NEW !  As a result of recent changes to US EPA regulations regarding hazardous waste disposal, a hazardous waste determination must be performed in the laboratory in which the waste is generated.  EHRS has updated Penn’s chemical waste label to reflect this change and guide you through the process.  The new labels are yellow and will be distributed to your lab.  Sections 1 and 2 of the new label must be completed in the lab when the first drop of waste is added to a container.  The remaining sections must be completed prior to requesting a waste pickup.

EHRS understands that this is a new procedure and can be a challenging task.  Please contact the EHRS waste group anytime with questions at 215-898-2580. 

Please review the FAQs below: 

1.  What is a Hazardous Waste Determination?

A hazardous waste determination is the process of evaluating the characteristics and chemical constituents of a specific chemical waste.  If the waste meets any of the EPA definitions that are described below then the material is regulated by the EPA as a hazardous waste.

2.  What is a Hazardous Waste?

A hazardous waste is a solid, liquid, or gaseous material that displays either a “Hazardous Characteristic” or is specifically “listed” by name as a hazardous waste.  Characteristic wastes are not listed specifically by their chemical name but they are regulated as hazardous wastes because they exhibit one or more of the four hazardous characteristics shown below.

FLAMMABLES / IGNITABLES

  • liquid with a flash point of <140˚F
  • solid that can cause a fire and sustain combustion
  • An ignitable compressed gas or aerosol can
  • An oxidizer

CORROSIVES (ACIDS/BASES)

  • Aqueous solutions with a pH less than or equal to 2 or greater than or equal to 12.5
  • Examples:  hydrochloric acid, nitric acid, and sodium hydroxide

REACTIVES

  • Materials that react violently or generate toxic fumes when mixed with water
  • Cyanide or sulfide bearing wastes which evolve toxic fumes when mixed with acids or bases
  • Materials that are normally unstable or explosive
  • Examples: sodium metal, reactive sulfides, potassium cyanide and picric acid

EPA TOXICITY METALS

Metals – Reagents and items/debris contaminated with or containing any of the following:

The TOXICITY characteristic applies to wastes that have the potential to contaminate groundwater if improperly disposed of.  These materials are regulated as hazardous wastes due to their potential to leach out specific toxic substances in a landfill. There are currently 40 contaminants on the list that include certain metals, pesticides and organic compounds.  These chemical constituents are listed in the two tables below.

EPA TOXICITY METALS

Metals – Reagents and items/debris contaminated with or containing any of the following:

EPA

HW No.

 

Contaminant

Level

(mg/L)

D004

Arsenic (As)

5.0

D005

Barium (Ba)

100.0

D006

Cadmium (Cd)

1.0

D007

Chromium (Cr)

5.0

D008

Lead (Pb)

5.0

D009

Mercury (Hg)

0.2

D010

Selenium (Se)

1.0

D011

Silver (Ag)

5.0

Examples include: Mercury containing compounds, elemental mercury, silver nitrate, lead nitrate & chromic acid.

EPA TOXICITY Organics – Reagent and items/debris contaminated with or containing any of the following:

EPA

HW No.

Contaminant

Level

(mg/L)

EPA

HW No.

Contaminant

Level

(mg/L)

D018

Benzene

0.5

D032

Hexachlorobenzene

0.13

D019

Carbon  tetrachloride

0.5

D033

Hexachlorobutadiene

0.5

D020

Chlordane

0.03

D034

Hexachloroethane

3.0

D021

Chlorobenzene

100.0

D013

Lindane

0.4

D022

Chloroform

6.0

D014

Methoxychlor

10.0

D026

Cresol

200.0

D035

Methyl ethyl ketone

200.0

D023

o-Cresol

200.0

D036

Nitrobenzene

2.0

D025

p-Cresol

200.0

D037

Pentachlorophenol

100.0

D024

m-Cresol

200.0

D038

Pyridine

5.0

D016

2,4-D

10.0

D039

Tetrachloroethylene

0.7

D027

1,4-Dichlorobenzene

7.5

D015

Toxaphene

0.5

D028

1,2-Dichloroethane

0.5

D017

2,4,5-TP Silvex

1.0

D029

1,1-Dichloroethylene

0.7

D040

Trichloroethylene

0.5

D030

2,4-Dinitrotoluene

0.13

D041

2,4,5-Trichlorophenol

400.0

D012

Endrin

0.02

D042

2,4,6-Trichlorophenol

2.0

D031

Heptachlor

0.008

D043

Vinyl chloride

0.2

 

3.  What is a listed Hazardous waste?

Unused or unopened chemicals will meet the definition of a listed hazardous waste if they appear on one of two EPA lists.  The U-list contains materials that are hazardous and the P-list contains materials that are acutely hazardous.  These lists only apply to unused materials that have one of the listed chemicals as the sole active ingredients.  The list also applies to spill cleanups of these unused materials.   The complete U-list and P-list are can be found on the EHRS website.

Additionally, certain used or spent solvents can be regulated as a hazardous waste if they appear on the F-list which can be found on the EPA website

Empty containers that previously contained a P-listed chemical such as sodium azide or cyanide salts are also regulated as a hazardous waste.  These containers must be labeled with a hazardous waste label and given to EHRS for disposal.  Most other empty containers can be triple rinsed and discarded in the regular trash.