Hazardous Waste Drums
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) RCRA regulation allows a container that once held a non-acute hazardous waste to be considered empty and not subject to hazardous waste regulation when all waste that can be removed has been removed using common practices such as pouring, pumping, and aspirating.
The regulations also specify that:
- No more than 1 inch of residue can remain on the bottom of the container or the inner liner
- No more than 3 percent (by weight) of the container’s total capacity (less than or equal to 119 gallons) can remain in the container; or no more than 0.3 percent (by weight) of the container’s total capacity (greater than 119 gallons) can remain in the container
- For containers that held acute hazardous waste, one of the following conditions must be met for it to be considered empty:
- The container or the inner liner has been triple rinsed using a solvent capable of removing the material
- The container or inner liner has been cleaned by another method documented in scientific literature or by tests conducted by the generator to achieve equivalent removal
- The inner liner has been removed
A container that has held a hazardous waste that is a compressed gas is empty when the pressure in the container approaches atmospheric. And a container or an inner liner removed from a container that has held an acute hazardous waste listed in 40 CFR 261.31 or 261.33(e) if:
(i) The container or inner liner has been triple rinsed using a solvent capable of removing the commercial chemical product or manufacturing chemical intermediate;
(ii) The container or inner liner has been cleaned by another method that has been shown in the scientific literature, or by tests conducted by the generator, to achieve equivalent removal; or
(iii) In the case of a container, the inner liner that prevented contact of the commercial chemical product or manufacturing chemical intermediate with the container has been removed.
About The Author: Don Jackson is retired from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Various roles at the EPA included: Hazardous Waste Management, Safety & Health Instructor, Facilities Safety and Health Inspector, ES&H Technical Writer, and Wastewater Equipment Operator as a Senior Environmental Employee. He has been conducting HAZWOPER courses throughout the country for approximately 25 years.