U.S. HAZARDOUS WASTE TRANSPORTATION REGULATIONS

The generation of hazardous waste by households, small businesses, farms, the health care division, and the construction sector has become very abundant over the years with:

  • Batteries
  • Electrical equipment
  • Health hazard waste
  • Solvent-based paints
  • Varnish waste
  • Dipping sheep
  • Fluorescent lamps

Do you recognize items that you use on this list? If so, federal legislation requires you to dispose of them in a proper manner. If improperly stored, hazardous waste can release vapors or be dangerous in the event of a fire. When discharged into the sewage system, these items pollute wastewater.

U.S. hazardous waste transportation regulations

Hazardous wastes standards and management are subject to numerous state and federal requirements. The reorganization of the disposal of these by-products is a sensible measure. This is especially the case for the small businesses that produce these wastes. To help you in this process, waste disposal companies can assist you throughout the process.

There are U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) provisions that contain a range of details and descriptions on:

  • Types of waste
  • Levels of waste generation
  • Disposal methods
  • Recycling methods
biohazard hazardous waste

The EPA also establishes a detailed inventory of all laws and regulations. They all relate to hazardous waste from the moment it is generated until it is completely disposed of. This is called "Cradle to Grave". Reading and understanding all these requirements can be challenging, but the laws exist for the survival of our environment. Being in direct or indirect contact with waste can be a serious risk for employees. Violations of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations are subject to heavy fines. Every day, people get sick or die from short or long-term exposure to toxic waste.

What is Hazardous Waste?

Hazardous waste is defined as waste that poses a risk to human health or the environment. A waste is considered hazardous if it has at least one of these hazardous properties:

  • Explosive
  • Oxidizing
  • Highly flammable
  • Flammable
  • Irritant
  • Harmful
  • Toxic
  • Carcinogenic
  • Corrosive
  • Infectious
  • Toxic to reproduction
  • Mutagenic
  • Substances and preparations which, in contact with water, air, or an acid, emit a toxic or very toxic gas
  • Sensitizing
  • Ecotoxic
  • Substances and preparations which may, after disposal, give rise by whatever means to another substance

Most of these wastes result from manufacturing processes or the use of various catalysts. It is imperative that it be treated before it is released.

Hazardous Waste Shipping Management

The containers terminal may be a land platform or a port. It requires special means in terms of materials transportation and handling equipment:

  • Crane
  • Rolling gantry crane
  • Trolley rider
  • Reach stacker
  • Lift truck
  • Ramp
  • Gripping frame
  • Others
Hazardous waste transportation regulations

A particular category of solid waste is a significant threat. They include solid, liquid, or gaseous materials. Most plants generate the following, among other things:

  • Used solvents
  • Laboratory chemicals
  • Paints
  • Used oil

Not all of these wastes are equally hazardous. Some are subject to more stringent requirements than others. It is therefore necessary to ensure that all of these substances are disposed of according to the required protocols.

Asbestos is a commercial term that describes six natural minerals. They are divided into two groups.

Asbestos Groups

  1. Serpentine
  2. Amphiboles

There is some confusion associated with the terminology of "asbestos". The six minerals in the fibrous variety, regulated as asbestos, have equivalencies in a non-fibrous form that are not regulated as asbestos. 

Main Diseases Related To Asbestos Exposure

The three main diseases related to exposure to asbestos fibers are:

  • Asbestosis
  • Lung cancer
  • Mesothelioma

In most cases, asbestos-containing waste is sent to specially designed storage facilities. These are subject to authorization and comply with general requirements laid down in ministerial orders. There are certain devices that make it possible to destroy asbestos fibers in order to allow the recovery of this waste if necessary. 

Most hazardous wastes can be identified by the hazard pictograms on their packaging. Attention should also be paid to what is defined as inert waste.

Inert waste is any waste that:

  • Is not chemically, physically, or biologically modified or transformed
  • Does not decompose or burn
  • Does not produce any physical or chemical reactions
  • Is not biodegradable
  • Does not deteriorate the materials with which it comes into contact in a way that could result in environmental damage or risk to human health

Hazardous waste is thus subject to strict packaging standards. It is done so that it can be easily recognized by anyone. These items include, among others:

  • Soda
  • Acid
  • Solvents
  • Plant protection products
  • Paint
  • Cooking oil
  • Oil change

Households often ignore these pictograms. They prefer to dispose of their hazardous products by throwing them in the trash, like any other item. Unfortunately, this is a terrible practice. One waste coming into contact with another can become lethal. These wastes are therefore subject to a ban on mixing with other products. Any direct contact with them can lead to extra risk. But that's not all, as it can also harm the environment in the short or long term. It is best to be careful and find the best way to dispose of these materials instead.

asbestos hazmat waste

The Hazardous Materials Transportation Act

The HMTA came into effect in 1975 through the signature of President Gerald Ford. It influences the current legislation on hazardous substances. The HMTA helps prevent pollution and illegal dumping. The purpose of HMTA is to ensure human, material, and environmental safety.

There are four main provisions on which these regulations are based:

  1. Methods and guidelines
  2. Identification of materials
  3. Packaging conditions
  4. Operational standards

It is important and necessary that you respect the HMTA. It is estimated that the United States makes 500,000 shipments of hazardous waste each day. Of these shipments, about half are items considered corrosive or flammable. There are approximately 2,700 other chemicals considered in these shipments, including those that are:

  • Radioactive
  • Infectious
  • Oxidizing
  • Explosive

These materials can be the cause of accidents resulting in:

  • Injuries
  • Deaths
  • The destruction of the planet

Under the Department of Toxic Substances (DTSC), a manifest has been established as part of a toxic waste management program. An identical manifest is required for most hazardous wastes, especially when they are transported off-site. This document allows the tracking of the product through:

  1. Production
  2. Storage
  3. Transportation
  4. Treatment
  5. Disposal

Each actor in the shipping chain signs a copy of the manifest and keeps it throughout the procedure. An EPA identification number is required by all participants on the manifest. In California, carriers of hazardous waste must be registered with the Department of Toxic Substances Control.

But how does this apply in practice to the waste producer itself? After the waste has been stored, it must be labeled according to its destination. Then a  hazardous waste manifest must be completed. The hazardous waste manifest indicates the nature of the waste being disposed of according to its volume and application. A copy of this manifest must then be sent to the Hazardous Waste Management Centre (HWC). The HWMC monitors and regulates the handling of hazardous waste. This is to ensure that it is transported and handled in compliance with the law.

The carrier in charge of collecting hazardous collects toxic substances. They are required to dispose of the waste within ten days in a special landfill in the region. The landfill then has thirty days to send the signed manifest to the DSTC. It must then provide proof that all your waste has been transported and treated in accordance with the regulations. If the signed manifest is not received within this time frame, then the CSTD will visit the converted carrier to verify the proper management of the waste.

worldwide hazmat waste production

This is only one of the many reasons for using competent and responsible transporters. Companies and households are responsible for what happens to the waste that they've produced. For this reason, it's very important to know what happens to it. Entities must choose their waste transporter wisely. If they ignore this responsibility, then they risk paying heavy fines.

OSHA Hazardous Waste Operations And Emergency Response

Extremely hazardous substances are a constant threat to the modern industry. Transporting hazardous waste as well as storing it is a real source of danger when rules aren't followed. Government departments and agencies are enforcing these health regulations due to high rates of toxic waste in the United States and abroad. Among these regulatory infrastructures, we can cite the following:

  • Department of Transportation (DOT)
  • Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
  • Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC)
  • Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)

DOT regulations govern the transportation of hazardous materials. The CPSC is responsible for overseeing hazardous chemical substances that may be used in consumer and household goods. The EPA manages substances that may harm the environment. OSHA handles regulating hazardous chemicals in workplaces. The hazardous materials regulations are based on 29 CFR 1910.119 Process Safety Management (PSM). This authority controls hazardous waste cleanup activities. It is also responsible for emergency situations resulting from hazardous materials incidents. This regulation is based on OSHA's 29 CFR 1910.120. The new hazardous waste regulations on management operations and rescue measures were introduced on March 6, 1990. It is known as HAZWOPER and includes the following indications:

  • Decontamination actions requested by a public authority at waste sites classified as hazardous and abandoned
  • Measures to rectify errors in the clean-up of sites affected by the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act 1976 (RCRA)
  • Unsolicited and volunteer clean-up at sites identified by the government as uncontrolled
  • Operation of hazardous waste in treatment, storage, and disposal (TSD) facilities in accordance with the RCRA Directive
  • Actions in response to significant threats involving dangerous substances, irrespective of their geographical location

Every Business Should Have a Hazardous Waste Management Plan

It is absolutely necessary to have a waste disposal plan. Plans should provide information and advice to employees about legislation and procedures for the disposal of hazardous waste.

This plan also helps to clarify the distribution of roles and priorities within the company. It provides a blueprint for action in the event of a crisis. This helps to limit the risks of contamination. This guide contains precise instructions on the handling of waste, from its creation to its disposal. 

The plan should include the following phases:

  1. Generation of hazardous waste
hazardous waste management plan

The management of hazardous waste is primarily carried out by the producing establishments themselves. Each generator must check the dangerousness of its waste. It must also control the final fate of the waste. Then, they must provide complete documentation. This is done so that the hazardous waste that they produce is correctly identified, managed, and treated. All of this has to be done before it is completely recycled.

  1. Accumulation of hazardous waste

A satellite hazardous waste storage site will be set up in each of the areas concerned. These areas will then become secure and will be marked with a sign indicating that it is a hazardous waste accumulation area. Hazardous materials are to be collected and transported to the main hazardous waste storage area only. This intermediate area is located where the hazardous waste is generated. It must be easy to monitor and visually inspect. The area in question needs both good ventilation and secondary containment if possible. This containment is intended to prevent leakage from the main container. When a waste container of this type is filled, a qualified coordinator should move it to the central storage area. The storage conditions for this container must be indicated on a form kept in the room provided for this purpose. This area is inspected regularly.

  1. Transportation of hazardous waste

When involving specialists, the type of waste concerned must always be precisely identified and labeled for transportation. The safety data sheets assist with monitoring the use and transportation of the material. This is essential due to the increasing strictness of waste disposal legislation.

  1. Hazardous waste treatment

The majority of waste is easily and safely recyclable. Others will be disposed of by incineration or landfill. The benefits of recycling are many and varied. Among other things, recycling makes it possible to limit the quantities of raw materials consumed and consequently the volume of waste that has to be treated. However, the wrong choice of storage for these materials can cause these issues:

  • Leaks
  • Spills
  • Fires
  • Contamination of soil
  • Contamination of drinking water

The implementation of this plan relies on the presence of at least one person with specific training from a hazardous waste coordinator during each process. These individuals will ensure that the hazardous waste management plan is respected within their department. It will be up to the Hazardous Waste Stream Coordinator to determine at what stage follow-up training may be required.

Treat it or have it removed

Each company handles the disposal of its waste and must ensure that it is disposed of under precise regulations. Waste awaiting treatment is a permanent risk for personnel and the environment. Regular treatment or removal will limit their storage volumes and duration.

All actors in the hazardous waste disposal chain must act in compliance with regulations. In particular, they must keep a register and fill in a waste tracking form. This involves:

  • Producers
  • Collectors
  • Operators of treatment or storage facilities

In the case of waste treatment within the company itself, operations will be confined to trained and competent personnel. The designated facility will be subject to a risk assessment. This is done in order to define the prevention measures appropriate to the risks identified.

Such a transfer facility may be subject either to authorization, registration or declaration. All this is in accordance with the regulations for facilities classified for the protection of the environment. These steps will be taken with the Prefecture of the department.

Due to their specific nature, certain waste is subject to special regulations, including:

  • Used oils
  • Used batteries and accumulators
  • Used tyres
  • Waste electrical and electronic equipment
  • End-of-life vehicle
  • Waste containing asbestos
  • Others
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