In the United States, the treatment, storage and disposal of hazardous waste is regulated under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). Hazardous wastes are defined under RCRA in 40 CFR 261 where they are divided into two major categories: characteristic wastes and listed wastes.
Ignitability(D001)– Ignitable wastes can create fires under certain conditions, are spontaneously combustible, or have a flash point less than 60 °C (140 °F). Examples include waste oils and used solvents. For more details, see 40 CFR §261.21 . Test methods that may be used to determine ignitability include the Pensky-Martens Closed-Cup Method for Determining Ignitability (Method 1010A) (PDF) (1 pg, 19K) , the Setaflash Closed-Cup Method for Determining Ignitability (Method 1020B) (PDF) (1 pg, 17K) , and the Ignitability of Solids (Method 1030) (PDF) (13 pp, 116K).
Corrosivity(D002)– Corrosive wastes are acids or bases (pH less than or equal to 2, or greater than or equal to 12.5) that are capable of corroding metal containers, such as storage tanks, drums, and barrels. Battery acid is an example. For more details, see 40 CFR §261.22 . The test method that may be used to determine corrosivity is the Corrosivity Towards Steel (Method 1110A) (PDF) (6 pp, 37K).
Reactivity(D003)– Reactive wastes are unstable under “normal” conditions. They can cause explosions, toxic fumes, gases, or vapors when heated, compressed, or mixed with water. Examples include lithium-sulfur batteries and explosives. For more details, see 40 CFR §261.23 . There are currently no test methods available.
Toxicity(D004-43)– Toxic wastes are harmful or fatal when ingested or absorbed (e.g., containing mercury, lead, etc.). When toxic wastes are land disposed, contaminated liquid may leach from the waste and pollute ground water. Toxicity is defined through a laboratory procedure called the Toxicity Characteristic Leaching Procedure (TCLP) (Method 1311) (PDF) (35 pp, 288K). The TCLP helps identify wastes likely to leach concentrations of contaminants that may be harmful to human health or the environment. For more details, see 40 CFR §261.24 .
Listed or Specific Waste:
- The F-list (non-specific source wastes). This list identifies wastes from common manufacturing and industrial processes, such as solvents that have been used in cleaning or degreasing operations. Because the processes producing these wastes can occur in different sectors of industry, the F-listed wastes are known as wastes from non-specific sources. Wastes included on the F-list can be found in the regulations at 40 CFR §261.31 .
- The K-list (source-specific wastes). This list includes certain wastes from specific industries, such as petroleum refining or pesticide manufacturing. Certain sludges and wastewaters from treatment and production processes in these industries are examples of source-specific wastes. Wastes included on the K-list can be found in the regulations at 40 CFR §261.32 .
- The P-list and the U-list (discarded commercial chemical products). These lists include specific commercial chemical products in an unused form. Some pesticides and some pharmaceutical products become hazardous waste when discarded. Wastes included on the P- and U-lists can be found in the regulations at 40 CFR §261.33 .
Now that a differentiation can be made between the two major categories of hazardous waste, one can go about a method of physically disposing of the waste.
Methods of Waste Disposal:
Specific regulations have been developed for four types of land disposal units under Subtitle C of RCRA (40 CFR Parts 264/265). These units include:
Landfills are excavated or engineered sites where non-liquid hazardous waste is deposited for final disposal and covered. These units are selected and designed to minimize the chance of release of hazardous waste into the environment. Design standards for hazardous waste landfills require a double liner; double leachate collection and removal systems (LCRS); leak detection system; run on, runoff, and wind dispersal controls; construction quality assurance (CQA) program. Liquid wastes may not be placed in a hazardous waste landfill. Operators must also comply with inspection, monitoring, and release response requirements. Since landfills are permanent disposal sites and are closed with waste in place, closure and post-closure care requirements include installing and maintaining a final cover, continuing operation of the LCRS until leachate is no longer detected, maintaining and monitoring the leak detection system, maintaining ground water monitoring, preventing storm water run on and runoff, and installing and protecting surveyed benchmarks. (See 40 CFR Parts 264/265, Subpart N)
Surface Impoundments are natural topographic depressions, man-made excavations, or diked areas formed primarily of earthen materials used for temporary storage or treatment of liquid hazardous waste. Examples include holding, storage, settling, aeration pits, ponds, and lagoons. Hazardous waste surface impoundments are required to be constructed with a double liner system, a leachate collection and removal systems (LCRS), and a leak detection system. To ensure proper installation and construction, regulations require the unit to have and follow a construction construction quality assurance (CQA) program. The regulations also outline monitoring, inspection, response action, and closure requirements. (See 40 CFR Parts 264/265, Subpart K)
Waste Piles are non-containerized piles of solid, non-liquid hazardous waste that are used for temporary storage or treatment. In addition to the standard double liner and leachate collection and removal systems (LCRS), waste piles are required to have a second LCRS above the top liner. Waste piles must also have run on and runoff controls, be managed to prevent wind dispersal of waste, and are subject to inspection, monitoring, and release response requirements. When closing a waste pile, all waste residue and contaminated soils and equipment must be removed or decontaminated. (See 40 CFR Parts 264/265, Subpart L)
Land Treatment Units use naturally occurring soil microbes and sunlight to treat hazardous waste. This is accomplished by applying the hazardous waste directly on the soil surface or incorporating it into the upper layers of the soil in order to degrade, transform, or immobilize the hazardous constituents. Land treatment units rely upon the physical, chemical, and biological processes occurring in the topsoil layers to contain the waste. Because of this, the units are not required to have liner systems or an leachate collection and removal systems (LCRS). Before hazardous waste can be placed in a land treatment unit, operators must complete a treatment demonstration to demonstrate the unit’s effectiveness and ability to treat the hazardous waste. Once operational, operators must monitor the unit (unsaturated zone monitoring) to ensure that all hazardous constituents are being treated adequately. Unit closure consists primarily of placing a vegetative cover over the unit and certifying that hazardous constituent levels in the treatment zone do not exceed background levels. (See 40 CFR Parts 264/265, Subpart M)
The remaining types of land disposal units are categorized as miscellaneous units:
Injection Wells are regulated primarily under the Safe Drinking Water Act and the Underground Injection Control (UIC) Program. (See 40 CFR Part 265 Subpart R or Part 264 Subpart X)
Salt Dome Formations, Salt Bed Formations, Underground Mines, and Underground Caves are geologic repositories. Because these units vary greatly, they are subject to environmental performance standards, not prescribed technology-based standards (e.g., liners, leachate collection systems, leak detection systems). The standards require that these miscellaneous units must be located, designed, constructed, operated, maintained, and closed in a manner that ensures the protection of human health and the environment. (See 40 CFR Part 264 Subpart X—Miscellaneous Units)
Another type of waste that must be properly disposed of is non-hazardous waste. In Texas it is sub categorized into two classes.
Class 1 wastes are wastes which are regulated by the TCEQ and are potentially threatening to human health and the environment if not properly managed, because of the constituents and properties this class can include. Therefore, there are special handling requirements for Class 1 wastes. Examples are water contaminated with ethylene glycol, soils contaminated with petroleum hydrocarbons, liquids that are ignitable at levels above 150 degrees F, and semi-solids and solids when combined with water exhibits corrosive properties.
Class 2 wastes are often accepted at local landfills. Examples of wastes that fall under the Class II definition are depleted aerosol cans, non-surgical non-radioactive medical waste, and food waste and packaging that result from plant production, manufacturing or laboratory operations.
What can Mantis do for you?
Now that the methods of disposal have been listed, depending on what and where the waste is located, trained and professional employees of Mantis Environmental will come to your location to resolve your waste issues. Mantis offers the following hazardous and non-hazardous waste services.
Mantis will assess your waste to make a determination on the identity and best treatment technology. In some cases an independent third party laboratory will be needed to confirm the identity of the waste stream. In the case of lab packs, the waste may be identified by general classification only.
In many situations, waste streams may be in partial containers. Mantis will segregate by compatibility and consolidate the waste as much as possible to reduce the number of waste streams. This also reduces the overall cost of the project while promoting waste minimization.
Waste will be packaged in DOT approved containers for transportation to the accepting disposal facility. The containers will be sealed, marked, labeled and otherwise prepared for transportation per all applicable federal, state and local regulations.
Lab packs are a specialty service wherein like chemicals are packaged by characteristics and compatibility. This service is utilized most often by education institutions and research type labs.