Like all states, California has specific regulations regarding the disposal and cleanup of hazardous waste. However, it's not always easy for the everyday person to navigate and understand these regulations. What is hazardous waste and what should you do if you suspect its presence in your business or commercial building?
The best way to tackle hazardous waste is to work with a hazardous waste removal services company to ensure the job is done in a timely manner and adheres to state protocols. For example, HCI Environmental has a team of experienced HAZMAT professionals ready to help you safely and properly dispose of unwanted hazardous waste.
Still, you may not always know when you need to give the professionals a call. Failing to identify hazardous waste can be dangerous, even lethal to those exposed to it unknowingly which is why you should know what to look for.
Read on for seven common signs that you need a hazardous waste removal services company.
1. You're Dealing With Non-Domestic Sewage
When it comes to dealing with human waste, it's not always easy to determine whether or not it's considered hazardous. However, there's one distinction you can make that may help.
Sewage that goes through the domestic sewage system is not deemed hazardous. This is, in part, because it's contained and treated properly by going through that system. However, human waste that is not contained in the domestic sewage system (ie human waste found in homeless encampments or other outdoor sites) is considered hazardous.
A good way to look at untreated sewage is by viewing it as a biohazard. A biohazard is an organic organism that poses a threat to human health and safety. Other examples of biohazards include materials contaminated with a virus, human blood and other blood products, and mold.
2. You're Cleaning Up an Illegal Drug Lab
We are often called to assist with the clean-up of methamphetamine and fentanyl labs. Oftentimes, these illegal drug labs exist in commercial or residential properties unbeknownst to the property owner.
If you are a property owner that discovers an illegal drug lab at the site of one of your properties, you are responsible for the clean-up. However, these drug labs do contain hazardous materials that are dangerous. Always work with hazardous waste removal services companies when dealing with areas used to manufacture illegal drugs.
3. You're Dealing With Flammable Materials
If you need to dispose of flammable materials, it is important that you do so according to hazardous waste regulations. A flammable material is a liquid that can ignite at a temperature below 100 degrees.
Common examples include acetone, alcohols, toluene, and diethyl ether. Gasoline is another example of a hazardous flammable liquid. If you need to recycle, clean up, or otherwise dispose of gasoline, you should work with a hazardous waste removal services company.
4. You're Dealing With Corrosive Materials
Some companies and organizations use corrosive liquids that can't be dumped or thrown away without care. Corrosive liquids are typically strong acids or bases. Not only can they react when mixed with other materials, but they can also present a serious hazard to human and animal skin.
Battery fluid is one of the most common examples of corrosive materials. Other examples include (but are not limited to) hydrochloric acid, sodium hydroxide, and sulfuric acid.
5. You're Dealing With Reactive Materials
A reactive material is anything that can react in a violent or destructive way when combined with air or water. These materials are considered chemically unstable and can cause explosions or create toxic fumes.
One example of reactive waste is lithium batteries. However, the list of potentially explosive materials is vast and we don't always know it when we see it. Nuclear energy sites are one common example of an area that must be treated for hazardous waste, as nuclear energy can cause explosions when treated improperly.
6. You're Dealing With Toxic Materials
Defining toxicity is often difficult, particularly when narrowing down the list of toxic materials to those that are legally hazardous. On the most basic level, something is considered toxic when ingesting or consuming it would cause harm or death.
Waste that is considered toxic is perhaps the broadest category when it comes to hazardous waste. You can encounter toxic materials everywhere from a hospital ward to a home that is undergoing renovations.
In fact, you might be surprised at how many toxic materials you can encounter in your own home. For example, asbestos, lead, and even chemical-based household cleaners are toxic. You are most likely to encounter unexpected toxins in older homes that have not been brought up to code.
7. You Believe That You're Dealing With Materials That are Harmful
The best hazardous waste removal company will gladly provide you with a consultation. If you're dealing with a building, area, or trauma scene that seems potentially hazardous, it's better to operate on the assumption that it is.
Remember, hazardous waste presents a serious threat to the health and safety of humans and our environment. It's better to take precautions and find out for sure that something is considered non-hazardous waste before trying to remove it, yourself. Improper disposal of hazardous waste can result in serious fines and other legal ramifications.
HCI Environmental - The Best Hazardous Waste Removal Services Company Near You
The ability to identify signs of hazardous waste is something all business owners and managers should be able to do to ensure the safety and well being of themselves and those at risk of exposure. Choosing the best hazardous waste removal company is the best option for making sure your worksite is treated properly.
If you’ve identified or suspect hazardous waste in your commercial build, don’t wait! Contact HCI Environmental today to learn more about scheduling HAZMAT services.