EPA rapped on lethal-waste plan

An odd partnership of businesses and environmentalists is reacting strongly to the Environmental Protection Agency's plan to suspend for 90 days the federal ban on burying drums of hazardous liquid chemical waste. The EPA proposed a new rule that would allow up to 25 percent of landfills to be used for dumping of liquid waste containers.

The Hazardous Waste Treatment Council, which represents companies that specialize in disposing of chemical waste by means other than landfills, filed suit in federal court to block the action.

Marvin Durning, an assistant EPA administrator during the Carter administration, said the 90-day suspension will probably turn out to be an indefinite one because of the length of the rulemaking process.

In filing suit on behalf of the council, Mr. Durning said there are millions of gallons of stored hazardous waste that could now be buried, because EPA has created ''a 3,000-mile-wide loophole.''

In announcing its action last week, the EPA said the ban on burying containers of liquid waste ''has drawn complaints from hazardous waste generators and facility owners and operators that the rule is unworkable and overly costly.''

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