Pollution Prevention Guides for
Auto Body Shops - Fact Sheet 10
Used automobile fuels may become hazardous waste if they have
been contaminated with sediments or have been chemically degraded, and if they are unsuitable for use in
The main methods of preventing pollution when dealing with fuels include:
- Avoiding spills and leaks
- Reusing used fuel
- Managing used fuel through a hazardous waste management company
Avoiding Spills And Leaks
Fuel spills and leaking storage tanks can cause serious environmental damage and create a dangerous
work environment. Soil and local water supplies can easily be contaminated by leaking underground or
aboveground storage tanks if not properly protected and monitored.
There are also significant worker health concerns associated with using and handling gasoline. The
petroleum-based compounds commonly found in gasoline can cause nervous system damage when inhaled, and
are considered carcinogenic (cancer causing).
Reusing Used Fuel
Some waste fuels can be reused by filtering out the contaminants, such as sediments, and using it in
smaller engines, such as a lawn mower. The filtered sediments from unleaded gasoline may not be considered
hazardous and could be disposed of, if dry, in a licensed Class II solid waste management facility (discussed in
Fact Sheet 3 - Defining A Waste).
Managing Used Fuel
Waste fuels may be considered hazardous because of their low flash point (ignitability) or chemical
components (benzene, toluene, xylene). Therefore, if they are not reused appropriately, they must be stored
and disposed of along with other hazardous waste generated in your shop. Refer to Section 3 - Defining A
Waste for more information on hazardous waste management.
|1) Do you store fuel in underground storage tanks?
Owning underground storage tanks (USTs) requires proper
leak detection and permits, especially for petroleum products.
|2) Do you store fuel in aboveground storage tanks?
Aboveground storage tanks are typically regulated by state
and local Fire Marshal offices.
|3) Do you know what to do with sediments from gas
Dispose of gas tank sediments from vehicles that use leaded
gasoline or sediments saturated with gasoline as hazardous
waste. If the sediments from unleaded gasoline are
completely dry, treat as a non-hazardous waste.
|4) Do you filter water-contaminated fuel for reuse?
By carefully filtering the water-contaminated gasoline or diesel
through a chamois you can remove the water. You can also
allow the water-contaminated fuel to sit for two days in order
to allow the mixture to separate. Then, carefully siphon off the
fuel and reuse.
Montana State University Extension Service
Pollution Prevention Program Taylor Hall Bozeman, Montana 59717
The United States Environmental Protection Agency
(Fact Sheet 10 of 18)
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