Solid Waste and Hazardous Waste

It is the responsibility of the business to determine whether or not waste generated at its facility is hazardous. Possible hazardous wastes generated at an ag service center include oil-based paints, solvents, damaged batteries, fluorescent lamps, and expired chemicals such as cleaning supplies or pesticides. KDHE has a technical guidance document that explains the steps needed in making a waste determination and the information that must be documented (TGD HW-2011-G1). A waste can be hazardous if it exhibits one of the four hazardous waste characteristics: ignitability, corrosivity, reactivity, or toxicity. Also, a waste is hazardous if it is on one of the four lists of specific chemicals that define hazardous wastes. For more details on listed and characteristic hazardous wastes and determining waste codes, refer to TGD HW-2011-G2, Characteristic and Listed Hazardous Waste. Ignitable hazardous wastes have a flashpoint less than 140° F and include gasoline, some solvents, and possibly used oil and antifreeze. Used oil and antifreeze could become ignitable hazardous waste if waste solvents or waste fuel are added by mistake. Corrosive hazardous wastes have a pH less than or equal to 2 (strong acids) or greater than or equal to 12.5 (strong bases), and include battery acid, caustic paint strippers, and some floor cleaner concentrates. Reactive hazardous wastes are unstable, react violently, or create toxic gases. Sodium azide used in air bags is an example of a reactive hazardous waste. Toxic hazardous wastes are determined by the toxicity characteristic leaching procedure (TCLP) test, a laboratory procedure that simulates the potential of wastes to release toxic chemicals into water if buried in the ground. The full TCLP test includes eight toxic metals, 11 volatile compounds, 13 base-neutral acids, six pesticides, and two herbicides. If your business operations create a hazardous waste, your company is responsible for that waste "from cradle to grave." Also, if the hazardous waste is on your property, even if someone else dumped it there or left it behind, you may be held responsible for it. The KDHE Hazardous Waste Generator Handbook provides greater detail on identifying hazardous waste and summarizes a generator’s requirements. If you have determined or suspect that your facility generates hazardous wastes and you need technical assistance to know how the regulations affect your facility, contact the Kansas Small Business Environmental Assistance Program at 800-578-8898 for free, confidential information. The greatest economic and environmental benefits come from avoiding the generation of waste in the first place.
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