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Short Read: Hazardous Waste

Posted 2:26 PM by

Hazardous Waste

By: Safety Resources, Inc.

According to federal and Indiana statutes the term "hazardous waste" means a solid waste, or combination of solid waste that, because of its quantity, concentration, or physical, chemical or infectious characteristics may:

  • cause or significantly contribute to an increase in mortality or an increase in serious irreversible, or incapacitating reversible, illness; or
  • pose a substantial present or potential hazard to human health or the environment when improperly treated, stored, transported, or disposed of, or otherwise managed.

Hazardous wastes come in many forms. They can be liquid, solids, semisolid, or contained gases. They can be manufacturing process byproducts, sludges or spent materials or simply discarded products. Whatever their form, proper management is essential to protect human health and the environment. In 1976 congress passed the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). Subtitle C of this act directed the United States Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) to develop comprehensive, cradle to grave management standards for hazardous waste.

Under the broad statutory definition, the universe of potential hazardous waste is extremely large and diverse. As a result, Congress directed the U.S. EPA to develop regulations to specifically define the universe of hazardous waste for regulatory purposes under RCRA. The U.S. EPA developed four defining characteristics of hazardous waste and four lists of specific hazardous wastes. If a waste meets the definition of solid waste, and has not been excluded by rule from the definition of hazardous waste, it is considered a hazardous waste if:

  • It is included on one of the four lists of hazardous waste found in the regulations (i.e., listed waste), or;
  • It exhibits one of the four defined hazardous waste characteristics of ignitability, corrosivity, reactivity, toxicity (i.e., characteristic waste).

These lists and definitions are found in the federal regulations at 40 CFR Part 261. These definitions and lists are also adopted by reference in Indiana's hazardous waste rules at 329 IAC 3.1-6.

 

This is a condensed article; Read the full article here.

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