Hazardous Waste Removal
If you or your department has any hazardous waste that needs to be removed or disposed of, please contact our office as soon as possible. Please do not wait until the container is full. We request to be contacted before the container is completely full - preferably around the 3/4's full mark.
Either call (229) 293-6171 and request a pick up or enter a work order through our work order form. Be sure to include the room number of where the waste is located, the type of waste being picked, and a good time for us to pick the waste up.
Waste Listing Determinations
Hazardous Waste Regulations and Definitions
The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) is the primary Federal Rule about waste. RCRA authorizes the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate the generation, management, treatment, storage, transportation and disposal of hazardous waste, solid wastes and underground storage tanks.
The rules for hazardous waste are different for businesses than for homes. Although the rules are changing, currently there is an exemption from the hazardous waste rules for household waste. Therefore, some items that might be thrown in the regular trash at home must be handled as hazardous wastes when generated in a work environment.
The US EPA allows states to implement and enforce their own hazardous waste programs and requires that the State rules be as strict as or stricter than the Federal rules. In Georgia, the EPA has delegated authority for implementing hazardous waste rules and enforcing compliance with the rules to the Environmental Protection Division – the Georgia EPD, which is a division of the Department of Natural Resources.
Hazardous waste is a category of solid waste. Therefore, to meet the definition of a hazardous waste, the waste must first be a categorized as a solid waste. Solid waste is defined by Georgia Code as any garbage or refuse; sludge from a wastewater treatment plant, water supply treatment plant, or air pollution control facility; and other discarded material including solid, liquid, semisolid, or contained gaseous material resulting from industrial, commercial, mining, and agricultural operations and from community activities.
Some other definitions:
- Waste is any ‘discarded material’ that is not excluded from the definition of hazardous waste.
- Discarded material is material that is abandoned, recycled, or inherently waste-like.
Hazardous Waste is a solid, liquid, gas, or aqueous waste which either has a particular characteristic or is on a list of hazardous wastes.
Two main types of hazardous waste are Characteristic and Listed. Some wastes meet the criteria for both characteristic and listed. The regulations defining hazardous waste can be found at 40 CFR 261.
Characteristic Hazardous Waste displays at least 1 of 4 hazardous characteristics: ignitability, corrosivity, reactivity and toxicity.
Ignitable wastes include liquids with a flash point of 140°F or less, solids capable of spontaneous combustion, compressed gasses, and oxidizers. Some examples of ignitable waste are used solvents and solvent mixtures and full or partially full aerosol cans.
Corrosive wastes are liquids with a pH less than or equal to 2 or greater than or equal to 12.5 or that corrode steel at a rate greater than 6.35 mm per year. Some common corrosives are hydrochloric acid, sulfuric acid, and sodium hydroxide.
Reactive wastes include wastes that are normally unstable and readily undergo violent change without detonating; wastes that react violently with water, form potentially explosive mixtures with water, or generate toxic gases when mixed with water; wastes that contain cyanide or sulfide in some cases; and wastes that are capable of detonation or explosive reaction if subjected to a strong initiating source. Reactive wastes are not usually found on college campuses, but may be left over at demolition sites or laboratories.
Toxic waste contains a specified amount of one or more chemicals from a list of toxic chemicals. The list includes heavy metals such as lead, arsenic, and chromium; semi-volatile and volatile organic compounds like benzene; certain herbicides and pesticides. If a waste contains greater than the specified amount of one of the toxic chemicals, it is hazardous – if less than the specified amount, it is non-hazardous.
Listed wastes are specifically identified and listed in the regulations. There are four different lists of hazardous wastes.
F-listed wastes are hazardous wastes from non-specific sources. They include process wastes such as used solvents and solvent mixtures, electroplating process wastes, and different types of waste waters.
K-listed wastes are from specific industrial activities such as wood preservation, production of organic and inorganic chemicals, petroleum refining, and others. Since the University does not conduct industrial activities, no K-listed wastes are generated on campus.
P-listed wastes are acutely hazardous discarded commercial chemical products, including off-specification chemical, container residues and spill residues. These types of wastes are generated in campus laboratories, although current laboratory standards encourage the use of the least hazardous chemical, reducing the use of the acutely hazardous chemicals on this list. Because they are acutely hazardous, even the empty container of P-listed chemicals must be treated as a hazardous waste.
U-listed wastes are unused commercial chemical products, manufacturing chemical intermediates or off-specification chemical products. These listed wastes are also usually generated in laboratories.
Mixing and Dilution of Hazardous Waste
Hazardous waste rules are designed to prevent the generators from mixing wastes to reduce either the cost or the amount of waste meeting the definition of hazardous waste. Therefore, any mixture of a listed waste with a non-hazardous waste becomes a listed hazardous waste. For example, if a small amount of solvent waste generated in automotive work is mixed with 100 gallons of used oil, all 100 gallons of used oil is considered hazardous.
It is also illegal to dilute a waste to make it exempt from regulation as a characteristic waste. It would be illegal for a laboratory that generates a gallon of waste with 7 mg/L of lead (any waste containing 5 mg/L or more is hazardous per the regulations) to mix it with another 2 gallons of water to ensure the lead concentration is below 5 mg/L.
Empty containers of hazardous waste are also covered under the regulations. For a container that previously held hazardous waste to be considered empty for purposes of disposal, the following conditions must be met:
- All of the material that can be removed has been removed.
- No more than 1 inch of residue remains in the bottom or less than 3% of the volume.
- If the container held a material that is P-listed, it must be triple-rinsed – it’s usually easier and cheaper to dispose of the empty container as a hazardous waste.
Storage of Hazardous Waste
Hazardous waste can be stored in two types of areas.
- Satellite Accumulation Area: a location at or near the point of generation (where the waste is created).
- Central Accumulation Area: a location where waste is gathered and stored in preparation for removal from campus.
Each of these have requirements for keeping containers closed (except when adding waste) and for inspection.
Disposal of Hazardous Waste
Hazardous waste generated at VSU is collected from the point of generation by Environmental & Occupational Safety staff. The waste is taken to the central accumulation area for proper storage prior to transportation and recycling or disposal by a licensed hazardous waste hauler and treatment, storage and disposal facility.
To request a waste pickup, use the Environmental & Occupational Safety work order form found here.