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August 01, 1998  |   Comments (0)   |   Post a comment

Hazardous Waste Management in the Bus Garage

Know the basics of handling, storage and reduction, prepare an emergency plan and use care in choosing a disposal firm. The conclusion of a two-part article.

by Robert Yanchis

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Used parts-cleaning solvent
Most parts-cleaning solutions contain solvents or mineral spirits, have a flash point below 140°F and may contain contaminants. Because of this, vehicle maintenance facilities are required to do the following: 1. Verify that used solvent is recycled or burned for energy.
2. Not use used solvent to clean shop floors.
3. Properly label solvent tanks.
4. Keep a record of all used solvent generation and disposal. There are a number of other wastes potentially generated in the operation of a vehicle maintenance facility. Each of them has specific requirements for handling, storage and disposal. Be sure to check all applicable federal, state and local regulations. These wastes include:

  • Used shop rags.
  • Used oil-dry material.
  • Used lead-acid batteries.
  • Used painting supplies.
  • Used drums.
  • Fuel drained from tanks or vehicles.
  • Oil/water separator sludges.


    Store it properly
    When you accumulate hazardous waste in containers you must:

  • Use containers that are compatible with the hazardous waste held in them.
  • Store in secure, contained area.
  • Inspect containers regularly for leaks and deterioration.
  • Properly label containers with accumulation start date, the words "Hazardous Waste," composition and physical state of the waste and name and address of the generator. (There are standard labels available to help you do this.)


    Ready for an emergency?
    You must be prepared for an emergency at your facility. The EPA does not require a CESQG or a SQG to develop a written contingency plan, but each is required to have basic safety guidelines and response procedures in an emergency. SQGs and LQGs are required to designate an Emergency Coordinator who must be able to respond and implement the contingency plan. All generators are required to provide training for their employees. LQGs are required to have a formal employee training program that teaches hazardous waste management and emergency response procedures. SQGs, on the other hand, have no formal requirements under the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), but employees must know what to do in case of an emergency. In general, employees should be trained to notify the appropriate emergency personnel and monitor the area of the spill or leak to make sure other employees do not go near it. They should also evacuate the area or assist in the evacuation and initiate specific emergency response procedures to assist in emergency control or clean-up procedure. Facilities that generate more than 220 pounds of hazardous waste within any one calendar month must notify the EPA of their activity through a clearly defined manifest system. The manifest provides a standardized record-keeping and tracking system — following each waste from its point of generation to its final disposal. The generator, the transporter and the disposal/treatment facility must each sign the manifest. All SQGs and LQGs must keep the following records for a minimum of three years. (An indefinite retention time is recommended.)

  • Manifests, including all copies from transporters and destination facilities.
  • Notice of land disposal restriction.
  • Exception reports.
  • Laboratory test results.
  • EPA ID number.
  • Waste characterization/analysis.
  • Written plans.
  • Employee training attendance sheets. Also retain any correspondence regarding the hazardous waste transporter and the treatment/storage/disposal facility and records of site visits. For SQGs and LQGs, a biennial report of hazardous waste activity is due to your EPA regional office by March 1 of even-numbered years.


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