Under EPA regulations, hazardous waste disposal must be done according to the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. If your organization primarily generates nonhazardous waste, you still need to follow due process if that waste comes into contact with hazardous waste. Defined through the something known as the mixture rule, any nonhazardous waste becomes a hazardous waste when mixed together so long as the characteristics of the hazardous waste still exist.
A “mixture” is exactly what it sounds like – any combination of a listed or characteristic hazardous waste and a nonhazardous waste. (Check out this article for more information on hazardous waste and its four characteristics.) Unfortunately, any time a hazardous waste comes into contact with nonhazardous waste, it must be disposed of as if the whole thing was hazardous.
There are exceptions, such as wastewaters containing certain listed hazardous wastes. In that case, the mixture must consist of wastewater, something that is governed under the Clean Water Act (CWA). The wastewater must also contain one of the following:
- Discarded Chemical Products,
- Heat Exchanger Bundle Cleaning Sludge,
- Spent Solvents, or
- Wastewaters Resulting from Laboratory Operations.
Despite the possibility that the waste has been diluted, if the hazardous properties are still present they must be handled as hazardous. Most companies have some level of hazardous waste present in the workplace, even if it’s just as cleaning solvents.
If you need help disposing of waste properly or have more questions about what the mixture rule means to you, Hazardous Waste Experts can assess your needs and help you apply the best strategies for your business. Call us today at 800-936-2311.
(Article by Carrie Anton)