What is Hazardous Waste?

There are two ways that waste is determined to be hazardous waste.

1) What the federal and/or state regulations determine as hazardous is considered hazardous waste. These are specific chemicals that are listed by the agencies involved.

2) Secondly, materials that are designated as “Characteristic Hazardous Wastes” by having one or more of the following properties:

  • a) Ignitable – it can be an ignitable compressed gas or a combustible liquid.  Liquid waste that has a flash point of less than 140 degrees and non-liquid waste that is capable of causing a fire through absorption of moisture or a spontaneous chemical change or through friction.
  • b) Corrosive – These are water-based liquids that are highly acid or alkaline. An aqueous waste with a PH of less then or equal to 2 or greater then or equal to 12.5.
  • c) Reactive – Substances that are normally unstable and can undergo violent change without exploding or they react violently to water.
  • d) TCLP – Wastes that have a high amount of heavy metals or certain chemicals that can get into the ground water.  Some of these substances can include mercury, lead and arsenic

You can easily obtain a list of what is considered hazardous waste in your area from your state environmental protection agency.  Here is a link to the State Environmental Agencies from the EPA site.

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