For hazardous waste generators, managing hazardous waste streams correctly is crucial to keep your company out of regulatory difficulty. It’s important that the job be done right AND in accordance with all hazardous waste laws.
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So, let’s take a quick look at a few things you need to know about hazardous waste storage to keep you out of hot water.
First things first, as a hazardous waste generator, you must satisfy safety, environmental and regulatory guidelines and have a solid base of knowledge and experience in which hazardous materials are used in your facility.
That’s a given.
Identification of properties and the regulatory status of waste that you generate is vital in maintaining compliance with state and federal regulations.
If you are unsure if your facility is subject to hazardous waste laws, let’s start with a quick definition of hazardous waste.
By definition, “Hazardous waste is any solid, liquid or contained gaseous material discarded by being disposed of, burned or incinerated, or recycled. (There are some exceptions for recycled materials.)
It can be the byproduct of a manufacturing process or simply a commercial product that you use in your business—such as a cleaning fluid or battery acid—and that is being disposed of. Even materials that are recyclable or can be reused in some way (such as burning solvents for fuel) might be considered waste.”
A key component of managing hazardous waste is using proper hazardous waste containers and proper hazardous waste labels. Let’s look at some of your options.
Using the right storage containers for different types of hazardous waste is the key to safety and compliance. All hazardous waste generators must insure that their containers are built to spec. according to the most current codes and regulations.
Following is a list of the different types of hazardous waste storage containers according to the Environmental Protection Agency website.
For more information check out this article on “How To Choose The Right Hazardous Waste Storage Container.”
In addition to selecting the right storage containers for your waste streams, it’s important to understand your regulatory requirements including how long waste can be stored and how frequently you must inspect your storage areas.
To understand how long you can store waste on-site, you must understand your hazardous waste generator requirements.
Once you understand your specific requirements based on the amount of waste you generate, you can put a place to proactively monitor your procedures and spot issues.
Two common storage issues that lead to fines are:
Open Containers- The laws on this point are very clear; containers of hazardous waste must be closed and latched always except when adding or removing waste.
Infrequent or No Weekly Inspections of Hazardous Waste Storage Areas- Hazardous waste generators are required to perform a weekly inspection of the hazardous waste container storage areas. This is a common violation, and one that is very easy to implement standard procedures and maintain compliance.
The task of managing their hazardous waste streams is a full-time job. Staying current on regulations, ensuring that your protocols comply and ensuring that your employees are properly trained are all part of the process.
Most companies find value in hiring an experienced and properly licensed hazardous waste disposal company.
Liability is always an issue in any business and especially in the business of hazardous waste. Hiring a certified hazardous waste company to manage the needs of your company makes sense on many levels.