Section 8 - HAZARDOUS
Waste minimization (also called pollution prevention or source reduction) is
the best way to curb your hazardous waste generation and reduce potential liability.
Minimizing waste involves good housekeeping practices, employee training, process
modifications, or substitution of a non-hazardous material for a hazardous one.
- Minimizing your supply of raw materials to prevent overstocking
- Adopting a "first-in, first-out" inventory policy
- Labeling waste containers properly to avoid mixing incompatible wastes or
contaminating clean materials
- Controlling access to storage areas and routinely inspecting containers
(received containers that are leaking or damaged should be rejected)
- Maintaining vehicles and equipment at a central location, preferably in
a garage or maintenance facility--not on the construction site
- Training employees to use equipment properly
You may often not be aware of hazardous wastes you generate, but it is your
responsibility to identify and separate hazardous wastes from non-hazardous
wastes. Hazardous wastes commonly generated during construction activities include
paints, solvents, adhesives, caulks, pesticides, wood preservatives, oil, or
stored materials (such as solvents or pesticides) that have exceeded their shelf
Problems associated with hazardous wastes include:
- They can pollute the land, air, or water, or endanger human health and animal
- Septic systems can be ruined from contamination by hazardous waste.
- Disposing of hazardous waste with nonhazardous waste (trash) is detrimental
to solid waste collection systems, causes problems at landfills, poses a potential
health threat to workers, and is illegal in many areas.
- Improper disposal of hazardous waste can lead to costly cleanups. Under
federal and state law, businesses are liable for improper hazardous waste
disposal and hazardous waste spills or releases.
- Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA)
- Hazardous Material Transportation Act (HMTA)
- Clean Water Act (CWA)
- Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA)
- Superfund Amendment Reauthorization Act (SARA) Title 3
- 40 CFR 260-279 Federal regulations on hazardous waste management.
- 40 CFR, Section 301 et seq. Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know
Act (EPCRA). A person with designated types of hazardous substances must provide
local governments and the public with information about the substance and
make an assessment of how it affects the environment.
REUSE AND RECYCLE
Reusing materials saves you money by extending the useful life of your materials
and by reducing waste. You should always try to reuse your wastes before you
opt to recycle them. A possible option for reusing even your hazardous wastes
are Material Exchange Programs. See Section 7-Solid Waste for more information
about the ME programs.
When you can't reuse a material, recycling is the next best option. Recycling
facilities and waste exchanges provide opportunities to transform a waste into
another useful product.
Best Pollution Prevention
- Maximize the useful life of materials
before discarding them.
- Use solvents such as mineral spirits
and paint thinners more than once. Reusing thinner as a wash thinner
to clean equipment reduces waste as well as the costs for raw materials
- Keep lids closed to prevent product
loss through evaporation.
- Use up or reuse all leftover paint.
- Recycle as many materials as possible.
Check to see if there is a waste exchange in your community.
HAZARDOUS WASTE DETERMINATION
Determining the type and quantity of hazardous waste you generate makes it
easier to see where wastes can be minimized. Reducing the amount of hazardous
waste you generate reduces your regulatory burden and saves you money.
The Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS), published by a manufacturer for each
product, can help you determine whether the waste produced could be hazardous.
See the content under Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) in Section 3-Employee
Health & Safety for more information.
- 40 CFR 261 Federal regulations and standards on hazardous waste identification.
A waste may be considered hazardous if it exhibits one or more of the following
- Ignitability - a liquid with a flash point below 140ºF (solvents, mineral
- Corrosivity - a water-based liquid with a pH of less than or equal to 2.0
or a pH of greater than or equal to 12.5 (battery acid, alkaline cleaning
- Reactivity - an unstable substance that readily undergoes violent chemical
reactions with water or other substances (hydrogen sulfide, bleach, etc.)
- Toxicity - a harmful substance due to the presence of metals or organic
compounds (lead paint, adhesives, etc.)
A waste can also be considered hazardous if it appears on any one of four
lists of hazardous wastes contained in the federal Resource Conservation and
Recovery Act (RCRA) regulations These wastes contain toxic constituents
that have been found to be harmful to human health and the environment.
- F-Listed Wastes - waste derived from nonspecific sources. Examples include
certain halogenated solvents used in degreasing (tetrachloroethylene and methylene
chloride) and nonhalogenated solvents (xylene and acetone).
- K-Listed Wastes - waste derived from specific manufacturing processes (wastewater
treatment sludge from the production of certain inorganic pigments, etc.).
- P-Listed (Acute) and U-Listed Wastes - wastes that are discarded toxic chemical
products or off-specification products and residues whose sole active ingredient
is a listed waste. Acute (P-Listed) wastes are determined by EPA to be so
dangerous that they are regulated more stringently than the previously mentioned
hazardous waste (certain pesticides such as 2,4-D).
Potentially Exempt Wastes
Specific wastes may be exempt from state and federal hazardous waste regulations.
Be aware, however, that even though these wastes are not subject to hazardous
waste regulations, they are managed under other state or federal regulations.
Potentially exempt wastes include:
- Spent lead-acid batteries that will be sent off-site for reclamation-- regulated
as solid waste.
- Scrap metal that is to be recycled--regulated as solid waste under ARM.
- Asbestos that is to be disposed of--regulated as a hazardous air pollutant
under the National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants.
- Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs)--regulated as a toxic substance by the
EPA under the Toxic Substance Control Act.
- Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs)--if used for refrigerants and destined for recycling,
regulated as a volatile organic compound by EPA under the Clean Air Act. Nonrefrigerant
CFCs are not exempt from hazardous waste requirements.
Universal Wastes are hazardous wastes destined for recycling not disposal.
You may encounter Universal Wastes during remodeling. Examples covered
under the federal Universal Waste Rule include:
- Spent, hazardous waste batteries other than lead-acid batteries
- Suspended or canceled hazardous waste pesticides that are subject to a recall
or are part of a waste pesticide collection program
- Mercury-containing thermostats
- Spent electric lamps (tubes or bulbs) that are hazardous due to heavy metals.
- 40 CFR 273, Subparts A-G Definitions and Universal Waste management regulations.
- U.S. EPA Regional Operations Office
HAZARDOUS WASTE GENERATOR STATUS
If you generate hazardous waste, determining the amount enables you to define
your generator status and dispose of your waste properly for regulatory compliance.
Your generator status depends on how much hazardous waste you accumulate per
calendar month. Calculate waste quantities in either pounds (lbs) or kilograms
(kgs). The MSDS for each product should have conversion information to help
you convert liquids to pounds or kilograms. Your generator status can change
each month, so it is very important to keep good records.
There are three types of hazardous waste generators:
- Conditionally Exempt Generator (CEG) - generates no more than 220 lbs (100
kgs), or about 25 gallons, of hazardous waste or no more than 2.2 lbs (1 kg)
of acute hazardous waste in any calendar month.
- Small Generator (SG) - generates between 220 lbs and 2,200 lbs (100 kgs
-1,000 kgs) of hazardous waste or no more than 2.2 lbs (1kg) of acute hazardous
waste in any calendar month.
- Large Generator (LG) - generates 2,200 lbs (1,000 kgs) or more of hazardous
waste or more than 2.2 lbs (1 kg) of acute hazardous waste in any calendar
Regulatory requirements for CEGs are less stringent than those for either SGs
or LGs. Your goal should be to meet CEG requirements every month.
CEG Hazardous Waste Management
Waste management for CEGs includes:
- Identify all regulated hazardous wastes generated.
- Limit the amount of regulated hazardous waste generated in any month to
less than 220 lbs (100 kg).
- CEGs do not have waste container labeling or accumulation time limit requirements
unless they accumulate more than 2,200 lbs (1,000 kg) of hazardous waste.
If CEGs accumulate more than 2,200 lbs (1,000 kg), they will lose their CEG
status and have to meet SG or LG requirements for waste disposal.
- Avoid generating more than 2.2 lbs (1 kg) of acute hazardous waste. If more
than 2.2 lbs (1 kg) are produced, CEGs will lose their exempt status and have
to meet LG requirements for waste disposal.
- Dispose of hazardous waste at one of the following facilities:
- A legitimate recycling facility.
- A permitted treatment, storage, and disposal (TSD) facility.
- A wastewater treatment plant in accordance with local and state water
quality regulations and only if the facility owner/operator has approved.
- A licensed Class II (municipal) solid waste management facility in accordance
with state solid waste management regulations, only if the waste is a
solid waste and with prior approval of the facility owner/operator.
Reporting requirements and fees vary depending on your generator status
you may have to submit reports to the appropriate agency in your state, fees
may also apply:
- CEGs are not required to obtain an EPA Identification Number, although it
is recommended in case your generator status changes to a SG or LG for any
- SGs or LGs must report the quantity of waste generated annually and
obtain a U.S. EPA Identification Number.
- SGs and LGs must manifest all hazardous waste sent off-site.
- 40 CFR 262.34, and ARM 17.54.403 Federal and state regulations on EPA identification
numbers and registration for hazardous waste generators.
Toxics Use Reduction Plans
Contractors who are SGs and LGs should develop plans that help reduce the
amount of toxic substances they use and the amount of hazardous waste they generate.
While you may not be required by law to develop these plans, they may
help you establish new ways to minimize your handling of hazardous waste and
might even allow you to drop your generator status from a SG or LG to a less
stringent CEG status.
DISPOSAL OF HAZARDOUS WASTE
Always dispose of hazardous wastes through a reliable hazardous waste management
company or Treatment, Storage, and Disposal (TSD) facility. The MSU Extension
Service at (406) 994-3451 distributes two helpful fact sheets: A Checklist for
Selecting a Hazardous Waste Transporter and Choosing a Hazardous Waste Management
Transportation and disposal of hazardous waste may include:
- CEGs can take their wastes to a landfill that will accept them.
- SGs and LGs have to have their wastes hauled to a TSD facility.
- Make arrangements for a TSD facility or an authorized hazardous waste transportation
company to transport your hazardous wastes to the facility.
- SGs and LGs are required to obtain an EPA Identification Number for hazardous
waste transported to a TSD facility (see Reporting Requirements and Fees earlier
in this section for more information about EPA Identification Numbers).
- A manifest is required for every shipment of hazardous waste to track the
waste from its point of generation to its final destination. Manifests
and waste analysis records must be maintained for at least 3 years.
- 49 CFR Parts 171-179 U.S. Department of Transportation regulations on transporting
Best Pollution Prevention Practices
- Properly manage hazardous wastes.
- Oil- and water-based paints - Leave excess
paint with the property owner for touch-ups. Let small amounts of
paint solidify, then take to a licensed Class II landfill.
- Used oils - Recycle if possible. It is illegal
to spill or apply oil on the ground (as for dust or weed suppression).
Waste oil is different from used oil, which has been refined from
crude oil and used. Waste oil is basically crude oil, the by-product
of an oil field operation, and has not been used. As a contractor
or designer, you should not come in contact with waste oil. Never
place used oil in a dumpster or pour it on the ground. Never bury
used oil or mix it with solvents or water. Never pour it down a
sink, sanitary sewer, septic system, or storm drain.
- Sealers - Use leftover sealer at another site.
Determine if waste is hazardous.
- Degreasers (such as mineral spirits, paint
thinners, and chlorinated solvents) - Allow paint thinners to settle,
then strain and reuse the liquid. Store the solids in a leak-proof
container. When the solvent can no longer be reused, dispose of
it through a hazardous waste management facility. Both the solvent
and solids may be hazardous wastes. Water-based degreasers may also
be hazardous waste due to the metals they may have collected.
- Pesticides and herbicides - Unless the product
has been banned, use up according to the directions. Triple-rinse
containers before disposal and apply the rinse water as you would
apply the product. Otherwise, dispose of it through a hazardous
waste management facility. If the product has been banned, it is
illegal to use and may require being disposed of as a hazardous
waste. Some pesticide and herbicide manufacturers will take back
the banned product for proper disposal.
- Vehicle batteries - Recycle if possible. If
not, they must be managed as a hazardous waste. Take batteries to
a retailer that sells lead-acid batteries, a solid waste facility
that accepts auto batteries, or to a licensed recycler. Contact
DEQ for more information. Do not dispose of vehicle batteries in
- Petroleum products (such as waste gasoline,
diesel, or kerosene) - If it has been determined to be hazardous,
then reuse, recycle, or manage it as a hazardous waste. Can possibly
use in equipment such as lawnmowers.
Be aware there are many additional federal and state regulations for the management
of hazardous waste that are not listed in this document. These requirements
vary depending on a your generator status and location.
SPILL REPORTING AND CLEANUP
A critical step in pollution prevention is recognizing when a problem arises
and acting quickly. For example, a spill of a hazardous material can pollute
the air, water, or soil. Therefore, several federal and state laws require you
to report a spill or release of hazardous waste. All spills and releases must
then be cleaned up immediately. Requirements for cleaning spills or releases
vary with the material. You should become familiar with spill and cleanup procedures
for the materials you use (see MSDS for product assistance).
When a spill occurs, the proper authorities must be notified. Below is a
guide for determining whether a spill should be characterized as a crisis and,
if so, what agency to notify.
Crisis Spills (and Agency to Notify)
- Serious emergency such as an accident involving a hazardous material resulting
in death, hospitalization, or property damage in excess of $50,000
- Depending on the circumstances of your situation, notify as many of
the following agencies as possible: National Response Center at (800)
424-8802, or Local Fire Department
- Spills that affect human health or the environment
- Notify local Disaster Emergency Services, Local law enforcement
- Oil, Hydrocarbon, or hazardous chemical spills
- Notify local Disaster Emergency Services or Local Sheriff's Office
- Extreme flooding
- Notify Disaster Emergency Services
- Leaking underground storage tank
- State Environmental Agency
- Fish or wildlife kills
- Notify State Wildlife Agency
There are times you may encounter situations that are not as serious as
those described above, but still warrant notification of the proper authorities.
Complaints of spills or other environmental harms are lodged both by and against
contractors for such things as:
- Dirty or turbid water
- Erosion or sedimentation
- Algae blooms
- Debris and litter problems
- Animal waste
- Sewage overflows
Anyone responsible for a spill or release of a deleterious (harmful) material
is required to take action to clean up the spill or release. Cleanup must
employ the best available methods to achieve the lowest practicable level of
contamination. Cleanup might involve such steps as the removal of contaminated
soil, the use of absorbent material to soak up spills, or the aeration of the
- Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA)
- Toxic Substance Control Act (TSCA)
- 40 CFR 304 Federal law for spill reporting for hazardous materials
- Hazardous Material Transportation Act (HMTA)
- Clean Water Act (CWA)
- Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA)
(Fact Sheet 8 of 12)