November 27, 2020: Part I: Hazardous Waste vs. Hazardous Materials

Included in the definition of a DOT Hazardous Material are DOT Hazardous Wastes. What does the DOT consider to be a Hazardous Waste? This is the verbatim definition from 49 CFR 171.8:
Hazardous waste, for the purposes of this chapter, means any material that is subject to the Hazardous Waste Manifest Requirements of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency specified in 40 CFR part 262.
This means if your material is a hazardous waste under the EPA’s Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) Title 40 CFR regulations and a Uniform Hazardous waste manifest must be used for offsite shipment, the DOT considers it a hazardous waste when transported.
This is important because a DOT hazardous waste is subject to a certain naming protocol and additional marking requirements. This week we will look at naming.

Part I – Naming

The proper shipping name for a DOT hazardous waste mustbe preceded by the word “Waste” unless the word “waste” is already part of the name. Sounds straight forward, but it’s a little trickier than you think. Let’s tackle this with simple to more complex examples:

  1. Spent acetone will be shipped offsite for disposal. Spent acetone is a RCRA hazardous waste (F003 and D001) and requires a manifest for offsite shipment for disposal. The proper shipping name will be “Waste acetone” and it will be regulated as a DOT hazard class 3 flammable liquid.
  2. If you are a very small quantity generator (VSQG) generating less than or equal to 100 kg of hazardous waste per calendar month, you are not mandated by RCRA to use the manifest to ship your hazardous waste offsite. In that case, the spent acetone is not a DOT hazardous waste (even though it will be disposed of)and you will use the PSN “Acetone” without the word “waste.”
  3. “RCRA-empty” drums containing ¼ inch residue of acetone. (In this case, “RCRA-empty” means that all the acetone that could be removed from the drums was removed and less than 1 inch of residue remains. It is no longer regulated by the EPA as a RCRA hazardous waste.) A manifest is not required. Therefore, the contents of the drums are not a DOT hazardous waste. However, since these drums do not meet the DOT’s definition of empty, they must be regulated as if they contain a greater amount. The PSN will be “Acetone” and it will be regulated as a DOT hazard class 3 flammable liquid.
  4. Lead acid batteries regulated as Universal Waste under the EPA’s RCRA regulations at 40 CFR 273 being shipped offsite for recycling. A manifest is not required for Universal Waste. Therefore, the proper shipping name “Batteries, wet, filled with acid” will not be preceded by the word “waste.” It will be regulated as a DOT hazard class 8 corrosive.
  5. A non-toxic solvent contaminated with cadmium is a D006 toxicity characteristic RCRA hazardous waste. A manifest is required. This material is a DOT hazardous waste but does not meet any DOT criteria for hazard classes 1 through 8. It must be regulated by the DOT as a miscellaneous hazard class 9 with the PSN “Hazardous waste liquid, nos.” Since the word “waste” is already part of the PSN, do not precede it with the addition of the word “waste.”
  6. “RCRA-empty” drums containing ¼ inch of residue of the above non-toxic solvent. A manifest is not required. It is not a DOT hazardous waste and does not meet any other criteria to be a DOT hazardous material. It is not regulated by the DOT for offsite shipment.

What can STARS do for you?

We are now offering a 4-hour training program called “Storing & Shipping Hazardous Waste.” The training covers general awareness, identifying hazardous waste, onsite storage of hazardous waste, preparing hazardous waste for offsite shipment, the Uniform Hazardous Waste Manifest basics, and the manifest tracking system. The training can be presented in-house at your facility, or online either pre-recorded on demand, or live.

Next week we will look at Part II – How to prepare your RCRA hazardous waste for offsite shipment.