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On-Site Hazardous Waste Storage and Containerization

October 23, 2014

Generators commonly store hazardous waste on-site before transferring that waste to another facility. It’s easier than shipping off the waste immediately and gives a newer company time to find the right facility for their waste. But knowing the EPA-recommended units of containerization is key for proper storage.

Related: Hazardous Waste Labeling and Marking 101

The storage vessels that are sanctioned for use by the EPA include:

Containers – Containers are any storage device meant for transportation and mobility, the most common of which is the 55-gallon drum barrel, but can be as sundry as a bucket, bag or test tube, or as large as a railroad car and tanker truck.

Tanks – Tanks are stationary units which may be either open-topped or closed-topped, and are usually constructed to hold large amounts of waste and held on-site.

Containment Buildings – These hazardous waste buildings are self-supporting, completely closed-off structures meant to house non-containerized waste.

Waste Piles – Waste piles are an open-aired accumulation of hazardous waste which must contain a double-layered liner or filtrate to ensure the waste does not seep into surface water or groundwater.

Drip Pads – Pertaining specifically to the lumber preserving industry, a drip pad a curbed drainage square made of concrete or another non-earthen material and is designed to catch wood-preservative waste.

Surface Impoundments – Much like landfills, surface impoundments are depressions in natural land, and therefore “made” of earthen material like soil, but may be lined with a manmade covering. The main difference between a surface impoundment and a landfill is that a landfill is usually the final destination for waste, while an impoundment is for temporary storage of hazmat substances.

hazardous waste storage container

These are just the types of storage containers that are meant for hazardous waste, but there are also rules regarding safe storing as well. A few of these stipulations include:

  • Containers must be properly marked with the amount and type of hazardous waste they hold.
  • Ignitable or reactive types of waste held in containers must be at least 50 feet from the perimeter of your facility and all surface water.

How long hazardous waste may be held in containers on-site depends on the classification of generator and other factors.

  • Hazardous waste weighing less than 55 gallons may only be held at the site of actual waste generation, or the “satellite accumulation” zone, for 3 days before it must be moved into its proper container.
  • A small quantity generator (SQG) may store hazardous substances for up to 180 days.

If you’re feeling the stress of a storage problem—don’t worry. Hazardous Waste Experts has many years’ worth of experience and knowledge. If you need assistance or questions on how to store or dispose of your hazardous waste, we’re here for you. Give us a call at (800) 936-2311, or take a few minutes and fill out our Request a Quote form to receive a personalized, prompt, and free quote from our specialists.

Photo credit: Jeremy Brooks at compfight

Disposal of hazardous waste doesn’t have to be painful.