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September 11, 2019

An Introduction to Solid Waste Management

Filed under: News,Solid Waste,Waste Management — Devin Priester @ 8:49 am

What Is Solid Waste?

Before introducing solid waste management, let’s start with a discussion of the material being managed — solid waste. Solid waste refers to the range of garbage arising from animal and human activities that are discarded as unwanted and useless. Solid waste is generated from industrial, residential and commercial activities in a given area, and may be handled in a variety of ways. As such, landfills are typically classified as sanitary, municipal, construction and demolition or industrial waste sites.

 Waste can be categorized based on material, such as plastic, paper, glass, metal, and organic waste. Categorization may also be based on hazard potential, including radioactive, flammable, infectious, toxic, or non-toxic. Categories may also pertain to the origin of waste, such as industrial, domestic, commercial, institutional or construction and demolition.

Regardless of the origin, content or hazard potential, solid waste must be managed systematically to ensure environmental best practices. As solid waste management is a critical aspect of environmental hygiene, it needs to be incorporated into environmental planning.

North American Waste Generation: Key Insights

  • On a per capita basis, North American region generates the highest average amount of waste, at 2.1 kilograms per day; total waste generated was 289 million tonnes annually in 2016.
  • Waste collection coverage in North America is nearly universal, at 99.7 percent, with the gap in collection coverage occurring in Bermuda.
  • More than 55 percent of waste is composed of recyclables including paper, cardboard, plastic, metal, and glass.
  • At 54 percent, more than half of waste in North America is disposed of at sanitary landfills and one-third of waste is recycled. (Source: World Bank).

What Is Solid Waste Management?

Solid Waste Management is defined as the discipline associated with control of generation, storage, collection, transport or transfer, processing and disposal of solid waste materials in a way that best addresses the range of public health, conservation, economics, aesthetic, engineering and other environmental considerations.

In its scope, solid waste management includes planning, administrative, financial, engineering and legal functions. Solutions might include complex inter-disciplinary relations among fields such as public health, city and regional planning, political science, geography, sociology, economics, communication and conservation, demography, engineering and material sciences.

Solid waste management practices can differ for residential and industrial producers, for urban and rural areas, and for developed and developing nations. The administration of non-hazardous waste in metropolitan areas is the job of local government authorities. On the other hand, the management of hazardous waste materials is typically the job of the generator, subject to local, national and even international authorities.

Objectives of Waste Management

The primary goal of solid waste management is reducing and eliminating adverse impacts of waste materials on human health and environment to support economic development and superior quality of life.

6 Functional Elements of the Waste Management System

There are six functional components of the waste management system as outlined below:

  1. Waste generation refers to activities involved in identifying materials which are no longer usable and are either gathered for systematic disposal or thrown away.
  2. Onsite handling, storage, and processing are the activities at the point of waste generation which facilitate easier collection. For example, waste bins are placed at the sites which generate sufficient waste.
  3. Waste collection, a crucial phase of waste management, includes activities such as placing waste collection bins, collecting waste from those bins and accumulating trash in the location where the collection vehicles are emptied. Although the collection phase involves transportation, this is typically not the main stage of waste transportation.
  1. Waste transfer and transport are the activities involved in moving waste from the local waste collection locations to the regional waste disposal site in large waste transport vehicles.
  2. Waste processing and recovery refer to the facilities, equipment, and techniques employed both to recover reusable or recyclable materials from the waste stream and to improve the effectiveness of other functional elements of waste management.
  3. Disposal is the final stage of waste management. It involves the activities aimed at the systematic disposal of waste materials in locations such as landfills or waste-to-energy facilities.


Integrated Solid Waste Management (ISWM)

As the field of solid waste management advances, solutions are being looked at in a more systematic and holistic way. ISWM, for example, is an increasingly important term in the field of waste management. It refers to the selection and use of appropriate management programs, technologies, and techniques to achieve particular waste management goals and objectives. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) states that ISWA is composed of waste source reduction, recycling, waste combustion, and landfills.

These activities can be done in either interactive or hierarchical way.

On a closing note, it is important to stress that better solid waste management programs are urgently needed in some countries. Only about half of the waste generated in cities and one-quarter of that produced in rural areas is collected. Internationally, the World Bank warns that global waste could increase by 70% by 2050 under a business-as-usual scenario.

Original Source

September 4, 2019

Hazardous Wastes

Filed under: Hazardous Waste,News — Devin Priester @ 1:46 pm

Government Management Strategies

A complex web of federal agencies and legislation oversee and regulate storage, transportation, disposal, recycling, and use of hazardous wastes n the United States. State and local governments also have hazardous waste regulations. The private environmental consulting industry helps government agencies, industrial manufacturers, cities, and businesses of all sizes assess their hazardous waste practices and compliance with the increasingly long list of federal, state and local hazardous waste laws.

There are two main U.S. federal hazardous waste laws: the 1976 Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), and the 1980 Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA), also known as the Superfund law.

RCRA legislation focuses mainly on disposal of non-hazardous solid waste, and was enacted mainly to deal with unsightly garbage disposal practices. Hazardous waste disposal was a minor issue in the mid-1970s, but enough concern existed that Congress included a section on hazardous wastes in RCRA. Prior to the passage of RCRA, factories and plants typically dumped hazardous wastes in ponds, lagoons, or streams near their facilities. Many smaller waste generators sent their chemical byproducts to outdated municipal landfills that where they leaked into ground and surface water reservoirs.

RCRA mandated creation of a system to track and monitor hazardous wastes from production to disposal, or from “cradle to grave.” Legislators also designed RCRA to regulate existing hazardous waste sites, and to improve hazardous waste management overall. RCRA’s goals have been partly accomplished, but problems have occurred along the way. For example, EPA has been slow to put some of the changes into effect. Some industrial polluters have discovered that it is less expensive to ignore the hazardous waste disposal recommendations, and to use their financial and legal resources to contest claims of environmental damage. Also, some of the legislation expected private industry to build expensive treatment facilities, hire environmental consultants to assess their practices, and to pay clean-up costs. In many cases, companies balked at the cost of self-regulation, and failed to meet the requirements. Community opposition to local siting also delayed or prevented construction of many waste treatment and disposal facilities.

The focus of RCRA has changed over the years. Amendments and enactment of related laws have moved the EPA’s focus from management and disposal practices to waste prevention. There is a growing consensus that it is less expensive, and much less dangerous to prevent a spill, leak, or poisoning than it is to clean one up. Regulations now encourage industries to produce fewer hazardous wastes, to produce wastes that are less hazardous, and to develop alternative methods that do not require dangerous materials.

In contrast to RCRA, which attempts to manage waste production, management, and treatment, CERCLA was designed to clean up sites that are already contaminated. The law established a National Priority List of the United States’ worst hazardous waste sites, and set up a fund, nicknamed Superfund, to augment remediation costs. CERCLA requires that the EPA, which enforces the law, try to find the parties, usually businesses or individuals, responsible for the hazardous waste problems, and make them pay for the cleanups. If responsible parties cannot be found, or if additional money is needed for a proper cleanup, then the governmental Superfund money may be used. The fund was started with $1.6 billion in 1980, and increased to $8.5 billion in 1986. Most of the money in the fund comes from a federal tax on chemical and petroleum companies, the industries responsible for many of the listed sites. Although the amount of money in the Superfund seems huge, cleanup costs are also enormous. The average cost to clean up a Superfund site is $30 million. There were 1,235 sites on the Superfund National Priority List in 2001.

The Superfund project and CERCLA have not been as effective as was initially hoped. Because of the technical difficulty, expense, and legal ramifications of cleanup, fewer than 100 sites have been completely cleaned up and removed from the National Priority List. CERCLA has also been widely criticized because of its liability provisions that require a “potentially responsible party” to pay cleanup costs. This party could, for example, be a business that transported waste materials to a dumpsite years ago, even if the site was not considered a problem at that time, and even if the company did not break any relevant laws. Because businesses often object to the CERCLA liability provisions, these matters frequently end up in court, slowing up the cleanup process.

Many developed nations have environmental regulations similar to RCRA and CERCLA. Some countries, Japan and Denmark for example, rely on partnerships of government and private industry to manage hazardous wastes. In both of these countries, industries receive subsidies or incentives to try new, innovative methods of handling their wastes. Ironically, the nations with the strictest environmental regulations end up exporting large quantities of hazardous wastes for recycling or disposal. Germany, for example, exported more than 500,000 tons of hazardous wastes to other countries each year in the 1980s. Non-governmental environmental groups have campaigned against the export of hazardous wastes by industrialized countries. The United Nation Environment Programme’s (UNEP) 1989 Basel Convention attempts to restrict international transport of hazardous wastes and to encourage less developed nations to resist the economic temptation to take hazardous waste from developed nations. In 2002, 135 nations and the European Union had signed the Basel Convention. The convention, however, does not include the United States, one of the world’s largest hazardous waste producers.

Original Source

August 28, 2019

Integrated Solid Waste Management (ISWM) – An Overview

Filed under: News,Solid Waste,Waste Management — Devin Priester @ 12:47 pm

Integrated Solid Waste Management (ISWM) represents a contemporary and systematic approach to solid waste management. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) defines ISWM as a complete waste reduction, collection, composting, recycling, and disposal system. An efficient ISWM system considers how to reduce, reuse, recycle, and manage waste to protect human health and the natural environment. It involves evaluating local conditions and needs. Then choosing, mixing and applying the most suitable solid waste management activities according to the condition.

The Importance of ISWM as a Waste Management Approach

With rapid population expansion and constant economic development, waste generation both in residential as well as commercial/industrial areas continues to grow rapidly, putting pressure on society’s ability to process and dispose of this material. Also, inappropriately managed solid waste streams can pose a significant risk to health and environmental concerns. Improper waste handling in conjunction with uncontrolled waste dumping can cause a broad range of problems, including polluting water, attracting rodents and insects, as well as increasing floods due to blockage in drains.

As well, it may bring about safety hazards from explosions and fires. Improper solid waste management can also increase greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, thus contributing to climate change.

Having a comprehensive waste management system for efficient waste collection, transportation, and systematic waste disposal—together with activities to reduce waste generation and increase waste recycling—can significantly reduce all these problems. While nothing new, an ISWM approach provides the opportunity to create a suitable combination of existing waste management practices to manage waste most efficiently.

Functional Elements of Integrated Solid Waste Management

The four components or functional elements of ISWM include source reduction, recycling and composting, waste transportation and landfilling. These waste management activities can be undertaken either in interactively or hierarchically.

Following are brief discussion of each of these functional elements of ISWM:

Source Reduction, also known as waste prevention, aims at reducing unnecessary waste generation. Source reduction strategies may include a variety of approaches, such as:

  • products that are designed for recycling, durable, sustainable goods and, where possible, in concentrated form.
  • reusable products, including reusable packaging, as reuse and increasingly becomes an important component of the circular economy.
  • refurbishing of goods to prolong product life, another important element of the circular economy model.
  • redesign of goods and utilize less or no packaging.
  • reduction of food spoilage and waste through better attention to food processing and storage
  • avoidance of goods that don’t last long and can’t be reused or recycled, such as Halloween decorations.
  • Waste source reduction helps us to lessen waste handling, transportation, and disposal costs and eventually reduces methane generation.

Recycling and Composting are crucial phases in the entire ISWM process. Recycling includes the accumulation, sorting and recovering of recyclable and reusable materials, as well as the reprocessing of recyclables to produce new products. Composting, a component of organics recycling, involves the accumulation of organic waste and converting it into soil additives. Both recycling and composting wastes have a number of economic benefits such as they create job opportunities in addition to diverting material from the waste stream to generate cost-effective sources of material for further use.

Both recycling and composting also significantly contribute to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

Waste Transportation is another waste management activity that must be integrated systematically with other waste management activities to ensure smooth and efficient waste management. Typically this includes the collection of waste from curbside and businesses, as well as from transfer stations where waste may be concentrated and reloaded onto other vehicles for delivery to the landfill.

Waste Disposal, in particular through the use of landfills and combustion, are the activities undertaken to manage waste materials that are not recycled. The most common way of managing these wastes is through landfills, which must be properly designed, well-constructed and systematically managed.

Original Source

August 21, 2019

Waste Treatment and Disposal Methods

Filed under: News,Waste Disposal Methods,Waste Treatment — Devin Priester @ 12:43 pm

When people think about solid waste management, they likely associate it with garbage being dumped in landfills or incinerated. While such activities comprise an important part of the process, a variety of elements is involved in the creation of an optimal integrated solid waste management (ISWM) system. For example, treatment techniques act to reduce the volume and toxicity of solid waste. These steps can transform it into a more convenient form for disposal. Waste treatment and disposal methods are selected and used based on the form, composition, and quantity of waste materials.

Here are major waste treatment and disposal methods:

Thermal Treatment

Thermal waste treatment refers to the processes that use heat to treat waste materials. Following are some of the most commonly used thermal waste treatment techniques:

  • Incineration is one of the most common waste treatments. This approach involves the combustion of waste material in the presence of oxygen. This thermal treatment method is commonly used as a means of recovering energy for electricity or heating. This approach has several advantages. It quickly reduces waste volume, lessens transportation costs and decreases harmful greenhouse gas emissions.


  • Gasification and Pyrolysis are two similar methods, both of which decompose organic waste materials by exposing waste to low amounts of oxygen and very high temperature. Pyrolysis uses absolutely no oxygen while gasification allows a very low amount of oxygen in the process. Gasification is more advantageous as it allows the burning process to recover energy without causing air pollution.


  • Open Burning is a legacy thermal waste treatment that is environmentally harmful. The incinerators used in such process have no pollution control devices. They release substances such as hexachlorobenzene, dioxins, carbon monoxide, particulate matter, volatile organic compounds, polycyclic aromatic compounds, and ash. Unfortunately, this method is still practiced by many local authorities internationally, as it offers an inexpensive solution to solid waste.

Dumps and Landfills

Sanitary landfills provide the most commonly used waste disposal solution. These landfills are desired to eliminate or reduce the risk of environmental or public health hazards due to waste disposal. These sites are situated where land features work as natural buffers between the environment and the landfill. For instance, the landfill area can be comprised of clay soil which is quite resistant to hazardous wastes or is characterized by an absence of surface water bodies or a low water table, preventing the risk of water pollution.

The use of sanitary landfills presents the least health and environmental risk, but the cost of establishing such landfills is comparatively higher than other waste disposal methods.

Controlled dumps are more or less the same as sanitary landfills. These dumps comply with many of the requirements for being a sanitary landfill but may lack one or two. Such dumps may have a well-planned capacity but no cell-planning. There may be no or partial gas management, basic record keeping, or regular cover.

Bioreactor landfills are the result of recent technological research. These landfills use superior microbiological processes to speed up waste decomposition. The controlling feature is the continuous addition of liquid to sustain optimal moisture for microbial digestion. The liquid is added by re-circulating the landfill leachate. When the amount of leachate is not adequate, liquid waste such as sewage sludge is used.

Biological Waste Treatment

Composting is another most frequently used waste disposal or treatment method which is the controlled aerobic decomposition of organic waste materials by the action of small invertebrates and microorganisms. The most common composting techniques include static pile composting, vermin-composting, windrow composting and in-vessel composting.

Anaerobic Digestion also uses biological processes to decompose organic materials. Anaerobic Digestion, however, uses an oxygen and bacteria-free environment to decompose the waste material where composting must have air to enable the growth of microbes.

Original Source

August 14, 2019

What is Waste Management?

Filed under: Hazardous Waste,News,Non-Hazardous,Waste Management — Tags: — Devin Priester @ 12:24 pm

Americans alone are responsible for producing a hopping 220 million tons of waste a year. This number is far more than any other nation in the world. Because of this fact both the government and environmental associations have developed numerous methods of dealing with the problem. Waste management is that solution, a rather complex issue that encompasses more than 20 different industries. Waste management is collection, transportation, and disposal of garbage, sewage and other waste products.

Waste management is the process of treating solid wastes and offers variety of solutions for recycling items that don’t belong to trash. It is about how garbage can be used as a valuable resource. Waste management is something that each and every household and business owner in the world needs. Waste management disposes of the products and substances that you have use in a safe and efficient manner.

Waste management or Waste disposal is all the activities and actions required to manage waste from its inception to its final disposal. This includes amongst other things, collection, transport, treatment and disposal of waste together with monitoring and regulation. It also encompasses the legal and regulatory framework that relates to waste management encompassing guidance on recycling etc.

You will find there are eight major groups of waste management methods, each of them divided into numerous categories. Those groups include source reduction and reuse, animal feeding, recycling, composting, fermentation, landfills, incineration and land application. You can start using many techniques right at home, like reduction and reuse, which works to reduce the amount of disposable material used.


Various Methods of Waste Disposal

Although there are many methods available to dispose off waste. Let’s take a look at some of the most commonly used methods that you should know about waste management.


Throwing daily waste/garbage in the landfills is the most popularly used method of waste disposal used today. This process of waste disposal focuses attention on burying the waste in the land. Landfills are commonly found in developing countries. There is a process used that eliminates the odors and dangers of waste before it is placed into the ground. While it is true this is the most popular form of waste disposal, it is certainly far from the only procedure and one that may also bring with it an assortment of space.

This method is becoming less these days although, thanks to the lack of space available and the strong presence of methane and other landfill gases, both of which can cause numerous contamination problems. Landfills give rise to air and water pollution which severely affects the environment and can prove fatal to the lives of humans and animals. Many areas are reconsidering the use of landfills.


Incineration or combustion is a type disposal method in which municipal solid wastes are burned at high temperatures so as as to convert them into residue and gaseous products. The biggest advantage of this type of method is that it can reduce the volume of solid waste to 20 to 30 percent of the original volume, decreases the space they take up and reduce the stress on landfills.

This process is also known as thermal treatment where solid waste materials are converted by Incinerators into heat, gas, steam and ash. Incineration is something that is very in countries where landfill space is no longer available, which includes Japan.

Recovery and Recycling

Resource recovery is the process of taking useful discarded items for a specific next use. These discarded items are then processed to extract or recover materials and resources or convert them to energy in the form of useable heat, electricity or fuel.

Recycling is the process of converting waste products into new products to prevent energy usage and consumption of fresh raw materials. Recycling is the third component of Reduce, Reuse and Recycle waste hierarchy. The idea behind recycling is to reduce energy usage, reduce volume of landfills, reduce air and water pollution, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and preserve natural resources for future use.

Plasma gasification

Plasma gasification is another form of waste management. Plasma is a primarily an electrically charged or a highly ionized gas. Lighting is one type of plasma which produces temperatures that exceed 12,600 °F . With this method of waste disposal, a vessel uses characteristic plasma torches operating at +10,000 °F which is  creating a gasification zone till 3,000 °F for the conversion of solid or liquid wastes into a syngas.

During the treatment solid waste by plasma gasification, the waste’s molecular bonds are broken down as result of the  intense heat in the vessels and the elemental components. Thanks to this process, destruction of waste and dangerous materials is found. This form of waste disposal provides renewable energy and an assortment of other fantastic benefits.


Composting is a easy and natural bio-degradation process that takes organic wastes i.e. remains of plants and garden and kitchen waste and turns into nutrient rich food for your plants. Composting, normally used for organic farming, occurs by allowing organic materials to sit in one place for months until microbes decompose it. Composting is one of the best method of waste disposal as it can turn unsafe organic products into safe compost. On the other side, it is slow process and takes lot of space.

and turns it to

Waste to Energy (Recover Energy)

Waste to energy(WtE) process involves converting of non-recyclable waste items  into useable heat, electricity, or fuel through a variety of processes. This type of source of energy is a renewable energy source as non-recyclable waste can be used over and over again to create energy. It can also help to reduce carbon emissions by offsetting the need for energy from fossil sources. Waste-to-Energy, also widely recognized by its acronym WtE is the generation of energy in the form of heat or electricity from waste.

Avoidance/Waste Minimization

The most easier method of waste management is to reduce creation of waste materials thereby reducing the amount of waste going to landfills. Waste reduction can be done through recycling old materials like jar, bags, repairing broken items instead of buying new one, avoiding use of disposable products like plastic bags, reusing second hand items, and buying items that uses less designing.

Recycling and composting are a couple of the best methods of waste management. Composting is so far only possible on a small scale, either by private individuals or in areas where waste can be mixed with farming soil or used for landscaping purposes. Recycling is widely used around the world, with plastic, paper and metal leading the list of the most recyclable items. Most material recycled is reused for its original purpose.

The Bottom Line

There are certain waste types that are considered as hazardous and cannot be disposed of without special handling which will prevent contamination from occurring. Biomedical waste is one example of such. This is found in health care facilities and similar institutions. The special waste disposal system for this unit in place to dispose of this type of waste.

As you can see there are plenty of important things that you should know about waste management and disposal in order to ensure that you are safe, as well as that you are keeping the environment safe. It is your choices as to how you will dispose of waste, however it is always in your best interest to take a look at all of the options that you have available before making the choice.

Original Source

August 7, 2019

Global waste market to reach $435B by 2023, report finds

Filed under: Global waste,Industry News,News — Devin Priester @ 1:16 pm

A new report by Allied Market Research forecasts the global waste management market to reach $435 billion by 2023, after being valued at $285 billion in 2016.

The report, Global Waste Management Market by Waste Type, and Service: Global Opportunity Analysis and Industry Forecast, 2017-2023, shows the municipal solid waste market may reach $222.8 billion by 2023, with a compound annual growth rate of 6.1% during the forecast period.

The report anticipates that the fastest growing service for the waste management market will be the disposal segment, which is expected to grow by 6.9% and is forecast to reach $230.7 billion by 2023.

August 2, 2019

Seats are filling fast! HAZWOPER Refresher Training 8.21.19

Filed under: Compliance Support,Training,Waste Management — Tags: , , — Kelly Sherwood @ 4:52 pm

HAZWOPERTraining 8.21.19

July 24, 2019

Health Effects of Hazardous Waste

Filed under: Hazardous Waste,Household Hazardous Waste,News — Tags: — Devin Priester @ 1:10 pm

Hazardous waste carries environmental risks and also health risks for humans and wildlife. Some pollutants such as mercury can accumulate in human and animal tissue, thus compounding their effects. Hazardous waste is primarily generated by industry and businesses. Although regulations exist, contamination still occurs. In 2009, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recorded 23 million cases of voluntary disclosure of pollution risks and opened 387 environmental criminal cases. As long as threats remain, health effects of hazardous waste will continue to occur.


Many pesticides are carcinogens.

American farmers apply more than 300 million pounds of pesticides to farmlands each year. Of the 27 most commonly used pesticides, the EPA has classified 15 of them as carcinogens or cancer-causing agents. Cancer has also been linked to air pollution from industry as well as in the home. Radon, for example, is a radioactive by-product of uranium decay. Uranium is found within the Earth’s crust and is everywhere in the environment. Radon exposure is the second leading cause of lung cancer according to the National Cancer Institute.

Respiratory Conditions

A direct link exists between air pollution and respiratory conditions such as asthma.

A direct link exists between air pollution and respiratory conditions such as asthma. Exposure to hazardous waste from emissions irritates the mucous membranes of your mouth and throat. A 2008 study published in the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences found that individuals merely living near a hazardous waste site had an increased risk of developing respiratory diseases.

Heart Disease

Auto emissions also carry an increased risk of heart attack and stroke from thickening of arteries.

The risks of living near hazardous waste sites do not stop with increased risk for respiratory disease. A 2004 study published in the Archives of Environmental Health found an elevated risk of the development of congenital heart disease in the offspring of pregnant women living within one mile of a hazardous waste site. The threat is also more innocuous. Auto emissions also carry an increased risk of heart attack and stroke from thickening of arteries. Fossil-fuel emissions contain several toxins considered non-specific hazardous waste by the EPA. A non-specific hazardous waste is one without a readily identifiable source.

Exposure Effects

Exposure to these pollutants and chemicals can be harmful.

The health effects from some types of hazardous waste may be temporary, with no link to other conditions having been determined. Xylene, for example, is one of the most widely used chemicals in the United States. It is an ingredient found in paints, solvents, and varnishes. Although not considered a carcinogen, exposure to the chemical causes dizziness and headaches. A person may also experience stomach discomfort. At high levels, xylene may cause unconsciousness and even death.

Original Source

July 17, 2019

Sustainable Materials Management: Non-Hazardous Materials and Waste Management Hierarchy

Filed under: Hazardous Waste,News,Non-Hazardous,Waste Management — Devin Priester @ 1:05 pm

EPA developed the non-hazardous materials and waste management hierarchy in recognition that no single waste management approach is suitable for managing all materials and waste streams in all circumstances. The hierarchy ranks the various management strategies from most to least environmentally preferred. The hierarchy places emphasis on reducing, reusing, and recycling as key to sustainable materials management.

Source Reduction and Reuse

Source reduction, also known as waste prevention, means reducing waste at the source, and is the most environmentally preferred strategy. It can take many different forms, including reusing or donating items, buying in bulk, reducing packaging, redesigning products, and reducing toxicity. Source reduction also is important in manufacturing. Lightweighting of packaging, reuse, and remanufacturing are all becoming more popular business trends. Purchasing products that incorporate these features supports source reduction.

Source reduction can:

  • Save natural resources,
  • Conserve energy,
  • Reduce pollution,
  • Reduce the toxicity of our waste, and
  • Save money for consumers and businesses alike.

Recycling and Composting

Recycling is a series of activities that includes collecting used, reused, or unused items that would otherwise be considered waste; sorting and processing the recyclable products into raw materials; and remanufacturing the recycled raw materials into new products. Consumers provide the last link in recycling by purchasing products made from recycled content. Recycling also can include composting of food scraps, yard trimmings, and other organic materials.

Benefits of recycling include:

  • Preventing the emission of many greenhouse gases and water pollutants;
  • Saving energy;
  • Supplying valuable raw materials to industry;
  • Creating jobs;
  • Stimulating the development of greener technologies;
  • Conserving resources for our children’s future; and
  • Reducing the need for new landfills and combustors.

Energy Recovery

Energy recovery from waste is the conversion of non-recyclable waste materials into useable heat, electricity, or fuel through a variety of processes, including combustion, gasification, pyrolization, anaerobic digestion, and landfill gas (LFG) recovery. This process is often called waste-to-energy (WTE). Converting non-recyclable waste materials into electricity and heat generates a renewable energy source and reduces carbon emissions by offsetting the need for energy from fossil sources and reduces methane generation from landfills. After energy is recovered, approximately ten percent of the volume remains as ash, which is generally sent to a landfill.

Treatment and Disposal

Prior to disposal, treatment can help reduce the volume and toxicity of waste. Treatments can be physical (e.g., shredding), chemical (e.g., incineration), and biological (e.g., anaerobic digester). Landfills are the most common form of waste disposal and are an important component of an integrated waste management system. Modern landfills are well-engineered facilities located, designed, operated, and monitored to ensure compliance with state and federal regulations. Landfills that accept municipal solid waste are primarily regulated by state, tribal, and local governments. EPA, however, established national standards that these landfills must meet in order to stay open. The federal landfill regulations eliminated the open dumps (disposal facilities that do not meet federal and state criteria) of the past. Today’s landfills must meet stringent design, operation, and closure requirements. Methane gas, a byproduct of decomposing waste, can be collected and used as fuel to generate electricity. After a landfill is capped, the land may be used for recreation sites such as parks, golf courses, and ski slopes.

Original Source

July 11, 2019

Radioactive Waste Management

Filed under: News,Radioactive Waste — Devin Priester @ 1:37 pm
  • Nuclear power is the only large-scale energy-producing technology that takes full responsibility for all its waste and fully costs this into the product.
  • The amount of waste generated by nuclear power is very small relative to other thermal electricity generation technologies.
  • Used nuclear fuel may be treated as a resource or simply as waste.
  • Nuclear waste is neither particularly hazardous nor hard to manage relative to other toxic industrial waste.
  • Safe methods for the final disposal of high-level radioactive waste are technically proven; the international consensus is that geological disposal is the best option.

Like all industries, the generation of electricity produces waste. Whatever fuel is used, the waste produced in generating electricity must be managed in ways that safeguard human health and minimise the impact on the environment.

For radioactive waste, this means isolating or diluting it such that the rate or concentration of any radionuclides returned to the biosphere is harmless. To achieve this, practically all radioactive waste is contained and managed, with some clearly needing deep and permanent burial. From nuclear power generation, unlike all other forms of thermal electricity generation, all waste is regulated – none is allowed to cause pollution.

Nuclear power is characterised by the very large amount of energy produced from a very small amount of fuel, and the amount of waste produced during this process is also relatively small. However, much of the waste produced is radioactive and therefore must be carefully managed as hazardous material. All parts of the nuclear fuel cycle produce some radioactive waste and the cost of managing and disposing of this is part of the electricity cost (i.e. it is internalised and paid for by the electricity consumers).

All toxic waste needs be dealt with safely – not just radioactive waste – and in countries with nuclear power, radioactive waste comprises a very small proportion of total industrial hazardous waste generated.

Radioactive waste is not unique to the nuclear fuel cycle. Radioactive materials are used extensively in medicine, agriculture, research, manufacturing, non-destructive testing, and minerals exploration. Unlike other hazardous industrial materials, however, the level of hazard of all radioactive waste – its radioactivity – diminishes with time.

Types of radioactive waste

Radioactive waste includes any material that is either intrinsically radioactive, or has been contaminated by radioactivity, and that is deemed to have no further use. Government policy dictates whether certain materials – such as used nuclear fuel and plutonium – are categorised as waste.

Every radionuclide has a half-life – the time taken for half of its atoms to decay, and thus for it to lose half of its radioactivity. Radionuclides with long half-lives tend to be alpha and beta emitters – making their handling easier – while those with short half-lives tend to emit the more penetrating gamma rays. Eventually all radioactive waste decays into non-radioactive elements. The more radioactive an isotope is, the faster it decays. Radioactive waste is typically classified as either low-level (LLW), intermediate-level (ILW), or high-level (HLW), dependent, primarily, on its level of radioactivity.

Low-level waste

Low-level waste (LLW) has a radioactive content not exceeding four giga-becquerels per tonne (GBq/t) of alpha activity or 12 GBq/t beta-gamma activity. LLW does not require shielding during handling and transport, and is suitable for disposal in near surface facilities.

LLW is generated from hospitals and industry, as well as the nuclear fuel cycle. It comprises paper, rags, tools, clothing, filters, etc., which contain small amounts of mostly short-lived radioactivity. To reduce its volume, LLW is often compacted or incinerated before disposal. LLW comprises some 90% of the volume but only 1% of the radioactivity of all radioactive waste.

Intermediate-level waste

Intermediate-level waste (ILW) is more radioactive than LLW, but the heat it generates (<2 kW/m3) is not sufficient to be taken into account in the design or selection of storage and disposal facilities. Due to its higher levels of radioactivity, ILW requires some shielding.

ILW typically comprises resins, chemical sludges, and metal fuel cladding, as well as contaminated materials from reactor decommissioning. Smaller items and any non-solids may be solidified in concrete or bitumen for disposal. It makes up some 7% of the volume and has 4% of the radioactivity of all radioactive waste.

High-level waste

High-level waste (HLW) is sufficiently radioactive for its decay heat (>2kW/m3) to increase its temperature, and the temperature of its surroundings, significantly. As a result, HLW requires cooling and shielding.

HLW arises from the ‘burning’ of uranium fuel in a nuclear reactor. HLW contains the fission products and transuranic elements generated in the reactor core. HLW accounts for just 3% of the volume, but 95% of the total radioactivity of produced waste. There are two distinct kinds of HLW:

  • Used fuel that has been designated as waste.
  • Separated waste from reprocessing of used fuel.

HLW has both long-lived and short-lived components, depending on the length of time it will take for the radioactivity of particular radionuclides to decrease to levels that are considered non-hazardous for people and the surrounding environment. If generally short-lived fission products can be separated from long-lived actinides, this distinction becomes important in management and disposal of HLW.

HLW is the focus of significant attention regarding nuclear power, and is managed accordingly.

Very low-level waste

Exempt waste and very low-level waste (VLLW) contains radioactive materials at a level which is not considered harmful to people or the surrounding environment. It consists mainly of demolished material (such as concrete, plaster, bricks, metal, valves, piping, etc.) produced during rehabilitation or dismantling operations on nuclear industrial sites. Other industries, such as food processing, chemical, steel, etc., also produce VLLW as a result of the concentration of natural radioactivity present in certain minerals used in their manufacturing processes (see also information page on Naturally-Occurring Radioactive Materials). The waste is therefore disposed of with domestic refuse, although countries such as France are currently developing specifically designed VLLW disposal facilities.

Where and when is waste produced?

Radioactive waste is produced at all stages of the nuclear fuel cycle – the process of producing electricity from nuclear materials. The fuel cycle involves the mining and milling of uranium ore, its processing and fabrication into nuclear fuel, its use in the reactor, its reprocessing (if conducted), the treatment of the used fuel taken from the reactor, and finally, disposal of the waste. Whilst waste is produced during mining and milling and fuel fabrication, the majority comes from the actual ‘burning’ of uranium to produce electricity. Where the used fuel is reprocessed, the amount of waste is reduced materially.

Mining through to fuel fabrication

Traditional uranium mining generates fine sandy tailings, which contain virtually all the naturally occurring radioactive elements found in uranium ore. The tailings are collected in engineered dams and finally covered with a layer of clay and rock to inhibit the leakage of radon gas, and to ensure long-term stability. In the short term, the tailings material is often covered with water. After a few months, the tailings material contains about 75% of the radioactivity of the original ore. Strictly speaking these are not classified as radioactive waste.

Uranium oxide concentrate from mining, essentially ‘yellowcake’ (U3O8), is not significantly radioactive – barely more so than the granite used in buildings. It is refined then converted to uranium hexafluoride (UF6) gas. As a gas, it undergoes enrichment to increase the U-235 content from 0.7% to about 3.5%. It is then turned into a hard ceramic oxide (UO2) for assembly as reactor fuel elements.

The main byproduct of enrichment is depleted uranium (DU), principally the U-238 isotope, which is stored either as UF6 or U3O8. Some DU is used in applications where its extremely high density makes it valuable, such as for the keels of yachts and military projectiles. It is also used (with reprocessed plutonium) for making mixed oxide (MOX) fuel and to dilute highly-enriched uranium from dismantled weapons, which can then be used for reactor fuel (see pages on Uranium and Depleted Uranium and Military Warheads as a Source of Nuclear Fuel).

Electricity generation

In terms of radioactivity, the major source arising from the use of nuclear reactors to generate electricity comes from the material classified as HLW. Highly radioactive fission products and transuranic elements are produced from uranium and plutonium during reactor operations, and are contained within the used fuel. Where countries have adopted a closed cycle and reprocess used fuel, the fission products and minor actinides are separated from uranium and plutonium and treated as HLW (see below). In countries where used fuel is not reprocessed, the used fuel itself is considered a waste and therefore classified as HLW.

LLW and ILW is produced as a result of general operations, such as the cleaning of reactor cooling systems and fuel storage ponds, and the decontamination of equipment, filters, and metal components that have become radioactive as a result of their use in or near the reactor.

Reprocessing of used fuel

Any used fuel will still contain some of the original U-235 as well as various plutonium isotopes which have been formed inside the reactor core, and U-238. In total these account for some 96% of the original uranium and over half of the original energy content (ignoring U-238). Used nuclear fuel has long been reprocessed to extract fissile materials for recycling and to reduce the volume of HLW (see also information page on Processing of Used Nuclear Fuel). Several European countries, as well as Russia, China, and Japan have policies to reprocess used nuclear fuel.

Reprocessing allows for a significant amount of plutonium to be recovered from used fuel, which is then mixed with depleted uranium oxide in a MOX fabrication plant to make fresh fuel. This process allows some 25-30% more energy to be extracted from the original uranium ore, and significantly reduces the volume of HLW (by about 85%). The IAEA estimates that of the 370,000 metric tonnes of heavy metal (MTHM) produced since the advent of civil nuclear power production, 120,000 MTHM has been reprocessed. In addition, the remaining HLW is significantly less radioactive – decaying to the same level as the original ore within 9000 years (vs. 300,000 years). (For more information, see information papers on Mixed Oxide Fuel and Processing of Used Nuclear Fuel).

Commercial reprocessing plants currently operate in France, the UK, and Russia. Another is being commissioned in Japan, and China plans to construct one too. France undertakes reprocessing for utilities in other countries, and a lot of Japan’s fuel has been reprocessed there, with both waste and recycled plutonium in MOX fuel being returned to Japan. (For more information, see information paper on Japanese Waste and MOX Shipments From Europe).

The main historical and current process is Purex, a hydrometallurgical process. The main prospective ones are electrometallurgical – often called pyroprocessing since it happens to be hot. With it, all actinide anions (notably uranium and plutonium) are recovered together. Whilst not yet operational, these technologies will result in waste that only needs 300 years to reach the same level of radioactivity as the originally mined ore.

Decommissioning nuclear plants

In the case of nuclear reactors, about 99% of the radioactivity is associated with the fuel. Apart from any surface contamination of plant, the remaining radioactivity comes from ‘activation products’ such as steel components which have long been exposed to neutron irradiation. Their atoms are changed into different isotopes such as iron-55, cobalt-60, nickel-63, and carbon-14. The first two are highly radioactive, emitting gamma rays, but with correspondingly short half-lives so that after 50 years from final shutdown their hazard is much diminished. Some caesium-137 may also be found in decommissioning wastes.

Some scrap material from decommissioning may be recycled, but for uses outside the industry very low clearance levels are applied, so most is buried and some is recycled within the industry.

Legacy waste

In addition to the routine waste from current nuclear power generation there is other radioactive waste referred to as ‘legacy waste’. This waste exists in several countries that pioneered nuclear power and especially where power programs were developed out of military programs. It is sometimes voluminous and difficult to manage, and arose in the course of those countries getting to a position where nuclear technology is a commercial proposition for power generation. It represents a liability which is not covered by current funding arrangements. In the UK, some £73 billion (undiscounted) is estimated to be involved in addressing this waste – principally from Magnox and some early AGR developments – and about 30% of the total is attributable to military programs. In the USA, Russia, and France the liabilities are also considerable.

Non-nuclear power waste

In recent years, in both the radiological protection and radioactive waste management communities, there has been increased attention on how to effectively manage non‑power related nuclear waste. All countries, including those that do not have nuclear power plants, have to manage radioactive waste generated by activities unrelated to the production of nuclear energy, including: national laboratory and university research activities; used and lost industrial gauges and radiography sources; and nuclear medicine activities at hospitals. Although much of this waste is not long-lived, the variety of the sources makes any general assessment of physical or radiological characteristics difficult. The relatively source-specific nature of the waste poses questions and challenges for its management at a national level.

Treatment and conditioning

Treatment involves operations intended to change waste streams’ characteristics to improve safety or economy. Treatment techniques may involve compaction to reduce volume, filtration or ion exchange to remove radionuclide content, or precipitation to induce changes in composition.

Conditioning is undertaken to change waste into a form that is suitable for safe handling, transportation, storage, and disposal. This step typically involves the immobilisation of waste in containers. Liquid LLW and ILW are typically solidified in cement, whilst HLW is calcined/dried then vitrified in a glass matrix. Immobilised waste will be placed in a container suitable for its characteristics.

Storage and disposal

Storage of waste may take place at any stage during the management process. Storage involves maintaining the waste in a manner such that it is retrievable, whilst ensuring it is isolated from the external environment. Waste may be stored to make the next stage of management easier (for example, by allowing its natural radioactivity to decay). Storage facilities are commonly onsite at the power plant, but may be also be separate from the facility where it was produced.

Disposal of waste takes place when there is no further foreseeable use for it, and in the case of HLW, when radioactivity has decayed to relatively low levels after about 40-50 years.

LLW and short-lived ILW

Most LLW and short-lived ILW are typically sent to land-based disposal immediately following packaging. This means that for the majority (>90% by volume) of all of the waste types, a satisfactory disposal means has been developed and is being implemented around the world.

Near-surface disposal facilities are currently in operation in many countries, including:

  • UK – LLW Repository at Drigg in Cumbria operated by UK Nuclear Waste Management (a consortium led by Washington Group International with Studsvik UK, Serco, and Areva) on behalf of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority.
  • Spain – El Cabril LLW and ILW disposal facility operated by ENRESA.
  • France – Centre de l’Aube and Morvilliers operated by ANDRA.
  • Sweden – SFR at Forsmark operated by SKB.
  • Finland – Olkiluoto and Loviisa, operated by TVO and Fortum.
  • Russia – Ozersk, Tomsk, Novouralsk, Sosnovy Bor, operated by NO RAO.
  • South Korea – Wolseong, operated by KORAD.
  • Japan – LLW Disposal Center at Rokkasho-Mura operated by Japan Nuclear Fuel Limited.
  • USA – five LLW disposal facilities: Texas Compact facility near the New Mexico border, operated by Waste Control Specialists; Barnwell, South Carolina; Clive, Utah; Oak Ridge, Tennessee – all operated by Energy Solutions; and Richland, Washington – operated by American Ecology Corporation.

Some low-level liquid waste from reprocessing plants is discharged to the sea. This includes radionuclides which are distinctive, notably technetium-99 (sometimes used as a tracer in environmental studies), and this can be discerned many hundred kilometres away. However, such discharges are regulated and controlled, and the maximum radiation dose anyone receives from them is a small fraction of natural background radiation.

Nuclear power stations and reprocessing plants release small quantities of radioactive gases (e.g. krypton-85 and xenon-133) and trace amounts of iodine-131 to the atmosphere. However, krypton-85 and xenon-133 are chemically inert, all three gases have short half-lives, and the radioactivity in the emissions is diminished by delaying their release. The net effect is too small to warrant consideration in any life-cycle analysis. A little tritium is also produced but regulators do not consider its release to be significant.

Long-lived ILW and HLW

The long timescales over which some ILW and HLW – including used fuel when considered a waste – remains radioactive has led to universal acceptance of the concept of deep geological disposal. Many other long-term waste management options have been investigated, but deep disposal in a mined repository is now the preferred option in most countries. The Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) deep geological waste repository is in operation in the US for the disposal of transuranic waste – long-lived ILW from military sources, contaminated with plutonium.

To date there has been no practical need for final HLW repositories. As outlined above, used fuel may either by reprocessed or disposed of directly. Either way, there is a strong technical incentive to delay final disposal of HLW for about 40-50 years after removal, at which point the heat and radioactivity will have reduced by over 99%. Interim storage of used fuel is mostly in ponds associated with individual reactors, or in a common pool at multi-reactor sites, or occasionally at a central site. At present there is about 250,000 tonnes of used fuel in storage. Over two-thirds of this is in storage ponds, with an increasing proportion in dry storage.



Storage ponds at reactors, and those at centralised facilities such as CLAB in Sweden, are 7-12 metres deep to allow for several metres of water over the used fuel (assembled in racks typically about 4 metres long and standing on end). The multiple racks are made of metal with neutron absorbers incorporated. The circulating water both shields and cools the fuel. These pools are robust constructions made of thick reinforced concrete with steel liners. Ponds at reactors are often designed to hold all the used fuel produced over the planned operating lifetime of the reactor.



Some fuel that has cooled in ponds for at least five years is stored in dry casks or vaults with air circulation inside concrete shielding. One common system is for sealed steel casks or multi-purpose canisters (MPCs) each holding up to about 40 fuel assemblies with inert gas. Casks/MPCs may also be used for the transport and eventual disposal of the used fuel. For storage, each is enclosed in a ventilated storage module made of concrete and steel. These are commonly standing on the surface, about 6m high, and cooled by air convection, or they may be below grade, with just the tops showing. The modules are robust and provide full shielding. Each cask has up to 45 kW heat load.

If used reactor fuel is reprocessed, the resulting liquid HLW must be solidified. The HLW also generates a considerable amount of heat and requires cooling. It is vitrified into borosilicate (Pyrex) glass, sealed into heavy stainless steel cylinders about 1.3 metres high, and stored for eventual disposal deep underground. This material has no conceivable future use and is universally classified as waste. France has two commercial plants to vitrify HLW left over from reprocessing fuel, and there are also plants active in the UK and Belgium. The capacity of these western European plants is 2,500 canisters (1000 t) a year, and some have been operating for three decades. By mid-2009, the vitrification plant at Sellafield, UK, had produced its 5000th canister of vitrified HLW, representing 3000 m3 of liquor reduced to 750 m3 of glass. The plant currently fills about 400 canisters per year.

The Australian Synroc (synthetic rock) system is a more sophisticated way to immobilise such waste, and this process may eventually come into commercial use for civil wastes.

If used reactor fuel is not reprocessed, it will still contain all the highly radioactive isotopes. Spent fuel that is not reprocessed is treated as HLW for direct disposal. It too generates a lot of heat and requires cooling. However, since it largely consists of uranium (with a little plutonium), it represents a potentially valuable resource, and there is an increasing reluctance to dispose of it irretrievably.

For final disposal, to ensure that no significant environmental releases occur over tens of thousands of years, ‘multiple barrier’ geological disposal is planned. This technique will immobilise the radioactive elements in HLW and long-lived ILW, and isolate them from the biosphere. The multiple barriers are:

  • Immobilisation of waste in an insoluble matrix such as borosilicate glass or synthetic rock (fuel pellets are already a very stable ceramic, UO2).
  • Contain waste sealed inside a corrosion-resistant container, such as stainless steel.
  • Isolate waste from people and the environment, so eventually locate it deep underground in a stable rock structure.
  • Delay any significant migration of radionuclides from the repository, so surround containers with an impermeable backfill such as bentonite clay if the repository is wet.




Due to the long-term nature of these management plans, sustainable options must have one or more pre-defined milestones where a decision could be taken on which option to proceed with.

A current question is whether waste should be emplaced so that it is readily retrievable from repositories. There are sound reasons for keeping such options open – in particular, it is possible that future generations might consider the buried waste to be a valuable resource. On the other hand, permanent closure might increase long-term security of the facility. After being buried for about 1,000 years most of the radioactivity will have decayed. The amount of radioactivity then remaining would be similar to that of the naturally-occurring uranium ore from which it originated, though it would be more concentrated. In mined repositories, which represent the main concept being pursued, retrievability can be straightforward, but any deep borehole disposal is permanent.

France’s 2006 waste law says that HLW disposal must be ‘reversible’, which was clarified in a 2015 amendment to mean guaranteeing long-term flexibility in disposal policy, while ‘retrievable’ referred to short-term practicality. France, Switzerland, Canada, Japan, and the USA require retrievability. That policy is followed also in most other countries, though this presupposes that in the long-term, the repository would be sealed to satisfy safety requirements.

The measures or plans that various countries have in place to store, reprocess, and dispose of used fuel and waste are described in an appendix to this paper covering National Policies and Funding. Storage and disposal options are described more fully in the information paper on Storage and Disposal of Radioactive Waste.

Natural precedents for geological disposal

Nature has already proven that geological isolation is possible through several natural examples (or ‘analogues’). The most significant case occurred almost 2 billion years ago at Oklo, in what is now Gabon in West Africa, where several spontaneous nuclear reactors operated within a rich vein of uranium ore. (At that time the concentration of U-235 in all natural uranium was about 3%.) These natural nuclear reactors continued for about 500,000 years before dying away. They produced all the radionuclides found in HLW, including over 5 tonnes of fission products and 1.5 tonnes of plutonium, all of which remained at the site and eventually decayed into non-radioactive elements.

The study of such natural phenomena is important for any assessment of geologic repositories, and is the subject of several international research projects.

Funding waste management

Nuclear power is the only large-scale energy-producing technology that takes full responsibility for all its waste and fully costs this into the product. Financial provisions are made for managing all kinds of civilian radioactive waste. The cost of managing and disposing of nuclear power plant waste typically represents about 5% of the total cost of the electricity generated.

Most nuclear utilities are required by governments to put aside a levy (e.g. 0.1 cents per kilowatt hour in the USA, 0.14 ¢/kWh in France) to provide for the management and disposal of their waste

The actual arrangements for paying for waste management and decommissioning vary. The key objective is, however, always the same: to ensure that sufficient funds are available when they are needed. There are three main approaches:

  • Provisions on the balance sheet. Sums to cover the anticipated cost of waste management and decommissioning are included on the generating company’s balance sheet as a liability. As waste management and decommissioning work proceeds, the company has to ensure that it has sufficient investments and cash flow to meet the required payments.
  • Internal fund. Payments are made over the operating lifetime of the nuclear facility into a special fund that is held and administered within the company. The rules for the management of the fund vary, but many countries allow the fund to be re-invested in the assets of the company, subject to adequate securities and investment returns.
  • External fund. Payments are made into a fund that is held outside the company, often within government or administered by a group of independent trustees. Again, rules for the management of the fund vary. Some countries only allow the fund to be used for waste management and decommissioning purposes, whilst others allow companies to borrow a percentage of the fund to invest in their business.

According to GE Hitachi, by 2015 funds set aside for managing and disposal of used fuel totalled about $100 billion (most notably $51 billion of this in Europe, $40 billion in the USA and $6.5 billion in Canada).

How much waste is produced?

The volume of high-level radioactive waste (HLW) produced by the civil nuclear industry is small. The IAEA estimates that 370,000 tonnes of heavy metal (tHM) in the form of used fuel have been discharged since the first nuclear power plants commenced operation. Of this, the agency estimates that 120,000 tHM have been reprocessed. The IAEA estimates that the disposal volume of the current solid HLW inventory is approximately 22,000m3. For context, this is a volume roughly equivalent to a three metre tall building covering an area the size of a soccer pitch.

* Disposal volumes vary based on the chosen solution for waste disposal. In arriving at its estimate, the IAEA has made assumptions with respect to packaging and repository design for countries without confirmed disposal solutions based on the plans proposed by countries more advanced in the process.

The amounts of ILW, LLW, and VLLW produced are greater in volume, but are much less radioactive (see above section on Types of radioactive waste). Given its lower inherent radioactivity, the majority of waste produced by nuclear power production and classified as LLW or VLLW has already been placed in disposal. The IAEA estimates that over 80% of all LLW and VLLW produced to date is in disposal. For ILW, the agency estimates that about 20% is in disposal, with the balance in storage.

Nuclear waste inventory (IAEA estimates, 2018)


Solid radioactive waste in storage (m3) Solid radioactive waste in disposal (m3) Proportion of waste type in disposal
VLLW 2,356,000 7,906,000 77%
LLW 3,479,000 20,451,000 85%
ILW 460,000 107,000 19%
HLW 22,000 0 0%

Note: all volumetric figures are provided as estimates based on operating and proposed final disposal solutions for different types of waste.


All hazardous waste requires careful management and disposal, not just radioactive waste. The amount of waste produced by the nuclear power industry is small relative to both other forms of electricity generation and general industrial activity. For example, in the UK – the world’s oldest nuclear industry – the total amount of radioactive waste produced to date, and forecast to 2125, is about 4.9 million tonnes. After all waste has been packaged, it is estimated that the final volume would occupy a space similar to that of a large, modern soccer stadium. This compares with an annual generation of 200 million tonnes of conventional waste, of which 4.3 million tonnes is classified as hazardous. About 94% of radioactive waste in the UK is classified as LLW, about 6% is ILW, and less than 0.03% is classified as HLW

In over 50 years of civil nuclear power experience, the management and disposal of civil nuclear waste has not caused any serious health or environmental problems, nor posed any real risk to the general public. Alternatives for power generation are not without challenges, and their undesirable by-products are generally not well controlled.

To put the production and management of nuclear waste in context, it is important to consider the non-desirable by-products – most notably carbon dioxide emissions – of other large-scale commercial electricity generating technologies. In 2016, nuclear power plants supplied 2,417 TWh of electricity, 11% of the world’s total consumption. Fossil fuels supplied 67%, of which coal contributed the most (8,726 TWh), followed by gas (4,933 TWh), and oil (1,068 TWh). If the 11% of electricity supplied by nuclear power had been replaced by gas – by far the cleanest burning fossil fuel – an additional 2,388 million tonnes of COwould have been released into the atmosphere; the equivalent of putting an additional 250 million cars on the road.


CO2 emissions avoided through the use of nuclear power


Lifecycle emissions
Estimated emissions to produce 2417 TWh electricity
(million tonnes CO2)
Potential emissions avoided through use of nuclear power
(million tonnes CO2)
Potential emissions avoided through use of nuclear
(million cars equivalent)
Nuclear power 12 29 NA NA
Gas (CCS) 490 1184 1155 c. 250
Coal 820 1981 1952 c. 400

Note: Lifecycle emissions estimates from the IPCC. Estimate of average emissions per vehicle from the EPA.


In addition to producing very significant emissions of carbon, hydrocarbon industries also create significant amounts of radioactive waste. The radioactive material produced as a waste product from the oil and gas industry is referred to as ‘technologically enhanced naturally occurring radioactive materials’ (Tenorm). In oil and gas production, radium-226, radium-228, and lead-210 are deposited as scale in pipes and equipment in many parts of the world. Published data show radionuclide concentrations in scales up to 300,000 Bq/kg for Pb-210, 250,000 Bq/kg for Ra-226, and 100,000 Bq/kg for Ra-228. This level is 1000 times higher than the clearance level for recycled material (both steel and concrete) from the nuclear industry, where anything above 500 Bq/kg may not be cleared from regulatory control for recycling.

The largest Tenorm waste stream is coal ash, with around 280 million tonnes arising globally each year, carrying uranium-238 and all its non-gaseous decay products, as well as thorium-232 and its progeny. This ash is usually just buried, or may be used as a constituent in building materials. As such, the same radionuclide, at the same concentration, may be sent to deep disposal if from the nuclear industry, or released for use in building materials if in the form of fly ash from the coal industry.

Original Source

July 3, 2019

Examples of Hazardous Agricultural Waste

Filed under: Agricultural,Hazardous Waste,News — Devin Priester @ 7:35 pm

On the family farms of yesteryear, farmers relied on natural processes to fertilize and protect their farms. In the mid-20th century, the Green Revolution brought new technology to farming that allowed farmers to produce more food on less land, relying on chemicals to protect crops and livestock from diseases and pests and causing farms to burgeon from family businesses to industrial operations. Although farms now produce large amounts of food for little money, these new methods have not been without repercussions.

Livestock Manure

Traditionally, farms have functioned as a closed system. Farmers grew crops, which fed the animals, and the animals produced manure that nourished the next generation of crops. As David A. Fahrenthold explains in the Washington Post, changes in U.S. agriculture have shifted the role of manure from fertilizer to toxic waste as small farms give way to large operations with thousands of animals producing more manure than can possibly be used. According to Fahrenthold, manure runoff is one of the leading causes of aquatic dead zones. The U.S. Department of Agriculture adds that manure runoff also contributes to outbreaks of food-borne illness when animal wastes pollute fields used to grow crops.

Fertilizer Runoff

Fertilizer runoff is one cause of excessive algae growth in waterways.

Just like manure, in appropriate quantities, fertilizer promotes healthy plant growth. However, overuse and misuse of fertilizers high in nitrogen and phosphorus also have devastating consequences for the environment and human health. According to the North Carolina State University, fertilizer pollution contributes to aquatic dead zones, areas in bodies of water where living organisms cannot survive. Even in water, fertilizers have their intended effect: They increase plant growth. The increased growth of algae, though, uses up oxygen needed by other organisms. Additionally, when fertilizers leach into groundwater, blue-baby syndrome, a fatal condition in young children, can result.


As animal farming operations increase in size, the amount of dust they produce reaches potentially hazardous levels. Both soil and manure, when dried, can become airborne as dust, carrying pathogens to neighboring properties. Risk from dust is especially high for farmers and workers. According to the Penn State Cooperative Extension, a condition called “farmer’s lung,” caused by inhaling harmful particles, may cause permanent lung damage and even death.


By their very nature, pesticides are poisons, meant to kill nuisance insects and animals that destroy crops. When pesticides contaminate water, they can cause harmful effects on people and animals as well. According to the Iowa State University Extension Service, pesticides can reach water in several ways. Pesticides sprayed onto crops can drift into ponds and streams. Runoff also occurs, with pesticides being washed into surface waters, carried away through soil erosion or leaching into groundwater supplies.

Original Source

June 20, 2019

Hazmat Teams Prevent Potential Boilover

Filed under: Industry News — Devin Priester @ 12:01 am

High-risk low-frequency incidents are difficult to prepare for

What exactly is a boilover? It is one of the most dangerous flammable liquid fires that firefighters face. Full-surface crude oil fires can have catastrophic consequences if adequate resources, immediate actions, and proper techniques are not executed. Historically speaking, flammable liquid fires have some of the highest death counts. They are unique beasts you never want to fight underprepared!

Boilovers can occur in crude oil/mixed fuel storage tanks when a full-surface fire is not quickly extinguished. Left to burn, the heated surface layer will move downward through the tank’s product and eventually find a water pocket or water layer at the bottom of the tank. If the crude oil temperature is 212°F or higher when it finds a water layer, the water will expand to at least 1,700:1. This causes flaming crude oil to be forcefully pushed up and out of the storage tank onto responders and civilians. The hazard zone can reach as far as 10 tank diameters. Anyone in the area not in full personal protective equipment can be killed or severely burned. The radiant heat alone can be lethal.

Houston, Texas, is often referred to as the petrochemical capital of the world. Hazardous materials are a way of life for the thousands of industrial workers who work in the chemical industry. Although chemical fires are infrequent, they do occur. One volunteer fire department found itself facing a potential boilover, a crude oil full-surface fire.

Shortly before midnight, the Houston Fire Department received a call for a mutual-aid hazmat incident at a shipyard along the Houston Ship Channel. A storage tank of crude oil was on fire, and several other crude oil tanks were exposed. The local volunteer fire department and a three-member local hazmat team attempted to extinguish the fire with a foam blanket. However, the foam blanket did not extinguish the fire, so Houston’s hazardous materials response team (HMRT) was requested.

On arrival at the command post, Houston’s HMRT quickly recognized the time-sensitive nature of the incident. Tank temperatures were approaching 200°F. The hazmat team knew a boilover was imminent unless an adequate Class B foam blanket could be applied. Fortunately, Houston’s Foam Engine 22 was on scene with 750 gallons of AR-AFFF foam. Unfortunately, there was no water supply to the shipping yard.

The on-scene incident commander quickly coordinated a water shuttle. Houston’s 10-member Hazmat Team, with a four-member regional hazmat team as backup, positioned themselves for an offensive attack. Approximately four minutes after Foam 22 implemented foam operations, the fire was extinguished.


As stated above, flammable liquid fires involving crude oil can be deadly. The Houston Hazmat Team, along with an excellent team of responders, won the battle and prevented a potential boilover. On the one hand, this call could be viewed as a near miss because all incidents of this magnitude are high-risk incidents. However, this call should be viewed as a “call gone well” because adequate resources, expertise, and techniques were executed promptly, resulting in no injuries or significant loss of property.

High-risk low-frequency incidents are difficult to prepare for. However, we can all learn from our brothers and sisters. Lessons learned can be anything from “Don’t do what I did!” to “Hey, we had a call like that, and this is what worked well for us.” You never know when an article, or a Near Miss Report, will have an impact on some future decision you make if you fail to read it in the first place.

Original Source


June 11, 2019

U.S.: New Hazardous Waste Pharmaceuticals Rule: Significant Changes Coming for Health Care Facilities, Particularly Long-Term Care Facilities

Filed under: Industry News — Devin Priester @ 12:01 am

Health care facilities that provide a host of health care-related services or distribute, sell, or dispense pharmaceuticals will need to learn a whole new set of regulations thanks to a finalized new rule promulgated by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The new rule revises management standards for hazardous waste pharmaceuticals (HWPs) for health care facilities, including nursing, skilled nursing, and inpatient hospice facilities, more than three years following the close of comments for the EPA’s initial proposed rule. The revised regulations will take effect six months following publication in the Federal Register.

The Resource Conservation Recovery Act (RCRA) governs the generation, management, storage, treatment, and disposal of hazardous wastes. Before the new rule was promulgated, certain health care facilities, such as hospitals and reverse distributors were subject to the same hazardous waste requirements under the RCRA as most industries. The management of HWPs at long-term care facilities, however, was excluded from the RCRA and treated the same as HWPs at residential households. EPA makes clear in this new rule that because nursing, skilled nursing, and inpatient hospice facilities are more akin to hospitals, their management of any hazardous waste, including HWPs, will also be subject to RCRA requirements.

The final rule revises some of the regulations and management standards for HWPs under the RCRA and sets them apart in a separate section of the RCRA regulations, to be codified at 40 C.F.R. Part 266, Subpart P (“Subpart P”), that are applicable specifically to health care facilities and reverse distributors. According to the EPA, this is necessary because hazardous waste generation and management practices at health care facilities differ significantly from those encountered in industry generally. As a result, regulating HWPs under the standard provisions of RCRA Subtitle C has been unnecessarily difficult. The EPA maintains that the new management standards are more streamlined and tailored specifically for healthcare HWPs and thus will promote proper management of HWPs by healthcare workers and pharmacy employees.

The final rule does not increase the universe of pharmaceuticals that are considered hazardous waste. However, it does accomplish four significant and practical changes in the management of pharmaceuticals: (1) HWPs that are to be sent off-site for reverse distribution will be regulated as hazardous wastes under the RCRA while still at the health care facility, (2) HWPs are banned from being disposed of down a drain or in a toilet, thereby reducing the amount of pharmaceutical ingredients that contaminate drinking water and endanger the environment, (3) it is easier to make a HWP container legally “empty,” and (4) nicotine replacement therapies are no longer considered potential hazardous wastes. Some of the components of the final rule will relieve the existing burdens on generators of HWPs, while other components may make the management of HWPs more onerous, at least initially.

Applicability to Long-Term Care Facilities

As noted above, the final rule applies to health care facilities. The definition of “health care facility” specifically includes long-term care facilities. A “long-term care facility,” in turn, is defined as:

[A] licensed entity that provides assistance with activities of daily living, including managing and administering pharmaceuticals to one or more individuals at the facility. This definition includes, but is not limited to, hospice facilities, nursing facilities, skilled nursing facilities, and the nursing and skilled nursing care portions of continuing care retirement communities. Not included within the scope of this definition are group homes, independent living communities, assisted living facilities and the independent and assisted living portions of continuing care retirement communities. (emphasis added).

The exclusion of assisted living from the definition of long-term care facility in the rule avoids many of the practical issues with control over medications taken directly by patients and use of multiple pharmacies that flow from the functional differences between nursing homes and assisted living facilities. The distinction constitutes a welcome change from the 2015 proposed rule, which sought to include such facilities in the definition of long-term care facility. The EPA stated unequivocally that HWPs that are in (a) the custody of the long-term care facility on behalf of the resident, or (b) an in-house pharmacy maintained by such facility (if any), must be managed under Subpart P.

Definitions and Analysis

The analysis necessary to determine whether a given substance is considered a HWP involves three questions:

Question 1 – Is it a Pharmaceutical? Under the final rule, a pharmaceutical includes, but is not limited to, the following:

  • Dietary supplements, as defined by the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act;
  • Prescription drug, as defined by 21 C.F.R. § 203.3(y);
  • Over-the-counter drugs;
  • Homeopathic drugs;
  • Compounded drugs;
  • Investigational new drugs;
  • Pharmaceuticals remaining in non-empty containers;
  • Personal protective equipment contaminated with pharmaceuticals; and
  • Clean-up material from spills of pharmaceuticals.

The definition also includes any electronic nicotine delivery system and liquid nicotine packaged for retail sale. Excluded from the definition are sharps and dental amalgam.

Question 2 – Is it a Solid Waste? A solid waste is any discarded material that is not otherwise excluded under the regulations that implement RCRA. What constitutes a RCRA solid waste, however, is not limited to wastes that are physically solid. Many solid wastes are liquid, semi-solid, or gaseous material. A material is considered “discarded” once the facility has decided to discard it, and must be managed appropriately at that point in time. A material that is legitimately going to be used, reused or reclaimed is not discarded and is not a solid waste. Note, however, that under the final rule, EPA has pre-determined that a health care facility’s decision to reverse distribute a pharmaceutical constitutes a decision to discard the pharmaceutical.

Question 3 – Is it a HWP? Solid wastes that are pharmaceuticals are only considered hazardous waste under RCRA if they are either listed as hazardous wastes or exhibit one of the characteristics of hazardous waste. There are four lists–F , K , P and U –based on either manufacturing and industrial processes, or chemical designations. The F and K lists are based on manufacturing and industrial processes, none of which apply to pharmaceuticals for humans. The P and U lists are based on chemical products. The EPA notes that there are approximately 30 “Commercial Chemical Products” on the P and U lists that have uses in multiple pharmaceuticals. A Commercial Chemical Product is only a waste if (i) it has not been used or used as intended, and (ii) consists of the commercially pure grade of the chemical, any technical grades of the chemical that are produced or marketed or the chemical is the sole active ingredient in the formulation. If these criteria are not met, then the pharmaceutical is not a HWP, even if included in the P or U list.

As noted above, even if a pharmaceutical waste is not listed on any of the lists, it may also qualify as a hazardous waste if it exhibits one of the four characteristics of hazardous waste:

  • Ignitability (something flammable) – for example, solutions containing more than 24% alcohol,
  • Corrosivity (something that can rust or decompose) – for example, certain compounding chemicals,
  • Reactivity (something explosive), and
  • Toxicity (something poisonous).

The answer to all three of the foregoing questions must be yes for the material to qualify as a HWP, though the final rule does contain certain exceptions that may apply to exclude a pharmaceutical from being considered a HWP for purposes of RCRA Subpart P. A long-term care facility that determines that it does generate HWPs must then conduct further analysis to determine the nature of its obligations under Subpart P.

Scope of Obligations under Subpart P – Amount of Waste Generated

Once the determinations have been made that a long-term care facility is covered by the final rule and has HWPs, the analysis shifts from the type of facility and nature of the waste to the amount of the waste, to determine the scope of the facility’s obligations under Subpart P. Specifically, the next inquiry is the amount of HWPs that the facility generates. Under RCRA, a “Generator” is a person whose act or process produces hazardous waste or whose act first causes a hazardous waste to become subject to regulation. Therefore, a facility that makes the determination to “discard” a pharmaceutical becomes a Generator. A facility that generates less than or equal to any of the following per calendar month qualifies as a Very Small Quantity Generator (VSQG) :

  • 100 kg (220 pounds) of hazardous waste; or
  • 1 kg (2.2 pounds) of acute hazardous waste.

Under the final rule, long-term care facilities with 20 or fewer beds are presumed to be VSQGs, thereby shifting the burden of proof to the EPA Administrator to establish that a facility is not a VSQG. Facilities with more than 20 beds, however, bear the responsibility of demonstrating that they qualify as a VSQG.

If a facility generates total hazardous waste in amounts exceeding the VSQG thresholds, it must treat its HWPs in accordance with the management standards of Subpart P. While VSQGs may opt to handle their HWPs in accordance with the management standards of Subpart P, they are not required to do so except for the sewering ban and empty container provisions of Subpart P. If a VSQG does not opt to comply with the management standards of Subpart P, its HWPs are subject to the general hazardous waste provisions of 40 C.F.R. § 262.14, which may be less than the requirements of Subpart P. Further, a long-term care facility that is a VSQG may dispose of its HWPs (other than contaminated personal protective equipment or clean-up materials) in an on-site collection receptacle of an authorized collector that is registered with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), provided the contents are collected, stored, transported, destroyed and disposed of in compliance with all applicable regulations for controlled substances.

Whether a long-term care facility that qualifies as a VSQG opts to treat its HWPs in accordance with the management standards of Subpart P likely will depend on (1) the willingness of the facility to undertake the monthly calculations, monitoring and recordkeeping required to demonstrate that their hazardous waste is within the limits established for VSQGs, or (2) whether the decision not to comply with Subpart P would render the facility subject to more onerous requirements on other hazardous waste that it generates. If a facility also generates non-pharmaceutical RCRA hazardous waste, such as lab wastes for example, those wastes are not regulated under Subpart P but under the existing RCRA regulations. The standard regulations become more stringent as the amount of applicable waste increases. Facilities could decrease the overall amount of waste and thus lessen the impact of the standard regulations by not including the HWPs that are managed instead under Subpart P.

Scope of Obligations under Subpart P – Prescription HWPs versus Non-Prescription HWPs and Non-Creditable Prescription HWPs versus Potentially Creditable Prescription HWPs

Once the determination has been made that a long-term care facility is subject to the management standards of Subpart P, the requirements vary based on whether or not the pharmaceutical required a prescription. For prescription drugs, a facility must determine if it is managing a potentially creditable HWP or a non-creditable HWP. A “potentially creditable hazardous waste pharmaceutical” is a prescription HWP that has a “reasonable expectation to receive manufacturer credit through reverse distribution and is (1) in original manufacturer packaging (except pharmaceuticals that were subject to a recall) even if opened; (2) undispensed; and (3) unexpired or less than one year past expiration date.”

A non-creditable HWP is a prescription pharmaceutical that does not meet the above three criteria and therefore is not likely to receive credit back through reverse distribution. Non-prescription HWPs that do not have a reasonable expectation to be legitimately used, reused or reclaimed are also considered non-creditable HWPs. On the other hand, non-prescription over the counter pharmaceuticals that go through reverse logistics because they have a reasonable expectation of being recycled are not “Solid Waste” under RCRA at all, and therefore are not subject to Subpart P either. The management standards for potentially creditable HWPs are not as stringent as those for non-creditable HWPs.

Because of the requirement that the pharmaceutical be undispensed, it is likely that only long-term care facilities that have an in-house long-term care pharmacy will be managing potentially creditable HWPs. Those long-term care facilities that contract for their pharmacy services with a long-term care pharmacy will be managing non-creditable HWPs because pharmaceuticals are considered to be dispensed when the order is filled by the external pharmacy.

Unlike the existing general RCRA standards for the management of hazardous wastes, standards for HWPs under the new Subpart P are the same regardless of the amounts generated or the places where they are accumulated.

Management Standards for Non-Creditable HWPs

Notification – A long-term care facility that is subject to the requirements of Subpart P must notify the EPA Regional Administrator within 60 days of the effective date of Subpart P (or within 60 days of becoming subject to Subpart P) that it is a healthcare facility operating under Subpart P, even if the facility already has an EPA Identification Number. Notification may be filed electronically. The facility must keep a copy of the notification on file for as long as the facility is subject to Subpart P. If the facility subsequently qualifies as a VSQG and elects to withdraw from Subpart P, it must so notify the EPA Regional Administrator and may not begin operating under the conditional exemption applicable to VSQGs generally under RCRA until notification has been made. Withdrawal notifications must be kept on file for a period of three (3) years.

Training – All facility personnel that manage HWPs must be trained and be “thoroughly familiar” with proper waste handling and emergency procedures relative to their responsibilities. EPA has not stated whether the agency will offer compliance assistance or training materials to facilities. As a result, because the final rule will become effective six months following publication in the Federal Register, facilities should begin exploring their options for training as early as possible.

Hazardous Waste Determination – The facility must determine whether a non-creditable pharmaceutical is a HWP. In lieu of making such a determination, the facility may choose to manage all waste pharmaceuticals as HWPs under Subpart P.

Containers – Because a facility will likely accumulate HWPs for some period of time before shipping them off-site, the final rule prescribes standards for containers that will be used to store HWPs. Generally, any container used to accumulate HWPs must be structurally sound, compatible with its contents, and lack evidence of leakage, spillage, or damage that could cause leakage under reasonably foreseeable conditions. Such container must be kept closed and secured so as to prevent unauthorized access to its contents.

Labeling Containers – All containers used to accumulate HWP must be labeled or clearly marked with the phrase “Hazardous Waste Pharmaceuticals.”

Maximum Accumulation Time – A facility may accumulate non-creditable HWPs on-site for a period not to exceed one year without a permit. The period begins on the date the pharmaceutical first becomes a waste, and the facility is responsible for demonstrating how long HWPs have been accumulating. The final rule allows the facility to make this demonstration by marking/labeling the container, maintaining an inventory system or by placing the HWPs in a specific area and identifying the earliest date that any of the HWPs in that area became a waste. To the extent that any HWPs are able to be commingled safely in a container, the date on which the very first HWP was deposited in the container would start the one year clock running.

Land Disposal Restrictions – A facility must comply with extensive requirements pertaining to land disposal restrictions at 40 C.F.R. Section 268.7(a), but these have been relaxed to the extent that the individual waste codes no longer need to be identified on the land disposal restriction notification.

Shipping – As noted above, a long-term care facility may accumulate non-creditable HWPs on-site only for a limited time before it must ship them off-site to a pre-designated authorized facility for treatment, storage or disposal. The final rule includes specific requirements for such shipments.

  • Pre-Transport
    • Packaging, Labeling and Marking – Generally, all waste must be packaged, labeled and marked in accordance with applicable Department of Transportation (DOT) regulations.
      • Containers of 119 gallons or less must be marked with specific words and information, including “HAZARDOUS WASTE.”
      • With limited exceptions specified in the final rule, lab packs that will be incinerated are not required to be marked with EPA Hazardous Waste Numbers.
    • Placarding – A long-term care facility must placard or offer the initial transporter the appropriate placards as specified under DOT regulations.
  • Manifests – A facility must use a uniform manifest and comply with applicable manifest requirements except that instead of listing the individual waste codes, the facility should write “PHARMS” on the form.
  • Facilities may ship HWPs across state lines, but will only be able to use the provisions in Subpart P if both states have adopted the same regulations (see below).

Managing Rejected Shipments – A long-term care facility will need to ship any rejected shipments of non-creditable HWPs to a new designated and authorized facility within 90 days of their return.

Reporting – There is no requirement to report the amounts of HWPs generated at a facility unless specifically requested by the EPA. Other than the initial notification, the only report required under the new rule is when the facility does not receive back a copy of a fully received manifest from the receiving facility in connection with a shipment.

Record keeping – A health care facility must keep a copy of each manifest, exception report, and hazardous waste determination test result and analysis for three years. All records must be readily available during an inspection.

Response to Spills – Spills of HWPs must be immediately contained and the cleanup materials managed themselves as HWPs.

Accepting Non-Creditable HWPs from an Off-Site Facility that is a VSQG – A facility may accept non-creditable HWPs from a VSQG, such as when a health care facility returns drugs back to a pharmacy, even though the receiving facility does not have a RCRA permit, if the receiving facility (i) is under the same control as the transferring facility or has a business relationship, (ii) is operating under Subpart P, (iii) manages the new wastes under Subpart P, and (iv) keeps records of the shipment for three years.

Management Standards for Potentially Creditable HWPs

As noted above, because the definition of a potentially creditable HWP requires that a pharmaceutical be undispensed, and the use of a third party long-term care pharmacy results in medication being dispensed to a resident by the pharmacy rather than the facility, most long-term care facilities will not be managing potentially creditable HWPs. However, for those facilities that maintain their own in-house long-term care pharmacy, the requirements of the final rule with respect to potentially creditable HWPs are relevant as the facility is likely to have undispensed prescription medications on hand that can qualify as potentially creditable HWPs that can be sent to a reverse distributor.

  • Accepting Potentially Creditable HWPs from an Off-Site Facility that is a VSQG – A facility may accept potentially creditable HWPs from a VSQG, such as when a care facility returns drugs back to a pharmacy, even though the receiving facility does not have a RCRA permit, if the receiving facility (i) is under the same control as the transferring facility or has a business relationship, (ii) is operating under Subpart P, (iii) manages the new wastes under Subpart P, and (iv) keeps records of the shipment for three years.
  • Only Potentially Creditable HWPs – A facility is prohibited from sending hazardous wastes other than potentially creditable HWPs to a reverse distributor.
  • Reporting – There is no requirement to report the amounts of HWPs generated at a facility unless specifically requested by EPA.
  • Recordkeeping – A facility that initiates a shipment of potentially creditable HWPs to a reverse distributor must retain for a period of three years paper or electronic records of (i) the confirmation of delivery, and (ii) shipping papers prepared in accordance with DOT regulations. All records must be readily available during an inspection.
  • Response to Spills – Spills of potentially creditable HWPs must be immediately contained and the cleanup materials managed as non-creditable HWPs.
  • Shipping – Unlike with respect to a non-creditable HWP, a manifest is not required for shipping potentially creditable HWPs to a reverse distributor. Nevertheless, the facility must comply with all applicable DOT regulations in 49 C.F.R. Parts 171 through 180 for any HWP that meets the definition of “hazardous material” in 49 C.F.R. Section 171.8. Also, the receiving reverse distributor must provide confirmation to the facility that it has received the shipment. If the facility has not received such confirmation within 35 calendar days from the date the potentially creditable HWPs were sent, the facility must contact the carrier and the reverse distributor promptly to report that the confirmation was not received and to determine the status of the potentially creditable HWPs.

Conditional Exemption for HWPs that are Controlled Substances:

The final rule includes a conditional exemption from RCRA requirements for HWPs that are listed on a schedule of controlled substances by the DEA. The conditional exemption will apply if the HWPs are collected, stored, transported, and disposed of in compliance with all applicable DEA regulations for controlled substances, and will be destroyed by a method that DEA has publicly deemed in writing to meet their non-retrievable standard of destruction or combusted at one of five types of combustion facilities.

Generally Applicable Provisions of Subpart P to all HWPs:

The following provisions apply to all health care facilities, regardless of whether the facilities are managing creditable or non-creditable HWPs or are required to comply with the other provisions of Subpart P.

  • Sewering Ban – All health care facilities covered by the rule are prohibited from discharging HWPs to a sewer system that passes through to a publicly-owned treatment works.
  • Empty Containers – Under the new regulations, certain stock, dispensing and unit-dose containers are considered “empty” and therefore not regulated as hazardous waste under RCRA, even if minor pharmaceutical residue remains, if they have been emptied using the practices commonly employed to remove materials from that type of container. This also applies to syringes provided that the contents have been removed by fully depressing the plunger into the patient, another delivery device such as an intravenous bag, or a hazardous waste collection container. Intravenous bags avoid RCRA regulation provided the pharmaceuticals inside have been fully administered to a patient. All other types of containers—whether partially or completely empty—are to be managed as non-creditable HWPs unless they meet the general RCRA empty test for non-acute hazardous wastes.

Over the Counter Nicotine Replacement Therapies:

Nicotine and salts are currently included in the hazardous waste listed code P075 . The new rule exempts FDA approved over the counter nicotine replacement therapies, specifically patches, gums, and lozenges, from waste code P075. The rule does not exempt e-cigarettes, nicotine-containing e-liquids or prescription nicotine replacement therapies because they are not regulated in the same way as the exempted methods. Nevertheless, any nicotine replacement therapy that has been used in the manner initially intended is not a “solid waste” under RCRA and therefore is not a “hazardous waste” either.

Effective Date; Authorized State RCRA Programs:

The final rule will become effective six months following publication in the Federal Register; however, many states operate their own hazardous waste program. Once authorized by EPA, state hazardous waste programs operate in lieu of the RCRA regulations, though authorized states are required to adopt new regulations that are more stringent than existing rules. Most provisions of the pharmaceutical waste final rule are more stringent than the current RCRA generator regulations. Accordingly, authorized state programs will be required to adopt those provisions such that the new rule will not take effect in any of those states until it has been adopted and the state regulations updated. In contrast, the ban against HWP disposal in a drain or a toilet will be effective in every state as soon as it is effective under Federal law because the sewering prohibition component of the new rule, also more stringent than existing requirements, was adopted under separate legal authority. States are not required to adopt the part of the rule exempting over-the-counter nicotine replacement therapies from the hazardous waste requirements because it is less stringent. Also, facilities should be aware that states may include more stringent requirements than those included in the final rule. As a result, facilities will need to monitor adoption and implementation efforts in those states very closely.


There can be no doubt that EPA’s final rule will require health care facilities, particularly long-term care facilities other than assisted living facilities, to navigate the new regulatory framework provided in Subpart P, while still potentially being subject to many other RCRA-related provisions and to regulations from other Federal agencies including the DOT. Additionally, facilities in states that have their own authorized hazardous waste program will need to monitor their state agency to determine exactly which rules apply and when. With an effective date only six months following publication of the final rule in the Federal Register, no guarantees of education or compliance assistance from EPA other than three webinars scheduled for February and March, 2019, and steep fines for violations, facilities will be hard-pressed to come up to speed in time. Health care facilities are well advised to begin their efforts now to understand the requirements, draft and implement effective policies and procedures, develop a staff training program, and enter into such contractual relationships as may be necessary to ensure compliance.

Original Source


June 4, 2019

Household Hazardous Waste (HHW)

Filed under: Industry News — Devin Priester @ 12:01 am

EPA considers some leftover household products that can catch fire, react, or explode under certain circumstances, or that are corrosive or toxic as household hazardous waste. Products, such as paints, cleaners, oils, batteries, and pesticides can contain hazardous ingredients and require special care when you dispose of them.

Safe Management of HHW

To avoid the potential risks associated with household hazardous wastes, it is important that people always monitor the use, storage, and disposal of products with potentially hazardous substances in their homes. Improper disposal of HHW can include pouring them down the drain, on the ground, into storm sewers, or in some cases putting them out with the regular trash.

The dangers of such disposal methods might not be immediately obvious, but improper disposal of these wastes can pollute the environment and pose a threat to human health. Certain types of HHW have the potential to cause physical injury to sanitation workers, contaminate septic tanks or wastewater treatment systems if poured down drains or toilets. They can also present hazards to children and pets if left around the house.

Some quick tips for the safe handling of household hazardous wastes include:

Follow any instructions for use and storage provided on product labels carefully to prevent any accidents at home.

Be sure to read product labels for disposal directions to reduce the risk of products exploding, igniting, leaking, mixing with other chemicals, or posing other hazards on the way to a disposal facility.

Never store hazardous products in food containers; keep them in their original containers and never remove labels. Corroding containers, however, require special handling. Call your local hazardous materials official or fire department for instructions.

When leftovers remain, never mix HHW with other products. Incompatible products might react, ignite, or explode, and contaminated HHW might become unrecyclable.

Check with your local environmental, health or solid waste agency for more information on HHW management options in your area.

If your community doesn’t have a year-round collection system for HHW, see if there are any designated days in your area for collecting HHW at a central location to ensure safe management and disposal.

If your community has neither a permanent collection site nor a special collection day, you might be able to drop off certain products at local businesses for recycling or proper disposal. Some local garages, for example, may accept used motor oil for recycling. Check around.

Remember, even empty containers of HHW can pose hazards because of the residual chemicals that might remain so handle them with care also.

Safe Disposal and Recycling

Many communities have collection programs for HHW to reduce potential harm posed by these chemicals.

Search for “household hazardous waste collection” near your zip code in the Earth 911 database.

Contact your local environmental, heath, or solid waste agency to learn about permanent or periodic HHW collections near you.

Reducing HHW in Your Home

Consider reducing your purchase of products that contain hazardous ingredients. Learn about the use of alternative methods or products—without hazardous ingredients—for some common household needs. When shopping for items such as multipurpose household cleaners, toilet cleaners, laundry detergent, dish soap, dishwashing machine pods and gels, bug sprays and insect pest control, consider shopping for environmentally friendly, natural products or search online for simple recipes you can use to create your own.

Below are some ideas to get you started. Additional information is available from EPA’s Safer Choice program.

Hazardous Waste Source Reduction around the Home:

Drain Cleaner: Use a plunger or plumber’s snake.
Glass Cleaner: Mix one tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice in one quart of water. Spray on and use newspaper to dry.
Furniture Polish: Mix one teaspoon of lemon juice in one pint of mineral or vegetable oil and wipe furniture.
Rug Deodorizer: Liberally sprinkle carpets with baking soda. Wait at least 15 minutes and vacuum. Repeat if necessary.
Silver Polish: Boil two to three inches of water in a shallow pan with one teaspoon of salt, one teaspoon of baking soda and a sheet of aluminum foil. Totally submerge silver and boil for two to three more minutes. Wipe away tarnish and repeat if necessary.

Mothballs: Use cedar chips, lavender flowers, rosemary, mints or white peppercorns.

Regulating HHW

While most hazardous wastes that are ignitable, reactive, corrosive or toxic in America are regulated in America under Subtitle C of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), Congress developed an exclusion for household waste. Under this exclusion, found in Title 40 of the Code of Federal Regulations Part 261.4, wastes generated by normal household activities (e.g., routine house and yard maintenance) are excluded from the definition of hazardous waste. Specifically, wastes covered by the household hazardous waste exclusion must satisfy two criteria:

The waste must be generated by individuals on the premise of a temporary or permanent residence, and

The waste stream must be composed primarily of materials found in wastes generated by consumers in their homes.

Although household hazardous waste is excluded from Subtitle C of RCRA, it is regulated under Subtitle D of this law as a solid waste. In other words, household hazardous waste is regulated on the state and local level.

Additional Information for State and Community Programs

Household Hazardous Waste Management: A Manual for One-Day Collection Programs (78 pp, 2.1 MB, About PDF)

State regulatory requirements for generators may be more stringent than those in the federal program. Be sure to check your state’s policies.

Original Source:


May 28, 2019

What Is the Difference Between Hazardous Waste & Solid Waste?

Filed under: Industry News — Devin Priester @ 7:21 pm


Hazardous waste threatens human health or the environment if it is carelessly thrown away, dumped into the ground or handled improperly. According to the EPA, solid waste or municipal solid waste (MSW) is commonly known as trash or garbage. It refers to the overall garbage created by a community, including household waste, as well as the waste generated by businesses, schools and institutions.

Types of Waste

A hazardous waste may be in solid, semi-solid, liquid or gaseous form. According to the EPA, the hazardous waste can be classified into listed wastes (source-specific wastes, non-specific source wastes and unused chemical products), characteristic wastes (toxic wastes, ignitable wastes, reactive wastes and corrosive wastes) universal wastes (batteries, pesticides, mercury-containing equipment and bulbs) and mixed wastes.

Municipal solid waste consists of paper, yard waste, metals, food, glass, wood, plastic and miscellaneous materials.


Solid waste generation is escalating with the increasing population. Disposal of solid waste in landfills is detrimental to the environment, as it can pollute the surrounding air and water. Toxic gases such as methane and carbon dioxide are formed when the waste in landfills decomposes. People living near landfills are susceptible to lung cancer, bladder cancer and leukemia. Incineration of solid waste releases toxic air pollutants, such as dioxins, which are carcinogenic and may cause birth defects.

Nuclear waste is hazardous and can remain radioactive for long periods of time, thereby affecting the environment and human health. Improper hazardous waste disposal from industries causes health problems in nearby communities. The presence of cancer-causing metal arsenic and toxic metal toluene may cause memory loss, hearing loss and various other conditions.


Disposal options for hazardous waste are landfills, incineration, land treatment units and injection wells. Other alternatives include recycling and reducing the use of hazardous waste.

Landfill is the most prevalent disposal option for solid waste. In addition, solid waste is also burned at extremely high temperatures to reduce the waste volume. Alternative techniques of disposing solid waste include recycling and composting.

Potential Uses

Hazardous waste containing metal particles and ash are sent to metal recovery facilities where metal can be recovered from them. According to Science Daily, a new technology involves the recovery of uranium from the ashes of radioactive garbage to be recycled back into nuclear fuel.

Recycling solid waste materials such as paper, plastic, glass, metal and rubber, transforms the old products into new ones by mechanical or chemical methods. Heat is generated during incineration of solid waste, which could be used to heat water. The steam thus produced could be used to drive turbines to generate electricity.


The EPA has clear regulations on how to dispose hazardous and solid wastes.

Special precautions need to be taken to dispose hazardous waste both in solid and liquid forms. EPA mandates the combustion or incineration of hazardous waste when possible. For waste in liquid form, underground injection wells should be used.

For solid waste disposal, EPA has guidelines on how to design landfills, where to locate them and how to maintain them.

Original Source

May 21, 2019

Hazardous Waste

Filed under: Industry News — Devin Priester @ 12:01 am

Toxic Waste


This section highlights OSHA standards, preambles to final rules (background to final rules), Federal Register notices (rules, proposed rules, and notices), directives (instruction to OSHA staff), model training programs, and other federal and national consensus standards related to hazardous waste.

State Standards

There are twenty-eight OSHA-approved State Plans, operating state-wide occupational safety and health programs. State Plans are required to have standards and enforcement programs that are at least as effective as OSHA’s and may have different or more stringent requirements.


General Industry (29 CFR 1910)

  • 1910 Subpart E, Means of egress
    • 1910.38, Emergency action plans
  • 1910 Subpart H, Hazardous materials
    • 1910.120, Hazardous waste operations and emergency response
      • Appendix A, Personal protective equipment test methods
      • Appendix B, General description and discussion of the levels of protective gear
      • Appendix C, Compliance guidelines
      • Appendix D, References
      • Appendix E, Training curriculum guidelines (Non-mandatory)
  • 1910 Subpart I, Personal protective equipment
    • 1910.134, Respiratory protection
  • 1910 Subpart J, General environmental controls
    • 1910.141, Sanitation
    • 1910.146, Permit-required confined spaces
      • Appendix A, Permit-required confined spaces decision flow chart
      • Appendix B, Procedures for atmospheric testing
      • Appendix C, Examples of permit-required confined spaces programs
      • Appendix D, Confined space pre-entry check list
      • Appendix E, Sewer system entry
  • 1910 Subpart L, Fire protection
    • 1910.165, Employee alarm systems
  • 1910 Subpart Z, Toxic and hazardous substances
    • 1910.1200, Hazard communication

Construction Industry (29 CFR 1926)

  • 1926 Subpart D, Occupational health and environmental controls
    • 1926.65, Hazardous waste operations and emergency response
      • Appendix A, Personal protective equipment test methods
      • Appendix B, General description and discussion of the levels of protection and protective gear
      • Appendix C, Compliance guidelines
      • Appendix D, References
      • Appendix E, Training curriculum guidelines (Non-mandatory)

Preambles to Final Rules

  • Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response

Federal Register Notices

  • Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response. Final Rules 59:43268-43280, (August 22, 1994).


  • Inspection Procedures for 29 CFR 1910.120 and 1926.65, Paragraph (q): Emergency Response to Hazardous Substance Releases (PDF). CPL 02-02-073, (August 27, 2007). Updates enforcement procedures for compliance officers who need to conduct inspections of emergency response operations. It defines additional terms and expands on training requirements for emergency responders and other groups such as skilled support personnel. This OSHA instruction revises CPL 02-02-059, issued April 24, 1998.
  • Technical Enforcement and Assistance Guidelines for Hazardous Waste Site and RCRA Corrective Action Clean-up Operations HAZWOPER 1910.120 (b)-(o) Directive. CPL 02-02-071, (November 5, 2003).
  • Compliance policy for emergency action plans and fire prevention plans. CPL 02-01-037 [CPL 2-1.037], (July 9, 2002).Clarifies several Regional Instructions regarding 29 CFR 1910.38. Change to OSHA Instruction CPL 2-2.59A, Inspection Procedures for the Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response Standard, Appendix F, page F-3, rescind citation policy of 29 CFR 1910.120(q)(1). Rescinds Clarifications of Interpretations and Citation Policy on 29 CFR 1910.38 and 1910.157 Standards.
  • Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response; Final Rule and Corrections. CSP 01-01-024 [STP 2-1.154C], (June 10, 1991). Describes a federal program change to the regions and state designees.

Model Training Programs

  • Draft Model Training Program for Hazard Communication

Other Related Information

  • The Application of HAZWOPER to Worksite Response and Cleanup Activities

Other Federal

Note: These are NOT OSHA regulations. However, they do provide guidance from their originating organizations related to worker protection.

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

  • 40 CFR Part 311, Worker protection. Describes the applicability of OSHA’s HAZWOPER Standard, 29 CFR 1910.120, to state and local government employees.

National Consensus

Note: These are NOT OSHA regulations. However, they do provide guidance from their originating organizations related to worker protection.

American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM)

  • D6235 – 04, Standard Practice for Expedited Site Characterization of Vadose Zone and Ground Water Contamination at Hazardous Waste Contaminated Sites.
  • D6498 – 99, Standard Guide for Household Hazardous Waste Training Outline for Household Hazardous Waste Collection Operations.


Original Source:


May 14, 2019

EPA – Hazardous Waste

Filed under: Industry News — Devin Priester @ 12:01 am


When EPA proposed regulations for managing hazardous waste under Subtitle C of Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) on December 18, 1978 (43 FR 58946), the agency deferred hazardous waste requirements for six categories of waste—which EPA termed “special wastes”—until further study and assessment could be completed to determine their risk to human health and the environment. These wastes typically are generated in large volumes and, at the time, were believed to possess less risk to human health and the environment than the wastes being identified for regulation as hazardous waste.

On October 12, 1980, Congress enacted the Solid Waste Disposal Act Amendments of 1980 (Public Law 96-482), which included the Bentsen and Bevill Amendments (sections 3001(b)(2)(A) and 3001(b)(3)(A)) These new sections exempted “special wastes” from regulation under Subtitle C of RCRA until further study and assessment of risk could be performed. Specifically, the Bentsen Amendment (section 3001(b)(2)(A)) exempted drilling fluids, produced waters, and other wastes associated with the exploration, development, and production of crude oil or natural gas or geothermal energy. The Bevill Amendment (section 3001(b)(3)(A)) exempted fossil fuel combustion waste; waste from the extraction, beneficiation, and processing of ores and minerals (including phosphate rock and overburden from uranium ore mining); and cement kiln dust.

The Bevill and Bentsen Amendments also required EPA to complete full assessments of each exempted waste and submit a formal report to Congress on its findings. Section 8002 explicitly identified the requirements for each special waste study and established deadlines for submission of the final reports. After completion of each respective “Report to Congress”, EPA was then required to make a final regulatory determination within six months as to whether the special waste in question warranted regulation as a hazardous waste under Subtitle C of RCRA.

The EPA submitted Reports to Congress and issued final regulatory determinations for each of the special wastes. For more information on each of the special wastes and links to their regulatory timelines, see the next section.


Types of Special Wastes

Categories of special wastes include:

Cement Kiln Dust Waste

Cement kiln dust (CKD) is a fine-grained solid by-product generated during the cement manufacturing process and captured by the facility’s air pollution control system. Because much of the CKD is unreacted raw materials, it is often returned to the production process. CKD that is not returned to the system, typically due to the presence of undesired constituents such as alkali metals, is disposed of in landfills, or sold for beneficial use. Currently, CKD waste is generally excluded from the definition of hazardous waste under federal regulations.


Crude Oil and Natural Gas Waste

Certain wastes from the exploration and production of oil, natural gas, and geothermal energy are excluded from hazardous waste regulations under Subtitle C of RCRA. These wastes include those that have been brought to the surface during oil and gas exploration and production operations, and other wastes that have come into contact with the oil and gas production stream (e.g., materials used to process natural gas).

Learn more about the proper management of oil and gas exploration and production waste

View the Crude Oil and Natural Gas Waste Legislative and Regulatory Timeline


Fossil Fuel Combustion Waste

Fossil fuel combustion (FFC) wastes are the wastes produced from the burning of fossil fuels (i.e., coal, oil, natural gas). These wastes can include fly ash, bottom ash, boiler slag and particulates removed from flue gas. During its assessment of the regulatory status of FFC wastes, EPA divided the wastes into two categories:

Large-volume coal combustion wastes generated at electric utility and independent power producing facilities that are managed separately.

All remaining FFC wastes, including:

Large-volume coal combustion waste generated at electric utility and independent power producing facilities that are co-managed with certain other coal combustion wastes (referred to as “co-managed wastes”).

Coal combustion wastes generated at non-utilities.

Coal combustion wastes generated at facilities with fluidized bed combustion technology.

Petroleum coke combustion wastes.

Waste from the combustion of mixtures of coal and other fuels.

Waste from the combustion of oil.

Waste from the combustion of natural gas.

After studying these categories of wastes, EPA made two separate regulatory determinations (in 1993 and in 2000) to exclude large- volume coal combustion wastes and the remaining fossil fuel combustion wastes from hazardous waste regulation under Subtitle C of RCRA.

On April 17, 2015, EPA issued federal regulations establishing requirements for the safe disposal of residuals generated from the combustion of coal at electric utilities and independent power producers. These regulations establish technical requirements for CCR landfills and surface impoundments under Subtitle D of RCRA, the nation’s primary law for regulating solid waste. Read more about this rule that went into effect on October 19, 2015.


Mining and Mineral Processing Waste

Mining wastes include waste generated during the extraction, beneficiation, and processing of minerals. Most extraction and beneficiation wastes from hardrock mining (the mining of metallic ores and phosphate rock) and 20 specific mineral processing wastes (see side bar) have been excluded from federal hazardous waste regulations under Subtitle C of the RCRA:


Mineral Processing Wastes Covered by the Mining Waste Exclusion


Slag from primary copper processing
Slag from primary lead processing
Red and brown muds from bauxite refining
Phosphogypsum from phosphoric acid production
Slag from elemental phosphorous production
Gasifier ash from coal gasification
Process wastewater from coal gasification
Calcium sulfate wastewater treatment plant sludge from primary copper processing
Slag tailings from primary copper processing
Flurogypsum from hydrofluoric acid production
Process wastewater from hydrofluoric acid production
Air pollution control dust/sludge from iron blast furnaces
Iron blast furnace slag
Treated residue from roasting/leaching of chrome ore
Process wastewater from primary magnesium processing by the anhydrous process
Process wastewater from phosphoric acid production
Basic oxygen furnace and open hearth furnace air pollution control dust/sludge from carbon steel production
Basic oxygen furnace and open hearth furnace slag from carbon steel production
Chloride process waste solids from titanium tetrachloride production
Slag from primary zinc processing


Extraction is the first phase of hardrock mining which consists of the initial removal of ore from the earth. Beneficiation follows and is the initial attempt at liberating and concentrating the valuable mineral from the extracted ore. After the beneficiation step, the remaining material is often physically and chemically similar to the material (ore or mineral) that entered the operation, except that particle size has been reduced. Beneficiation operations include crushing; grinding; washing; dissolution; crystallization; filtration; sorting; sizing; drying; sintering; pelletizing; briquetting; calcining; roasting in preparation for leaching; gravity concentration; magnetic separation; electrostatic separation; flotation; ion exchange; solvent extraction; electrowinning; precipitation; amalgamation; and heap, dump, vat, tank, and in situ leaching. The extraction and beneficiation of minerals usually generates large quantities of waste.

Mineral processing operations generally follow beneficiation and include techniques that often change the chemical composition the physical structure of the ore or mineral. Examples of mineral processing techniques include smelting, electrolytic refining, and acid attack or digestion. Mineral processing waste streams typically bear little or no resemblance to the materials that entered the operation, producing product and waste streams that are not earthen in character. Twenty mineral processing wastes (see side bar) qualify for the exclusion from federal hazardous waste regulation. The remainder of mineral processing wastes are regulated under RCRA and subject to applicable regulations (e.g., land disposal restrictions.) For more information on the management of mineral processing wastes, visit EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance Mineral Processing Wastes Web page.

Original Source:


May 7, 2019

News Global waste market to reach $435B by 2023, report finds

Filed under: Industry News — Devin Priester @ 12:01 am


A new report by Allied Market Research forecasts the global waste management market to reach $435 billion by 2023, after being valued at $285 billion in 2016.

The report, Global Waste Management Market by Waste Type, and Service: Global Opportunity Analysis and Industry Forecast, 2017-2023, shows the municipal solid waste market may reach $222.8 billion by 2023, with a compound annual growth rate of 6.1% during the forecast period.


The report anticipates that the fastest growing service for the waste management market will be the disposal segment, which is expected to grow by 6.9% and is forecast to reach $230.7 billion by 2023.

Original Source

April 29, 2019

Household Hazardous Waste

Filed under: Industry News — Devin Priester @ 7:56 pm

Hazardous wastes are wastes or products that have the potential to harm humans or the environment, either now or in the future. There are many options to help you dispose of household hazardous wastes safely, protect the environment and keep your home safe. Recycling programs are available for some hazardous wastes.

Over the last two decades, there have been major changes to the way Australians manage their waste. Recycling has increased but so has the amount of waste we are generating, including the quantity of hazardous waste.

Household hazardous waste

The average Australian household stores many hazardous substances or products that contain harmful elements. It can be dangerous to dispose of hazardous wastes through regular rubbish collections. Examples of household hazardous waste include:

  • Solvent-based paints
  • Pesticides and other garden chemicals
  • Batteries (for example car, mobile phone or regular household batteries)
  • Motor oils (for example from cars or mowers)
  • Petrol and kerosene
  • Cleaning and polishing chemicals
  • Swimming pool or spa bath chemicals
  • Pharmaceuticals (all medicines)
  • Obsolete computer equipment
  • Thermometers, barometers, thermostats, fluorescent tubes and compact fluorescent globes (CFLs).

Handling and storage suggestions

To handle hazardous waste at home safely you should:

  • Keep the goods in their original containers if possible. If containers are leaking, use new containers but never use food containers like soft drink bottles.
  • Don’t mix chemicals when decanting a substance into a new storage container.
  • Make sure all labels, including warning labels and manufacturer’s instructions, remain intact on the packaging.
  • Store goods upright with lids secured tightly and out of the reach of young children.
  • Keep all ignition sources, such as matches, well away from the storage area.
  • Keep the storage area cool and dry.
  • Buy the smallest amount for your needs.

How to dispose of hazardous waste

Always store hazardous wastes properly while waiting for a suitable disposal method. There are various schemes in Victoria to recycle and dispose of household hazardous waste. For example:

  • Computers – materials used to make computer equipment contain valuable resources that can be re-used. They also contain hazardous materials that could pose a threat to the environment if they are not disposed of in a responsible manner. In Victoria, unwanted computer equipment – monitors, keyboards, laptops, CD and disc drives – can be recycled through the Byteback scheme. Some councils and equipment manufacturers also provide a disposal service for unwanted computers and equipment. Contact your local council or equipment manufacturer for details.
  • Mobile phones and phone batteries – some mobile phones and accessories contain heavy metals. Mobile phone retailers, some banks and other retail stores will accept used mobile phones for recycling as part of MobileMuster, the mobile phone industry recycling program.
  • Rechargeable batteries – batteries can be taken to Detox your home collections and some permanent sites or to one of a small number of Batteryback or company-owned retail locations.
  • Car batteries – these are collected at many council waste transfer stations, landfills and some major battery retailers. Contact your local council.
  • Gas cylinders (LPG) – these include cylinders used for BBQs, patio heaters, caravans, camping and lamps. These cylinders can be returned through swap programs provided by retailers for replacement, refilling or disposal. Charges may apply in some instances.
  • Used motor oils – these can be recycled. There are over 100 motor oil collection points at transfer stations across Victoria. You can return a maximum of 20 litres of motor oil per visit. Contact your local council or use the Oil directory.
  • Laser and printer inkjet cartridges – these can be taken to Australia Post and Harvey Norman outlets for recycling.
  • Fluorescent tubes and compact fluorescent globes (CFLs) – fluorescent lamps and other mercury products, including mercury spills, can be taken to Detox your home collections, selected retail outlets and some permanent sites.
  • Plastic shopping bags – supermarkets have collection bins for used plastic shopping bags for recycling. Plastic shopping bags create an ugly litter problem if not recycled or disposed of properly. If these bags get into waterways, they may be a threat to wildlife.
  • Unused medicines – take unused pharmaceuticals, including prescription and non-prescription drugs, to a pharmacist for disposal through the Return of Unwanted Medicines program. Always store unused pharmaceuticals out of reach of children before you dispose of them.

Contact details for these services are listed in the Where to get help section.

The Detox your Home household chemical disposal service

Sustainability Victoria operates a mobile Detox your home service, which collects household chemicals for safe, responsible disposal or recycling. This service is delivered in collaboration with local government.

The service moves around the State. Collection events are run on weekends. Items accepted for recycling and disposal at Detox Your Home mobile events are:

  • Empty aerosol cans
  • Insect spray
  • Floor-care products
  • Kitchen and bathroom cleaners
  • Ammonia based cleaners
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Nail polish and remover
  • Fluorescent tubes
  • Batteries
  • Fuels
  • Gas cylinders
  • Paints
  • Fertiliser
  • Weed killer
  • Rat poison
  • Pool chemicals
  • Solvents and glues
  • Paint stripper
  • Engine oil
  • Coolant and antifreeze
  • Mobile phones
  • Fire extinguishers
  • Old car batteries
  • Car wax
  • Brake fluid
  • Transmission fluid
  • Car body filler.

Sustainability Victoria has also established a network of permanent drop-off centres at local transfer stations. These centres are available during transfer station operating times. These centres ONLY accept paint, motor oil, batteries, fluorescent tubes and, in most cases, gas cylinders.

Detox your Home does not accept:

  • Containers larger than 20 litres or 20 kilograms
  • Chemicals for uses other than household purposes
  • Chemicals used for farm, commercial or industrial purposes
  • Waste asbestos.

Disposing of industrial or farm chemicals

To dispose of industrial waste and asbestos:

  • Check the Yellow Pages for waste reduction and disposal services.
  • Go to the EPA website for a list of licensed companies that receive certain types of industrial waste.

What happens when you DON’T dispose of dangerous waste properly

You should never put hazardous household wastes into regular rubbish collections, tip it down the sink, toilet or gutters, or bury it in the ground. This is what can happen if you don’t use correct disposal methods:

  • Buried in the garden – dangerous chemicals and poison can leach into the surface or groundwater. This can affect the soil, plants and water for a long time.
  • Tipped down the sink – wastes may corrode the pipes or block stormwater drains and cause problems at water treatment plants.
  • Put into the regular garbage – this can put the health and safety of garbage collection workers at risk. It may also pollute waterways and drinking water if sent to normal landfills. Hazardous waste should only be stored in specially designed landfills.
  • Plastic shopping bags – these can create an ugly litter problem if not recycled or disposed of properly. If these bags get into waterways, they may be a threat to wildlife. Most supermarkets now collect plastic bags for recycling.
Illegal disposal, dumping or misuse of wastes is a serious offence and subject to large financial penalties.



April 23, 2019

Arizona Firefighters Critical After Explosion

Filed under: Industry News — Devin Priester @ 5:04 pm

Eight firefighters were injured Friday night in an explosion at an Arizona Public Service facility in Surprise. Four Peoria firefighters were the most seriously hurt, with three flown to Maricopa County Medical Center’s burn unit in Phoenix, said Michael Selmer, a Peoria Fire Department spokesman. One was in critical condition. The fourth was taken to a West Valley hospital.

In addition, four other firefighters for the city of Surprise were taken to a hospital for evaluation of less serious injuries, said Battalion Chief Julie Moore of the Surprise Fire Department.

The explosion occurred at the APS McMicken Energy Storage facility near Grand Avenue and Deer Valley Road in Surprise on Friday evening. The facility houses utility-sized batteries on the site used in the storage and distribution of solar energy, according to the APS website.

Read Full Story Here

January 31, 2019

RCRA/DOT Training

Filed under: Remediation — Kelly Sherwood @ 3:39 pm

Register Your Team Today!

October 31, 2018

Wayne County Michigan Household Hazardous Waste Event November 3, 2018

Filed under: Household Hazardous,Universal Waste — Tags: , , , — Kelly Sherwood @ 8:19 pm


Attention Wayne County, MI residents!

Recycle your household hazardous waste!

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Please be sure to review the flyer for the list of accepted items and items NOT accepted, hours of service etc.

#HHW #Household #Hazardous #Waste #WayneCountyMI @WayneCountyMI #EWaste #Recycle #Recycling #ThinkGreen #ActGreen #LoveThePlanet #Lightbulbs #Batteries #MedicalWaste #Sharps #Mercury #AutoWaste