Hazardous Waste Accumulation Containers

Today we are going to explore the ever exciting world of accumulation container standards, rules, and types! We will be focusing on the differences between and rules associated with satellite accumulation vs. 90-day. We will also be offering a short quiz available for download at the end of this post.

So to begin, we will talk about satellite accumulation. A generator can accumulate up to 55 gallons of hazardous waste in containers that are:

  • At or near point of generations, and
  • Under the control of the operator.

Acute hazardous waste accumulation is limited to 1 quart. All containers must be labeled with the words “hazardous waste” or with other words that accurately identifies the contents.

When containers in a satellite accumulation area exceed their limits of 55 gallons or 1 quart the container must be dated. The excess or the entire container then must be removed within 3 days. Otherwise, the site must be managed as a 90-day.

And as always, all container management standards apply; meaning that all containers must be in good condition, closed, labeled, and segregated for compatibility.

In a 90-day, a generator can accumulate for up to 90 days with no volume limits. There are, however, additional standards that must be complied with. See the table below for a comparison of applicable standards.

Accumulation Standards

As you can see, there are more standards that must be followed if you are a 90-Day generator. That said, it is important to note that this blog post is not intended to serve as an all-inclusive guide to standards. It is always best to check with local government and 40 CFR for the most up-to-date information.

Hazardous Waste Container Basics

Throughout the coming weeks we will have several posts about container standards and management. Containers storing hazardous waste at permitted facilities are subject to the general facility standards as well as the specific container standards of 40 CFR 264/265.

When the EPA promulgated the unit-specific requirements (container standards), for hazardous waste containers, the Agency emphasized that although mismanagement of containers has caused some of the worst contamination, relatively few regulations would be needed to eliminate most of the problems. Today, I will be writing about some of the basics you need to know in order to maximize your container management efficiency.

To start, it is vital to note that all containers storing hazardous waste must comply with both state regulations and those regulations set forth by the federal government in 40 CFR.

That said, the word container is a bit non-specific. At Heritage, we teach that a container is any portable device in which a material is stored, transported, treated, disposed of, or otherwise handled. Now you may be thinking, “That definition is pretty non-specific too.” That is true. The definition is intentionally broad so that it can encompass all the different types of portable devices that may be used to handle hazardous waste, such as:

  • Drums,
  • Pails,
  • Tankers, or
  • Railcars, among possible others. 

After looking into what items are available in which to store hazardous waste, we need to determine the definition of “storage.” Storing hazardous waste means holding it for a temporary period until it is treated, disposed of, or moved elsewhere. Again, this definition is intentionally broad in order to include any situation in which hazardous waste is held for any period of time.

It is important to remember that this information may not be all-inclusive and it is always best to check 40 CFR and your state regulations for the most up-to-date information. Keep checking the blog for future posts about container design and compatibility.

Is it Hazardous Waste… Aerosol Cans?

What is an aerosol can?

The basic aerosol can of today has not really changed since the 1920’s. It is a metal can in which two fluids are sealed. One fluid is the product that is to be dispensed and the other is the propellant. The propellant is a compressed gas that expands when the aerosol can is opened (generally by pushing a button or pulling a lever). The propellant forces the product through a tube in the can and out the nozzle. Many different products are dispensed in aerosol cans, from shaving cream to cooking spray or room fresheners. Although the cans these products come in may look different, the mechanism behind them is the same.

When is an aerosol can hazardous?

Due to regulations concerning Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and Hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) most aerosol cans today use a hydrocarbon propellant. While this type of propellant is less harmful to the ozone layer than CFCs and HCFCs were it is highly flammable.

If an aerosol can held a substance that is regulated as hazardous it must “drained or emptied to less than 3% by weight of the total capacity of the container (40 CFR 261.7)” or it is considered a hazardous waste.

That said, even aerosol cans that have been drained to less than 3% will likely still contain propellant (which can be reactive when combined with an igniting force) and as such will still be considered hazardous. So, unless a can is fully emptied of propellant it is still considered a hazardous waste and should be disposed of accordingly.

How should I dispose of my aerosol cans?

For a business, an aerosol can that has been both punctured and drained of its contents would meet the definition of scrap metal (40 CFR 261.1) and can be recycled. Regulations for puncturing change though and need to be checked on both a national and state level. If not punctured and recycled, a hazardous waste determination must be made and the can(s) must be disposed of appropriately.

For an individual or home, RCRA does not regulate how you dispose of your aerosol cans. If you would like to do the best/most environmentally friendly thing though you could take your old aerosol cans to a local household hazardous waste collection.

And remember, this post is meant to provide general information about managing aerosol cans. It is always important to consult the actual state and federal statutes and regulations before making any decisions that may impact regulatory compliance.

Is it Hazardous Waste…Paint?

As summer approaches it makes me think back to last year when I worked the big Indianapolis Tox Drop event at Butler University. While there are several Tox Drop events throughout the year, this one is usually the biggest. That’s not really the point of the post though.

The point is that while I was there we collected more paint than I ever anticipated. I have since learned that, “Paint is the most prevalent household hazardous waste (HHW), meaning it makes up the most quantity, by volume, of materials received at HHW collection programs across the country. [1]

Is my paint hazardous?

That said, another thing I learned at the event was that much of the paint people bring is not actually considered hazardous waste. This is because many people do not know the difference between latex based paint and oil based paint; the former being relatively harmless and the latter being considered hazardous.

You’re probably wondering, “How do I tell the difference between the different kinds?” Luckily, it’s pretty simple. Oil based paint will say on the can that it is oil based or alkyd. Latex paint will say that it is latex or “water based” or will list water as one of the primary ingredients. Once you have identified the type of paint you are working with, you can determine the best means of disposal.

What if my paint is latex based?

If the paint you have is latex based you have a few options. The easiest way to get rid of it would be to use it up. If that doesn’t work for you though, you have some other choices. While most states prohibit free flowing liquids (such as paint) being put in the trash, if you dry it out it is legal. You can do this by allowing the air to solidify it or by putting an absorbent, such as cat litter, into the old paint. It can then be safely disposed of in your regular municipal waste.

What if my paint is oil based?

If the paint is oil based it is considered a hazardous waste and must be disposed of differently. Your best options for oil based paints are using them up or taking them to a hazardous waste disposal event. In Indianapolis, they are called Tox Drops. These events provide a safe way to dispose of toxic paint.

So if you’re cleaning out your garage this summer make sure to check what type of paint you are dealing with so you can safely and legally dispose of it.

Hazardous Waste Characteristics: An Infographic

A while back we wrote a post about the Characteristics of Hazardous Waste. There are four that you need to look for in order to classify which type of waste you are dealing with. They are as follows:

  • Ignitability,
  • Corrosivity,
  • Reactivity, and
  • Toxicity.

In the previous post we gave detailed information about these four categories, below, we have outlined them again with illustrated examples.

Hazardous Waste Infographic

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.

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.