1101 HAZARDOUS WASTE FACT SHEETSFact Sheet #1 What Is Hazardous Waste?
Fact Sheet #2 Managing Your Hazardous Waste
Fact Sheet #3 Eliminating and Minimizing Hazardous Waste
Fact Sheet #4 Superfund
Many shop activities have the potential of creating a hazardous waste. As the owner or person responsible for shop operations, now is a good time to review all the activities at your shop and make the appropriate determination. If your shop does not change its operations or supplies, then a one-time review of your shop may be all you need to do for hazardous waste determination.
During your shop review, take note of the type of wastes that are generated and in what quantity. Review your Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS). They contain valuable information to help you determine which waste materials are potentially hazardous and which are not. Many automotive wastes can be excluded from this review if they are “properly managed” and recycled. (See fact sheets on these topics.) By doing this walk-thru, you may find new opportunities for the shop to adjust, change or substitute less toxic/hazardous materials or install new equipment that can help it maintain compliance and reduce costs.
II. What is the Environmental Protection Agency’s definition of Hazardous Waste?
In general, it is a solid, liquid or gaseous material which is being discarded and has a hazardous waste characteristic or is specifically listed in the Federal Code of Regulations.
For the most part, there is one type of waste generated in an automotive shop that has been listed under the federal program.(Check with your state because some specific automotive wastes are listed and therefore are considered hazardous waste in your state, i.e., antifreeze, used oil.) The material identified as a hazardous waste is either a halogenated or non-halogenated spent solvent. A halogenated solvent is one that contains chlorinated compounds. A non-halogenated solvent is one that contains petroleum spirits, methyl isobutyl ketone, ethyl ether, xylene or methanol.
There are four characteristic waste categories which may apply to your shop wastes.
Ignitable Wastes: These are wastes that have a flash point of less than 140 degrees Fahrenheit (140* F). Materials that can meet this definition are:
- paint thinners
- cleaning solvent for parts and
- gasoline. Corrosive Wastes: These are liquid wastes which have a pH less than 2.0 (acid) or greater than 12.5 (caustic). Materials that can meet this definition are:
- battery acid,
- floor cleaners,
- caustic paint strippers and
- aluminum cleaners. Reactive Wastes:These are wastes which spontaneously combust or become explosive when mixed with water, air or materials. They can include materials that contain sulfide or cyanide. In general, automotive service and repair shops do not create this type of waste.Toxic Characteristic Wastes: These wastes contain certain chemicals that have been determined to be hazardous at certain concentration levels. The concentration level of these chemicals is determined by a specific test, the Toxic Characteristic Leachate Procedure (TCLP). Some shop wastes that can fail this test are:
- used coolants (lead, cadmium),
- light bulbs and lamps which contain mercury,
- the sludge from the shop’s floor drains which has the oil-water separator (lead, cadmium, benzene),
- filters from paint booths and paint wastes,
- sludge from used oil tanks or
- fuel storage tanks and spent solvents which are contaminated by benzene, lead or cadmium. Remember, check all your shop activities that generate waste materials. Determine if they are to be discarded or removed by some other method, i.e., recycling. Keep track of the weight of these materials that you create in a calendar month. It will help you when you have to determine your generator status. Finally, you may find opportunities during this determination process whereby you could substitute less toxic/hazardous products for current products or purchase new equipment that does not create hazardous wastes.
There are three levels of generator status: Conditionally-Exempt Small Quantity Generator, Small Quantity Generator and Large Quantity Generator.
Conditionally-Exempt Small Quantity Generator (CESQG): The shop generates less than 220 pounds of hazardous waste in a calendar month. The shop stores no more than 2,200 pounds. There is no storage limit, however, should the shop accumulate more than 2,200 pounds total of all hazardous wastes on-site, then the shop becomes subject to the small quantity generator requirements. Hazardous waste can be sent to an EPA permitted disposal facility for hazardous waste or a state permitted municipal or industrial disposal facility.
Small Quantity Generator (SQG): The shop generates between 220 and 2,200 pounds in a calendar month. The shop cannot store these wastes for more than 180 days on-site (or 270 days if shipping the wastes is more than 200 miles from the shop). Hazardous waste must be sent to an EPA permitted treatment, storage or disposal facility.
Large Quantity Generator (LQG): The shop generates more than 2,200 pounds in a calendar month. The shop cannot store these wastes for more than 90 days without an EPA permit. Additional requirements apply at this status. Hazardous waste must be sent to an EPA permitted treatment, storage or disposal facility.
[Note: If an automotive shop falls within this category, it is strongly recommended that shop owner/manager consider investigating pollution prevention activities for those waste streams creating the LQG status.]
If the shop generates sufficient hazardous waste to be classified as a SQG or LQG, the shop owner must notify the EPA or the state of their hazardous waste activities. The shop owner should request EPA Form 8700-12, “Notification of Hazardous Waste Activity.” When you have completed the form, you will receive a 12 character number that you must use to track the movement of any hazardous waste that leaves your shop.
Another activity the shop must undertake is the proper management of storage containers and tanks on-site. This applies to SQGs and LQGs but is appropriate for the CESQGs, also.
Whatever container, tank or drum the shop chooses to use for storage, the container and the hazardous waste must be compatible. If at all possible, try to avoid storing your hazardous wastes in an underground storage tank. Doing so brings more regulatory burden upon the shop.
Clearly mark each hazardous waste container with the words HAZARDOUS WASTE and the date the container first collected the hazardous waste.
Use containers in good condition, handle them carefully and replace leaking ones immediately. Inspect the containers on a weekly basis and indicate such action on paper.
Always keep the container lid and bung hole closed except when filling or emptying the container.
Containers with ignitable or flammable hazardous waste must be kept at least 50 feet from the property line. Place “No Smoking” signs in conspicuous areas around these drums. In addition, make sure the containers storing or used for filling are electrically grounded.
Never place incompatible hazardous wastes in the same containers that can cause an explosion, fire, or corrosion. Likewise, do not place incompatible waste-containing containers within close proximity of each other. Keep Separate!
Hazardous wastes must be transported in accordance with Department of Transportation regulations. This includes labeling the containers properly and using the appropriate shipping paper. The shop owner must complete a hazardous waste manifest (a valid DOT shopping paper) which will identify his shop, the place where the hazardous wastes are to be delivered, who will deliver it, and a description of the hazardous wastes. The shop owner is responsible for completing this document. In addition, do not forget to prepare the Land Ban Notification and Certification paperwork. The facility to which the waste is being shipped for storage, treatment or disposal may assist the shop owner in preparing the manifest and Land Ban paperwork. For those shops that use a hazardous waste service firm, they can provide you with the necessary assistance.
- The manifest and copies from the destination facility
- Manifest exception reports
- Laboratory test results
- Land Ban notification and certification (5 years)
To help you keep track of these documents and to be able to show an inspector, you should keep them together, stapled, paper clipped, 3-ring binder, etc. The package of documents should indicate the history of each waste shipment, the place to which the wastes were shipped, who handled it, a description of each hazardous waste, the notification and certification form, any testing results and the returned manifest from the final facility.
While there are no formal training requirements for CESQGs, LQGs and SQGs must have the appropriate staff trained. At a minimum the shop owner or manager should be familiar with proper hazardous waste handling, storage, management and disposal, and emergency procedures. If possible, one or more staff should be trained to in case the manager is not available if an emergency arises. Other training that is appropriate for handling and managing hazardous waste would be classes in OSHA’s Employee Right-to-Know and DOT hazardous materials training.
Remember, it is better to be a CESQG than a SQG or LQG. Strive to be a CESQG but manage your shop like an SQG. That way, should you ever exceed the CESQG limits, you have a shop that will be in compliance with SQG requirements.
And, always check with your state hazardous waste program or state assistance provider. They will be able to provide you with the very specific state requirements for operating a hazardous waste program within your state.
Used oil, use oil filters and spent lead-acid batteries, if managed properly, are exempt from hazardous waste regulations.
Examine the hazardous products (review your Material Safety Data Sheets) used in the shop.Are there less toxic or hazardous products on the market that can perform the same function as your current hazardous products?
What kind of parts-cleaning system are you currently operating? Switch to a system that uses a cleaning solvent with a flash point above 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Consider a continuous recirculating sink system, it helps extend solvent life. Keep the lid closed when not in use. This prevents the loss of solvent product to the atmosphere. Go the extra step and look into aqueous (water)-based cleaning system. This cleaning system not only reduces the amount of hazardous waste your shop creates but disposal may be as near as your sewer. Check with your local wastewater/sewer department before pouring down the drain to see if this acceptable!
Keep your waste materials separate. Today most of the automobile’s fluids can be recycled or reclaimed. However, if you mist them they may become non-recyclable and most likely a hazardous waste. If you are not sure, don’t mix, but find out. Err on the side of caution and good container management.
Avoid leaks and spills. To the best of your ability, keep automobile fluids out of the shop’s floor drain. Keep spill prevention materials or pre-made spill kits available. Collect all fluids that come from a car and recycle. If a small spill occurs, consider mopping up the spill and wringing the fluid into the appropriate container or use a cloth shop rag. Shop rags when laundered help reduce the amount of hazardous waste.
If you have to use a hazardous material on a particular repair, use only the amount needed to do the job.
This program is officially know as the Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) but more importantly it is know to automotive shops owners as the program that bites back. Part of this program is designed to identify past waste contributors at an abandoned waste site even if the disposed materials were not considered a waste 20 years ago. When the EPA identifies you, your life is never the same again. How can you be identified? Here’s how:
- The current owner or operator of the site, not necessarily the waste site.
- The owner or operator “at the time of disposal” [broadly defined].
- The person who arranged for disposal at an off-site facility.
- The person who accepted the hazardous substance for treatment, storage or disposal.
Once identified, you can potentially be liable for the WHOLE clean-up of the site even if the amount of waste you contributed was small. Many automotive repair shops have been caught up in the Superfund program. It is a wise shop owner who is aware of what wastes are generated, where they go and how they are disposed.
How can you avoid being ensnare by Superfund? Recycle, reclaim or re-use your wastes are three good ways to keep you out of this program. If you must send wastes off-site, investigate the transporter(s) who will move your wastes and the facility that will have final responsibility. Check their operations as well as their financial standing. Check with your state hazardous waste program for their compliance history. You can do this usually under a Freedom of Information Requires or similar state law that provides for state information to be given to a citizen’s request.
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Source: US EPA Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance
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Last Update – 1-Sept-98