not have any reasonable TUR options at their facilities.

For instance, companies which repackage chemicals do not believe they have any viable TUR options except to institute additional spill control procedures. Other process changes to increase the efficacy of chemical repackaging are not available or have already been done. Or, alternately, reductions in chemical use would interfere with the success of their business.

Similarly, companies which use chemicals in a product formulation that is patented or has a mandated ingredient list believe they have limited TUR options other inventory and spill controls.

This memo addresses the concerns of this group of companies. It explains the requirements of the TURA plan that apply to these companies.

TURA Plan Requirements

The TURA Plan has a number of required components including the:

  • Management policy
  • Scope of the Plan
  • Employee Participation
  • Process Characterization
  • Cost of Toxics
  • Identification, Technical and Economic Evaluation, Implementation of TUR options

Though the TURA law can not grant relief from the planning requirements, companies with limited TUR options, by extension, will have more limited plans than those with more TUR options.

As such, a "limited" TUR plan would include the facility-wide portions of the plan -- management policy, scope of the plan, statement of employee participation -- and the production unit/chemical specific parts of the plan -- process characterization, cost of toxics and a very limited section for identification, technical and economic evaluation and implementation of TUR options. Please review the Massachusetts TURA Planning Guidance for more information on the content of the TUR plan.

The difference between a plan for companies with "limited" vs. more extensive TUR options is in the section for identification, technical and economic evaluation and implementation of TUR options.

The Massachusetts TURA Planning Guidance discusses options identification and the subsequent determination of whether a TUR option is "appropriate" based on whether the option is:

  • Toxics Use Reduction;
  • Clearly technically infeasible; or
  • Clearly economically infeasible.

Companies with "limited" TUR options must go through the brainstorming process to identify all possible TUR options. We also recommend calling the Office of Technical Assistance to discuss possible TUR options. Sometimes companies have learned of TUR options which might be appropriate that have worked for other companies.

Once the identification process is done, companies may find that there are few viable options for improving the efficiency of chemical use and/or reducing waste or substituting the chemical used in the process.

If the options identified meet the criteria above, that is, they are not TUR, or are clearly not technically or economically feasible, then they are "inappropriate" and no additional technical or economic analysis is necessary. To reach the decision of whether an option meets these criteria, an evaluation as simple as a back of the envelope calculation or best engineering judgement may suffice. In determining if a TUR option is inappropriate, a company need only document the decision with a sentence to a paragraph in the plan.

Any options that are "appropriate" would go through further technical and economic evaluation. At any time in the evaluation, if any of the above criteria are met, then the company may stop their evaluation. If the criteria are never met, the company must decide if an "appropriate" option will be implemented or if it will be rejected due to lack of funds, priority, risk etc.