Hazardous Waste Class Definitions Part 2

On Tuesday we covered the first three classes of hazardous waste classes including explosives, gasses, and flammable liquids. Today, we are going to cover the remaining 6 classes as well as the ORM (other regulated materials) definitions. To refresh your memory, a hazard class is the category of hazard assigned to a hazardous material under the definitional criteria of 49 CFR Part 173 and the provisions of the HMT at §172.101. A material may meet the defining criteria for more than one hazard class but is assigned to only one hazard class. That said, read on for the definitional criteria of classes 4-9.

Class 4  

  • Division 4.1 – Flammable Solid – Explosives wetted with sufficient water, alcohol, or plasticizer to explosive properties that when dry are Class 1 explosives and self-reactive explosives that are liable to undergo at normal or elevated temperatures a strongly exothermal decomposition caused by high transport temperatures or by contamination. Also included in this definition are readily combustible solids that may cause a fire through friction, have a burning rate faster than 2.2 mm (0.087 inches) per second, or any ignitable metal powders. Ref. 173.124(a).
  • Division 4.2 – Spontaneously combustible materials – Includes pyrophoric material, which is a liquid or solid that even in small quantities and without an external ignition source can ignite within five minutes after coming into contact with air; and self-heating material, which is liable to self-heat when it comes into contact with air even without an energy source. Ref. 173.124(b).
  • Division 4.3 – Dangerous when wet materials – A material that by contact with water is liable to become spontaneously flammable or to give off flammable or toxic gas at a rate greater than one liter per kilogram of the material per hour. Ref. 173.124(c).

Class 5  

  • Division 5.1 – Oxidizer – A material that may by yielding oxygen cause or enhance the combustion of other materials. Ref. 173.127(a).
  • Division 5.2 – Organic peroxide – Any organic compound containing oxygen in the bivalent -O-O structure and which may be considered a derivative of hydrogen peroxide where one or more of the hydrogen atoms have been replaced by organic radicals, must be classed as an organic peroxide unless: it classifies as an explosive; the predominant hazard of the material is other than from an organic peroxide; the material is forbidden for transport; or the material will not pose a hazard in transport. Ref. 173.128(a).

Class 6  

  • Division 6.1 – Poisonous materials – A material, other than a gas, which is known to be so toxic to humans as to afford a hazard to health during transportation; or the material is presumed to be toxic because there is evidence of oral, dermal, and/or inhalation toxicity in laboratory animals. Ref. 173.132(a).
  • Division 6.2 – Infectious substance or etiologic agent – A viable microorganism, or its toxin, which causes or may cause disease in humans or animals. Ref. 173.134(a).

Class 7  

  • Radioactive Material – Any material, or combination of materials, that spontaneously emits ionizing radiation, and having a specific activity greater than 0.002 microcuries per gram. Ref. 173.403.

Class 8  

  • Corrosive Material – A liquid or solid that causes visible destruction or irreversible alterations in human skin tissue at the site of contact, or a liquid that has a severe corrosion rate on steel or aluminum. Ref. 173.136(a).

Class 9  

  • Miscellaneous hazardous material – A material that presents a hazard during transport but is not included in any other hazard class. Ref. 173.140(a) and (b).

ORM – Other Regulated Materials – A material such as a consumer commodity that, though otherwise subject to DOT regulations, presents a limited hazard during transportation due to its form, quantity and packaging. Ref. 173.144.

Hazardous Waste Class Definitions

In our RCRA training programs, we provide information about the different hazard classes and their divisions, each division has a specific definition of what constitutes that type of material. A hazard class is the category of hazard assigned to a hazardous material under the definitional criteria of 49 CFR Part 173 and the provisions of the HMT at §172.101. A material may meet the defining criteria for more than one hazard class but is assigned to only one hazard class. The nine (9) hazard classes, numbered 1-9, are defined at 49 CFR Part 173. Of these nine classes, some are further broken down into divisions. For your reference, we will be defining these classes and divisions this week. Classes 1-3 are defined below, look for 4-8 on Thursday!

Class 1 – Explosives – Any substance, article, or device, which is designed to function by explosion, i.e., an extremely rapid release of gas and heat, or by chemical reaction within itself is able to function in a similar manner even if not designed to function by explosion, unless such substance or article is otherwise specifically classified.

  • Division 1.1 – Consists of explosives that have a mass explosion hazard. A mass explosion is one which affects almost the entire load instantaneously. (Formerly Class A explosives prior to Jan. 1, 1991). Ref. 173.50(b)(1).
  • Division 1.2 – Consists of explosives that have a projection hazard but not a mass explosion hazard. (Formerly Class A or Class B explosives). Ref. 173.50(b)(2).
  • Division 1.3 – Consists of explosives that have a fire hazard and either a minor blast hazard or minor projection hazard or both, but not a mass explosion hazard. (Formerly Class B explosives). Ref. 173.50(b)(3).
  • Division 1.4 – Consists of explosive devices that present a minor explosion hazard. No device in this division may contain more than 25 g (0.9 ounces) of a detonating material. (Formerly Class C explosives.) Ref. 173.50(b)(4).
  • Division 1.5 – Consists of very insensitive explosives. This division comprises substances which have a mass explosion hazard but are so insensitive that there is very little probability of initiation or of transition from burning to detonation under normal conditions of transport. (Formerly Blasting Agents.) Ref. 173.50(b)(5).
  • Division 1.6 – Consists of extremely insensitive articles which do not have a mass explosive hazard. This division comprises articles which contain only extremely insensitive detonating materials with negligible probability of accidental initiation or propagation. (No previous applicable hazard class.) Ref. 173.50(b)(6).

Class 2 

  • Division 2.1 – Flammable Gas – Material that is a gas at 20°C (68°F) or less and 101.3kPa (14.7 psi) of pressure or a material which has a boiling point of 20°C or less at 101.3 kPa, which is ignitable at 101.3 kPa of pressure when in a mixture of 13 percent or less by volume of air; or has a flammable range at 101.3 kPa with air of at least 12 percent regardless of the lower limit. Ref. 173.115(a).
  • Division 2.2 – Non-flammable, non-poisonous compressed gas – including compressed gas, liquefied gas, pressurized cryogenic gas, and compressed gas in solution. Any material which exerts pressure of 280 kPa (41 psi) at 20°C and does not meet the definition of Division 2.1 or 2.3. Ref. 173.115(b).
  • Division 2.3 – Poisonous Gas – A material which is a gas at 20°C or less and a pressure of 101.3 kPa and which is a material known to be toxic to humans or is presumed to be toxic to laboratory animals and therefore poses a hazard to health during transportation. Ref. 173.115(c).

Class 3

  • Flammable Liquid – Any liquid having a flashpoint of not more than 60°C (140°F), with certain exceptions. Ref. 173.120(a).
  • Combustible Liquid – Any liquid that has a flashpoint above 60°C (140°F) and below 93°C (200°F) and does not meet the definition of any other hazard class. Ref. 173.120(b).

Common Hazardous Waste Acronyms and Abbreviations

If I were going to stick with the old saying, I would say that “if you had told me a few years ago that I would one day have a job that required me to look up RCRA waste regulations on a regular basis I would have laughed in your face.” In reality though, I probably would have asked you what RCRA even stood for (for the record, it’s the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act).

Since working in this field I have realized that outside of those of us who deal with it on a regular basis, many people don’t know what the different abbreviations and acronyms associated with waste regulations and recycling. Luckily, at one of our RCRA courses I was given the following list of “Common Hazardous Material/Waste Acronyms and Recognized Abbreviations.”  Hopefully you will find the list as helpful as I do!

  • ACM – Asbestos Containing Material
  • AST – Aboveground Storage Tank
  • BDAT – Best Demonstrated Available Technology
  • BIF – Boiler & Industrial Furnaces
  • CAMU – Corrective Action Management Unit
  • CAS RN – Chemical Abstracts Service Registry Number
  • CERCLA – Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, & Liability Act (“Super-fund”)
  • CERCLIS – Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, & Liability Information System (Inventory), formerly the ERRIS List
  • CESQG – Conditionally Exempt Small Quantity Generator
  • CFR  – Code of Federal Regulations
  • 40 CFR – Protection of the Environment – U.S. EPA
  • 49 CFR – Transportation – U.S. DOT
  • 29 CFR – General Industry Standards – OSHA
  • CHEMTREC – Chemical Transportation Emergency Center (CMA)
  • CKD – Cement Kiln Dust
  • CMA – Chemical Manufacturers Association
  • CMBST – Combustion: Incineration/Fuel Substitution (Specified Technology Treatment Standard)
  • CMS – Corrective Measures Study
  • CWA – Clean Water Act
  • CWT – Centralized Waste Treatment Industry
  • DEACT – Deactivate (Specified Technology Treatment Standard)
  • DOT – U.S. Department of Transportation
  • EPA – U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
  • EPCRA – Emergency Planning & Community Right to Know Act (Title III of SARA)
  • FR – Federal Register
  • HHW – Household Hazardous Wastes
  • HMT – Hazardous Materials Table (49 CFR 172.101)
  • HMTA – Hazardous Materials Transportation Act
  • HOC – Halogenated Organic Compound (Appendix III of 40 CFR Part 268)
  • HSWA – Hazardous & Solid Waste Amendments of 1984 (to RCRA)
  • HTMR – High Temperature Metal Recovery
  • HWIR – Hazardous Waste Identification Rule
  • HWM – Hazardous Waste Management
  • LDR – Land Disposal Restrictions
  • LQG – Large Quantity Generator
  • MCL – Maximum Contaminant Level
  • MSDS – Material Safety Data Sheet
  • NCP – National Oil & Hazardous Substances Pollution Contingency Plan (National Contingency Plan – 40 CFR Part 300)
  • NIOSH – National Institute for Occupational Safety & Health
  • Non WW – Non-Wastewater (category)
  • Nos – Not Otherwise Specified
  • NPDES -National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System
  • NPL – National Priorities List
  • NRC – National Response Center
  • O/O – Owner/Operator
  • ORM – Other Regulated Material
  • OSHA – U.S. Occupational Safety & Health Administration
  • PCB – Polychlorinated Biphenyl
  • PEL – Permissible Exposure Limit
  • POTW – Publicly Owned Treatment Works (Sewage Treatment Plant)
  • PRP – Potentially Responsible Party (often Responsible Party (RP))
  • RCRA – Resource Conservation & Recovery Act of 1976
  • RFA/RFI – RCRA Facility Assessment/RCRA Facility Investigation
  • RI/FS – Remedial Investigation/Feasibility Study
  • RORGS – Recovery of Organics (Specified Technology Treatment Standard)
  • RQ – Reportable Quantity
  • RSPA – Research & Special Programs Administration (DOT)
  • SARA – Superfund Amendments & Reauthorization Act of 1986 (to CERCLA)
  • SDWA – Safe Drinking Water Act
  • SIC – Standard Industrial Classification (Code)
  • SPCC – Spill Prevention Control & Countermeasures (Plan)
  • SQG – Small Quantity Generator
  • SWDA – Solid Waste Disposal Act (RCRA Predecessor)
  • SWMU – Solid Waste Management Unit (often SMU)
  • SW-846 – Test Methods for Solid Waste: Physical/Chemical Methods
  • TAR – Toxics Along for the Ride
  • TC – Toxicity Characteristic
  • TCLP – Toxicity Characteristic Leaching Procedure
  • TLV – Threshold Limit Value
  • TPH – Total Petroleum Hydrocarbons
  • TRI – Toxic Release Inventory
  • TSCA – Toxic Substances Control Act
  • TSD – Treatment, Storage, or Disposal Facility (often TSDF)
  • UHC – Underlying Hazardous Constituents
  • UHWM – Uniform Hazardous Waste Manifest
  • UIC – Underground Injection Control
  • UST – Underground Storage Tank
  • UTS – Universal Treatment Standards
  • VOC – Volatile Organic Compound (Chemical)
  • WW – Wastewater (category)
  • WWT – Wastewater Treatment

10 Steps to Uniform Hazardous Waste Manifest Completion

This is another excerpt taken from our RCRA training literature. The following is a good list of steps to take to ensure proper hazardous waste manifest completion.

1. Complete all federally required information.

2. Complete the state required information, if any, for the TSD state.

3. Complete the state required information, if any, for the generator’s state.

4. Complete TSD specific information, if any. (For example: a TSD may require waste stream numbers).

5. Review the manifest. Is all information complete and correct? Are all copies legible?

6. Read the generator’s certification and sign the manifest.

7. Complete, review, and sign LDR form, as applicable.

8. Have the first transporter sign the acknowledgement of receipt of materials. Be sure to check that the vehicle placarding and container labels are correct, check container counts and agree with driver.

9. Remove appropriate copies of the manifest. Retain a copy of the LDR, as applicable.

10. File appropriate copies of manifest, a copy of LDR form, and additional documents.

Some Additional Tips

  • After the initial completion of the manifest and subsequent signatures and changes, check to make certain all marks are legible on all copies.
  • Maintain a log, either written or by computer, to track open manifests and manifest document numbers.
  • Corrections that are made should be accompanied by initials and date (ASM 6/30/06). Corrections in type and quantity require contact between the generator and TSD. If these corrections are made by telephone, both parties should date and initial the change.
  • All changes should be made by line out and initials (F006 D008 ASM 6/30/94). Do not use correction tapes or liquids.
  • Maintain a working relationship with government agencies.

15 Point Summary: Containerized Hazardous Waste Regulations

The following list of regulatory requirements for containerized hazardous wastes is taken from the supplimental information included in our RCRA training seminar booklets. While these points serve as a good summary, it is important to remember to be vigilant on keeping up to date with both national and state regulations.

1. Containers used for holding hazardous waste must be in good condition. If the container becomes damaged, deteriorated or begins to leak, the wastes should be transferred to a container that is in good condition.

2. Containers used for holding hazardous waste must not be deteriorated by the waste. The container or liner must be compatible with the wastes to be stored.

3. Each container must be labeled or marked clearly with the words “Hazardous Waste”.

4. The accumulation start date for each container is to be marked clearly on each container. The accumulation start date marking must be visible for inspection.

5. Containers holding hazardous wastes must always be closed during storage. The only time containers can be opened is to add or remove waste.

6. Containers holding hazardous wastes are to be managed to avoid rupturing or damaging the container, or otherwise causing the container to leak.

7. Areas where ignitable or reactive wastes are stored should be located at least 50 feet from the facility property line.

8. Ignitable or reactive wastes are to be separated and protected from sources of ignition or reaction (e.g., open flames, smoking, cutting, welding, hot surfaces, frictional heat, sparks, and radiant heat).

9. “No Smoking” signs are to be posted wherever there is a hazard from ignitable or reactive wastes.

10. Incompatible wastes, or incompatible wastes and materials must not be placed in the same container for storage purposes. Further, hazardous waste cannot be placed in an unwashed container that previously held an incompatible waste or material.

11. Incompatible hazardous wastes and hazardous wastes incompatible with nearby materials must be separated or protected from each other by means of a dike, berm, wall, or separated by sufficient distance.

12. Emergency equipment is required to be available at each accumulation area. We recomend the following:

  • a.) Internal communications or alarm
  • b.) Telephone or two-way radio
  • c.) Portable fire extinguishers
  • d.) Fire control equipment
  • e.) Spill control equipment
  • f.) Decontamination equipment
  • g.) Water at adequate volume and pressure

For a list of the federally required equipment check 40CFR §265.32.

13. Adequate aisle space in the container storage area is to be maintained to allow unobstructed movement in response to an emergency, as well as to perform weekly inspections.

14. Weekly inspections must be made of container storage areas, looking for leaks or other evidence of actual or pending releases.

15. Containerized wastes are to be shipped to off-site (commercial) Hazardous Waste Management (HWM) facilities within 90 days of the accumulation start date. Small Quantity Generators (100-1000 kg/mo category) are allowed 180 day accumulation period. The SQG accumulation period is extended to 270 days when the wastes are shipped to HWM facilities that are over 200 miles from the SQG.

Solid Waste Recycling Exemptions

40 CFR defines solid waste as “any discarded material that is not excluded under §261.4(a) or that is not excluded by a variance granted under §260.30 and §260.31 or that is not excluded by a non- waste determination under §260.30 and §260.34.” Additionally, discarded material is, “any material which is: (A) Abandoned… (B) Recycled…(C) Considered inherently waste-like, …or (D) A military munition identified as a solid waste in §266.202.” This makes everything perfectly clear, right? Relative fuzziness aside, what I want to talk about today is the 40 CFR 261.2 recycling exemptions as they relate to solid wastes.

There are five types of material that can be considered for recycling exemptions:

  1. Spent materials – The EPA defines spent materials as “any material that has been used and as a result of contamination can no longer serve the purpose for which it was produced without processing.”
  2. Sludges – According to the EPA, a sludge is “any solid, semi-solid, or liquid waste generated from a municipal, commercial, or industrial wastewater treatment plant, water supply treatment plant, or air pollution control facility exclusive of the treated effluent from a wastewater treatment plant.”
  3. Byproducts – “A byproduct is a material that is not one of the primary products of a production process and is not solely or separately produced by the production process. Examples are process residues such as slags or distillation column bottoms. The term does not include a co-product that is produced for the general public’s use and is ordinarily used in the form it is produced by the process.”
  4. Commercial chemical products – These products are not being used but have not been spent for an intended purpose.
  5. Scrap metal

These five materials can have recycling exemptions in four different ways:

  1. Use constituting disposal – Used in a manner constituting disposal
  2. Burning waste or waste fuels for energy recovery or using wastes to produce a fuel.
  3. Reclamation of wastes – According to the EPA, “A material is reclaimed if it is processed to recover a usable product, or if it is regenerated. Examples are recovery of lead values from spent batteries and regeneration of spent solvents.”
  4. Speculative accumulation – This is one of the more detailed recycling exemptions.  According to the EPA, “A material is accumulated speculatively if it is accumulated before being recycled. A material is not accumulated speculatively, however, if the person accumulating it can show that the material is potentially recyclable and has a feasible means of being recycled; and that—during the calendar year (commencing on January 1)—the amount of material that is recycled, or transferred to a different site for recycling, equals at least 75 percent by weight or volume of the amount of that material accumulated at the beginning of the period.” More information about this can be found in 40 CFR §261.1.

Recycling exemptions are just a small portion of possible exceptions. Always check 40 CFR and state regulations for full information.

Characteristics of Hazardous Waste

In the past we’ve discussed what hazardous waste is defined as. Today, I’d like to focus on the different characteristics hazardous waste may possess. These characteristics help us understand what the waste is capable of/how it poses a danger. We discussed some aspects of these characteristics in our Household Hazardous Wastes eBook but today I hope to delve further into them.

There are four basic characteristics to look at; ignitability, corrosivity, reactivity, and toxicity.

Ignitability – According to the EPA, “Ignitable wastes can create fires under certain conditions, are spontaneously combustible, or have a flash point less than 60 °C (140 °F). Examples include waste oils and used solvents.” A flash point is the lowest temperature at which a substance can evaporate enough to produce sufficient vapor to form an ignitable mixture with the air.

Ignitable wastes can be broken down into two categories, solids, and liquids. As stated above, flash point is the most important things to remember when it comes to ignitable liquids. You have to consider other things with solids though. Non liquid ignitables are capable under standard temperature and pressure of causing fire through friction, absorption of moisture, or spontaneous chemical changes. If ignited, these wastes will burn so vigorously and persistently that they create a hazardous situation.

Corrosivity – According to the EPA, “Corrosive wastes are acids or bases (pH less than or equal to 2, or greater than or equal to 12.5) that are capable of corroding metal containers, such as storage tanks, drums, and barrels. Battery acid is an example.” A corrosive can cause skin damage to people and significantly corrode metal. A corrosive hazardous material can be either liquid or solid.

Reactivity – The EPA defines reactive wastes as, “wastes [which] are unstable under “normal” conditions. They can cause explosions, toxic fumes, gases, or vapors when heated, compressed, or mixed with water. Examples include lithium-sulfur batteries and explosives.”

Reactive wastes are, in themselves, unstable. They have the potential to form toxic gases, vapors, or fumes which can endanger human health. Some (D003) form potentially explosive mixtures with water. Reactive wastes are capable of detonation or explosive reactions.

Toxicity – Toxic wastes are defined by the EPA as wastes that are “harmful or fatal when ingested or absorbed (e.g., containing mercury, lead, etc.). When toxic wastes are land disposed, contaminated liquid may leach from the waste and pollute ground water.”

More information regarding these waste characteristics can be found in the 40 CFR §261.

Hazardous wastes will fall into one or more of these categories and it is important to know which ones you and/or your company’s wastes fall into so you can safely handle them. Additionally, it is vital to remember that “non-hazardous” does not mean non-dangerous or unregulated, always check with EPA guidelines and individual state laws to ensure compliance and safety.

Substantive Vs. Procedural: Top Ten Hazardous Waste Violations

Maybe it’s just me, but I feel like it has really been a while since I last blogged. I hope everyone had a good holiday/new year and that we all can be ready to jump into 2013. In an attempt to start things strong, I want to write another post about something I learned at the RCRA training seminar in December.

I have written in the past about different things that are often viewed as “common hazardous waste violations.” You may remember the post about Hazardous Waste Reduction Plans or the one about Avoiding Weekly Hazardous Waste Inspection Violations. Today, however, I want to discuss the US EPA’s list of the top 10 violations. In particular, I will write about whether the issues are substantive or procedural and what those classifications mean.

To begin, we need to identify the difference between these types of requirements:

  • Substantive Requirements – Either provide material reduction in risk or materially increase environmental protection.
  • Procedural Requirements – Have an indirect impact on risk reduction but are significant in terms of regulatory agency assessment of compliance.

Both types are important and neither can be ignored if you and your company want to ensure EPA and RCRA compliance.

So now we can look at how the top ten violations can be seperated into these two categories.

Substantive Violations from the EPA Top 10 Waste Violations

  • Lack of proper waste determination
  • Container violations
  • Inadequate aisel space
  • Incompatible wastes in close proximity
  • Inadequate inspections*
  • Inadequate training*

Procedural Violations from the EPA Top 10 Waste Violations

  • Inadequate inspections*
  • Inadequate training*
  • Accumulation time exceedances
  • Satellite container issues
    • location, volume, marking
  • Inadequate contingency plan
  • LDR notice issues

As you can see, inadequate inspections and inadequate training can fall under both categories. This means they can both provide material reduction in risk or materially increase environmental protection and be significant in terms of regulatory agency assessment of compliance. Perhaps the most important take-away from this post is that while common violations can fall into two categories, both must be considered and followed in order to ensure RCRA complience.

For more information about common violations, look for our Top 10 Hazardous Waste Violations eBook coming soon.

Mercury Export Ban Act: What Will it Mean for You?

On January 1, 2013, the prohibition of the export of elemental mercury becomes effective as required by the Mercury Export Ban Act of 2008 (MEBA) which prohibits the export of elemental mercury from the United States to other countries.

Use of mercury in the world market has continued as a result of the free trade of commodity grade elemental mercury. Much of this mercury is used in “artesian” gold mining operations in countries without health and environmental standards found in the United States. The U.S. Congress intended to reduce mercury availability worldwide by banning the export of U.S. mercury. The export ban will result in a surplus of commodity mercury exceeding domestic demand. A provision in MEBA requires the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to provide for the long-term storage of the surplus produced domestically from mercury recycling programs and companies.

After January 1, 2013 storage will be at a select few commercially operated facilities that are granted permission to store beyond the one-year limit typically imposed by land ban regulation. Long-term storage of elemental mercury will eventually be conducted at a facility constructed and operated by the Department of Energy (DOE). Under MEBA, the DOE is allowed to assess a storage fee that can be increased annually. The location, design, and long term storage fees associated with the DOE facility have not been determined by the federal government.

What does MEBA mean for Heritage Environmental Services, LLC customers?

Heritage will continue to transport and accept mercury containing materials as Universal Waste or Hazardous Waste in its many forms; elemental, contained in devices and products such as fluorescent light bulbs, amalgams, contaminated debris and soil, mercury salts, and aqueous solutions containing mercury. Once collected and/or concentrated, Heritage sends this material to retort facilities for further processing which is a requirement under the land disposal restrictions imposed by Resource Conservation and Recovery Act for mercury containing waste material exceeding 260 mg/Kg of mercury. Retort results in mercury being converted back to its’ elemental form, which as previously mentioned, is primarily exported out of the United States. As a result, most all mercury managed by Heritage is affected by MEBA to one extent or other.

What are the known impacts at this time?

  • Providers to Heritage of retort and other processing services have indicated that they will be imposing storage fees for any elemental mercury received after December 31, 2012. These fees are of indefinite duration.
  • Treatment prices for hazardous waste streams containing mercury or devices contaminated with mercury will increase beginning on January 1, 2013, because elemental mercury produced by the retort process will be subject to the export ban. While we cannot fully quantify the price increases at this time, we will provide updates based on your mercury-containing waste streams as soon as possible and/or provide information as you interact with your Account Representatives and Account Coordinators.
  • It is possible that recycling activities associated with mercury containing materials may no longer be considered recycling under EPA regulatory programs.

What is unknown to Heritage?

  • The date that the DOE will have completed construction and begin operation of the long-term storage facility.
  • The fees imposed by the DOE for long term storage of elemental mercury now and into the future.

What are some of the common materials likely affected by MEBA?

  • Elemental mercury
  • Elemental containing devices; switches, barometers, relays, thermometers.
  • Elemental mercury containing medical devices.
  • Fluorescent lights, CFL, and mercury vapor bulbs
  • Batteries
  • Amalgams and alloys
  • Chemical compounds and solutions such as; Oxides, chlorides, and nitrates.
  • COD test reagent
  • Pharmaceuticals containing mercury
  • Fungicides and disinfectants
  • Laboratory reagents and waste
  • Spill related debris and soil

*Despite being exempt from the ban, many of these materials will be subject to higher prices for treatment beginning in 2013.

Basic RCRA Waste Regulations

For starters, I want to apologize for missing a day of blogging last Thursday. I attended a Heritage RCRA refresher course in downtown Indianapolis and was without internet for most of the day. On the plus side, attending the course gave me ideas for several different blog posts!

Over the coming weeks, I will be singling out some of what I learned and sharing it on here. To begin, I will go over the basic federal requirements set forth by RCRA. It is always important to remember, however, that each state likely has additional requirements that must be met.

The first thing you will want to do is make some basic determinations. On an ongoing basis you should be asking and answering the following questions:

  • In relation to identifying waste streams –
    • What are all the wastes being generated at my facility?
    • What are the different departments generating?
  • In relation to hazardous waste determination –
    • According to the regulatory definitions, which of the wastes being generated are classified as hazardous?
  • In relation to determining regulatory categories –
    • How much waste do you have on site and what is done with it? (see form 8700-12)

Next, you will want to make sure your containers are up to standard. It must be ensured that containers are:

  • In good condition (not rusty, no corrosion, no leaking)
  • Compatible with the waste (you want to make sure the waste will not react with the container)
  • Labeled or marked “hazardous waste”
  • Marked with an accumulation start date
  • Kept closed (as a rule of thumb this means you could tip it over and it wouldn’t leak)
  • Managed to avoid damage and releases
  • Kept free of incompatible wastes; incompatible wastes must never be placed in the same container

The third thing to check is that you are following regulations regarding accumulation areas. For this section you will need to make sure:

  • Ignitable and reactive wastes are at least 50 feet from the property line
  • “No Smoking” signs are posted
  • Incompatible wastes are separated or protected from each other
  • Emergency equipment is available
  • There is adequate aisle space maintained (at least 2½ feet)

Additionally, someone needs to:

  • Inspect container accumulation areas weekly
  • Inspect emergency equipment at least monthly
  • Make shipments every 90 days if you are a large quantity generator
  • Make shipments every 180 days if you are a small quantity generator

Lastly, you must follow the compliance documentation rules. These rules include:

  • Having a contingency plan
  • Having personnel training program and records
  • Documentation of inspections
  • Manifests and LDR forms
  • Biennial Reports
  • Waste analyses/determinations
  • Documented waste minimization program on site

Remember, these guidelines are just a starting point. To ensure compliance you must look into all regulations as they apply to your business, both at federal and state level. Keep checking the blog in the coming weeks for more information about RCRA.