EAST LIVERPOOL, Ohio (AP) _ A hazardous-waste incinerator that environmentalists had fought for 12 years began limited commercial operation Monday after winning state approval.

Final approval for full operation of the Waste Technologies Industries plant is being held up until it repeats part of a test that it previously had problems with. That approval won't come until the test results are analyzed, a process that will likely take several months.

Supporters say the plant, on the Ohio River near the Pennsylvania and West Virginia state lines, will bring badly needed jobs to the economically depressed area. Environmentalists say it will pollute the countryside.

The test WTI must repeat is intended to determine a minimum temperature for burning certain liquid wastes. Until then, the plant will be subject to technical restrictions, said Jennifer Nichols, spokeswoman for the state Environmental Protection Agency, which approved the limited operation.

The restrictions limit the plant to feeding organic sludges into the incinerator at a rate under 8,000 pounds per hour. The feed rate for any material may not exceed 17,700 pounds per hour.

The U.S. EPA gave the eastern Ohio incinerator approval for limited operations on April 6.

But the federal agency said Monday that at the time, it wasn't aware of a letter from WTI outlining problems with the test. The EPA also said it was placing additional restrictions on the plant, barring the burning of water- based wastes and reducing the maximum feed rate.

Plant spokeswoman Carol Cookerly said it could be several weeks before the test is repeated.

She said the plant began its first step in commercial operation, burning natural gas, at 3 p.m. Monday. Hazardous-waste burning was to start after that, but plant officials couldn't be reached Monday night to confirm that it did. Messages were left with a guard at the plant; there was no home telephone listing for Ms. Cookerly.

Scott Sederstrom, spokesman for the environmental group Greenpeace, said the plant failed to meet regulators' minimum standards, which he says are too lenient in any event.

''This is not like a drivers' license test or the SATs. There are major consequences for failing this test,'' Sederstrom said.