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Learn the Basics of Hazardous Waste

What is a Hazardous Waste?

Hazardous waste that is improperly managed poses a serious threat to human health and the environment. The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), passed in 1976, was established to set up a framework for the proper management of hazardous waste. The hazardous waste management program uses the term solid waste to denote something that is a waste. EPA developed hazardous waste regulations that define in more detail what materials are a solid waste for the purposes of RCRA Subtitle C (hazardous waste) regulation.

Simply defined, a hazardous waste is a waste with properties that make it dangerous or capable of having a harmful effect on human health or the environment. Hazardous waste is generated from many sources, ranging from industrial manufacturing process wastes to batteries and may come in many forms, including liquids, solids gases, and sludges.

EPA developed a regulatory definition and process that identifies specific substances known to be hazardous and provides objective criteria for including other materials in the regulated hazardous waste universe. This identification process can be very complex, so EPA encourages generators of wastes to approach the issue using the series of questions described below:

In order for a material to be classified as a hazardous waste, it must first be a solid waste. Therefore, the first step in the hazardous waste identification process is determining if a material is a solid waste.

The second step in this process examines whether or not the waste is specifically excluded from regulation as a solid or hazardous waste.

Once a generator determines that their waste meets the definition of a solid waste, they investigate whether or not the waste is a listed or characteristic hazardous waste. Finally, it is important to note that some facilities petitioned EPA to delist their wastes from RCRA Subtitle C regulation. You can research the facilities that successfully petitioned EPA for a delisting in Appendix IX of Title 40 of the Code of Federal Regulations part 261.

For more information concerning waste removal and remediation please contact Integrity Core Services today!

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