The 4 Types of Hazardous Waste Shipments

Posted on 2/16/2016 by Roseanne Bottone

Under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) defines a “hazardous waste” as a solid waste that exhibits specific characteristics or is described on a list. [40 CFR 261.3] In addition to criteria for identifying hazardous wastes, the RCRA regulations prescribe hazardous waste management requirements for on-site storage, marking and manifesting for off-site shipping, and recordkeeping and reporting.
Depending on how much and what type of hazardous waste a facility generates, the management methods may vary. For example, a large quantity generator—a facility that generates 1,000 kg or more of hazardous waste per month—may manage their waste under the “90-day rules” in 40 CFR Part 262 rather than obtaining a RCRA permit.  The regulations in Part 262 include management standards, some of the hazardous waste training requirements, and rules for the Hazardous Waste Manifest.

Conditionally exempt small quantity (CESQG) generators—who generate less than 100 kg of hazardous waste per month—are exempt from most on-site management requirements; universal wastes (e.g., batteries, certain pesticides, mercury containing equipment and lamps) may be managed under less restrictive rules in 40 CFR Part 273; and used oil (even if it exhibits a characteristic of hazardous waste as generated) may be managed under unique requirements found at 40 CFR Part 279. A hazardous waste Manifest is not required for shipments sent from a CESQG facility. 

Hazardous Waste Shipments Are Subject to DOT’s Hazmat Regulations

Regardless of how your site manages its hazardous waste, when it‘s time to ship it off site, (e.g., to a treatment, storage, or disposal facility (TSDF), you must determine if the waste is a “hazardous material” (i.e., “hazmat”) under the US Department of Transportation’s (DOT’s) hazard class criteria for classes 1 – 8, or class 9 (e.g., a marine pollutant and other miscellaneous hazards). The criteria used to identify materials as hazmat class 1-9 can be found at 49 CFR Part 173.

If the waste meets the definition of a hazardous material, in addition to properly classifying the material, the shipper must comply with all applicable DOT regulations for naming, packaging, marking, labeling, placarding hazmat shipments. Plus, shippers must comply with specific DOT shipping paper requirements.

Loading RCRA hazardous waste shipment

How US DOT Defines Hazardous Waste for Transport

In addition, you must determine if your waste meets the DOT’s definition of a hazardous waste. For the purposes of the hazmat regulations, the DOT defines a “hazardous waste” at 49 CFR 171.8 as:
“[A]ny material that is subject to the Hazardous Waste Manifest Requirements of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency specified in 40 CFR part 262.”

If your waste meets this DOT definition, then you must also:
  • Add the word “waste” to precede the DOT’s proper shipping name for DOT class 1 – 8 materials;
  • Prepare the Uniform Hazardous Waste Manifest following the EPA’s rules at 40 CFR 262 Subpart B;
  •  Include additional EPA package markings specified at 40 CFR 262.32 like the hazardous waste label seen below; and
  • Automatically regulate the waste as a miscellaneous class 9 IF it does not meet any other DOT hazard class 1 – 8 criteria.
Four Hazardous Waste Shipping Scenarios 

1.      A RCRA hazardous waste subject to 40 CFR 262 manifesting that meets a DOT 1-8 hazard class (or classes). Regulate this material under the appropriate DOT hazard class (or classes) and add the word “waste” to the proper shipping name.

2.      A RCRA hazardous waste subject to 40 CFR 262 manifesting that does NOT meet a DOT 1-8 hazard class (or classes). Regulate this material under the DOT’s miscellaneous class 9 and name it Hazardous waste liquid, n.o.s. or Hazardous waste solid, n.o.s. as applicable.

3.      A RCRA hazardous waste that is NOT subject to 40 CFR 262 manifesting that meets a DOT 1-8 hazard class (or classes). Some examples of these may include CESQG hazardous waste; universal wastes like batteries, mercury-containing equipment, or lamps; and excluded hazardous waste samples. Prepare this material under the appropriate DOT requirements but do NOT add the word “waste” to the proper shipping name.

Note: State hazardous wastes are not DOT hazardous wastes even if the State requires the use of a manifest, since use of the manifest is not mandated under 40 CFR Part 262.

4.      A RCRA hazardous waste that is NOT subject to 40 CFR 262 manifesting that also does NOT meet a DOT 1-8 hazard class (or classes). This material is NOT automatically pulled into the miscellaneous class 9 and is generally not regulated as a DOT hazmat.

In order to successfully manage and ship hazardous waste, you must understand where it is in its lifecycle and determine which rules are applicable to the activity you are performing. The first step in complying with RCRA and DOT hazmat regulations is to understand how the different agencies’ perspectives can affect the way their regulations are written, and how they define what is or is not “hazardous.”

Master RCRA Hazardous Waste Management

Build confidence that you know what it takes to comply with the latest US EPA RCRA hazardous waste rules for identifying and storing waste on site! Meet EPA’s annual hazardous waste training mandate at the collaborative RCRA workshops trusted by new and experienced industry professionals nationwide. Can’t make it to a public workshop? The same expert training is available in an interactive, 24/7 online course format.

Tags: EPA, hazardous waste, hazmat shipping, RCRA

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