Hazardous Waste Treatment
From the archives of the Enforcement and Compliance Listserv for Hazardous Waste Generators
August 28, 2006
In the federal regulations that Missouri adopts by reference, 40 CFR 260.10 defines treatment as "any method, technique, or process, including neutralization, designed to change the physical, chemical, or biological character or composition of any hazardous waste so as to neutralize such waste, or so as to recover energy or material resources from the waste, or so as to render such waste non-hazardous, or less hazardous; safer to transport, store, or dispose of; or amenable for recovery, amenable for storage, or reduced in volume." Therefore, most forms of hazardous waste treatment require a permit. You should thoroughly review the hazardous waste laws and regulations regarding treatment if your business decides to treat its own waste. As a generator, you should assume that your waste type and method of treatment require a permit until you verify that it does not require a permit. Below are the most common forms of treatment that do not require a permit, as long as the waste is generated on-site. No waste may be accepted from other generators. As always, if you have a unique or highly complex situation, please contact the department for assistance.
Elementary Neutralization - If you are dealing with a waste that is only classified as hazardous because it is corrosive (i.e. the pH is less than or equal to 2 or greater than or equal to 12.5) then you can use elementary neutralization to treat the waste without obtaining a permit. Again elementary neutralization can only be used on waste that is hazardous exclusively because of its corrosivity (it is not a listed hazardous waste and does not exhibit any other hazardous characteristic) AND must be performed in a tank, tank system, container, transport vehicle or vessel as defined in 40 CFR Section 260.10.
Wastewater Treatment - The treatment of wastewater generated on-site is not subject to a hazardous waste permit if it is conducted in a unit that meets the definition of Wastewater Treatment Unit (WWTU).
The WWTU must:
1. Be part of a wastewater treatment facility that is subject to the Clean Water Act; and
2. Be managing hazardous wastewater or hazardous wastewater treatment sludge; and
3. Meet the definition of tank or tank system as defined in Section 260.10
For more details, please see 40 CFR 260.10.
Totally Enclosed Treatment Facility - A Totally Enclosed Treatment Facility that is directly connected to production equipment is not subject to acquiring a hazardous waste permit. The totally enclosed treatment facility requires two things, that the facility for the treatment of hazardous waste is directly connected to the industrial production process AND is constructed and operated in a manner which prevents the release of any hazardous waste into the environment during treatment. Please note that if there are ANY releases, measured or reasonably possible (including leaks, escaping vapors or other fugitive emissions), this treatment DOES require a permit. Again, see 40 CFR 260.10 for more details.
90/180/270 day Accumulation Units - Generators may treat their own waste in approved accumulation units as long as there is no thermal treatment of the waste and the requirements for accumulation units are followed. This means no treatment by burning, heating, or evaporation of wastes. Approved containers for Large Quantity Generators (LQGs) include tanks, containers, drip pads, and containment buildings. Small quantity generators (SQGs) can only use tanks and containers, unless the SQG adheres to LQG requirements (including only accumulating hazardous waste 90 days). As with any accumulation unit in storage, the container must remain closed unless adding or removing waste and the unit cannot be kept open while mixing or reacting the contents. These requirements prevent generators from using passive evaporation to treat hazardous waste. A hazardous waste generator that treats their own waste in accumulation units must develop and follow a written Waste Analysis Plan that describes the procedures they used to meet treatment standards for the waste. Again, a generator may only treat their own waste and must not accept waste from off-site. As always, LQGs may accumulate hazardous waste for up to 90 days, SQGs can accumulate hazardous waste for 180 days or 270 days if their treatment facility is over 200 miles away. Please contact the department before treating hazardous waste in accumulation units.
Some waste-management activities that meet the definition of treatment are allowed to occur without a permit, but are governed by the Missouri regulations for Resource Recovery found in 10 CSR 25-9.020. Also see Resource Recovery for more information.
Details are important when determining if a permit is required for a specific treatment. Even if a hazardous waste permit is not required, other environmental permits may be needed. A water pollution permit may be required from the department or from your local sewer authority, or some other type of permit may be required. As mentioned earlier, it is usually a good idea to assume that any treatment of hazardous waste requires a permit until you have discussed it with the personnel in your local Regional Office that are familiar with your operations. Regional Office staff may be able to give you a quick answer or conduct a site visit in order to make the determination.
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If you need further assistance, please email or contact the Department of Natural Resources' Hazardous Waste Program at 573-751-2032 or 800-361-4827.
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