Innovative treatment technologies are in increasing demand to clean up the nation's existing environmental contamination. There also are mounting pressures for industry to minimize the production or generation of hazardous pollutants. Bioremediation is a viable, cost-effective treatment option for both field remediation and treatment in enclosed systems. The use of innovative treatment technologies is largely regulatory driven. Over the last two decades, at least a dozen Federal environmental statutes have been enacted and hundreds of regulations implemented to control releases of pollutants into the air, water and on land. These statutes not only have created markets for the use of treatment technologies, they also may regulate some aspect of the application of that technology. Regarding bioremediation, four statutes should be reviewed to determine if compliance is necessary before employing microorganisms in the field or in enclosed systems. This paper summarizes the Federal statutes (i.e., the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA); the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA); the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA); and the Federal Plant Pest Act (FPPA], and regulations that may impact the bioremediation industry; outlines potential markets for bioremediation that are being driven by regulations; and highlights, within the regulatory framework, promising applications for the bioremediation of hazardous wastes.
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