When generators ship hazardous waste off site, the waste is typically subject to the US DOT’s rules for hazmat shipments. One of the first and most important steps to shipping any hazmat, including hazardous waste, is selecting a Proper Shipping Name.
The DOT hazmat shipping regulations include unique naming requirements for wastes that shippers must follow to avoid rejected shipments and civil penalties.
Unique Naming Rules for Hazardous Waste
To select a name for any hazmat shipment, shippers refer to the table in Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations, Part 172.101. Column 2 of this table lists thousands of possible shipping names, some of which include the word “waste” and are intended for waste shipments.
If the listed name of the shipper’s material does not include the word “waste,” the shipper must add “waste” before the Proper Shipping Name on the Hazardous Waste Manifest and any required markings. [49 CFR 172.101(c)(9)]
For example, to ship spent acetone off site for treatment, the shipper must add the word “waste” in front of the listed Proper Shipping Name (“acetone”). So, the final shipping name is “Waste Acetone.”
How Does the DOT Define a Hazardous Waste?
The US DOT defines a hazardous waste as a material that is subject to the US EPA’s Hazardous Waste Manifest requirements. These EPA requirements are found in 40 CFR 262.
In general, this includes any material that meets the Federal definition of a hazardous waste at 40 CFR 261.3.
Wastes Excluded from the Manifest Requirements
Many hazardous wastes are excluded from the Hazardous Waste Manifest requirements in 40 CFR 262, such as:
- Hazardous wastes generated by conditionally exempt small quantity generators (i.e., they generate less than or equal to 100 kg of hazardous waste in a calendar month) [40 CFR 261.5(b)];
- Wastes reclaimed under a contractual agreement meeting the requirements of 40 CFR 262.20(e)(1) and (2) by small quantity generators (i.e., they generate greater than 100 kg but less than 1,000 kg of hazardous waste in a calendar month);
- Universal Waste managed under 40 CFR 273 [40 CFR 273.1(b)];
- Used oil that is recycled that also exhibits a characteristic of hazardous waste [40 CFR 261.6(a)(4)];
- Spent lead-acid batteries that will be reclaimed through regeneration (such as by electrolyte replacement) according to 40 CFR 266, Subpart G;
- Samples sent for analysis [40 CFR 261.4(d)]; and
- Treatability study samples sent to laboratories and testing facilities. [40 CFR 261.4(e)]
When these wastes meet the DOT’s definition of a hazardous material and are subject to the DOT packaging and shipping paper requirements, their Proper Shipping Names are NOT preceded by the word “waste.”
One More Special Case
If a generator is shipping a hazardous waste off site that requires a manifest, and if the waste does not meet the DOT’s criteria as a hazmat under Classes 1-8, it will be regulated as a miscellaneous Class 9. In this case, the DOT Proper Shipping Name will either be “Hazardous waste liquid, n.o.s.” or “Hazardous waste solid, n.o.s.” Since these names already include the word “waste,” the shipper does NOT precede them with a redundant “waste.”
What About State Regulated Hazardous Wastes?
States with approved RCRA programs may regulate additional materials as hazardous waste. It is not uncommon for states to have additional characteristics or listings. Some even regulate solid wastes more stringently.
A State RCRA program may require the use of a Hazardous Waste Manifest to ship State hazardous waste or solid waste off site. However, since this is not a requirement specified by the US Environmental Protection Agency in the hazardous waste regulations in 40 CFR 262, the DOT would NOT consider these materials to be hazardous waste for their purposes. Therefore, you would NOT precede their DOT Proper Shipping Names (if they are indeed a DOT hazardous material) with the word “waste.”
When shipping a waste off site, the hazardous waste generator must understand the DOT’s definition of hazardous waste at 49 CFR 171.8 in order to determine the applicability of using the word “waste” to precede a DOT Proper Shipping Name. In particular, the generator of State hazardous wastes must understand that these do not fall under the DOT’s definition of a hazardous waste. The generator must also be familiar with the RCRA hazardous wastes that are excluded from the RCRA manifesting requirements of 40 CFR 262 and, therefore, do not meet the DOT’s definition of a hazardous waste.
Nationally Trusted RCRA Training
Be confident your team is prepared to meet the EPA’s manifest and off-site shipping requirements found in the RCRA rules. The Hazardous/Toxic Waste Management Workshop
is presented nationwide and covers the regulations all personnel must know to properly accumulate, store, and manage waste on site. Fines for violating the RCRA hazardous waste management rules are as high as $37,500 per day, per violation.